Workers of the world, be entertained!

Monday 13 February, 2012

TeaserPicThis year's Berlinale Retrospective "The Red Dream Factory" rediscovers the legendary German-Russian Mezhrabpom-Film (1922-1936). It tells of incredible film successes, ideological misunderstandings and astonishing blindness. By Oksana Bulgakova
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Road tripping across the ideological divide

Wednesday 1 February, 2012

TeaserPicThe USA and the USSR should not simply be thought of as arch enemies of the Cold War. Beyond ideology, the two nations were deeply interested in one another. Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov were thrilled by the American Way of Life in 1935/6, John Steinbeck and Robert Capa praised the sheer vitality of the Russian people in 1947. Historian Karl Schlögel reviews a perfect pair of travel journals. Photo by Ilf and Petrov.
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Friendship in the time of terror

Monday 9 January 2012

Nadezhda Mandelstam's personal memories of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, her intimate friend, offer a unique and moving testimony to friendship and resistance over decades of persecution. Published only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the text is still unavailable in English but has recently been translated into German. A unique historical document, celebrating an intellectual icon in an age of horror. Portrait of Akhmatova by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin.
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Suddenly we know we are many

Wednesday 4th January, 2012

Why the Russian youth have tolerated the political situation in their country for so long and why they are no longer tolerant. The poet Natalia Klyuchareva explains the background to the protests on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on December 10th. Image: Leonid Faerberg
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In the vortex of congealed time

Monday 12 September, 2011

No other European city suffered more in World War II than Leningrad under siege, when over a million people lost their lives. Russian literature delivers a rich testimony of the events which have been all but forgotten by the West. Only a few works, though, also do the disaster aesthetic justice. By Oleg Yuriev
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Head versus hand

Monday 27 June, 2011

TeaserPicThis year's German International Literature Award goes to "Venushaar", a Russian novel that starts out as a dialogue between an asylum seeker and an immigration officer, and opens into a vast choir of voices. A conversation with its author Mikhail Shishkin, a literary giant in his own country, and his German translator Andreas Tretner. By Ekkehard Knörer. (Image: Mikhail Shishkin © Yvonne Böhler)
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What, yet another neglected genius?

Tuesday 27 July, 2010

This year's theatre festival in Bregrenz hosted the world premiere of Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Auschwitz opera "The Passenger" from 1968. His biographer David Fanning introduces the life and music of this incredibly prolific composer, whose work somehow failed to emerge from the shadows of the Iron Curtain.
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The Russians must reflect on the evildoings

Thursday 29 April, 2010

The historically strained relations between Russia and Poland seem to be improving at long last, thanks to the considerable show of Russian sympathy at the funeral of the Polish president Lech Kaczynski. It remains to be seen whether these positive developments will continue beyond a short-lived expression of mourning. An interview with Arseni Roginski, the president of the Russian human rights organisation "Memorial", by Ulrich M. Schmid.
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On the wrong side of the coin

Thursday 9 September, 2009

Oleg Yuriev takes a black tomcat to the crossroads on Christmas Eve to gain new perspectives on the mysterious nature of money and why it always vanishes.
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The black marketeers of Bahnhof Zoo

Tuesday 24 March 2009

TeaserPicThe idea that 1989 came out of thin air speaks volumes about historical insensitivities and limited horizons. The fall of the Berlin Wall was preceded by years of erosion and attrition. Historian Karl Schlögel looks at the molecular movements on the margins of history that are much more powerful than any deeds of "great men".
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In Moscow traffic with Walter Benjamin

Monday 11 November, 2008

Dragan Klaic was in Moscow to run a theatre workshop. He was overwhelmed by the sense of impending financial disaster and nearly missed his plane home.
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In the burning house

Monday 21 July, 2008

The dead body of Russian artist Anna Alchuk was pulled out of the river Spree in April this year. She and her husband, philosopher Michail Ryklin, had moved to Berlin in November 2007 after life in Russia became intolerable as a direct consequence of Alchuk's participation in the exhibition "Caution: Religion!". Michail Ryklin looks to his wife's tormented diary entries to help him approximate the causes of her death.
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Treasure in the mountains

Monday 3 December, 2007

The novel is blooming in the Urals, where the children of the former technology elite are letting their imaginations run riot. By Sonja Margolina

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"Why don't you write what I see?"

Thursday 30 August, 2007

Russian journalist and Putin critic Grigori Pasko talks with Tobias Goltz about the North Stream Pipeline, Russia's state-controlled media and how his like-minded colleagues are dropping off like flies.
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Meteorologists versus shamans

Wednesday 27 June, 2007

Continuing the NZZ's series of first-hand accounts of climate change by international writers, Siberian-born Juri Rytcheu pokes fun at polar meteorologists and admits he wouldn't mind it getting a bit warmer.
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