Site Resources

Welcome to Site Resources!

(If you came for the General Board, its latest iteration is here.)

Biases and Limitations; Position

  • I am a student working from an incomplete knowledge base.
  • I am not culturally or ethnically Russian, and have spent only 6 weeks in-country. (I do speak Russian, however.)
  • I am not affiliated with any political party or movement.
  • I do not subscribe to Critical Theory.
  • I am biased for books and academic papers and against opinion articles.
  • I am biased in favor of logic-based arguments and empirical evidence against emotional appeals.
  • I have no time for the idea that Russia somehow defies logic.
  • I refer to the USSR’s 73-year existence not as a historical “mistake” of oppressive tyranny but as a distinct cultural/social/political entity.
  • I do not believe that mass media in either the U.S. or Russia can be counted on to provide balanced coverage of Russia.
  • While I do not hold a positive view of the Putin administration, I am in no rush to demonize it.
  • I believe that my country’s interests are not well served by confrontation with Russia, and that it is good when nation-states have stable, non-bellicose relations with one another.

Comments Policy

  1. Comments in English or Russian only.
  2. Staying on-topic is of course preferred, but also feel free to branch out.
  3. Outbound links should be relevant to the comment topic. Comments deemed to be spam will be deleted.
  4. No ad hominem attacks on the blog owner or other commenters. Personal attack comments will be deleted.

Anyone who fails to adhere to this already relaxed comments policy will be banned from commenting. So far, this has happened precisely zero times. Don’t become the first.

Note: If you write a comment with more than 6 links and it doesn’t appear with the rest, it’s not you, it’s Akis(me)t. Your comment likely got caught in the spam filter and will have to be approved manually.

Other Useful Information

On quoting Russia Reviewed content

  1. Attribute the content to the Russia Reviewed blog or “J.T. at Russia Reviewed.”
  2. Include a hyperlink.
  3. Do not misrepresent me or what I said in my original post.


Note: The only social media platforms I use are WordPress and Twitter (@theredshelf). If you see my content on any other site, I didn’t put it there. If you see anyone claiming to be me on another site, I’d love to know. Drop me a line on the About page.

On translating Russia Reviewed content

Excerpts of my reviews have turned up on Russian forums a couple times in the past. I’m cool with translating RR content into any language, so long as you follow the rules above. And a request for permission is always nice.

On sponsors and partners

Russia Reviewed is run purely on the private initiative of one woman with a computer. It has no formal sponsors or partners. I receive no monetary compensation for maintaining this blog.

On featured images

Most come from Pexels, with their authors credited at the foot of the post. Book covers are book covers. Crappy MS paint drawings are mine.

Blog Glossary

  • DNF – Did Not Finish. A book that I quit, for one reason or another.
  • DTF – Direct to Film. A book (usually genre fiction) that seems to have been written with the intention of being optioned for screen adaptation. May read like a weak movie script, with choppy writing, bland or underdeveloped characters, and melodrama/gratuitous action.
  • Fyodor the Plowhorse – A reference to my review of Overkill. Used to mock phony backstories invented for real-life figures.
  • HOSF – Head-of-State Fiction. Any novel concerning a real or imagined politician/world leader and their relationship with power. Thematically varied; usually taps into the historical fiction, satire, Literary, or biographical genres.
  • Kremlin Crow Companions – A reference to my review of Revenge of the Kremlin (RotK). Mocks the over-the-top evilness with which some novelists portray the Russian government. In RotK, during the same scene in which Putin delineates secret plans to go Back to the USSR™ and murder the oligarch Boris Berezovsky, crows are described as flying around the Kremlin. I found this lack of subtlety amusing. You may also see “Putin’s Wicked Wolfhound” used – a reference to the companion animal Putin had in another terrible spy thriller, Patriot.
  • Lighter, stick and bag of marshmellows – A reference to my review of Fardwor, Russia! What the J.T. persona does to books so bad they can’t be given away. (PLEASE NOTE: I do not actually burn books, nor do I condone burning books.)
  • MOTS – More of the same.
  • OSRLI – Obligatory Sexy Russian Love Interest. A staple of cliched spy thrillers is the sexy Russian femme fatale. She will inevitably screw the dashing lead and defect to the West at the end of the story. Or be deemed a threat and terminated. Usually can’t be mentioned in-text without bringing up how gorgeous she is. Every. Single. Paragraph.
  • PAYOR – Proceed at your own risk.
  • RFTH – Ripped From the Headlines. Ripped From the Headlines. A thriller which bases its plot on a real-life event – or at least something reported on by the media. For example, after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, a spate of novels have appeared in which characters must thwart Russian plans to invade the former Soviet states.
  • tl;dr – Too Long; Don’t Read. Sometimes supplanted by tt;dr (too trite; don’t read).