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SOLD OUT: What the Heck is Happening in Russia?: A Talk by Michele A. Berdy, Culture editor of The Moscow Times


Russia is in the news every day, and it’s almost always all bad, from military incursions and hybrid wars beyond the borders to arrests, corruption, and human rights violations inside the country. But then visitors to Russia come back with tales of beautiful, clean cities; friendly people; great food and drink; smiling cops; magnificent architecture –not to mention malls, sushi bars, pizza and fast, cheap taxis.

So which is it?

Michele A. Berdy, who has lived in Russia for the better part of the last 40 years, will help sort it out. Culture editor of The Moscow Times and a former television long-form journalist and producer, she will begin with press coverage: how foreign correspondents work, what their editors want, what the market wants (how to recognize click-bait); how to understand what they write and put it into perspective; and where to find a broader range of articles and subjects.

And then she’ll discuss the many different worlds that make up Russia today: non-governmental organizations, inclusive education and barrier-free cities projects, private large-scale agriculture, malls, healthy fast-food, local crackdowns on press and internet freedom, experimental theater, small-town tourism, good and bad medical care, the new generation of museum curators, private and public schools, local food, book fairs, army conscripts.... There will plenty of time for questions and answers.

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Michele A. Berdy has lived and worked in Moscow for 40 years. After graduating magna cum laude from Amherst College, she did post-graduate work at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow and then worked as a translator and editor at a Soviet publishing house (1979 to 1982). In addition to working as a simultaneous and consecutive interpreter, she has translated several books; hundreds of articles, short stories, and screenplays; and sub-titled over 50 feature and documentary films.  She has taught classes and given lectures at Russian universities, and conducted master classes and workshops on various aspects of translation and intercultural communication in Russia and abroad.

Following a decade-long career producing innovative public affairs programming for American and Russian television, she managed and consulted on communications programs in Russia and the region, specializing in health and public service promotion.

For 16 years Ms Berdy has been writing a popular weekly column on language and translation for The Moscow Times as well as book reviews and feature stories about Moscow and Russian culture.  Her articles on culture, current events and various aspects of intercultural communication appear in the Russian and English-language press.  She was the lead or sole writer of four guidebooks about Moscow, St Petersburg and Russia, and for over a year wrote a weekly walking route around Moscow. She is co-author of a Russian-English dictionary. A collection of the first five years of columns, The Russian Word’s Worth, was published by Glas in 2010. Since 2015 she has been Culture Editor of The Moscow Times.