A brief history of Russia's wars, both internal and external, gives context for the current situation in Ukraine and Crimea.
On how to understand rising tensions with Russia and its divisive president.
Max Weber's readings of Tolstoy bridge the gap between the ninetheeth and twentieth century
What happens to history when it is looked at from the perspective of the kitchen table? Russian history is seen in a new light when one explores Soviet kitchens and their practices of communal dining.
The mark that Frank’s legacy left on the study of Russian literature and culture in the larger Euro-American context is deep and indelible.
Thoughts on two very different recent films from Russia, Silent Souls (Овсянки, dir. Alexei Fedorchenko, 2010) and I Will Remember (Буду помнить, dir. Vitalii Votobyev, 2010).
Tomorrow is August 19 and the 20th anniversary of the coup d'état in Moscow. Speak of the law of unanticipated consequences!
Twenty years ago in Moscow, especially at night, when the city's daytime roar turned to a steady rumble, I thought I could sense the earth's axis turning. Yes, yes, I know what was happening in Russia was not an isolated event.
Thanks to my friend Tom Luddy, the Director of the Telluride Film Festival, I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me in my mailbox on Sunday afternoon, “A Bitter Taste of Freedom” (2011), a cinematic biographical tribute to and about Anna Politkovskaya.
Gregory Freidin has written and taught extensively on Russian culture, literature, politics and society. His long-standing project on the Russian Jewish writer Isaac Babel includes a series of essays, the Norton Critical Edition of Babel's writings, letters, reminiscences and critical reception Isaac Babel's Selected Writings, W.W. Norton, 2009); a collection of essays on Babel's works and days, The Enigma of Isaac Babel, Stanford UP, 2009); his own critical biography of the writer, A Jew on Horseback: The Worlds of Isaac Babel, is forthcoming. Freidin’s first critical biography, Coat of Many Colors (1987), a study of the life and oeuvre of the poet Osip Mandelstam, was reissued in paperback in 2010. In 2004, Freidin organized an International Isaac Babel Conference and Workshop at Stanford, producing the U.S. premiere of Isaac Babel's play "Maria" (directed by Carl Weber) and curating an exhibition on Babel at the Hoover Libraries and Archives. These Babel-related events have received a permanent lease on life in “Babel in California,” by Elif Batuman, the events’ participant observer, who opens with it her critically acclaimed collection Possessed (FSG, 2010). Freidin's interest in contemporary Russian politics and culture found its venue in the US and Russian Press, as well as in the major conference held at Stanford University in 1998 - Russia at the End of the Twentieth Century - that brought together scholars, journalists, editors, and government officials from Russia and the US, including the Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott, with who he translated the second volume of Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs Khrushchev Remembers: The Last Testament (1974). The First Russian edition of The Federalist Papers came out in Freidin's translation and with his introduction in 1990.
Freidin grew up in Moscow and emigrated to the US in 1971. He attended Brandeis University in 1972 and University of California at Berkeley in 1972-78 (M.A. and Ph.D.). Freidin career at Sanford spans 1985-2014. Professor Emeritus, he now resides in Berkeley, California, where he continues his writings and research. A contributor to Arcade, Freidin maintains a personal blog on culture and politics The Noise of Time.