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Not so long ago I heard some rather important public figure speaking on the radio say that we are currently “at the beginning of the middle of the end of the crisis”. For the umpteenth time I was amazed by the elegance with which our experts and bureaucrats use the Russian language. So I tried to make some sense of this phrase, and after giving it some thought I came to a surprising conclusion: the phrase with surprising accuracy expresses the condition of the intellects in our country (and perhaps even throughout the world) when it comes to assessing the current social-economic situation. To express this more clearly, then it...

15.07.2010
Rubric: Commentary
Subject: Общество

People in the Crimea are desperately awaiting a return of Russian tourists, the flow of which was greatly reduced following the decline of Russian-Ukrainian relations under President Yushchenko, a situation only compounded by the financial crisis. This is just one example of how politics affects every one of us – not only the residents of Russia that stopped visiting their familiar resorts, but also the local entrepreneurs, guides, etc. – everyone who was in some way or another connected to the tourism industry and services sector. To some degree the outflow of Russians was compensated by an increase in visitors from other parts...

02.07.2010
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

Several years back the American research Nancy Ries gave me a copy of her book Russian Talk. She told me it was the result of several months spent in Russia at the time of Perestroika. She studied informal conversations of our compatriots, recording talks in kitchens and trying to make sense of them. The most common genres of Russia conversation, according to Ries, were litanies and laments. And the ones to blame for all the problems were either the Soviet authorities, or in general “our country”, “the state”, “we” or some sort of irrational curse the hangs over Russia and its culture (which did not...

16.06.2010
Rubric: Commentary
Subject: Общество

I don’t see a need to speak of the significance of his work. This will done quite eloquently through exhibits, films and literary meetings, which to this day continue to be held in honor of the Nobel laureate. They are a search for meaning in his magical writings, an attempt to reach into the unplumbed depth of this author’s talent. It’s no secret that Brodsky was enamored with Venice. He traveled to the city 17 times, and always during the winter months. And he was buried in the Venetian cemetery San Michele, half way between Russia, his motherland, and America, which harbored him after he was kicked out of his...

25.05.2010
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

The Russian Civic Chamber's Commission on Preservation and Development of Culture seems to move from one scandalous topic to the next. At its previous meeting, a discussion of the general development plan of Moscow, representatives of the city stormed out of the hall following an emotional speech by art collector Marat Gelman. At its most recent meeting, the collective effect of speeches of Mr. Gelman, commission chairman and director of the Central House of the Artist Vitaly Bychkov and numerous museum representatives was enough to drive archpriest Vsevold Chaplin out of the room. However, if during the meeting on Moscow’s development...

19.05.2010
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

Several days ago a small notice appeared in the entryway of our apartment building: the Communist Party of Russia announced a recruitment drive in honor of the 140th anniversary of Lenin’s birth. With all due respect to this political party, it is difficult to take this seriously.  And the tying of Lenin’s name to this is nothing more than an advertising gimmick, a PR tactic. Lenin’s image has become a part of pop culture, an attractive brand. Considered to be among most influential politicians and thinkers of the 20th century, he is one of the most well-known figures in Russia and even world history. However, that is...

22.04.2010
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

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