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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soros Lifts Russian Lit

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros spent $3.5 million in 1995 alone supporting Russia's major literary magazines. Nonetheless, this is but a fraction of the money that Soros has pumped into the country during the last few years to keep Russian science and culture alive.

These figures were quoted last month at a reception organized by Znamya magazine to award its prize for Best Russian Literature of 1995 to Georgy Baklanov, the well-known writer. Baklanov amused the gathering by telling Soros, who was present, that their gratitude should be mutual. Baklanov was one of the Soviet soldiers who occupied Hungary in 1956, thus forcing Soros into exile where he eventually made his fortune.


Viktor Kulikov, a writer from Tver, achieved notoriety last year when he wrote two scandalous, "instant" novels about the assassination of Vladimir Listyev, the famous and much-loved Russian television personality.

Now Kulikov promises to be in the headlines again, since Prometei publishers have just issued his new novel called "First Among the First." This is a sequel to Mikhail Bulgakov's eternally popular "The Master and Margarita."

Just as in the original, the events of "First Among the First" take place in two different periods, and the action is connected by the main character, who is alternatively the executive director of the Tver Film Festival and a personal assistant to Pontius Pilate.


Contrary to the stereotype of Russians as a nation of book lovers, a recent sociological survey revealed that 7 percent of Muscovites and 26 percent of Russians outside the capital possess not a single book. As to the number of true bibliophiles with libraries of more than 1,000 books, only 12 percent of Muscovites and 3 percent of non-Muscovites can lay claim to this distinction.