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She's In Russia

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25: Bloc Chain Bitches

It would seem that governments are finally starting to cotton on to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The Russian government is no exception. This week we cover exactly what cryptocurrency and blockchain are, the Russian government's economic, legislative, and technological move into the crypto space, and the state of private crypto businesses in Russia. Theme Music: Shit Happens by Tierra Whack Interludes: Tiff The Gift

Duration: 00:50:02

24: Black October Roundtable (of us)

How did the Bolshevik Revolution and the actual establishment of the Soviet Union inspire and encourage activists and intellectuals of the African Diaspora? With what specific mechanisms of hard and soft power did the Soviet Union, from its earliest years, seek to create a ‘global Black proletariat’? We didn’t answer these questions ourselves, but thankfully someone else did! For the week leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution (Oct. 7, 2017), The African American...

Duration: 00:45:08

23: Healthcare Bear Stare

How has the Russian healthcare system transformed since 1991? How much does the average Russian doctor earn now? This week we bring you an overview of healthcare in Russia today, from how insurance works to why the constitution's promise of 'free healthcare for all' isn't quite as good as it sounds in real life. Plus we're joined by our dear friend Izzy, who tells the story of her own personal saga cum cultural struggle with the Russian healthcare system when she was a wee student in St....

Duration: 00:41:57

22: Moms in The Motherland

On this week's episode we bring you the political mother. We trace the history of the soviet conception of motherhood, interview an honest-to-goodness Russian mom, and talk about three recent tragedies (Kursk, Beslan, and The Ukrainian Crisis) to which mothers responded by politicizing and organizing. Plus, we give some real practical and useful advice on how to stimulate the clitoris. Music: Tierra Whack

Duration: 00:57:41

21: How To Be A Human and Not Fuck Up ft. Olya Polyakova

This week in the Petersburg studio (Lily's room) we're joined by social entrepreneur, activist, and all around inspiring human, Olya Polyakova. We talk about how she documented her arrest and 12-day detainment for peacefully protesting in June, how to best use the toilet in a 2-person prison cell, what it means to feel freedom in the city, and why it's important that Ksenia Sobchak is running for president. Follow Olya on Instagram: @PolyakovaPolyakova Watch the tour of her cell:...

Duration: 00:45:56

20: Mini Leviathan

We talk with Lily's friend Nastya all about Russian movies since perestroika. Well we were supposed to, but we lost most of the recording. So instead we bring you a baby episode about heating pads (get one!), and a theory about how The Return and Leviathan, both directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, exemplify Russia's changing relationship with The West. Fear not, in the future, we'll re-record a full episode on Russian film.

Duration: 00:13:31

19: Baby's First Year

Another variety show! This time we listen to clips from U.S. media specifically from the first year of Putin’s first term as president, resuming our peanut gallery position with light commentary and analysis. The clip topics range from Clinton and Bush’s brief overlap, to Bush musing about Putin’s soul, to the thorn in the two men’s 8 year relationship as presidents together - what to do about anti-ballistic missiles. We also check in with this week's protests in Russia, and shill for...

Duration: 00:48:28

Ryumochnaya Tour, 2017

This is the ryumochnaya - a humble drinking house featuring hard liquor, maybe some beer, an assortment of open-faced sandwiches, pickles and perhaps some other simple, hearty fare. Also known as the place you go to drink cheap vodka by the milliliter. We went to some of St. Petersburg's finest ones, got really drunk, and interviewed some other drunk strangers. Here's what we have to show for it.

Duration: 00:44:36

Stand By Me (and James Clapper)

Rob Reiner’s latest production is an absurdly sincere piece of civilian propaganda -- the freshly minted Committee to Investigate Russia (website + trailer starring Morgan Freeman), whose advisory board consists of a hodgepodge of 'non-partisan' figures, ranging from liberals to centrists to never-Trumpers. We go through this latest iteration of Cold War II content and connect it to the larger contexts of American jingoism and Hollywood’s peculiar history of politicizing.

Duration: 00:58:59

16: Russia and America Are Different Countries ft. Sean Guillory

With Sean Guillory of the SRB Podcast, we map out the Russian Left (not just Navalny folks!), question why Russia is always expected to mimic America, and go on some fruitful tangents about the likes of Jefferson and teen-aged John Quincy Adams. Check out Sean's podcast at, he does good interviews.

Duration: 00:53:23

15: Russian Rap "Rial Tolk"

This week’s episode is all about Russian-language rap: the history, how to think about race in a non-American paradigm, and a nice set of samples from some Russian artists.

Duration: 00:44:51

14: Rap Battle and Kirill Serebrennikov

This episode we discuss three things with Lily’s dear friend Maksim: a NYT op-ed that posits Russia as America’s foil, the recent rap battle between Oxxxymiron and Gnoyniy, and the dubious arrest of theater director Kirill Serebrennikov.

Duration: 00:45:58

13: Russia Variety Show!

On this episode we switch it up a bit and bring you a menagerie of clips; from special CIA movies made for Reagan, to the second-hand embarrassment of HRC’s “reset” button moment, to the voice of the Soviet Union in America, we give our analysis and hot takes. We discuss the hypocrisy of American exceptionalism, struggle through a clip of 2016’s final presidential debate (who’s the puppet? -__-), and get a little into how race influences how we see Russia and Russians. Also, the infamous...

Duration: 01:09:26

12: Rasputin Peasantry

It's 1905 and this is the story of how a Siberian peasant mystic w/ apparently real healing powers and a propensity for debauchery and assault befriended the last royal family of Russia (and contributed to their demise). Scandal, intrigue, murder - and all because the heir to the Russian throne was a 'bleeder'. Also, Lily is outed as a decadent cosmopolitan and Smith intercepts an unrequited love/catcall.

Duration: 00:45:57

Episode 11: Crimea, It Existed Before 2014

Wait, was the annexation of Crimea illegal per international law? To answer this question, we start at the beginning -- the 15th century, when Crimea was ruled by the ottoman empire and was the center for the Slavic slave trade -- and end at present day. The Ukrainian crisis and the annexation of Crimea mark the beginning of the so-called Cold War II. On this week’s episode we answer the questions: What laws did the Russian government break in annexing Crimea? How do we balance the will of...

Duration: 01:16:36

Episode 10: Soviet Absence and Where The Jews Aren't

The topic for this week is writer/journalist Masha Gessen’s 2016 book Where the Jews Aren't: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia's Jewish Autonomous Region (despite our nitpicking in the episode, we very much recommend reading this book). Via our discussion of Gessen’s text, Soviet Jews and Jewish identity, we try to connect and articulate a larger theme in Soviet/Russian history of absence and the unfinished, unreal, and failed positive projections that attempt to fill these...

Duration: 01:38:50

Episode 9: She's in America

Changing up the format for this week, we decided to do a little check in with American politics, in case you need help keeping up. Plus some stories from Lily’s daily life in Russia. Smith presents the meat of the episode with several hand-selected moments from the absurd mayhem that is US politics this past week. Topics include Trump & 40,000 Boy Scouts, everyone and his brother crooning over “The Maverick” McCain (aka when you get sick, people forget all the bad things you did), how...

Duration: 01:06:26

Episode 8: Khrushchev and His Apartments

On this episode Lily tells Smith about the housing crisis in the Soviet Union and how Nikita Khrushchev sought to solve it, namely by building lots of prefabricated concrete apartment buildings all over the USSR, known collectively as Khrushchevki. The proposed demolition of many of these very buildings is the subject of an ongoing debate in Moscow today, with multiple generations of residents coming out to protest the destruction of their homes, and their impending relocation. We talk...

Duration: 00:51:39

Episode 7: Don Jr. is a Pretty Prompt Emailer

It truly feels like reality is trolling you when a central topic for debate in American politics and media involves a mediocre (at best) Russian-Azerbaijani pop star, his real-estate mogul father, a rando British publicist/ tabloid journalist, Miss Universe 2013, a medium-profile Moscow-based lawyer, the Russian Prosecutor General, and Trump’s eldest son's poorly thought-through email thread. On this episode we revisit the topic of Russian government meddling in the 2016 elections, also...

Duration: 01:03:35

Episode 6: Resurrecting Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot was/is a mostly anonymous feminist activist/performance art group formed in Moscow in 2011, in a time when widespread protests (main protest slogan of the time=”For fair elections”) were unfolding across Russia. A notorious protest-performance in early 2012 got three of the members arrested. What ensued was a highly public trial, and, for two of the accused, a brutal sentencing that main painfully evident (to regular Russians and foreigners alike) some of the more frightening...

Duration: 01:27:24

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