Anna Akhmatova–Petersburg Poet

Anna Akhmatova, born Anna Andreevna Gorenko on 1889, is best known not only as a great Russian poet but as symbol of strength during Stalin’s oppressive rule.  She began to publish her works as a teenager, using the pen name “Akhmatova” in appreciation of her Tatar great-grandmother.

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Catherine The Great?

She was known as Catherine II during her reign over Russia from June 28th, 1762- November, 17th 1796. Catherine took power after a conspiracy deposed her husband, Peter III (1728–1762), and her reign saw the high point in the influence of the Russian nobility.

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Dmitrii Shostakovich: How to De-Politicize a Composer

Any foreigner flying in to St. Petersburg today will likely, on their way from the airport, come down Moskovsky prospekt, the longest and one of the busiest roads in the city today. Halfway between the remarkably small international airport and the city center whose palaces, cathedrals, and canals form a grandeur seen in few other places, the road is interrupted by a large roundabout. [Read more…]

Praskovya Sheremeteva: Individual Agency and Serfdom

Praskovya Sheremeteva was the subject of a famous portrait painted by Nikolai Argunov, the serf-turned-painter who was the first Russian artist of serf origin to be elected to the Imperial Academy of the Arts. Born a serf around 1770, she caught the eye of her owner, Count Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev, at the age of 16.

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Sergei Volkonskii and Russian Intelligentsia Tradition

Sergei Volkonskii (1788-1865) was a member of a prominent and ancient Russian noble family with extremely strong ties to the Russian Imperial family. Volkonskii was one of Tsar Alexander I’s aides-de-camps and a childhood playmate of his successor, Nicholas I. [Read more…]

Vasily Kandinsky: Anthropologist and AG Artist

Vasily Kandinsky started his rise to fame as an abstract painter with the “Jack of Diamonds” exhibition sponsored by Nikolai Riabushinsky, a vigorous patron of young brilliant artists. Kandinsky was part of the group of artists, who “declared a war on the realist tradition and shocked the public with their art” (Figes, 212).

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