A war of words: Nobel Prize winners for Russian Literature

Ivan Bunin in 1933 “for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”. It was the first time a Nobel Prize had been awarded to someone in exile, in essence honouring the value of literature as a median distinct from politics. Bunin, like may other Russians at… Continue reading

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A small dictionary of going to the barbers in St Petersburg

For a gentleman, straying away from your regular barber can be a pretty harrowing experience. It feels like cheating on your life-long companion. There’s also always that worry about trying something new with somebody else. Will they know what you like? Will they be experienced? When I left England to come to Russia I had no choice… Continue reading

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How culture saved Leningrad during the Siege

The blockade was both unique in the scale of suffering and resilience exhibited. We can never imagine what it would have taken to survive 900 days (including 3 Russian winters), on rations lower than those in the Nazi concentration camps of the same period. So how did the jewel of Imperial Russia survive the siege?… Continue reading

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