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Biculturalism and the Apollo-Soyuz Mission


The final two short audio pieces from the Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia. “A Brief Conversation on Biculturalism” by Alexandra Diouk and “Remembering the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Mission: 45 years of US-Russian Space Cooperation” by Lisa Becker.

Trash Protests and Leninopad


Two short audio pieces from the Monterey Summer Symposium on Russia. “The Great Russian Trash Crisis” by Seth Farkas and  “An Empty Pedestal: Ukraine after Leninopad” by Sabrina Beaver.

The Ballads of Mikhail Gorbachev

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Mikhail Gorbachev has had many roles in his seventy-eight years.  He’s been a Party aktiv, a First Party Kraikom Secretary, Politburo member, General Secretary of the Communist Party, Louis Vuitton model, and global philanthropist.  Gorbachev, of course, is best known for concocting perestroika and glasnost, two reforms which aided the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now Gorby can add another role to his long CV: recording artist.

Yes, Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev has recorded an album (with Russian rock star Andrei Makarevich) of romantic songs titled Songs to Raisa in dedication to his wife.  The album, of which only one copy exists, has already sold out.  An unknown British philanthropist bought it for a whopping $169,940 at an auction to raise money for the Raisa Gorbachev FoundationReports Sean Michaels in the Guardian:

An “anonymous British philanthropist” bought what we suppose is Mikhail Gorbachev’s “debut album”, Songs for Raisa, in London this week, bidding $164,940 (about £100,000) at an auction to benefit the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation. Nearly 350 luminaries were present at the private event, including Gordon Bown’s wife, Sarah, London mayor Boris Johnson, Harry Potter author JK Rowling, actor Vanessa Redgrave and Russian ambassador Yuri Fedotov, according to the newspaper Pravda.

Gorbachev was there too, and he brought his singing voice. The former Soviet leader warbled a song called Old Letters. “The performance … was greeted with delight and a storm of applause,” said Pavel Palazhchenko, chairman of the Foundation’s press service. You can judge for yourself by listening to Old Letters.

Like the rest of the tracks on Songs for Raisa, “Old Letters” is an old Russian romantic ballad. Gorbachev’s wife, Raisa, died 10 years ago. The foundation established in her name is dedicated to fighting childhood cancer.

Two songs are available for download :
Old Letters
Dark Night

And they aren’t that bad!  Who knew?