Russia Today

Fascinating interview over at The Atlantic with Andrew Meier, author of Black Earth: A Journey through Russia After the Fall. In the interview he talks about life in the former Soviet Union, the war in Chechnya, Siberia, Anton Checkhov, the danger of losing democracy in Russia, and more. I found this quote in particular fascinating and a bit haunting:

Wherever I had been in the most extreme corners of the country—and Russia is still the largest country in the world in terms of land mass—people would again and again and again ask me this question: can a country live without a conscience? Where is our conscience? They know full well that there is a conscience, but somewhere it’s buried, somewhere it’s hidden, somewhere it’s afraid to come out.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).


  1. Are you aware of our two outstanding titles in Russian Erotic Literature?

    1. Most scandalous book in Russian literature – “Secret Journal 1836-1837” by A. S. Pushkin.
    This literary masterpiece is already published in 23 countries.
    We have published first Russian edition in 1986 and English edition in 1987.
    After fifteen years of ban and suppression, Secret Journal was finally published in Russia in 2001 by Moscow publishing house LADOMIR famous for its academic editions devoted to scientific studies on Russian erotic literature and folklore.
    The famous Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), fatally wounded in a duel by his brother-in-law and rival, left a secret, ciphered journal, which was discovered and smuggled out of the USSR in 1976 by the Russian author Mikhail Armalinsky. There has been a lot of speculation and mystery surrounding this journal. According to legend, Pushkin’s will stipulated that the journal not be published until 100 years after his death. Some people claimed that the Journal never existed at all.
    The Journal does exist and consists of explicit confessions about intimate relationships that Pushkin had with his wife, her two sisters, and other women, which brought him to his tragic end. These astonishing events and reflections reveal an unknown details of Pushkin’s life – the life of a nineteenth century Russian Don Juan.
    See info on Secret Journal at:

    2. Works by well-known Russian author Mikhail Armalinsky.
    M. Armalinsky was born in Leningrad, USSR in 1947 and resides in Minneapolis, USA since 1977.
    The background on this most controversial Russian author is presented best in the Preface to his volume of selected works that came out in Moscow published by academic publishing house “Ladomir”.

    “Chtob Znali!” (“Let It Be Known!”) by Mikhail Armalinsky, Selected works 1966-1998. “Russian Concealed Literature” series, Moscow, “Ladomir”, 2002,
    860 pages; ISBN 5-86218-379-5

    Please read its English translation
    or in Russian

    Mikhail Armalinsky is not just another talented Russian author, but the revolutionary profit of erotic religion. No Russian author reached the depths of human sexual mentality as Armalinsky did.
    For that very reason his volume was published in most respectable book series “Russian Forbidden Literature” where only classics or academic literary studies were published before. Armalinsky is the first alive author of belle lettres that got the honor to be published in this series.
    M. Armalinsky has written in different genres: poetry, short stories, essays, novel. Thirteen of his books in Russian are published in the US.
    Armalinsky is also the publisher of Russian authors of erotic literature (see
    He is the editor of the following collections:
    Children’s Erotic Folklore
    Russian Shameless Proverbs and Sayings
    The First Almanac of Russian Erotic Literature “Copulation”

    Armalinsky has translated and published first complete Russian edition of “Philosophy in the Bedroom” by Marquis de Sade.

    Since 1999 Armalinsky publishes General Erotic Literary Magazine (in Russian) on Internet
    The New York’ Museum of Sex ( has acquired genital flag by Mikhail Armalinsky. The title of that symbolic art piece is “United State”
    In 1989 “United State” flag made the cover of “Screw Magazine”.

    You are welcome to read the translation from Russian of Mikhail Armalinsky’s essay on prostitution “A She-Savior” that was published in Moscow edition of his Selected Works ?
    I will be happy to send you the text as attachment or here is the
    The translation is made by the prominent Slavic scholar Dr. Brian Baer.

    The main idea of the essay “A She-Savior” is that the legalization of prostitution must be based on a return of its divine, sacred character, so that prostitution will be considered the most honorable profession, the one closest to God, the holiest.

    Here are the chapters:

    A Short History of Prostitution
    A Comprehensive Definition of the Prostitute
    Why Young Men Need Prostitutes
    Why the Lonely Need Prostitutes
    Why Married Men Need Prostitutes
    Why the Poor Need Prostitutes
    Why Old Men Need Prostitutes
    Why the Sick and Deformed Need Prostitutes
    Why Every Man Needs a Prostitute
    The Prostitute and the “Proper” Woman
    The Causes and Incentives of Prostitution
    Hatred of Prostitutes
    The Future of Prostitution

  2. Pushkin’s Secret Journal is a must for anyone interested in literature and sex. As to Armalinsky too bad our publishers have no guts to translate his works.

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