Tolstoy Lives and Dies~Again

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With 2010 being the centenary of Leo Tolstoy’s death, there have been many events in his honor. The greatest was the award winning film “The Last Station” with Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer.  And now a new book is out. “Leo Tolstoy: Escape … [Read more...]

Bless the Babushkas!

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There are the babushkas, bless their hearts. The babushka, or grandmother, has a special role in Russian history and life. They are the social conscience, and humorously, the collective mouthpiece of Russia. They have an opinion about … [Read more...]

“Russian music, like Russian literature, is always excited about something.”

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When asked by a Westerner why I came to Russia, I give an MBA sort of answer, all about opportunity and growth, with statistics, etc., and of course that is right. When I am asked by a Russian why I came to Russia, I generally answer, “I like the … [Read more...]

Learning by Giving

  I learn so much when I give a talk to groups about my books and my writing. The story I tell depends much on who it is told to. The audience determines my message, although sometimes there is still a surprise in there for me. Recently, my talks … [Read more...]

All About Tolstoy!

  Whew! I now know so much more about Leo Tolstoy. Aside from his great novels, “Anna Karenina” and “War and Peace,” I have read some of his short stories and his “Confessions” and through that have grown to know more about this writer. Now I know … [Read more...]

The Politics of Russian Business

One thing you have to understand is that Russia is a politi­cal country. You can't do things alone.  Never mind about the Kremlin. That is another ocean you probably won’t have to challenge. But, even at the daily business level, it can be like … [Read more...]

St. Petersburg is a City of Cats

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St. Petersburg is a city of cats. From the streets at night, you can see their shining eyes, peering through the arches from the inner decay of “Dostoevsky’s St. Petersburg,” the faceless blocks of communal flats behind the Italianate buildings on … [Read more...]

“Poor Russia” Platonov says. Chekhov is relevant today.

  When I lived in Moscow, I heard a talk on the play "The Mechanical Piano" by Oleg Tabakov based on a drama by Chekhov, written by that great Russian author at eighteen. It was apparently Chekhov’s first play, overly long, full of everything he ever … [Read more...]

The “Russian Soul” and Russian Business—a connection?

 I was asked by the respected Russia Profile magazine to consider if there is a connection between the legendary “Russian soul” and the chaotic world of Russian business today. My answer was absolutely yes! My resulting article, “The Piety of Soil … [Read more...]