What About Tomorrow? An Oral History of Russian Punk from the Soviet Era to Pussy Riot



Punk arrived in Soviet Russia in 1978, spreading slowly at first through black market vinyl records and soon exploding into state-controlled performance halls, where authorities found the raucous youth movement easier to control. In fits and starts, the scene grew and flourished, always a step ahead of secret police and neo-Nazis, through glastnost, perestroika, and the end of the Cold War. Despite a few albums smuggled out of the country and released in Europe and the US, most Westerners had never heard of Russia’s punk movement until Pussy Riot burst onto the international stage. My book, a history of Russian punk rock from the Soviet era to Pussy Riot, is technically an oral history — but it also includes several chapters written in journalistic style, expressing my personal opinion about things like punk in the provinces and Pussy Riot’s place in the scene.

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“Let’s Look in the Mirror”: Egor Zhukov’s Courtroom Statement

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Today, “All the Russias” is reposting a court statement by Egor Zhukov, a 21-year-old student at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and a libertarian YouTube personality, originally published on “Meduza.” Zhukov stands accused of issuing public calls for extremism and has been subject to legal action since August 2019. He faces four years in a prison colony and will be sentenced on Friday, December 6.

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Culinary Detente: Pepsi in the USSR



As the New York Times reported in 1976, Russia-based Pepsi plants were on track to produce 216 million bottles of Pepsi per year as of 1978. While not everyone in the USSR was able to, or wanted to, drink it, the penetration of the market and the popularity among Russians at the time suggests that Soviets were far more open to Western goods than their leaders may have supposed — or wanted to exploit.

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You Want Romanovs With That?



There has long been a reluctance to accept that the Bolsheviks could, in fact, wipe out the entire imperial family and for the next seventy-five years not feel bad about it. But the lasting conviction that Grand Duchess Anastasia survived has now expanded to include other members of the dynasty.

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Event Announcement: Everyday and the Experience of War in Late Modernity



All the Russias is pleased to announce an event held this Friday, November 15, in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (721 Broadway, 7th Floor) at 6 PM. Part of an international research project spanning two years (2017-2019), “Everyday and the Experience of War in Late Modernity” will analyze visual representations —films and video art — pertaining to the experience of war in Eastern Europe.

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Putin’s Y2024 Problem



There is no doubt that Putin has a succession plan – but he has not yet revealed what it is. During his June 2018 call-in program, Putin said in response to a question about his succession “of course I think about it all the time,” remarking that “we have a new generation of young leaders who can take responsibility for running Russia.” When asked about his successor in a June 2019 interview with the “Financial Times,” he said, “I have always been thinking about this, since 2000,” but did not provide any more details.

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The Khachaturyan Sisters and Russia’s History of Fighting Terror at Home



The case of the Khachaturyan sisters reads like one of Liudmila Petrushevskaya’s darkest tales. On August 2, 2018, Maria (age 17), Angelina (18), and Krestina (19) were arrested on charges of having murdered their father Mikhail. He had subjected them to years of severe physical and sexual abuse, including beating them with the butt of a pistol, cutting them with knives, and attacking them with pepper spray. His body was found in the stairwell of their Moscow apartment building with 36 stab wounds around the chest and neck and pepper spray in his eyes. The sisters confessed but said their lives had been at risk. They are currently awaiting trial.

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Moscow and the Harlem Renaissance: The LIT Podcast

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The LIT podcast, created within the framework of Jennifer Wilson’s seminar “The Harlem Renaissance: From New York to Tashkent,” is a space to discuss specific pieces of literature in relation to current events and trends. The first three episodes focus on the intersection between Russian literature and contemporary topics, connecting American popular culture to the works of notable Russians.

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Harlem, Moscow and the Digital International: Spotlight on Student Work



Some years ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a course on the Harlem Renaissance in Moscow. The class, “The Harlem Renaissance: From New York to Tashkent,” followed the travels of prominent black artists and intellectuals of the 1920s and 30s (Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Dorothy West) throughout the Soviet Union. For those interested in learning more about that course, I blogged about the experience for this website in a four-part series titled “Teaching Race in Russia.”

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Are Russians Rejecting Authoritarianism?



In 1995, the film heroes Russians thought would make good presidential candidates were Marshal Zhukov and the Soviet agent Shtirlits. In 2019, the list is topped by Ekaterina, the single mother and self-made factory administrator in “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” and Professor Preobrazhenskii from “Heart of a Dog.” This is just one of the fascinating data points in the most recent report by the same analysts who predicted Russia’s election protests in 2011.

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Bitter Taste: How Gorky Saved Pushkin’s Honor by Closing His Café, Part III



Immediately after Gorky’s death, rumors began to spread that he had been poisoned by chocolate candies sent to him from the Kremlin. Whether this is true or not, nobody knows. One thing is certain, however: even had he been poisoned, the efforts of this great warrior against vulgarity would have ensured that the chocolate was at least free of Pushkin’s name. To be fair, however, the box of assorted desserts produced by the Bolshevik Baked Goods Factory in 1936 still included a biscuit called “Pushkin.”

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