The Land of Make Believe: Federalism in Russia

“Let’s meet at the cafe on the right,” read the note in my hand. “It’s the one where they don’t sell cigarettes.” I stood on the corner of Rue La Bruyère and Rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle in the Saint-Georges district of Paris. The byzantine domes of Sacré Coeur could be glimpsed at a distance, their impressive alabaster gently piercing the ultramarine sky,… Continue Reading ➤

Pizza and marinières: Galerie Vivienne welcomes Giesbert’s Da Roco

Across the street from the historic Richelieu site of what is now the National Library of France stands an entrance to Galerie Vivienne, one of the famed covered passages of Paris. The shopping arcade was built in 1823 as Galerie Marchoux (inaugurated in 1826 and renamed Vivienne shortly thereafter) in a neoclassical Pompeian style according… Continue Reading ➤

The significance of the Russian Soul in understanding contemporary geopolitics

Photo: Ilia Schelkanov

‘Who would grasp Russia with the mind?  For her no yardstick was created:  Her soul is of a special kind,  By faith alone appreciated.’   – Fyodor Tyutchev (trans. by John Dewey) “Wanted: Russian-speaking spies to help MI5 keep tabs on Vladimir Putin,” read a February Telegraph headline. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ had set a six week-deadline to… Continue Reading ➤

Beauty and militancy: on post-Soviet feminism

Photo: Ghenady

“Visitors to Russia are always surprised to see that Russian women look like they are going to an Oscar night gala dinner even if they are just going to the grocery store or to throw away garbage,” begins Chapter 7 of Russia Survival Guide, an alternative guidebook, which undertakes to provide foreigners with a privileged… Continue Reading ➤