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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Breaking Stalin’s Nose

December 25, 2019 / Comments Off on Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Breaking Stalin’s Nose
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Soviet Jewish Decade Top 10 Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin

My third pick for the top works in the Soviet-Jewish world this decade is Breaking Stalin’s Nose, by Eugene Yelchin. It’s one of the very few books for kids about the Soviet period, and explains the mechanisms of the Stalinist era the eyes of a 10-year-old.

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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Yiddish Glory

December 24, 2019 / Comments Off on Soviet-Jewish Decade Top 10: Yiddish Glory
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Soviet-Jewish Decade Top Picks - Yiddish Glory album

My second pick for the top Soviet-Jewish works of the past decade is Yiddish Glory: Lost Songs of World War II, which has completely changed what we thought we knew about how Soviet Jews made sense of the war. Its significance cannot be overstated.

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What we really mean when we copy Soviet constructivism from Alexander Rodchenko

October 18, 2013 / Comments Off on What we really mean when we copy Soviet constructivism from Alexander Rodchenko
Alexander Rodchenko and constructivism - famous 1925 poster

I was writing a post about how the internet is keeping the USSR alive – or at least, its “stuff,” like posters and old medals – but I got distracted by this poster, so instead you get to read about Alexander Rodchenko and constructivism. Question: Was this poster as familiar to its original, Soviet audience, as…

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Soviet Propaganda Porcelain: Inside the Imperial Porcelain Factory

July 18, 2013 / Comments Off on Soviet Propaganda Porcelain: Inside the Imperial Porcelain Factory
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Soviet Propaganda Porcelain - Lenin plate

While we were in St. Petersburg, we went on a private tour of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, and got to see some Soviet propaganda porcelain for the first time. I didn’t know such a thing even existed – I always thought propaganda was largely “limited” to media. That is, posters, movies, radio and TV. But…

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Friday Links: The no room for DIY parenting in the office of the future edition

March 15, 2013 /
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DIY Parenting

1. DIY parenting is the opposite of feminism The Atlantic takes up one of my favourite topics – the crazy effort required of DIY parenting. You know the kind, where parents (read: mothers) make their own baby food (ok, I did that, it’s called a blender and it’s closer than the grocery store), grow their…

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Friday Links: The Stalin ruins Women’s Day edition

March 8, 2013 /
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Translated Soviet Women's Day Poster from 1932

Once upon a time, I used to post Monday links. I’m bringing them back, but on Friday. Because I actually have time to think of smart posts on the weekend. Not so much on Fridays. It is a weird week when the 60th anniversary of Stalin’s death rolls around and it’s also (almost) International Women’s Day.…

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An A-Z of Russian hospitality to Jews for Shimon Peres: The outtakes

December 5, 2012 /
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Moscow Jewish Museum of Tolerance logo - Peres at Jewish Museum in Moscow

You might have heard something about Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Jewish museum in Moscow? It’s just opened and Peres was among the important so-and-so’s in attendance. At some point in the proceedings, overcome with emotions dredged up from childhood, he opened his mouth and and the following came out: “My mother sang to me in…

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A joke to die for: Old communists telling Soviet jokes

July 2, 2012 /
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Soviet jokes in Hammer & Tickle by Ben Lewis

Every time you tell a joke, a dictator gets a little weaker. If you grew up in any household of former eastern European emigres, then you’re probably familiar with the very particular form of Soviet black humour. There is no North American equivalent to the anekdot – aside from the jokes that periodically make the rounds…

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The Potemkin effect: Colour photos from Russia in the black-and-white days

February 12, 2012 / Comments Off on The Potemkin effect: Colour photos from Russia in the black-and-white days
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Old colour photos from Russia - Moscow street

There is a fantastic collection of old colour photos from Russia – Tsarist Russia, to be exact – taken between 1902 and 1912 on the Boston Globe site. Strictly speaking, they’re not colour photos – the photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) – shot each image three times, using a red, green and then blue filter. He…

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Monday Links – Russia loves Raymond, nobody loves cannibalism edition

March 28, 2011 / Comments Off on Monday Links – Russia loves Raymond, nobody loves cannibalism edition
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Exporting Raymond movie poster

This week’s links round-up starts with a snicker before getting into the heavy stuff. “And then, the Russians called…” – Global Post The creator of Everyone Loves Raymond is invited to make a Russian version of the show. Of course he makes a video about it. Of course you should watch it. Muscovite Lives, Entangled…

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