The 1920 'Mass Spectacle' which blurred the lines of the October Revolution

Dr Peter Lowe investigates a staging of the storming of the Winter Palace, and the way it was used by the Soviet state to alter history.

The recent exhibition ‘History Was Made Here’ at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg (the documentary film of which will be screened at Pushkin House on 28th November) showcased the museum’s unique place in the story of the Russian Revolution. As the home of the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks saw the Winter Palace as a symbol not only of the Tsarist order discarded at the start of 1917, but also of the ineffective administration that held power in its place. When Red Guards forced their way into the Palace on the evening of 25th October (7th November in the revised calendar) and arrested the ministers they found inside, they delivered the final blow to a regime that was no longer in control of the events unfolding around it…

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Pushkin House Team
World Homeless Day: 'This is Not a Hat', applied theatre, and homelessness in Russia

Natalia Jafar-Biglou describes her work creating an interactive drama performance with marginalised women in Russia

For the past six months I have been running an applied theatre project, working with women experiencing homelessness in Russia.

Broadly speaking, applied theatre is the use of theatre and performance for social change, often as a response to social or political challenges. It involves using theatre techniques with people who don’t consider themselves to be artists, creating work outside of traditional theatre spaces in order to discuss, educate or heal. All participants are involved as active theatre makers in the process and the aims of the project are dictated by what the community thinks they need…

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Pushkin House Team
Back in the USSR: Recollections and pictures of six weeks in the Soviet Union, fifty years on

Jeremy Poynton describes his school trip across Russia, Georgia and Ukraine at the peak of Soviet power.

I have always felt very fortunate that I had the opportunity to visit the USSR. This happened as the school I was at, The Leys School in Cambridge, was one of only a few to have a Russian teacher; Mr. Armstrong was so fluent in Russian that he twice turned down offers from the UN to work for them as an interpreter. Happily he remained a language teacher – his vocation…

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Pushkin House Team
Interview with Thomas Campbell, translator of Pushkin Prize 2018 shortlisted book 'Other Russias'

Interview by Andrew Jack (@AJack)

How did you become a translator?

I read a lot of literature at college, where I studied ancient Greek, which was the first language I translated. I started studying Russian literature during perestroika. Recently, I’ve been translating Finnish contemporary poetry—for fun, as it were, for the time being—in addition to working full time as a professional translator from Russian to English. It doesn’t matter what the language is, you should have a good amount of in-country experience and lots of varied reading under your belt to be able to get your bearings in a new text, to know what is what. My adviser at the University of Washington (Seattle) used to lead annual summer hikes in Olympic National Park. We’d be walking in the forest, he’d point to a plant, rattle off the name in every language he knew and say, ‘Translators have to know everything, and since that’s not possible, you have to know when you don’t know something, know that you need help, and find someone who knows and can help you’…

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Interview with Victoria Lomasko, author of Pushkin Prize 2018 shortlisted book 'Other Russias'

Interview by Andrew Jack (@AJack)

Tell us about your background: why did you become a graphic artist?

I never made such a decision consciously.  It just happened to be this way.  One day I started doing graphic reportage (I prefer this term).  There wasn’t a discussion in my family about me becoming an artist – my artist father had decided on that even before I was born.  I was never though attracted to easel painting – if I needed to draw, I would rather draw in the graphic design format.  I wanted to become a book illustrator when I was a teenage girl.  I graduated from Moscow State Print University as a “book artist”.  After that I spent several years as a commercial magazine illustrator, also trying to do something in the sphere of contemporary art.  I felt happy, everything fell into place, only when graphic text appeared in my work.  With each work text acquires a more and more important role – it is not just some commentary to drawings, as it used to be the case in the beginning, but the drawings themselves become illustrations to the text…

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