Concert today at 7pm in benefit of Russian political prisoners

Singer Alexey Paperny, essayist/poet Dimitry Bykov, and Shenderovich, a writer described as “satirical”. Mir Concert Hall, Tvetnoy Boulevard 11. Right by the Old Circus.

I’m probably going. Company welcomed. I’ll be offline soon but my number is +7 985 217 3241.

Bykov, in my opinion, is the one destined to become a classic for capturing zeitgeist in its totality. Let me know if you see any of Bykov in English translation. I would especially recommend his Zh/D to anyone looking for the core formula of Russian-ness. Shenderovish is one of these “Russian comics” that use humour to package and fortify their message that’s anything but funny. Paperny is somehow associated with the fashionable and slightly alternative club scene. 

Novopodrezkovo flea market in Khimki. Photos, comments.

How we went there as sellers
a couple of weeks later >>

Finally, here is the promised set of images, made by Alexandra, with my comments.

General view. One serious dealer has a whole makeshift barn to himself. Privileged traders are in stalls. In the outer reaches there traders who sell from cars. Poor babushkas just spread their wares on the ground.


Andrei Sinyavsky. Soviet Civilization: A Cultural History.

sinyavskyRecommended background reading

Beliefs and values at the core of the Russian culture and especially its Soviet version exposed and analyzed. The nature of perestroika, the paradox of freedom ordered from above, and why “a pyramid can’t be upgraded into a Parthenon”. Widely available in English. The book is based on a series of lectures, and reads very easily in Russian. The English translation I’ve looked at is a bit heavy, which is the cost of staying close to the original text. That forces the translator to turn to words rare and obscure to find close equivaletns. Recommended to anyone who needs to understand how things work here on the level of underlining principles and mechanisms.

You may want to take a look at Sinyavsky’s obituary in The Independent for a summary of his life and his works.

Pre-trip reading

If you are heading here with intentions more involved that  a few business meetings or doing the Red-Square-Bolshoi-Lenin’s-Tomb-Novodevichy-Sergiev-Posad routine it may be worth it to try to understand how and what we Russians are made of.

May I once again recommend Painted in Blood: Understanding Europeans by Stuart Miller. Although he muses about Europeans from the American viewpoint his observations can be easily applied to understand Russians. MORE>>

Anarchist-style bookstore

Books are donated or left on consignment. Prices are from low to free. Specialization: rare and “alternative” publications.

But they are in Russian so this piece of info is probably to no interest to my target audience. I’m documenting it here for my own benefit not to lose this piece of information.

Pokrovka 6 (Metro Kitay-Gorod), from the street walk through the ark. Open 11am to 9pm every day. Tel. +7 965 179 3498


Andrei, the famous map seller from Klimentovsky pereulok. That’s between Metro Novokuznetskaya and Tretyakovskaya. A small stall with the most thoughtful collection of local maps. There since the 90s.

A specialized map store at ulitsa Pokrovka 11, Metro Kurskaya or Maroseyka, tel.. +7 495 749 3200.

An unconfirmed report of a specialized map store at Ulitsa Bolshaya Semenovskaya 10, Metro Electrozavodskaya, tel. +7 495 746 3856.

There was map store at Kuznetsky Most but I’m afraid it is there no longer, replaced by some nondescript boutique.

Old bibles and lives of saints

The most impressive collection of old bibles I’ve ever seen is in the Old Believers “Knizhnaya Lavka” (“book bench”) by the Preobrazhensky market.  A small room stacked to the ceiling with books that are oozing with sanctity but can be purchased at prices that, given their age, appear more than reasonable. Probably in Old Slavonic. No, I didn’t dare to ask to inspect them closer. Doing so out of motivation that is 2/3 curiosity appeared to me something of a sacrilege.  A property next door to the market itself, just west from it. The entrance is from the side closest to Metro Preobrazhenskaya.

While there check out a flea market of the 90s sort. Last observed in December 2012 and is note likely to last in the sterility-obsessed 2013 Moscow. You may also want to visit an old cemetery on the other side of the market. And of course the market itself, which will be mentioned a lot in this Guide.

Used books in Russian

Two of my favourites:

Paragraph, in the basement of Pyatnitskaya 3/4, Metro Novokuznetskaya. That’s a few steps  from my Apartment for rent too, in the Zamoskvorechye area of Moscow.

A Soviet-era used book store on Prospekt Mira, between Metro Prospekt Mira and Rizhskaya, west side. The exact adress is Prospekt Mira 79. Tel.: +7 495 681 3090.