On being a Snob

Meanwhile, an offer to post a piece on Snob has arrived, and was gladly accepted — because a text has been in the making all this time, while I processed the postdoc year spent in Russia. That processing is still not over (will it ever be quite over?), but some contemplations did take shape.

In Russian.

Russian Sketch 2

Bus number 7 was taking its time. I stood on a bus stop on Shkiperskii Protok, watching the sky for signs of rain, on my way to the Hermitage for a BBC World Service recording. An elderly lady in a purple beret stood nearby, counting change in her hand.

Kharkiv Writers about the Maidan

This autumn I deliberately avoided adding any posts about the Maidan to this blog. There is a lot of information out there already, overwhelming in both amount and scope. But the existing online sources, I noticed after a while, tend to be Kiev-oriented, for obvious reasons. So I asked the writers of Kharkiv if there’s anything…

Beyond Regime: Soviet Cartoons

Those of us whose childhoods coincided (partially or fully) with Soviet times were shaped to various degrees by the little masterpieces that served as the country’s children’s cartoons. These remarkable animations, it seems to me, absorbed much of the kindness and thoughtfulness of the people who lived in those times.

In memory of Yanka

Last month, the municipal authorities of the city of Novosibirsk refused to grant permission for a memorial plaque to Yana (Yanka) Dyagileva.

Yanka (Russian: Янка) was one of the best-known representatives of the Siberian underground rock scene. She was born in 1966 and drowned in a river in 1991, a few months before her 25th birthday.

Corporations vs the Disabled in Ukraine

On 17 January 2013, Ukraine’s largest mobile carrier, Kyivstar, announced its inclusion in the National Register of Records of Ukraine, the country’s new purported analogue of the Guinness World Records. Its achievement, the business giant claims, consists of the highest number of calls (just under 273 million) supported by the network in a single day…

Ukraine: an Interview

The sea of information boiling online about Ukraine these days can be, admittedly, confusing. In this context, I’d like to share one of the best interviews on the country I’ve seen to date. Though it’s about a year old at this point, I find it very applicable to today’s upheavals.