THE TIMELESS SCRIBE
'Russia on Live' is an online journal that hopes to give you a greater understanding of Russian culture. Russia, like any place that appears to foreigners to be mysterious, unknown, and even dangerous, is usually associated with political controversy and cultural stereotypes. If one had never experienced Russia, you would think it was a land full of matryoshkas, oil fields and snow.
One of my desires is to dispel this ambiguity and 'foreigness'. Surprisingly, in this world of computers and information, very little is known about life in Russia. Russia's cultural life has evolved like any other, in that trying to encourage its own cultural traditions to thrive, the world has sometimes been left out of some of its greatest achievements. Russian life is so complex and contradictory, that it is difficult to engage - let alone understand - all the various cultural productions and traditions around us.
Another desire is to revitalise travel writing: to reinstate the tradition of observation, rather than of cultural judgment. Even in writing this, I know that objectivity is something we yearn for, but not necessarily practice. Our identities, experiences and environment affect and mar the best of words at times. To be committed to exploring the world of Russia beyond the stale descriptions of what a reader expects is a challenge we hope to connect at least some of the dots to.
Having moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, from Melbourne, Australia, I sometimes feel that I have not left Melbourne. Both are cultural capitals, adorned with reputations of abrupt rupture, devastating weather conditions and unique cafes. Cities create their own myths and stories, and I am fascinated by the fabric of this city: the illusions and alienation it holds for foreigners, the intoxication and endless sense of mobility for the intrepid and successful. In retrospect, perhaps this feeling of disorientation and of innovation is characteristic of modern cities in general. Although, not all pieces in Magazine will be based in or even about St. Petersburg, I believe that they will be influenced by the katabatic bustle of the city somehow.