According to their website, the people behind Russia! “believe it’s time for a new, global medium with a dedicated focus on Russia”. So what does that mean? Ostalgie-style Soviet reminiscing? A plaything for high-rolling oligarchs? Or a propaganda machine for Putin and co.? Fortunately the answer is none of the above, though Russia! does flirt with some of those elements. The winter 2008 issue, for example, enjoys a pinch of nostalgia in a loving spread on the Lomo camera, or a photo story on the elegantly faded Zvezdny Gorodok space centre. But then there’s also the story on banned art, several pages of street fashion and a piece on the unique romantic allure of the Georgian man. It’s a broad church, and it’s all delivered with assured style and individuality, making for a fascinating read and a rare chance to look beyond the old misconceptions and stereotypes.
The Stack interview
What is Russia!?
RUSSIA! is a new global quarterly that is devoted to the most original coverage of people, trends, ideas and events taking place in or around Russia. An independent, irreverent resource for the reader curious about the country’s culture, RUSSIA! presents life in Russia as it is experienced today by its own intellectual and media elite.
What makes it different to the rest?
“Excellent writing, fantastic design and a shared sensibility of tough love toward our hapless subject.”
Who makes Russia!?
The magazine is editorially based and published out of New York. RUSSIA!’s contributors are a dynamic, utterly unique pairing of Russia-crazed western journalists and the top creative minds working in Russia today. As Editor in Chief, Michael Idov, eloquently puts it, “More precisely, its current art, design and pop-culture scenes, seen from the alternating viewpoints of the smart Western outsider and the critical insider. Its tone thus oscillates between besotted and skeptical, which is, conveniently, how most Russians view their county.”
Who reads it?
“They are, quite simply, people who like well-made magazines – and people who would like to learn about Russia from an independent, authoritative, and entertaining source.”
Why do you work in magazines?
Because there is no substitute for the look and feel of a beautifully designed book.
Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
In early 2009 we will be launching a revamped website and blog for RUSSIA!
Can you pick a favourite issue of Russia!?
The current, Winter 2009 “War/Fashion” issue.
Where do you see Russia! in five years?
Continuing to make important advances towards becoming the ultimate destination for entertaining, independent English-language coverage of all things current in and about Russia.