Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report Russia

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." This is one of the most famous opening lines in all of literature - the beginning of Tolstoy Lev Nikolaevich's novel Anna Karenina. Tolstoy's novels Anna Karenina and War and Peace are just a few examples of the rich history and tradition of Russian literature. The main poet of Russia is Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich. There is even a Russian proverb "Pushkin means all for us." Other Russian writers include Gogol Nikolay Vasilevich (Dead Souls and The Government Inspector), Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich (Fathers and Sons), Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhaylovich (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov), Chekhov Anton Pavlovich (Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya) Gorky Maxim (My Childhood, Mother), Bulgakov Mikhail Afanasevich (The Master and Margarita), Ahmatova Anna Andreevna (Selected Poems of Anna Akhmatova), Pasternak Boris Leonidovich (Doctor Zhivago), Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich (Lolita), and Pelevin Victor Olegovich (The Clay Machine-Gun).

Some non-fiction books about Russia include A History of Russia by Nicholas Riasanovsky, A History of the Soviet Union by Geoffrey Hosking, Lenin's Tomb by David Remnick, and Ten Days that Shook the World by American journalist John Reed.

A very popular subject is the last Czar and his family. There have been many books on the subject including Nicholas and Alexandra and The Romanovs by Robert Massie and The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II by Edvard Radzinskii. Movies include Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) and Anastasia (1956). (Yes, I am ignoring the 1997 cartoon).

Movies that have been filmed in Russia include Anna Karenina (1997), The Bourne Supremacy, GoldenEye, K-19 The Widowmaker, The Russia House, and The Sum of All Fears. Three well-known "Russian" movies - Doctor Zhivago, Reds, and Gorky Park - were not filmed in Russia.