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The Russian became a fictional language in the early 1700s, when Peter the Great's reform policy brought about a cultural boost for Russia. A century later, Ivan Krylov published his first fables. Somewhat later, the romantic lyricist Alexander Pushkin (Eugen Onegin) and the novelist Michail Lermontov (The Hero of Our Time) appeared, followed by the satirist and socialist Nikolaj Gogol (Dead Souls, The Auditor).

From the middle of the 19th century, Russian literature experienced a flourishing era and a number of writers became internationally famous. The Russian classics include Ivan Gontyarov (Oblomov), Ivan Turgenyev (Fathers and Sons), Fjodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment, the Karamazov Brothers), Lev Tolstoy (War and Peace, Anna Karenina). Alexander Ostrovsky (Storm) created the realistic drama. The next classic generation was the playwright and novelist.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Russia, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

Anton Chekhov (Cherry Garden) and the first proletarian author Maxim Gorkij (The Night Army, My Childhood). Modern lyricism had its breakthrough decades after the turn of the century through poets such as Vladimir Majakovsky, Osip Mandelstam, Anna Achmatova and Boris Pasternak. Prose writers after the October Revolution of 1917 (see Modern History) include Isaak Babel, Michail Bulgakov, Ivan Bunin and Michail Sjolochov. In the early 1900s, the Russian theater became a role model for foreign countries through innovative directors such as Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold.

  • Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Russia. Artists and albums are also included.

Culture of RussiaDuring the Stalin period (1929–1953), all artistic directions except the "socialist realism" were ascribed. Many significant writers and other artists were silenced. Several were arrested and died in prison camps. After Josef Stalin's death in 1953, a brief "thaw" came with the publication of socially critical novels, as well as an emerging critical and centrally critical poetry. A number of blacklisted plays, including Majakovsky and Bulgakov, were released. In the 1970s, the experimental tradition of the 1920s was passed on by Yuriy Ljubimov at the small Tagan Cathedral in Moscow.

The criticism of Stalinism culminated with Alexander Solzhenitsyn's A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962). Thereafter, the cultural climate again hardened. Instead, there was extensive illegal manuscript distribution (samizdat) within the country and smuggling of manuscripts to the West. Boris Pasternak's great novel Doctor Zhivago, who was smuggled to Italy, aroused great prominence in the West. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958 but was forced to resign. Solzhenitsyn received the 1970 Nobel Prize for smuggled novels such as The First Circuit and the Cancer Clinic. The award led to fierce controversy with the regime and in 1974 Solzhenitsyn was expelled. In the early 1970s, a large number of other cultural creators were forced or allowed to emigrate.

Under President Mikhail Gorbachev's reform policy in the late 1980s, the Soviet period began to be openly criticized and previously banned authors and works were published. In the 1990s, a young postmodernist generation of writers appeared with an outspoken and narrative technique that the Russian readers were not used to. Vladimir Sorokin's novel Blue Fat aroused excitement for both experimental style and candid sex depictions, which led to prosecution for pornography offenses. Viktor Pelevin's novels, such as Omon Ra, did not stir less resurrection. Both of these authors have retained their positions as the foremost in Russian contemporary literature. An esteemed and more traditional storyteller is Ljudmila Ulitskaja. A younger generation of writers is trying to pick up the glove after the Strugatskij brothers' science fiction depictions of the 1980s with newly written fantasy books. This includes author Dmitry Gluchovsky.

In the drama, a young generation sought new paths during the late 1990s. They broke through in the early 2000s under the name "New Russian Drama" and portrayed young people's difficulties finding their place in a society where the cohesive kit was violence in various forms. Among the most interesting playwrights are Nikolai Koljada, Vasilij Sigarev, Evgenij Grishkovets, the brothers Presnjakov, Ivan Vyrypaev and Jury Klavdiev. Mention should also be made of the new documentary theater verbatim, represented mainly by the small theater Teatr.doc in Moscow.

After the takeover of the Bolsheviks, Russian film gained a special position as a propaganda medium. The foremost innovator was Sergei Eisenstein whose 1925 film Panzar Cruiser Potemkin is regarded as an international classic. The great Soviet postwar films include the Cranes of 1957 (Michail Kalatozov) and Ballad about a 1959 soldier (Grigorij Chuchraj), who were the first to portray the reality of the small world in the shadow of war.

Among the most internationally acclaimed Russian filmmakers who began their career during the Soviet era, Andrei Tarkovsky with films such as Andrej Rubljov, Solaris, Stalker and The Victim. This includes Alexander Sokurov with the movie The Russian Ark, and Nikita Michalkov with Burned by the Sun.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, some difficult years for the Russian film industry followed, but then a series of film successes were produced. These include Alexei Balabanov's Brother and Brother 2 and Cargo 200. The latter is a nightmare account of events surrounding the body of a Russian soldier sent home from Afghanistan in a zinc chest. Great commercial success met the fantasy films Night Guardian and Day Guardian by Timur Bekmambetov. Among the "new wave" of Russian filmmakers in the 21st century are Boris Chlebnikov with the film Free Flow, Andrei Zvjagintsev with The Return, Kirill Serebrennikov with Imagining Victims and Ivan Vyrypaev with Euforiya.

Visual art has a long tradition from icon painting and folk art through realists such as Ilja Repin (died 1930) to modernism. International art development has received crucial impetus from the Russian avant-garde of the 1910s and 1920s with names such as Natalja Gontjarova, Michail Larionov, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko. In the early 1930s, modernism was banned and the partisan "socialist realism" was raised to the norm in painting as well as in all other art forms, that is, art would be realistic in form but future-oriented socialist in content.

With the thawing weather under Nikita Khrushchev, the young artists sought new ways and their experimentation first found expression in abstract expressionism. Following scandals and strong criticism from the Communist Party, the innovative art was forced to become underground. Under the collective term "non-conformism", Soviet underground art developed in the 1970s and 1980s a number of directions which should first be mentioned Moscow conceptualism, represented by Ilja Kabakov, Dmitry Prigov and Andrei Monastyrsky and SotsArt with Komar & Melamid, Alexander, among others Kosolapov and Leonid Sokov.

The market for Russian contemporary art exploded in the mid-2000s and a number of galleries and art centers opened in closed industrial areas. Art activist groups have won both Russian and international fame through political protest actions in artistic form.
Russian music has evolved from a rich folk and church music tradition. In folk music, balalajka and accordion were the most popular instruments. In the 18th century, St. Petersburg became Russia's musical center, where both German and Italian music gained great influence. Concert life was developed and a number of conservatories and music schools were set up. The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, which was built in 1825, has formed the hub of the Russian musical theater with grand opera and ballet sets.

Major composers during the 19th century were Nikolaj Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Alexander Skrjabin and Igor Stravinsky noticed the "modernist" music life before the revolution in 1918. Prominent composers during the Soviet era were, among others, Sergei Rachmaninov, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitry Shostakovich and Aram Chatyaturjan. Apart from Alfred Schnittke and Sofija Gubajdulina, Russian composers of later generations now belong to the much younger Vladimir Martynov.



Prolonged penalty for Chodorovsky

A court sentenced former Yukos owner Michail Chodorkovsky, who is still serving an eight-year prison sentence, for embezzlement. Chodorkovsky must therefore remain in prison until 2016. In the West, the verdict is termed political, since before he was arrested Chodorkovsky had supported the opposition.


Car bomb in North Ossetia

Five Russian soldiers are killed in a suicide attack against an army base in Dagestan. In North Ossetia, 16 people are killed by a car bomb in a market.

Medvedev dismisses Luzhkov

Medvedev dismisses Moscow's longtime mayor Yuriy Luzhkov. He has been accused of corruption and inaction during the big forest fires around Moscow during the summer. He also criticized Medvedev for letting him stop a motorway construction in a Moscow suburb.


Islamist leader killed

In Dagestan, Russian anti-terrorist forces kill Magomedali Vagabov, a radical Islamist leader who is accused of being behind the attacks on Moscow's subway.


Russian spy ring in the US is revealed

A Russian spy ring is revealed in the US. The US authorities seize ten Russians who plead guilty and flee to Vienna where they are exchanged for four Russians who have been imprisoned in Russia for spying on the West's behalf.

MRI counseling resigns

Ella Pamfilova, the president's adviser on human rights issues, resigns since the duma passed a law that gives the security service greater powers. It triggers speculation about a power struggle in the Kremlin between conservative forces and more liberal-minded groups.

Forest fires kill in Moscow

Large forest fires are raging outside Moscow, sweeping the city into smog. At least 50 people are killed.


Attacks in Stavropol

Six people are killed in an attack on a concert hall in the southern Russian city of Stavropol.

Explosion in the Caucasus

Twelve people are killed in Dagestan and two in Ingushenia in various explosions.

39 people killed in attacks in Moscow

In Moscow, 39 people were killed in two suicide attacks on the subway.

United Russia wins elections

In new local and regional elections, United Russia again wins, but with poorer results than last year. The electoral authority criticizes irregularities in the elections.


Demonstration in Kalingrad

Large protest demonstration against the Kaliningrad government.


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