From the heart of Bloomsbury, London, a podcast brought to you by the UK's oldest independent Russian cultural centre. We talk art, culture and ideas.
The Leviathan Awakes
How has the Russian state evolved since the fall of the USSR, and is there a way to oppose it? Sergei Medvedev is the winner, with his book The Return of the Russian Leviathan, of the 2020 Pushkin House Book Prize. Here, he speaks to Andrew Jack, journalist with the Financial Times and chair of the advisory committee of the Book Prize, about the current state of the Russian State. Medvedev recently lost his job at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow due to his outspoken critique of Putin’s regime, but he describes how he won’t follow the example of other critics in leaving Russia.
Russia's Young Climate Activists
Young Pushkin volunteer Ada Wordsworth spoke remotely to three participants in the 'Fridays for Future' strikes, who are on the frontline of climate activism in Russia: Arshak Makichyan in Moscow, Dasha Khamaza in St Petersburg, and Daria Anufrieva in Irkutsk. They describe the challenges and successes they've had in pressuring their local and national governments to respond to the gathering storm of climate change, and swimming against a current of apathy and scepticism from the rest of society.
Presented and edited by Ada Wordsworth, and produced by Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf. Series produced for Pushkin House by Rafy Hay.
All About Russian Icons: a 1969 lecture by John Stuart
In the latest of our archive recordings to be unearthed, we have here a 1969 lecture from the not-yet-29-year-old John Innes Stuart (1940-2003) - a renowned expert on Russian icons and historian of British biker culture. A remarkable character, Johnny was born in Aberdeen, educated at Eton, and was working as a porter at Sotheby’s auctioneers when his extensive knowledge of Russian icons was found to be greater than any of their experts. A convert at the age of 18 to Russian Orthodoxy, he went on to establish the Russian department at Sotheby’s in 1976, as well as his own consultancy with Ivan Samarine in 1995.
Originally titled ‘Some aspects of collecting, restoring and studying icons, 1830-1917’, this lecture gives an extensive history of the study and appreciation of Russian icons - from their creation and then literal concealment (by soot and the ornate silver okladki that covered them), to their appraisal as objects of academic interest, and of art in their own right.
This episode was recorded on 9th May, 1969 at Pushkin House in Ladbroke Grove. The recording was catalogued and digitised by Anastasia Koro and Andrey Levitskiy, and was edited and produced for Pushkin House by Rafy Hay.
Gogol and the Grotesque
Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (1809-1852) is one of the most important figures of Russian literature, initiating a prose tradition that influenced everyone who came after him. In this lecture from the Pushkin House salon at its old home in Ladbroke Grove, preeminent writer and critic Victor Erlich elucidates with characteristic wit and incision the elements of Gogol’s metaphors and plots which draw on the grotesque. In these surreal and bizarre images, Gogol reveals truths about our world and our selves which are always strikingly compelling.
This talk and discussion was recorded at some point between 1963 and 1968 — we know this to be the case as Erlich is mentioned as chair of the Yale department of Slavic languages and literature, a post he held between those dates — and likely near the end of that period, as his book Gogol (1969) is mentioned as upcoming. Erlich speaks about all of Gogol’s main works, including the Ukrainian Tales, the Petersburg Tales — Nevsky Prospect, The Nose and The Overcoat, Taras Bulba, Diary of a Madman, and his final controversial masterpiece, Dead Souls.
This episode was catalogued and digitised by Anastasia Koro and Andrey Levitskiy, and was edited and produced for Pushkin House by Rafy Hay. Listen here on the Pushkin House website, on Apple podcasts, or via Acast.
The Religion of the Russian People
Metropolitan Anthony Bloom (1914-2003), a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain, was one of the most important figures in the Russian Orthodoxy of his day. His many admirers attest that he combined a philosophical understanding of Christianity with high intelligence and personal charm.
He became widely known to English speaking audiences for his BBC radio and TV broadcasts, exploring the intellectual and spiritual roots of Christianity. In this talk, recorded in 1961 and recently discovered in the vaults of Pushkin House, Metropolitan Anthony shares insights on Russian faith and spirituality and challenges the assumption that it is rooted in paganism.
Food From Beyond the North Wind
Speaking via Zoom from her home in Massachusetts, food writer and Russianist Darra Goldstein discusses the process and peculiarities of writing a book on Russian cuisine. 'Beyond the North Wind' focuses on the food of the far north - the Kola Peninsula and the Solovetsky Islands - a land the ancient Greeks called Hyperborea.
In conversation with Clem Cecil, Darra talks about how the hardy conditions in the north form the perfect crucible for a healthy, delicious cuisine. Check out her recipe for raspberry kvass, as mentioned in the podcast, at pushkinhouse.org.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Bloomsbury's best podcast?
An eclectic podcast featuring conversations with artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people that give a flavour of the events hosted by Pushkin House. Well worth checking out if you're at all interested in the art, history, and culture of Russia and neighbouring countries.
Essential listening for Russophiles
If, like me, you are interested in all things Russian, past and present, then this podcast is well worth a listen. It gives an enticing taste of what’s going on at Pushkin House in London. Always fascinating, often surprising.
Up to date take on art, culture and more!
A podcast that is consistent with the times and reflective of all that is going on at Pushkin House and beyond.