Okudzhava’s Last Trolley

After the death of Stalin in 1953, his successor Khrushchev brought a cultural thaw.  Although it did not necessarily promote freedom of expression, “the Thaw” allowed for many cultural expressions that would have been forbidden under Stalin.  One of the most common forms of expression during the Thaw was the more realistic representation of life.  […]

Read more

Women Defend the Motherland

The Second World War, or as it’s known in Russia, the Great Patriotic War, was a deeply emotional and heart wrenching experience for the Soviet people.  The great losses that the Soviet Union faced, on the front lines with the Germans, ingrained this experience into the citizenry and the cultural memory of the war continues […]

Read more

1930s Girl Gang– with Tractors?

When I think of the Soviet Union, I don’t often think of all-female tractor brigades.  However, in 1935, Pasha Angelina became a famous figure in her creation of a successful tractor brigade.  She was a peasant from the Donetsk Oblast, and her success in this brigade made Angelina a permanent character in Soviet culture.  She […]

Read more

Wandering through Russia

  The beauty of nature has changed in value and importance throughout history.  While many of us in southwest Virginia appreciate the mountains and landscape around us, in late 19th century Russia, nature was not seen as important enough to be considered “beautiful” and the focus of something as elevated as art.  However, this changed […]

Read more