Vahan Ananyan was born on June 22, 1959, in Yerevan. He started painting in early childhood. He studied drawing, composition, and painting while studying in the workshop of Sergey Stepanyan, a famous Armenian sculptor. Already in 1977, Vahan held the first solo exhibition in Yerevan. It was followed by two more exhibitions – in 1978 and in 1979. These exhibitions established his reputation as a master of his craft. In 1994, he moved to Odessa, where seven solo exhibitions of his paintings would be held. In 2005, he was invited to and participated in the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Florence. He died on December 18, 2006, in Odessa, after a protracted illness. His ashes are buried in three cities – Yerevan, Tallinn, and Odessa. 2007 saw a posthumous exhibition of his paintings, which presented two main periods of his work – his Tallinn period and his Odessa period.
This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!
“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.