Monday, 30 April 2012

New York applauds Moscow Soloists

Yuri Bashmet and Moscow Soloists

The Moscow Soloists chamber orchestra led by renowned violist and conductor Yuri Bashmet has received a standing ovation in New York at a concert marking the orchestra’s 20th anniversary.

The program included Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” arranged by Gustav Mahler and Brahms’s Quintet for Viola and Strings.

The Moscow Soloists have given more than 2,000 concerts on all five continents over the past two decades.


Exhibition of Anna Akhmatova’s Portraits Opens in Petersburg

Nikolay Tyrsa: Portrait of Anna Akhmatova, 1928

Exhibition “Anna Akhmatova. Mythology of Image” has opened in the poetess’ museum in Fontanny House.
It is the first attempt to bring together Akhmatova’s lifetime and posthumous portraits, introducing the image of the poetess as a many-sided and diverse phenomenon of Russian culture. Her image has been immortalized in sculptures, paintings, drawings, photos, arts and crafts, and cinema. Each of these embodiments carried its own truth corresponding to a certain period of life and creativity of the poetess, each of them conveying the features of her poetry and outlook in its peculiar way. 
The visitors of the exhibition will see works by Amedeo Modigliani, Nikolay Tyrsa, Vladimir Favorsky, as well as contemporary artists. ...


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Vladimir Odoevsky: Igosha

I came running to the dining-room exactly when father was explaining what had taken him so long to come back home. “The stirrups kept breaking,” he said, “if not the stirrups, the coachman would lose his whip, or the outrunner would break her leg: in other words, out of the frying pan, into the fire! We might as well just have stopped on the side of the road; so I couldn’t help wondering: what if it really is some of Igosha’s frolics?”
“Igosha who?” mother asked him.
“Listen. In a gully, I stopped to feed the horses; I was cold, so I went inside the house to warm myself up; three coachmen were sitting around the table, with four spoons laid on the table in front of them; whenever they were cutting bread, they put an extra piece right next to the spoon; whenever they treated themselves to a pie, they left some of it on the table as well.”
“Who are you saving this all for, good men? You must be waiting for your friend?” I asked.
“Friend or no friend, this guy is piece of work – and he doesn’t like to be insulted.”
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Igosha, my master.”
What’s the story with this Igosha, I thought, and so I started questioning the men.
“Listen, my master,” one of them said, “in the summer, one of our neighbors had a little boy, so unwell he was, God have mercy on him, without arms or legs - barely holding his soul inside; hardly had they time to send for the priest – the baby passed away. Didn’t even make it till dinner. So, what to say, after doing all the crying and mourning, the baby was inhumed. But ever since, everything has been different with us… but Igosha, my master, is a kind lad: he keeps an eye on our horses, combs their manes, comes to the priest for his blessing; but if we don’t get him a fork, or if the priest forgets to give an extra blessing at church, Igosha gets naughty: either the priest’s wife’s dough gets tipped upside down, or the peas get scattered all over the place. He can break the horseshoe, or rip the bell’s tongue out – everything happens.”
“Hey! I see Igosha is a naughty boy," father said. “Give him to me, and if he serves me well, I will give him a good life, put him on a daily ration even .”
In the meantime, the horses had their rest, I warmed up, got into my sledge, and took off; hardly had we gone a mile before the breast band slipped, then the stirrups tore apart, and to make things worse, the shafts broke in two – we wasted a whole 2 hours. One might really think this was all Igosha’s evil-doing.”

On the Highest Peak of Russia

On the Highest Peak of Russia: Mercury Tower of the business centre Moscow City is the highest construction in Russia for now. The height from the ground to the top of the crane boom tip is more than 380 m! Inside the post you’ll see one … Read more...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Gallery as art: Moscow ruin lures Rem Koolhaas

A ruined Soviet-era restaurant in Moscow's Gorky Park is to become the unlikely new home for one of Russia's hippest contemporary arts centres: the Garage, founded four years ago by the Russian socialite Dasha Zhukova.
Zhukova and the architect Rem Koolhaas have unveiled plans to bring back to life a 1960s prefabricated concrete building that would normally be pulled down. "It is the most exciting and biggest change the Garage has undergone," said Zhukova, revealing the plans at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts on Friday. "I think it will be one of the greatest examples of contemporary architecture in Moscow."
The hunt for a new building began because the lease was ending on the Garage's current home in the constructivist Bakhmetevsky bus garage and the site was due to be developed into a Jewish heritage museum.
"Finding it was a random chance," said Zhukova, the partner of billionaire Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich. "A friend of mine said there was a number of completely destroyed and damaged buildings in the park and that the city was looking to regenerate the park."
The Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) building has almost everything against it. Koolhaas said it was "a ruin, almost completely overgrown" on a heavily polluted site. It is also a rectangle, which is "currently not a very popular shape in architecture".
But the project fits into many of the themes and views Koolhaas has been expressing in recent years about modern architecture generally, and art galleries in particular. One thing he is fighting against is size, pointing to London's Serpentine Gallery as an example of small being good. "Art institutions are getting bigger and bigger, culminating in a building you all know [Tate Modern] but scale, for me, is not necessarily productive for art."
He is against the unnecessary destruction of buildings from the 1960s and 70s and does not like "the sterility of the white cube" in many galleries.
Koolhaas, who co-founded the OMA practice in 1975, said much of the neglect in the Vremena Goda was picturesque and he would keep much of the brickwork, tiling and mosaics. "The building is a ruin but it is not a very old ruin and there are still traces of decoration. We were able to convince our client to maintain some of the aesthetic and experiment – we have these traces of Russian history as a partner of the art."
That raises the question of whether non-white walls would fight or distract from the art on them. "That is a very long discussion," said Koolhaas. "I wouldn't propose it if I thought so." Having said that, all the exhibiting walls will be capable of becoming white.
The new 5,400 sq metre Garage Gorky Park is due to open next year with galleries on two levels together with cafe, shop and learning centre. Zhukova said the original plan had been to use a hexagon-shaped pavilion in the park, not far from the restaurant, but it would have taken too long to convert. That will now be phase two of their plans. "The Hexagon is in a much worse state and we've worked so hard over the last four years to build up a community around the Garage and establish an audience – we don't want to be homeless for two or three years."
Money for the Garage is understood to come from Zhukova's billionaire partner Abramovich but she batted away questions about the cost. "We don't talk about the finances," she said. ...

Anna Netrebko 2011 Interview

Russian writing goes down a storm in London

The Russian literary events surrounding the annual London Book Fair (LBF) have become highlights of the capital’s Russophile calendar. There was a particular focus on Russia at last year’s fair, attracting hundreds of readers, writers, bloggers and publishers, and interest is still strong this year. Academia Rossica, which promotes Russian cultural events in the UK, organized a week of films, awards, signings and discussions, billing itself as the Slovo Festival (or the Word Festival).

James Rann, Academia Rossica’s Literary Projects’ Coordinator said this year’s book fair had seen “a marked rise” in the number of people visiting the Read Russia stand. These included several smaller publishers eager to promote their books: new presses like Glagoslav, who have just published a translation of Zakhar Prilepin’s novel Sin, and last year’s winner of the Super National Bestseller Award.

According to Rann, contemporary writing is changing western people’s perceptions of Russian literature, which he says is “coming out of the shade of the birch trees”. He went on: “Big novels, grimness, the iron hand of power clamping down on people. These traditions are still there. But good publishers are also producing books that are slim, readable and funny”. Rann is currently working on a translation of Anna Starobinets’ fabulous new novel, The Living One which will be published by Hesperus Press in the autumn. He describes Starobinets as part of a new generation of writers who live “in a more globalized culture and take influences from all over the world”.

Writer of internationally best-selling historical thrillers, Boris Akunin, kicked off events this year with a discussion about “a country riven by contrasts and paradoxes.” He also introduced the premiere of the film Spy which is based on one of his novel The Spy Thriller. The next day Akunin gave a talk on “The power of mysteries and the mysteries of power” discussing a character from his books – the world-famous detective Erast Fandorin. He also spoke about his own involvement as an opposition leader in Russia’s protests earlier this year.

Zakhar Prilepin, bad-boy of contemporary letters, stepped in to give a quick-fire speech to a mostly Russian audience when journalist Alex Dubas was delayed and, later in the week, he discussed Russian youth movements with James Jones, maker of a recent documentary Putin’s Army. There was also a growing emphasis on writing by women; Natasha Perova, founder of GLAS, which has been translating and publishing Russian books for many years, says there is an increased demand for works by female authors. Perova is producing a collection of stories by young women writers to coincide with the American BookExpo in June.

Translation is obviously vital if more books are to reach an international audience and Rossica rightly focuses on this area. The third day of the book fair was designated as “translators day” (Monday and Tuesday having been dedicated to publishers and writers respectively).  The official shortlists for the Rossica Prize and the Young Translators’ Award were announced. The prizes will be awarded on May 15 at a special ceremony in the new Russian bookshop in Waterstones on Piccadilly. Professor Pamela Davidson, one of the troika of judges wading through the unprecedented number of entries for the Rossica Prize, was impressed by the “sense of passion and involvement among translators”, and “the desire to broaden the readership”. She was particularly encouraged by the fact that so many of the books on the long list were 21st century works, citing this as evidence of “tremendous interest” in contemporary writing.

Journalist and author, Alexander Kabakov, who was discussing politics and literature at a public event in Waterstones bookshop, is more pessimistic. He told me: “I think Russia is not interesting to people any more. Things are interesting when there is a scandal, war or revolution. Since 1993 there is nothing. For a lot of people in my circle it is bad to have no scandal to write about, but I prefer no interest. I think that life is more important than literature.” But Kabakov was cheerful about being in London again and at LBF for the first time; the arrangements were “home-like” and he the atmosphere was “very good”. ...

Unique Photos of the Chernobyl Catastrophe

Unique Photos of the Chernobyl Catastrophe: These photos of the Chernobyl catastrophe have never been published before. They are unique. The author of the photos can be called a hero, what do you think? Location: Chernobyl via antonio-j

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize goes to Oleg Pavlov

The ceremony of awarding Alexander Solzhenitsyn Prize, which bears the name of the great writer, thinker, public figure, and a Nobel Prize winner, is being held in Moscow on April 26th for the 14th time now. This year the Alexander Solzhenitsyn prize has been awarded to writer and publicist Oleg Pavlov.
The founders of this award stress that this award is given for works in which troubles of the Russian life are shown with rare moral purity.
The 42-year-old Oleg Pavlov has received literary prizes in Russia more than once. Earlier he was among the nominees for the Big Book Award and for the National Bestseller Prize, and in 2002 he became the laureate of the Russian Booker Prize. However, there is reason to believe that the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Award matches the spirit of Pavlov’s works more than any other award because all his books are closely linked with Solzhenitsyn’s heritage. “I have always understood Alexander Solzhenitsyn better than other writers because Solzhenitsyn had a strong belief in people. As you know, even in his book “The Gulag Archipelago” he shows the light in the human soul, not the gloom”, Pavlov said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
From a literary standpoint, this is a tradition “of the unity of love for your Motherland”, Oleg Pavlov says. "The unity of love can unite writers and artists across history. And this is what we term the Russian tradition. It is evident and powerful, and it continues. All are alive, and nobody has died. Meaning Andrei Tarkovsky and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who continue carrying out their mission. Asked whether literature can change our life, I answered in the affirmative," Pavlov says. "Literature changes people and brings up feelings. This is how it was in the 19th and 20th centuries. Literature used the notions of good and evil and taught us compassion. And I learned from the writers who taught us compassion."
Today the works of Oleg Pavlov are translated into 9 languages, including the main European languages and into Chinese. Thinking of his foreign readers, Oleg Pavlov says that they probably love Russian literature and Russian culture.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Crystal Hall For Eurovision 2012 In Baku

Crystal Hall For Eurovision 2012 In Baku: It’s the main arena for the forthcoming “Eurovision-2012″ contest built on the Square of the State Flag. Officially the construction was over in April, 16th, 2012, currently they are doing finishing works. For some months a German company has built … Read more...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Vissarion Belinsky - Short Biography

The significance of Belinsky and his influence on Russian literature can hardly be overestimated. He did not only show the way for literature to become a public force, but also turned to be a teacher and a leader for the young generation of writers.
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky was born on June 11 [O.S. May 30] 1811 in Sveaborg (nowadays Suomenlinna, Finland) into the family of a naval doctor.
Vissarion spent his childhood in Penza. In 1829-1832 he studied at the Philology Faculty of the Moscow University. His youthful ideals brought him to a philosophical circle, among the members of which there were most gifted students, who later became very influential figures of Russian literature and public life. In this circle Belinsky found his friends, who sympathized with him and shared his aspirations. They were Alexander Herzen, Nikolay Ogarev, and many others.
The evolution of Belinsky’s views was accompanied with the strengthening of his critical attitude to philosophical idealism, and religious beliefs of his youth gave way to obviously atheistic frame of mind.
In 1845 Belinsky wrote to Alexander Herzen: “in the words God and religion I see darkness, gloom, chains and whips”. Such attitude of Belinsky was quite symptomatic: the ideology of political radicalism started to dominate in the Russian westernism. Belinsky's works are also impregnated with this ideology.
Apart from his literary reviews, Belinsky wrote remarkable articles about Gavrila DerzhavinMikhail Lermontov, Valerian Maykov, Alexaner Polezhaev, Alexander Bestuzhev, Alexander Pushkin and others, as well as about the Russian folk poetry, tackling upon the entire history of Russian literature, from Mikhail Lomonosov toAlexander Pushkin.
Vissarion Grigoryevich Belinsky died of consumption on June 7 [O.S. May 26] 1848 in St. Petersburg.

Shall We Serve It With Ice or Yakut Kingdom of Permafrost

Shall We Serve It With Ice or Yakut Kingdom of Permafrost: 30 km from Yakutsk there is a mirror-world with temperature -14C, a cool ice museum. Vodka in an ice cup with sliced frozen meat welcome you. It must be the best Yakut tradition! Empty icy caves… Throne room of a … Read more...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Andrey Bely: Alone

            To S. L. Kobilinsky

The windows steamed up.
In the yard the moon hangs.
And you stand aimlessly
before the window.

The wind dies down arguing
with the row of gray birches.
There has been much sorrow...
There have been many tears...

Before you arises involuntarily
the row of abandoned years.
The heart is pained; it hurts.
I am all alone.

Lenin still wanted and translated

Russian is not “lost in translation”. On the contrary, it appears to be one of the most popular and translated languages in the world, with thanks in part to the rich heritage of the Father of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin.
According to the Unesco Index Translatonium, an electronic database that numbers over two million entries concerning 500,000 authors in 148 countries, the revolutionary Soviet leader is  among the top five most translated authors in the world, along the likes of William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Stephen King.
According to the data collected since 1979, Lenin's works have not exceeded their sell-by-date yet. Apart from the key Soviet communist, the list of the world’s most translated authors also features several more “fathers”, the "Father of Science Fiction", Jules Verne, as well as Pope John Paul II, ranked 22nd.
This year UNESCO marks the 80th anniversary of its Index Translatonium containing information about published translations provided by national libraries, translators, linguists, researchers and databases worldwide.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Lomonosov Moscow State University As It Was In 1956

Lomonosov Moscow State University As It Was In 1956: Building of the University Lecture Russian and Chinese students at the lectures University library Tea and cake break In a dormitory room Cooking in the dormitory Getting ready for exams Location: Moscow via humus

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stalin Buses to be Launched in 40 Former Soviet Cities

Stalin Buses to be Launched in 40 Former Soviet Cities

Slums of Astrakhan

Slums of Astrakhan: Astrakhan is an amazing city where details of the past are neighbouring with the present. Right in the centre of the city there is a residential area that rather resembles decorations for some old movie. Some houses are abandoned, others … Read more...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Internet censorship ‘useless’ - Medvedev

In his latest video blog entry, President Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia would never censor the internet, but urged law enforcers to find and punish those who distribute slander or hate materials, or child pornography.
Medvedev stressed that he was not talking about internet censorship as such a thing was
“impossible and simply senseless”
but urged stronger punishment for spreading deliberately false reportsespecially if such information could damage someone’s honor, dignity or business reputation.
The president also promised stronger punishment for spreading child pornography and promoting terrorism, national or religious feuds.
In addition, Medvedev called upon internet users to help make the Russian power system more transparent and efficient.
The outgoing Russian head of state said that “No one but us ourselves will make Russia better.”
“Counting on bureaucrats’ omnipotence and universal knowledge means a lenient attitude to office-connected crimes. In the modern world that is complex and rapidly changing, the state simply does not have enough eyes to watch everything and enough hands to correct every mistake. The country needs you – active and not indifferent people and I seriously count on you,” Medvedev stated.
The president said that the internet must be used in order to make the power structures more open and transparent.
Apart from the cheering and calls for cooperation, the president noted that the state system in Russia is already using the internet in some of its functions – in 2010 and 2011 several draft laws underwent public discussion through specially-designed feedback mechanisms. As a result, the bills submitted to the parliament differed significantly from their initial versions.
Medvedev also acknowledged that practice brought out certain negative moment in internet use that still have to be overcome – for example, comments and ratings allowed “deliberately unacceptable and simply silly” ideas to be submitted and discussed.
He noted that this was the primary reason why the public expertise system required user registration, even though this move reduced the number of participants by several orders of magnitude.
“This is a necessary condition for the work that requires not only initiative, but also responsibility,” Medvedev stressed.
The president also said he deemed it necessary to introduce electronic democracy to the Russian regions in the form of crowdsourcing and referenda, as it was too complicated to solve minor problems through interference from Moscow.
The blog entry was posted after Medvedev held another session of the Big Government – a recently-created large consulting body that is expected to work with actual government after Medvedev becomes prime minister under President Vladimir Putin.
In the blog, Medvedev promised that even after leaving the presidential post he will remain present in social networks and take active part in various discussions.
Via RT

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Fyodor Sologub - Biografy and Poem Wine and Joy

Fyodor Sologub (Fyodor Kuzmich Teternikov) was born in Petersburg into the family of a tailor and a peasant. Until 1907 he worked as a teacher of mathematics and then as a school inspector. He was a member of a circle of symbolist poets. As Alexander Blok pointed out, the subject of Sologub’s poetry was “the soul refracting the world inside it, rather than the world refracted in the soul”.
Grandiloquent surges peculiar to the symbolist poetry of that time for Sologub were impregnated with bitterness of the sufferings of poverty that he had endured.
The summit of Sologub’s prose writing is his famous novel The Petty Demon written in 1902 and published in 1907. The creation of this novel determined Sologub's further destiny: he got an opportunity to retire and devote his life to literary work. He started to write the novel Navyi Charms.
The years 1910-1912 saw the publication of Sologub's Collected Works in twelve volumes. The writer also made lots of translations. Fyodor Sologub died in Leningrad on December 5, 1927. He was laid down to rest at Smolensk orthodox cemetery.

Wine And Joy

Wine and joy are completely forgotten,
As well as his armor and sword.
Alone he descends in the rotten
Mysterious dungeon. The door
Is squeaking with long drawn sound
For no one has entered inside.
The dark and the damp reign around.
The window is narrow and high.

His eyes grow accustomed to the gloom and
Through the dust and the web he explores
Some strange marks, emerging and looming
On the floor, on the vaults, on the walls.
He gazes at the marks’ interlacement
At those incomprehensible signs
And tarries for Death to embrace him
To enlighten his soul and eyes. 

In the Region of Deer

In the Region of Deer: Yamal is often called the region of deer, though in translation it means “The end of the world”. It is inhabited by representatives of the ancient people who’ve been keeping traditions from time immemorial. Nenets are the main settlers of … Read more...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Publishing in Russia 2012: Krasnoyarsk Fair: Reading Deep in Siberia

When the first Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair was held in 2007, there were no overseas attendees in sight. In fact, there were only 63 local exhibitors, including 45 publishing houses. Still, 10,000 visitors attended the midwinter event, for which exhibitors trucked in nearly 10 metric tons of books.
Fast forward to November 2–6, 2011: the fair attracted 215 exhibitors (125 publishers), 36 overseas visitors, and more than 40,000 people. At least 60 metric tons of books were displayed throughout an exhibition space that, at 6,595 square meters, had more than doubled that of 2007. The Israeli Cultural Centre, Goethe-Institut, and the embassies of France and the Czech Republic took part in the fair. Frido Mann, Vladimir Tarasov, Jose Antonio Tassies, Arturo Valenis, Kerry Shawn Keys, and Gerardo Beltran were among the famous writers, poets, and artists present. (Four years earlier, the biggest names at the fair were Russian writers Vladimir Sorokin and Victor Erofeev.) More than 170 events were held, focusing on such topics as present and future libraries, methods for launching a bookstore, and even a five-day master class on creating a children’s comic book.
What makes the Krasnoyarsk Fair so interesting? And who would have thought it a good idea to hold such an event in the middle of nowhere—not in Siberia’s biggest city, Novosibirsk, or its second largest, Omsk, but in its third largest, Krasnoyarsk? For some answers, PW turns to Irina Prokhorova, publisher of New Literary Observer (NLO) and cofounder/chairperson of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, which organizes the event.
Why did you choose Krasnoyarsk?
The answer is interlinked with the history of the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund, which was established in 2004 and was the first charitable foundation focused on supporting cultural initiatives in the Russian regions. The fund’s strategy was fully crystallized when Mikhail Prokhorov became the general manager of a huge metallurgic company, Norilsk Nickel, in the arctic city of Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk region. In its first two years, the fund operated exclusively in Norilsk. Then it expanded its activities to cover the whole Krasnoyarsk area. Now it is active in 10 Russian regions, but Krasnoyarsk remains our focal point. 
What is the impact of this book fair on the region?
It has become not only the city’s main cultural event but also one of the most prestigious at the national level. It is a source of pride for the Krasnoyarsk people and its government, and a wide-ranging fair that offers book presentations, discussion panels, and roundtables, as well as audiovisual events such as theater and musical performances, film screenings, exhibitions, installations, and other experimental genres, as well as a strong children’s program.
The whole city is involved, since off-venue events are held at clubs, museums, theaters, and art centers and galleries. In a way, it unifies the local community, especially the educated, who have been demoralized and fragmented over the years. It also exposes the misperception about reading habits in regions outside of the major cities: people are reading, and they want to read more given the opportunity.
Aside from bringing outstanding artistic voices and new experiences to Krasnoyarsk, which stimulates a new wave of local creativity, the fair also introduces the regions to our guests. It is common knowledge that Russian artists from the capital cities prefer traveling abroad and are ignorant of their own country. So the fund focuses on bringing locals and overseas visitors together to discover Russia’s diverse nature and culture.
How about practical changes?
The fair has helped to improve the distribution of high-quality fiction and nonfiction to these regions. Local bookstores and libraries now have access to up-to-date book information from the publishing hubs. The fair also witnesses a lot of signed agreements between publishers and distributors. In addition, the fund’s grant of $300,000 has brought in essential books—such as titles for children and publications on popular science, contemporary literature, and art—for Krasnoyarsk’s public libraries, whose needs have been neglected in the past 20 years. The Krasnoyarsk book fair’s success has since prompted other Russian regions and cities, such as Perm and Voronezh, to launch their own book events. 
How are publishing and distribution in this region?
In Russia, 80% of all publishers are located in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The rest are regional publishers, with the majority in the Krasnoyarsk area. In some regions, there are only one or two publishers, usually university presses. For instance, in Tomsk, there is only one publisher, which is associated with Tomsk University. Altogether, there are about 50 publishers in Siberia and the Far East regions. In terms of book distribution, there are around 750 bookstores, mostly belonging to the federal bookstore chains such as Top-Kniga and Bukva. Most distributors are small companies—about 150 of them for Siberia and the Far East—and, presently, their continued existence is rather iffy.
What publishers and retailers are found here?
There are Bukva [the publisher, not to be confused with Bukva the bookstore chain], Trend, and three university presses: Rastre, Policor and Apeks. As for bookstores, we have Russkoe slovo, Biriusa chain, Academic Book, Knizhny Meridian and Bestseller. The distribution side is represented by Reclamnaya kniga, Detsky ray, Intellect and XXI Century Books, as well as a special library supplier.
Are books sold here differently from those in Moscow or St. Petersburg?
As far as bestsellers and mass market titles are concerned, there is practically no difference. The main problem is still the lack of high-quality and professional titles in Krasnoyarsk bookstores, a situation that exists in virtually every city in Russia, even those within a three-hour drive from Moscow. But with the Krasnoyarsk book fair, the situation has improved.
How about differences in reading habits and book preferences?
I do not see much difference, except there is always a special interest in local culture and literature in each region. For instance, there is generally a strong feeling of Siberian identity here, with plenty of books and studies on Siberian history, literature, and culture. The most popular topics at the fair are about Siberia within the Russian culture, or Siberia through the eyes of foreigners.
How much does a book cost in Krasnoyarsk?
The average price is 20% to 30% lower than in Moscow, because the standard of living here is definitely lower than in the capital. Publishers do take into consideration the lower salaries and smaller market when pricing their titles.
Why should anyone think of braving the Siberian winter to attend this fair?
This book fair is held in a big industrial, cultural, and educational center in a very important Russian city. It defies the typical perception of Siberia as a vast land of snow and wilderness. Coming to Krasnoyarsk would enrich one’s knowledge of the diverse world. Besides, this fair represents a big potential market for new ideas and books.
What has been planned for the 2012 event on October 31 to November 4?
The working theme is the Russian North/Northern Civilization. The idea is to present a notion of a northern country that defines certain social metaphors, mentality, identity, and way of life. We will be inviting writers, intellectuals, and artists from Scandinavia and perhaps from Canada and the U.S. to participate in the upcoming event.

From PW

Quick facts about Siberia and Krasnoyarsk
Siberia makes up 77% (roughly 13 million square kilometers) of Russia’s territory and nearly 10% of Earth’s land surface. It accounts for less than 30% (or 40 million) of the country’s total population, with about three people per square kilometer. This is the richest Russian region in terms of natural resources.

Krasnoyarsk region (population, 2.8 million) occupies around 2.34 million square kilometers and is 4,000 kilometers away from Moscow along the Trans-Siberian railway. The train ride is three days from Moscow; there are also daily flights from Moscow.

Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin: In the mental institution

“Are you saying that I am deranged?” I burst out in terror.
“Yes, and you have to know that. Modern methods of treatment are such that to begin with, the patient must help the doctor in his efforts. And this can only be accomplished providing the patient fully acknowledges what his illness consists of, and do all that he can to eliminate things that can contribute to its development.”
“Doctor! I do not know how, nor for what reason I got here, but in any case, I consider it my duty to protest. I see myself as mentally disabled as you do yourself. I protest.”
“Yes, I know that you constitute yourself as healthy. I have been practicing medicine nearly twenty years and have never come across a single mental patient who was not convinced he was in good health. It is a common rule, from which an exemption only those people who are affected by brain paralysis. They are the only ones who do not protest, and certainly they don’t, only because they are unable to even formulate any sort of protest.”
“Thus I am insane! That is beyond belief, but I have to trust that. You as a therapist are certifying me of that… Splendid. Nevertheless, how am I crazy?”
“I only had one day, yesterday, for observation. You are in your first phase of insanity, therefore are very likely to recover quite soon. But unfortunately you are not a melancholic but a monomaniac. For a melancholic, this is not just a residence but a carnival, whereas maniacs we have to lock up in a separate room from time to time. In concern to the object of your insanity, it is a million, that allegedly has been stolen from you by one of your friends after your death.”
“But that is the truth, doctor, my million has been stolen!”
“Of course it is the truth, but only in the sense that you have a strong conviction of that. As a matter of fact, however, consider how can that be true? Right now we are standing here and talking, but you are convincing me that after your death, your million was stolen!”
I opened my eyes widely. Really, what did I just say? I have actually declared that I was dead! My lord! Could it really be that I am crazy?
“Doctor! What I said was absurd. But I realize that, trust me. The thing is that in the latter days I was caught in the hands of a gang of schemers, which for a whole month in the most disgraceful way have tormented me. Then followed a nervous breakdown, I had a dream, and…”
“Oh sure, sure. That’s how it always starts, and I am very happy that you fairly clearly acknowledge the source of your insanity. Every derangement has as a beginning some sort of a shocking surface impression, delivered to the brain (in a dream or in reality – it doesn’t matter) Add to that anemia, insufficiency in the digestive system – and as a result without fail will come derangement.”
“But I am telling you, doctor…”
“I believe you. I know that you are sure of the perfectly normal condition of your intellectual abilities. But I would wish, for your own sake that you would assure yourself of the opposite. Since, like I already said, only then can your recovery be successful, when you will help me with all the energy you possess.”
“But tell me, at least, how did I get here?”

Sunday, 15 April 2012

How Filimonov Toys Survive

How Filimonov Toys Survive: Now goes the story about one folk craft that would die if a small group of enthusiasts don’t sustain it. Konstantin and Elena Kekhaidi have been producing Filimonov clay toys for 30 years. They say the craft is 700 years … Read more...

Easter celebrations in Russia

Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pyatakov)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pyatakov)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter Service in Cathedral of Christ the Savior (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Easter, Orthodox Christianity's main holiday, marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is being celebrated by believers worldwide. Services are being held at more than 30,000 Russian Orthodox churches across the globe.
Almost half a million Muscovites took part in the festivities around the Russian capital. But the largest service – attended by six thousand people – was held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and was helmed by Patriarch Kirill.
Patriarch Kirill received the Holy Fire delivered directly from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the "miracle" takes place annually. After lighting the candles, Kirill led the procession around the cathedral. The procession climaxed when the Patriarch announced “Christ is risen!”
The festivities where attended by President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Kirill gave decorative Easter eggs to the country’s top officials. Medvedev, in turn, gave an Easter egg of his own to Kirill.
Prior to the celebration, Patriarch Kirill addressed believers, advising them to pray for everyone and to come to church with a serene and peaceful heart.
Easter services are being held at all Russian Orthodox churches around the globe, the number of which exceeds 30,000.
Christians celebrate Easter to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is a moveable feast – but Eastern and Western Christianity base their calculations on different calendars. The former uses Julian calendar, the latter – Gregorian, therefore their Easter days differ. This year Orthodox Easter comes a week later than the Western Christian holiday. Russians celebrate the end of Lent by painting eggs and preparing special Easter cakes containing raisins and nuts.

Via RT

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Vladislav Khodasevich : The Swallows

If you have eyes - through day you'll see a night
the rays from that inflaming disk won't reach.
A pair of swallows fighting to escape
flap at the window, where they feebly cheep.

But that transparent yet unyielding sheet
was never cut by wings, however sharp;
no darting that way out into the blue,
with any tiny wing, or captive heart.

Until the blood issues from every pore,
until you've wept away your earthly sight,
you can't become a spirit. Wait, and stare
at how a splash of light won't hide the night.