Showing posts from May, 2013

Dmitry Rybolovlev

Dmitry Evgenevich Rybolovlev (born in 1966 in Perm) is a Russian businessman, investor, philanthropist and the owner of AS Monaco FC. Rybolovlev owned the potash producer Uralkali and recently started to invest into the French football club AS Monaco. His 24 year old daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva is a well known socialite.

In 2010 he ranked #79 in Forbes' billionaire's list. In 2012, he was ranked #119 among Forbes billionaires, with a net worth of $9.1 billion.

Dmitry Rybolovlev was born in 1966 in Perm. Rybolovlevs parents were doctors and he himself graduated from the Perm Medical Institute as a cardiologist in 1990. He then started to work in the cardiology emergency service. During his student years, Rybolovlev married Elena, one of his fellow students, and in 1989 their first daughter Ekaterina was born. In the late 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev had started the perestroika that eventually led to the break-up of the Soviet Union and the great economic shocks that followed. Durin…

Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

Riccardo Muti-Orchestra and Choir of Scala

Moscow Hotel In the Soviet Years

“Moskva” hotel was one of the largest in the Russian capital. It was built in 1933-35. Here you can see how the hotel looked like in the period from the 1950s to 1980s. Does it seem to be cosy?
More photos here: Moscow Hotel In the Soviet Years 

Health Improving 100 Years Ago

Health Improving 100 Years Ago: This is how people used to improve their health 100 years ago under St. Petersburg. Quite different from how we do it today, right? Body wraps and rubdown. Children riding donkeys. Booths for washing. Seaside recreation and retreat centre. Playground. … Read more...

Is Humbert Humbert Jewish? - Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov was eighteen when the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 made his wealthy family’s continued residence in Petrograd (as St. Petersburg was renamed at the start of World War I) impossible. They fled first to the Crimea and then, in 1919, to London. The following year they settled in Berlin, where in 1922 Nabokov’s father was assassinated, more by accident than design, by extreme right-wing Russian monarchists: they were attempting to kill another Russian émigré politician, Paul Milyukov. V.D. Nabokov bravely seized and disarmed one of the gunmen, and pinned him down, but was then shot three times by the second.

In a poem called “Easter” published just a few weeks after this disaster, the twenty-two-year-old Nabokov interprets the arrival of spring as portending some kind of resurrection of his father: “Rise again,” each “golden thaw-drop” seems to sing, “blossom”; “you are in this refrain,/you’re in this splendor, you’re alive!…” Some forty years later he would allude…

Russian Bohemia

A performance by some of Russia's most talented performers including the Moscow Mail Choir, Kremlin Capella. Beautiful pictures and beautiful performances.

Tolstoy’s Resurrection and Dostoevsky

Siberia, as a theme with both personal and literary significance, must have been very much in Tolstoy’s mind during the writing of Resurrection. At a personal level, he himself would have been aware, that as Russia’s foremost dissident, he ran the risk of some form of banishment.[1] His hero Nekhlyudov, taking up an idea of the American writer Thoreau, asserts that prison is the only place fitting for an honourable man in Russia (II, 29). The novel itself is a political bombshell with its attack on the very pillars of the state - the Church, the courts, the civil servants, those in authority, including a personal attack on the all-powerful Procurator of the Holy Synod, and an open reference to the political reaction introduced by the tsar Alexander III (I, 3) after the assassination of his father. Tolstoy knew that exile to the east was almost the set reaction to such dissidence by those in power. The Siberian exile of the so-called Decembrists after 1825[2] is in Nekhlyudov’s mind as…

Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova - Biography

Lyubov Sergeyevna Popova was born April 24, 1889 near Moscow. She grew up in an enlightened merchant family with a strong interest in art, especially Italian Renaissance painting. At eleven years old she began art lessons at home and in 1907 she studied art with S. Zhukovskiy. Then in 1908 - 1909 she attended the art school of Konstantin Yuon and Ivan Dudin.

Popova traveled widely to investigate and learn from diverse styles of painting, but it was the ancient Russian Icons and 15th and 16th century Italian painters, Giotto and others which at first interested her the most.

1909 Travels to Kiev.
1910 Then to Pskov and Novgorod.
1911 Other ancient Russian cities including St. Petersburg to study icons.
1912 Works in Moscow studio known as the Tower with Ivan Aksenov, Vladimir Tatlin. Visits Sergei Shchukin's collection of modern French paintings.
1912-13 Studied art in Paris with Nadezhda Udaltsova.
1913 Meets Alexander Archipenko and Ossip Zadkine. Returns to Russia and works with Ta…

Mayakovsky’s muse on the road

Alexander Rodchenko immortalized Lilya Brik in an iconic 1924 portrait for the cover of a Soviet art magazine. She is again Rodchenko’s subject in an exhibition of photographs on display at the Multimedia Art Museum, which show a never-completed 1929 journey Brik made in a Renault that the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky sent to her from France. Brik was Mayakovsky’s muse, and the pair had a famous and passionate love affair, despite her marriage to Oleg Brik. Mayakovsky dedicated many of his most famous poems to her, such as “Lilechka! Instead of a Letter,” in which he wrote, “besides your love I have no sun.” A portrait of Brik, eyes staring intensely, is on the cover of his poem “Pro Eto” (About This). The pair were no longer a couple in 1929, but remained on good terms. Brik had written to Mayakovsky with instructions of what kind of car she wanted: a Buick or a Renault, definitely not one that looked like a taxi. She also asked for motorist’s gloves and clothes. “Her enthusiasm for the ‘Re…

A collection of poems by Soviet dissident poet published in English

The novice reader who dives into Alexander Vvedensky’s flood of words will find strange, but not un-beautiful depths: Themes float and grow like seaweed, shoals of images flash past and submerged ideas lurk in the shadows. The writer, who died on a prison train in 1941, has garnered a new English-language audience since Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova quoted Vvedensky at her trial in August 2012. The New York Review of Books published the first English-language collection of Vvedensky’s poetry in April 2013. “Invitation For Me to Think” challenges poetry lovers and politicians alike. Alexander Vvedensky was born in St Petersburg in 1904 and as a young adult became part of Leningrad’s Futurist movement. Much of his work has been lost and destroyed and what remains, mostly published posthumously, is not easy to understand. “The only thing that is positive to the end is meaninglessness,” he wrote. The hundred-odd lines of “The Meaning of the Sea,” written in 1930, begin: “to make everyt…

Helen Rappaport - Romanov's Last Days

Interview with author Helen Rappaport about her book Romanov's Last Days.

'Nothing Has Been Invented': The War Journalism of Boris Polevoy

By Don Heddesheimer
Krushinsky and I had been the first correspondents to visit Oswiecim, then still called by its German name, Auschwitz. We had flown in after our troops and seen this vast death camp virtually still in running order ... By the time Sergei Krushinsky and I reached Birkenau, all the buildings of this fake junction and the gas chambers had been blown up and only a maze of railway tracks remained. An ordinary railway time-table was jutting out of the heaps of smashed concrete: "Train departures to Vienna ... Belgrade ... Paris ... Milan ..." We met a Polish partisan in a railwayman's uniform and square cap who knew Russian. He told us about everything that had been going on here. He showed us the so-called bath house lying in ruins and gray mounds of something resembling charcoal mingled with white stony fragments. This was ash, human ash from the ovens, 'fireplaces," as they were called here. It crackled rather strangely as though it were moaning …

Nikolay Nekrasov: The Capitals Are Rocked with Thunder

THE CAPITALS are rocked with thunder
Of orators in wordy feuds.
But in the depths of Russia, yonder,
An age-old awful silence broods.
Only the wind in wayside willows,
Coming and going, does not cease;
And corn-stalks touch in curving billows
The earth that cherishes and pillows,
Through endless fields of changeless peace.

Victory Day Parade 2013: Military glory in Moscow's Red Square


Moscow takes 2nd place globally among in number of billionaires

London-based analytic agency WealthInsight has given Moscow 2nd place in its latest study of where billionaires reside globally. Russia’s capital is home to 64 billionaires (in U.S. dollars) and accounts for just under half of the country’s total (130), according to CEO magazine. Moscow was beaten by New York (70) and followed by London (54), Hong Kong (40) and Beijing (29). At the same time, when measured by the amount of multimillionaires (who own assets valued at or above $30 million), Moscow doesn’t make the top 20 cities in the world. That list is led by London (4224 multimillionaires), Tokyo (3525), Singapore (3154), New York (2929) and Rome (945). During December of last year, WealthInsight published a report which counted 160 thousand multimillionaires in Russia. Among the BRICS, the country trailed China (1.3 million), India (250 thousand), Brazil (194 thousand), but was ahead of South Africa (45 thousand).

Moscow takes 2nd place globally among in number of billionaires 

Describing Russian intellectual life in fiction

Mikhail Bulgakov wrote his tight, absurdist masterpiece, “The Heart of a Dog” in 1925, but it would not see the light of day in the Soviet Union until 1987. Thus was the beginning of Bulgakov’s long and tortuous relationship with political power.  The U.S.S.R. was not a good place, nor was it a good time, to write with a biting sense of humor. When he settled in Moscow in 1921 and quit medicine to pursue journalism and literature, Bulgakov began to explore the contradictions of socialism, the problem of housing, and the absurdities of bureaucracy.  In short, Bulgakov reflected upon the preoccupations of Muscovites and the rules that governed life in the city. The year after he arrived in Moscow, the OGPU (the secret police of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1934) started keeping a secret file on the writer. The apparent motive is trivial: Bulgakov published an article in a Berlin magazine announcing his intention to create a bibliographic dictionary of contemporary Russian authors without d…

Surveying the Surging Immensity of Life - Nikolai Gogol

One of the enduring mysteries of literary history is the appearance in 19th-century Russia, that vast and barbarous country, of the greatest writers of fiction in all of literature. Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky are supreme among the novelists of all nations, with Ivan Turgenev not far behind. Then there is Anton Chekhov, master of the short story, and Ivan Goncharov, author of "Oblomov" and "A Common Story." Among the Russians, the purest artist is Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), author of the play "The Inspector General," some unforgettable stories, and a single novel, "Dead Souls," which, even though unfinished, is nonetheless a masterpiece. Gogol is the comic genius among Russian writers, always playful but never shallow. He had a magnificent eye for the bizarre, for the madcap, above all for what was extraordinary in the ordinary. In his story "The Nose," he wrote about a barber who wakes one morning to discover a nose stuffed into…

Nijinsky (Book by Lucy Moore)

Vaslav Nijinsky was almost immobile at the last moment of his real life. Only his expressive hands moved, turning magazine pages as he waited outside the office of a pioneer psychiatrist at a Zurich asylum. After a consultation the doctor privately announced to Nijinsky's wife, the incorrigible Romola de Pulszky, that her husband was incurably mad. Nijinsky already knew his condition; he had kept an inventory of his own disintegration in a journal. As De Pulszky came out of the office, he said – if she is to be believed, which she usually isn't – "You are bringing me my death sentence." Which she was – there followed 31 years of schizophrenia with rare lucid episodes. He was never himself again.

Fini. Just like that. Page 213, within days of Nijinsky's 30th birthday in 1919, and thebiography is almost all over but for a coda on a fading legend. Half his short life had been in training, first as the infant-phenomenon son of dancers scrabbling around the Russian pro…

Olga Berggolts: My Home

In the home where I lived many years,
From where I left the winter of the blockade,
A light once again appears in the evening windows.
It is pinkish, festive, elegant. 

Glancing at the three windows that used to be mine,
I remember: the war happened here.
Oh how we darkened, without a ray of hope...
And everything darkened, everything darkened in this world...

Afterwards the owner did not knock on the door,
As though he had forgotten the way back to his own apartment.
Where is he now, absent-mindedly roaming?
What is the last place that gave him shelter? 

No, I do not know who lives there now,
In these rooms where you and I used to live,
Who, in the evenings, knocks on that very door,
Who left the blue wallpaper as it was,
The very same wallpaper that was chosen so long ago...
I recognized it from outside through the window.

The windows’ inviting comfort,
Awaken memories of such bright, forgotten light,
That I believe that kind people live there,
Good, welcoming people.

There are even little children there…

Varya Panina - Biography

Varvara Vasilievna Panina (Vasilieva) was born in 1872 in Moscow into a family of a petty trader, a gypsy by birth. As a 14-year old girl she was put to the Moscow “Strelna” restaurant’s choir, conducted by the Gypsy woman singer Aleksandra Ivanovna Panina. After marrying Panina’s nephew, who was a chorister, she started to perform in the restaurant “Yar” with her own gypsy choir. In “Yar” Varya Panina soon gained fame with her solo singing, and her glory spread around Moscow at once. In spite of profitable offers from impresarios for a long time she refused to leave “Yar”. In 1902 the impresario Semyonov induced her to perform in a solo concert in the Petersburg Nobility Assembly Hall (nowadays Big Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic). The concert was a triumphant success, launching the singer’s breathtaking career. Varya Panina finally parted with “Yar” and started to tour around various Russian cities as a soloist performer of the gypsy romance. The concert activity was getting more…