Russia Archive


The Thirst to Become

The Thirst to Become – food for thought during confinement. Few people know the ‘Russian Socrates’, the Georgian philosopher Merab Mamardashvili (1930-1990). Merab was born in Gori, Georgia. He called his teaching ‘Socratic’ in the sense that it was composed of dialogues. In his life only a few books were published, his lectures (for his style of lecturing he and others called them “conversations” or “dialogues”) were taped and published after his death. One of his teachings focused on the thought that life was in the self-realization and “in fulfillment of oneself as a human being”, that is the fulfillment of the possibilities of one’s character or personality. Some of the most known phrases coined by Mamardashvili are: “consciousness is an experience of inexperiensible experiences”, “phenomenology is the accompanying feature of all the philosophy”, “loneliness is my profession” and so on. I recently came across a short video in which Mamardashvili tells about the Thirst to Become, and about the self-realization “What have I undertaken in order to be born in thought, to become a human being?” which I found particularly interesting during this long period of confinement To watch the video the Thirst to become with English sub-titles


The Gourji Red Fashion Collection

Gourji – is a new Russian brand on the luxury goods market. It is unique and has no analogues. The philosophy and style of the Gourji brand are inextricably linked with the history of Russia. The brand takes a fresh look at the Eurasian cultural and historical context in which Russia is a melting pot of hundreds of cultures. The basic idea of ​​the Gourji brand – is to identify the brightest features of the artistic heritage of the past and present it in a contemporary way. The initiator of the project Dmitri Gourji – “a man of the world”, toured dozens of countries. An intellectual and romantic, a successful businessman, a collector, a man of varied interests. His passion about the country’s history and theories of the Eurasian states, Eurasian culture has prompted the idea of creating his own brand. “No matter what was the ideology of the country,” Dmitri explained to me during our meeting, “each epoch left behind its art and literature which are a part of our history and which we should not forget. It is what I call ‘a business card of the epoch.’ What’s important,” he continued sipping his coffee, “is not to forget this history and learn from it.” The Pen ‘Above the Saviour Tower’ evokes the main tower on the eastern wall of the  Kremlin which overlooks Red Square. Build in 1491 it was once the main enrance into the Kremlin. The earrings ‘Red Stars‘ (18K white gold & 12 rubies) bring […]


Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

28.04.2020 Posted in Red Lifestyle, Red Writing No Comments

To see the previous post My Mother Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 3 March 13, 2013 On the day of your funeral a few men came to see my husband. They told him that they were the last love of your life. There were 3 or 4 of them. All were persuaded that it was true. August 24, 2013 When I went back to Moscow for the last time to empty your apartment, the first thing I saw upon entering was a stack of letters addressed to you. There were holiday greetings and announcements of events in the cinema and literary clubs to which you belonged. I left them on your dining table as if you might read them anytime soon. A few days later the phone rang. A woman called from the RTR, the 1st TV Channel. She wanted to ask you to participate in a talk show about Ludmila Gurchenko, a famous Soviet TV star. I told them you had died. They kept apologizing, saying that they did not know, how they had missed the news that you were gone. I thought it was your way of communicating with me while I was in the apartment. One of the gzhel boxes you had at home, the one which has a lid in the shape of an officer lying on a sofa, had keys in it. There were about a dozen of them. There were of all sorts of shapes and colors. Some were marked with […]


My Mother Paola Volkova -Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

To see the previous post My Mother Paola Volkova -Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 2 May 3, 2013 The first few months after your death I spent in a fog. I did not notice the people around me. I stopped wearing a watch. Time had no meaning. All I knew was when the alarm went off in the morning, I had to get up to go to work. The clock on the PC in my office informed me that it was time to go back home. At work I forced myself to note down urgent tasks to do for the day and made myself do them. Otherwise I could easily spend the entire day surrounded by a fog, a thick white smoke. I saw nothing beyond it. Back home in the evening, I bought cold chicken and readymade salads for dinner until my husband politely pointed out to me that we had been eating the same food every day for the last few weeks. May 21, 2013 I’m jealous when I see mothers with their daughters on the streets. It makes me think that I will never be able to go with you for a coffee or a movie. Help you to sit down or put your coat on. I also think how happy they must be together. June 18, 2013 When I have first realized that I could not remember your face, I was so embarrassed that I could not admit it even to myself. I could remember your […]


My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir

7.04.2020 Posted in Red Art, Red History, Red Writing No Comments

My Mother : Paola Volkova – Unpublished Mother Loss Memoir Part 1 15 March 2014 Dearest Mom, today is the first anniversary of your death. In the Orthodox religion this date has something to do with the soul finally reaching its final destination. A pivotal moment for your future. Family and friends get together to mark this moment together with the deceased. They will meet in Moscow. I decided that I would not attend. I would stay at home in Paris. I woke up early this morning to spend the whole day with you. From my window I saw the first rays of the rising sun over Sacré Coeur basilica. How to explain my decision not to come? I used the pretext of having too much work to do. The family has probably found my excuse disrespectful. But I could not face going there, to smile and talk. I could not even look at your pictures. ***** Most of all I miss that tenderly-sarcastic look in your blue eyes. It is far away. Somewhere in the skies. Sociable as you were, by now you must have met most of your friends – the poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra, film directors Andrey Tarkovski and Theodore Angelopoulos, and those you would have liked to have met while you were here – painters Giotto di Bondone, Sandro Botticelli and Kasimir Malevich – to discuss with them the indefinable mystery of great works of art. ****** Your death was unexpected. You were 82. I […]


My biography of Angelica Balabanoff is out!

22.04.2016 Posted in Red Writing 3 Comments

Dear Friends, My biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel has been published at McFarland publishers after more than 4 years of intensive work. I’m the happiest personin the world. About Angelica. Born in 1878 to a wealthy Ukrainian family, Angelica Balabanoff broke ties with her parents and left for Europe to become one of the leading female socialists of the early 20th century. Just five feet tall, plump and plain, she was rumored to be a lover of Mussolini, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin. Returning to Russia at the beginning of the October Revolution, she became one of the few women to occupy high-ranking positions within the all-male Bolshevik government, later fleeing Russia in disagreement with Lenin’s politics. She was accused by European and American secret services of promoting communist propaganda, and by the Soviets of disloyalty. She lived in small dormitory-like rooms, moving on average every two years with her two suitcases of important documents. She died in Rome at the age 96, concluding her 65-year career by supporting Giuseppe Saragat in his quest to become president of Italy. During her nomadic life, state and police agencies in the countries she visited compiled documents on her. The author draws on this extensive, scattered archive in this first biography of Balabanoff. Click here to order on Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Hope you will like the book!!!        


The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Raya Dunaevskaya-Fench

15.05.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Lifestyle No Comments

I hope you liked my first article about Louise Berger written within the series of articles about the Red Rebels. Today I would like to say a few words about Raya Dunaevskaya whose 105th birthday we celebrated two weeks ago (a real revolutionary, Raya was born on Labour day – May 1). I came across Raya Dunaevskaya while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: The Life of a Communist Rebel, due to be published by McFarland in September. Both women were good friends. Unfortunately, due to the lack of space in my book, I was unable to write about Raya. Raya Dunaevskaya was born in 1910 in a small village, Yaryshev, in the Vinnitsiya area, at the time a part of the Russia Empire, today’s Ukraine. (Regretabbly I did not find any photos of her which are copyright free and which could be published in my blog.) Raya’s fate was unusual from the start. At the aged of 12 she immigrated with her family to the U.S. where she joined the communist movement as a child,  becoming an active member in the American Communist Party youth organization. She was expelled at age 18 and thrown down a flight of stairs after suggesting to her comrades that they should find out Trotsky’s response to his expulsion from the Soviet Communist Party. A year later she joined a group of independent Trotskyists in Boston. She also advocated for birth control and legal abortion. In 1937, when she […]


The Forgotten History of Red Rebels – Louise Berger

27.03.2015 Posted in Red History, Red Lifestyle No Comments

I’m starting a new series of articles about Red Rebel personalities in history. The aim is to tell about lives of those whose names have been largely forgotten. Nonetheless they all lived unique, interesting and at times curious lives. I came across most of these personalities while writing my book, a biography of Angelica Balabanoff, due to be published by McFarland in September. During her life, Angelica met many people, who wanted to make a difference, change society and leave a mark in history. Due to the lack of space many of them are not mentioned in my book. Nevertheless their breathtaking life-stories are worth to be told. The heroine of my first article is Louise Berger. I do not know whether Angelica knew her personally but she must have heard about Louise and they certainly had a few friends in common. Louise Berger was born in Latvia, at that time a part of Russia. The exact dates of her birth and death are unknown. The official sources say that she has been born at the beginning of 1890s. But it might have been earlier. Around 1905 she moved to Western Europe and eventually to the US where she became friends with a renowned anarchist Emma Goldman. A member of the Anarchist Red Cross, Louise was one of the founders of Latvian Anarchist Group. Not much is known about her life in the US until 1914 when a self-made bomb had prematurely exploded in her apartment in New York. It […]


The best books about Russia in 2014

9.01.2015 Posted in Red Lifestyle No Comments

January 7th was The Orthodox Christmas Day in Russia! So Merry Orthodox Xmas! To start the New Year here is the list of the 2014 best books about Russia (Published by Anastasia Borik, Dec 15.2014)* In our annual review of the “must-read” books of the year about Russia, we’ve included a list of the books that help to explain the inner workings of Russia’s foreign policy and economy. 2014 was so saturated with Russia-related global political events that it could hardly have failed to heighten the appeal of writers, journalists and academics trying to making sense of Russia’s new geopolitical influence. Books on our must-read list for 2014 included several new works that analyze the “new Cold War,” trace the trajectory of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, and suggest a possible way forward for the Russian state in 2015 and beyond. 1. The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp By Marin Katusa (Wiley, November 10, 2014) This book on energy by Marin Katusa, who has devoted many years to such “problem” areas as Iraq, Kuwait, Colombia, Ukraine and Russia, is notable for several reasons. First, the emerging global changes in the oil and gas market have become particularly evident only in recent months, and Katusa’s book is one of the first full-fledged works to treat the topic in detail. Katusa’s book tells not only about the most current developments in the energy field, but draws apposite links with the recent shifts in the geopolitical landscape. Russia is seeking […]


Ruble-Triggered Inflation Spurs Russia’s Linker Bond Plan

14.11.2014 Posted in Red Politics No Comments

From the Article by By Ksenia Galouchko  Nov 12, 2014 (Bloomberg News on-line)* Russia is weighing the sale of its first inflation-linked bonds as investors shun regular debt auctions amid the fastest surge in consumer prices since 2011. Linkers would give investors a hedge against inflation that reached 8.3 percent in October, the result in part of the ruble’s 29 percent plunge this year against the dollar. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced the possible sale two days ago at a meeting in the State Duma. The government has sold about one third of the 459 billion rubles ($9.8 billion) of bonds it planned to issue this year as inflation jumped and the economy teetered on the brink of a recession amid international sanctions tied to theUkraine conflict. Selling linkers could lure buyers concerned that the value of their fixed-income assets is being eroded, while also creating a market for investors’ inflation expectations, according to Ivan Tchakarov at Citigroup Inc. “Bonds tied to inflation are fully justified given investor interest in protecting the value of their assets,” Konstantin Nemnov, the head of fixed income at TKB BNP Paribas Investment Partners inSt. Petersburg, said yesterday by e-mail. They “should be of interest,” and help “the government as it seeks new sources of funding,” he said. The Finance Ministry canceled its fifth auction in a row yesterday, citing “unfavorable market conditions,” according to a statement on its website. Ruble Slump The government will prepare the “legal basis” this year for the sale of linkers before testing the market’s appetite for […]