Russia Reviewed Monthly, December 2019

Blog news

Believe it or not, original content was posted in November! Even if it was only a concise reflection on 3 1/2 years of reviewing books as an anonymous small content creator. The one-sentence takeaway would definitely be along the lines of “Take it easy.”

There will be no end-of-year survey or New Year’s reflection this time around.

2019 has been a year of experiments. Failed ones. I have dropped the ball on many things – from Dnevnik popugaya and Summer Series to Old News Stockpile – and the declining readership of Russia Reviewed is all the feedback I need.

November in books

  • Максим и Федор by Vladimir Shinkarev.
  • Всё личное by Roman Senchin.
  • Мир как воля и преступление by Alina Vishtukhnovskaya.
  • Другой Петербург by K.K. Rotikov.

Coming up: Let’s kick off the Holiday Season with a review of Russian Conservatism by Paul Robinson. After which there are six potential books in queue to pick from, including Pavel Arseniev’s Reported Speech and Vlad Ridosh’s Proletariat, which keep getting pushed back, and a curious journalistic call-to-arms titled The Russians are Coming, Again.

Updates to “The Russia Debate” and Blog Glossary. A WordPress theme change goes into effect on Jan. 1st, 2020. Looks like this.

Language and translation

Last chance to apply to ALTA’s 2020 translation mentorship.

You have approximately seven days to hammer out a proposal and sample translation. I believe in you!

More about the Emerging Translator Mentorship program here.


An interview with Italian-English translator Lucinda Byatt about nonfiction in translation.

There’s no doubt that compared to fiction, translated nonfiction doesn’t get much of the limelight, and certainly fewer prizes. Yet translated non-fiction will never not be relevant and its benefits are even more trenchant today. English-language publishers have certainly discovered there’s a market for engaging, even challenging, non-fiction books emerging from Europe and beyond. I know I’m not alone in being more aware than ever of how important it is to bolster an open society, and one way of doing that is to offer readers books that deepen their understanding of other cultures and enable them to join in the debates that excite, or aggravate, us all.

Carol’s Adventures in Translation: Greatest Women in Translation


Lisa C. Hayden has published a complete list of 2019’s Russian to English translations. Check it out here!

New discoveries

No products or sites could be found for placement. Did you find something interesting last month? Feel free to share in the comments below.



I’m trying my damnedest to bite my tongue.

7 thoughts on “Russia Reviewed Monthly, December 2019

      1. There are two quintessential ways to look at this situation:

        1) Hype-eating outrage: “Putin (ПЖИВ ПЖИВ!) ordered his cronies in St. Pete to steal people’s money, instead of spending them on much more urgent and relevant issues. Like help in relocation and rehabilitation of the walruses languishing in the Siberian gulag for the whales and orcas!”

        2) Factual one, which tries to establish how it was in reality and, thus, finding out, that “7 mil logo” actually means “7 mils for the entire project”

        “Q: Как логотип может стоить 7 миллионов рублей?

        A: Медийная подача истории с новым логотипом в формате «Санкт-Петербург получил логотип за 7 миллионов рублей», конечно, далека от реальной ситуации. 7 миллионов рублей — не стоимость логотипа и не стоимость тех картинок, которые лежат в интернете. Это бюджет всего проекта. Агентство SPN говорит, что весь проект включает в себя в первую очередь работу над стратегией, коммуникацией и смыслами. Предположу, что они не занимались дизайном в формате графических изображений — они искали ориентиры для написания текстов, создания активностей, разработки объектов и много другого. То есть, скорее всего за 7 млн рублей Санкт-Петербург получает набор гайдлайнов, которые помогут городу понять, как он выглядит, о чём он говорит, как ведёт себя в коммуникациях со своими аудиториями. Это важный и необходимый инструмент — ведь коммуникаций очень много, их разрабатывают разные люди, сами задачи разнообразны — город может в рекламной афише говорить о мостах и дожде, а в видеоролике рассказывать про поэтов и дворцы. Важно, чтобы эти две коммуникации дополняли друг друга и складывались в единую историю, в цельный рассказ о Петербурге. Последовательность и согласованность коммуникаций — лишь одна из задач в таких проектах.”

        After all, good people from ВШЭ won’t lie, will they?

        This all doesn’t change the fact, that the logo is crap and that mockery is totally deserving. Likewise, the entire idea of the “brand” for St. Pete is dumb. That’s the modern art for you. So, if (abstract) you ought to be outraged – choose the entire premise, not the outcome.

        *) True story.


  1. From what I heard before design industry is a wacky one. there no way exist to evaluate monetary value of thing only some conventions and amount of impudence. And cost usually scales with cumulative cost of things it will be used for and amount of money customer have.
    $30k – $60K cost for big things is not unusual. so $100k can mean they paid double cost or maybe not.

    …this is where I heard it and how it looks like

    all this kind of ridiculous but do not bother me,


    1. “From what I heard before design industry is a wacky one. there no way exist to evaluate monetary value of thing only some conventions and amount of impudence. And cost usually scales with cumulative cost of things it will be used for and amount of money customer have”

      Actually, this reminds me of a great modern artist Tiszchenko 😉


  2. As an alternative to the Petersburg logo debacle, I was going to use the commentary section to ask whether information overload has any relationship (ex. facilitator) to rage-reposting behavior. I.e. people tend toward reposting content about an unsettling event rather than researching said event because they are being bombarded by so much other information at the same time and have become desensitized.


  3. GUYS. Book 11 in Ted Bell’s Alexander Hawke series has been announced…and there’s no Russia.

    December 8, 1941, Washington, D.C.
    The new Chinese ambassador to the United States, Tiger Tang, meets with President Roosevelt one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. For the next four years, China and the U.S. will be wartime allies, but the charming, sophisticated ambassador may be playing his own treacherous game.

    Today, The Bahamas
    Alex Hawke is recovering from serious injuries incurred during a battle with a malevolent enemy. His recuperation is interrupted by a desperate call from the Queen. Her favorite grandson has disappeared in the Bahamas. Lord Hawke is the only man she trusts with a mission this sensitive. All she knows is that the young prince was last seen at the exclusive Dragonfire nightclub owned by the nefarious Tang brothers, grandsons of Ambassador Tiger Tang.



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