Ukraine, Art Nouveau and the Debate Over “Westernization”


What will become of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the West and embrace cosmopolitan modernity?  It’s not the first time the country has sought to negotiate western cultural influence, as evidenced by a few art nouveau buildings peeping through Kyiv’s cityscape.  The buildings, which date to the Czarist period, attest to […]

Traditional Russian and Ukrainian Life


Despite the recent military conflict between Kyiv and Kremlin-backed separatists in the Donbas region, there are certain striking similarities between Russia and Ukraine.  Take, for example, traditional rural life.  In the Russian city of Novgorod, visitors may see a recreation of a traditional rural town. To the outside observer, Pyrohovo […]

Glimpses of Russia’s Revolutionary Past


Walking around Moscow, one can occasionally spot the old Soviet past peeping out from behind the landscape.  Take, for example, the Marx memorial which has now become a tourist destination. At the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, visitors take in old anti-capitalist posters from the revolutionary period. […]