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Arts and Life
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Articles by Samantha Berkhead
The Nail Tech to LA’s Hottest Influencers Is From Small-Town Russia
Olesya Kondratyeva opened her first business in Tver and now manicures supermodel Kendall Jenner’s nails.
NO SAFE HAVEN
Branded Foreign Agents, Russia’s Domestic Violence Groups Fear for the Future
Activists say the crackdown is intensifying even as reports of abuse doubled with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
WOMEN’S DAY PROFILE
Russia’s First Female Train Driver Gets Behind the Wheel
Women are entering jobs that were off limits for decades after the Labor Ministry cut its list of banned occupations.
‘Love is stronger than fear’
Russian Women Form Human Chain Following Navalny Protest Crackdown
The Valentine’s Day symbol of solidarity was inspired by last summer’s women-led protests in Belarus.
2020 IN REVIEW
In 2020, Russia’s Memes Went Worldwide
In Putin’s case, with great power comes great meme-ability.
A Tolstoy Descendant Returns to His Roots in Yasnaya Polyana
Ilya Tolstoy left a journalism career in the big city for his ancestor’s famous estate. Now his new apple business is bearing fruit.
Muscovites Talk About Coronavirus, Moscow’s QR Code System
The Moscow Times spoke to local Muscovites to see how they really feel about the coronavirus measures being taken in the nation's capital.
cast a spell
Practical Magic: How Russia’s Ancient Witchcraft Traditions Continue to Thrive
Halloween might not be celebrated here, but mysticism, witchcraft and superstitions play a big role in everyday Russian life.
Binational Couples Separated by Russia's Coronavirus Travel Bans Push for Change
Complicated visa rules and the lack of legal recognition for non-married couples make reuniting in Russia almost impossible.
A New Movie Transports Anastasia Romanov to 1980s America. Russians Aren’t Happy About It.
Russian viewers say “Anastasia: Once Upon a Time” mocks one of the most tragic episodes in their country’s history.
A New Russian Law Could Ban Trans People From Officially Changing Their Gender
By aiming to enshrine a traditional understanding of family in the law, activists say Russia is marking LGBT people as second-class citizens.
'DAY OF KNOWLEDGE'
Russian Schools Reopen as Coronavirus Cases Climb
Authorities have released a set of safety guidelines for classrooms as the country is still registering nearly 5,000 new cases a day.
‘Citizen Countess’: Sofia Panina Led the Fight for Women's Rights
To honor women's suffrage, meet the first woman in the world to hold a ministerial post.
Fire and Brimstone: The Rise and Fall of Russia’s Coronavirus-Denying Rebel Priest
The Russian Orthodox Church is trying to remove defrocked, ultraconservative Father Sergei Romanov from a monastery he has taken over by force.
socially distanced excursion
Moscow Getaway to Nikola-Lenivets Art Park
It's like Russian Portlandia meets Midsommar — but so much more.
Russian Women Rally Behind Feminist ‘Political Prisoner’
Yulia Tsvetkova’s pornography case for body-positive drawings is sparking resistance across the country and beyond.
Quarantined With Family, Russia’s LGBT Youth Face New Struggles
In a country where negative attitudes toward the LGBT community are rife, young people are forced to stay with unaccepting relatives.
‘Kinky Russia’ Throws Zoom Orgies to Overcome Coronavirus Quarantine
Russia’s sex party organizers are using video calling for more than work meetings.
Russia's Funeral Industry Moves Online to Cope With Coronavirus
As the death toll from the virus rises undertakers are organizing live-streamed burials.
NOWHERE TO ISOLATE
Moscow’s Coronavirus Lockdown Leaves the Homeless Out in the Cold
The city’s 12 million residents have been ordered to stay inside as the coronavirus sweeps the city. Its thousands of homeless have nowhere to go.
Russia’s Orthodox Church Sticks to Its Traditions Despite Coronavirus Threat
As institutions across Russia close down to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Church sees closing its doors as a last resort.
Russian Women Are Ready to Reclaim Once-Forbidden Jobs
Women are training for professions that have been closed to them for decades.
Infected with love
Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Two Young Russians Start Dating in Quarantine
Inna and Daniil's hearts "started to beat faster at the sight of each other" in a clinic in Siberia after they were evacuated from China.
Andrei Molodkin's Art Show 'Bloodline' Boldly Confronts the Language of Power
The show opens on St. Valentine's Day in Dublin.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Young People Take Back Soviet 'Kommunalkas'
Soviet Kommunalka apartments — each one housing several families — are still very much a thing in Russia's big cities.
‘IF HE BEATS YOU HE LOVES YOU’
Russia Faces Up to Its Dark Domestic Violence Problem
A rising chorus of outrage over high-profile domestic abuse cases signals a sea change in Russian society, but are lawmakers listening?
Moscow Feminists Protest for Domestic Violence Re-Criminalization
Hundreds called for an end to what they say is Russia's culture of impunity toward domestic abusers.
Alexander Lebedev's 'Hunt the Banker'
If you think you know the story of the last 25 years in Russia, think again, and read this book.
A Russian ‘Freegan’ Challenges Capitalism and Consumerism
As more Russians become aware of food waste, they’re putting on their gloves and heading to the dumpster.
one man's trash
What Can You Find in Moscow’s Trash?
While dumpster-diving is a well-known phenomenon throughout Western countries, in Russia this unusual activity has its own unique challenges.
How the Dogs of Chernobyl Found a Happy Ending
A U.S. charity is making sure the descendants of pets left behind after the world’s worst nuclear accident aren’t forgotten.
The Shape of Water in St. Petersburg
Claudio Koporossy’s exhibition captures the magic within Peterhof Palace’s fountains.
Doors of perception
Opening Eyes to Sightless Life in Moscow
Moscow’s first musical in the dark engages four out of five senses.
Once Upon a Time ... in Moscow
Tarantino ‘Shocked By Moscow’ in First Visit to Russia Since 2004
The director, in town to promote his new movie, went on a highly publicized Kremlin tour but stressed that he came to Moscow to see his fans.
Andrey Ivchenko’s Truly ‘Stranger Things’
The Soviet-born actor talks about playing an "evil Russian" on the Netflix hit.
'1983: The World At The Brink'
On this day 36 years ago, the world almost came to an end while you were sleeping.
A Glimpse Behind the Iron Curtain
As nostalgia for the Soviet Union swells, one project aims to show what life was like for ordinary citizens in the U.S.S.R.