Glossary of the Russian World 🇬🇧🇺🇦  

Language is the primary means of transmitting information from one person to another. It is so natural and universal that without language, we cannot even describe what language is. But its universal nature and our tendency to rely on it unconditionally also mean that language can be manipulated.

Stumbling Lavra: Moscow Patriarchate vs. Ukraine 🇬🇧🇺🇦

The most resonant news in Ukraine in the winter of 2023 was undoubtedly the vicissitudes surrounding the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). Its churches were searched by the Security Service of Ukraine, its bishops and priests were threatened with prison, the police prevented parishioners from holding services in churches, and church leaders and monks were evicted from Ukraine’s main monastery, the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

Sports out of politics 🇬🇧🇺🇦

The image of a country in the international arena is shaped by its economic potential, cultural richness, and political reputation. One of the markers of success is hosting major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games or the World Cup. In addition to attracting investment and developing infrastructure and tourism, organizing international events helps to improve the host country’s political reputation.

The Two Russias: a Variety Turn at the Mariupol Drama Theatre 🇬🇧🇺🇦

In 2022, the Russian army wiped the Ukrainian city of Mariupol off the face of the earth. They indiscriminately destroyed residential quarters, industrial enterprises, and even a drama theatre. An aerial view of the theatre, with the word CHILDREN written in front of the building in huge block letters, circulated in U.S. and French media. That warning, though, didn’t stop the pilot from activating the launch button and bombing the theatre. He was just following orders, right?

“Friendly Foes”: Art as a Soft Power of Russian/Soviet Colonialism 🇬🇧🇺🇦

If asked to name colonialism’s dominant trait, I’d say it is unification. An empire is a patchwork, with each piece having its distinct cultural, political, and administrative features and mindset. A colonial repressive mechanism promotes the illusion of a homogeneous space where everything is common: the language, the cultural norms, the traditions. Every feature, once forced upon a given group of people, must be taken by that group as something primordial and familiar.

Kyiv as a Function: Ukraine’s Capital in the Photographic Narratives of the Russian Empire and the USSR 🇬🇧🇺🇦

In the popular Soviet comedy “Kidnapping, Caucasian Style,” there was this episode: comrade Saakhov, a character representing a cunning and hypocritical official from the national periphery, teaches a naive but honest student, Shurik: “Everyone knows that the Kuzbass is an all-Union smithy, Kuban is an all-Union granary, so the Caucasus is an all-Union what?”