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33: Space Cadets

This week we tell the story of Russian and American space programs -- the race to space, why "free men" should get there first, Russian bear hugs, and the (lack of) politics in space. This episode is a montage of primary source clips from archives and other corners of the internet that tell the story starting from the 1800s til the present day. And we, of course, play peanut gallery. Theme Music: Tierra Whack Interlude: Mae Jemison by Sammus

Duration: 00:44:05

32: Translation Station ft. Kevin Rothrock & Isaac Wheeler

This week we discuss the theory and daily practice of translation, joined by two honored guests and translators. Our first guest is Kevin Rothrock, Senior Editor and Translator at Meduza in English, who tells us about his daily work bringing independent Russian news to English speakers, and how to stealthily pick fights on Twitter. Our second guest is Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler, professional independent translator of both Russian and Ukrainian poetry and prose, who tells us, among many other...

Duration: 00:53:28

Beaches Go To Brighton

This week we were both in NYC and took the opportunity to spend the day talking to people in Brighton Beach, aka Little Odessa, aka the neighborhood of choice for Soviet immigrants. We spoke to people from all over the former USSR (and Turkey!) who live, work, and/or were visiting Brighton, asking them about the neighborhood and their relationship to it. We tried to let them do the talking.

Duration: 00:41:21

Taking a break this week

Taking a break this week by Olivia Capozzalo and Smith Freeman

Duration: 00:03:53

30: 2017 Round Up

This week we select clips from some of our favorite episodes of the year. Happy New Year.

Duration: 00:58:59

29: Bourgeoisie Tree

This week Lily tells Smith the tale of the Russian Christmas/New Year's tree. Pagan anti-demon rituals, Peter the Great shaking and moving, a pro-tree Pravda op-ed by a party leader: Lily plots the course of how the Christmas Tree came to Russia and then ultimately became a New Year's tree. Them Music: Tierra Whack Interludes: Guayaba (aeonfuxxx on Soundcloud)

Duration: 00:39:02

28: Reading Russian Rainbow

Cozy up for story time. This week we bring you a reading of two texts translated from Russian -- a short story called "Thirteen" by Alisa Ganieva and an excerpt from a novel called "The Gardener is Gone" by Lena Eltang. The short story was translated by Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler and published in The Missing Slate. The novel is currently in the process (!) of being co-translated by Isaac and Reilly Costigan-Humes -- we're very grateful to the translators for the chance to get a sneak peek of...

Duration: 00:50:00

27: Tit4Tat

This week we're checking in with “Russiagate”/ the “Russian matter” [российское дело]. You will learn: what Michael Flynn’s plea deal is and why there's a fuss about it; and what happened to RT America, the US branch of a multinational Russian news network. RT’s case has in incited yet another tit for tat between the US and Russian governments involving their respective “Foreign Agent” laws (which are very much not the same), the tit of which is looking to be alot more harmful than the tat....

Duration: 00:44:12

26: Small Shuttered Palace ft. Molly Zuckerman

This fall, European University at St. Petersburg was shut down under dubious circumstances. We talk with Molly Zuckerman about the school's contentious history with government and the plight of foreign students now stranded by the school's closure. Plus, she shares some good tidbits on kegels from a Russian sexologist. Theme Music: Tierra Whack Interludes: Tatarka

Duration: 00:41:47

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

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