Date of Award
Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)
Colby College. History Dept.
Amanda Sprang spent nine months, from September of 1995 to May of 1996, studying at Colby College's program in St. Petersburg, Russia. Through contacts made during previous trips to Russia in middle and high school, Amanda was able to quickly rekindle her old friendships and make new ones with many young Russians from different backgrounds. The following work is a collection of twelve essays about life in the New Russia. The essays are framed by a foreword and an epilogue that help place the entire work in a historical context. Although the theme of each essay emerges from a particular incident, within every story Amanda has addressed numerous topics relating to Russian life in today’s changing society. Her first essay, “Art Klinika," takes place in an avant-garde night club in St. Petersburg, and includes a brief yet impressionable, encounter with three young Russian men. “The Birthday Party” recalls a wild evening at the home of her close friend, showing how the Russians greet special occasions. Both the third and fourth essays take place in Moscow, where Amanda returns to visit old friends. These two essays portray the lives of the new economic elite in comparison with the average citizen, as well as show how young Russians face the new challenges that greet them. "Politics Russian Style" recalls a political rally in St. Petersburg, and attempts to shed light on the wacky political world of an infant democracy. Chapters Six through Ten take place away from the western cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow, as Amanda brings us to the cold, mysterious land of Siberia in the dead of winter. She recounts her five day train ride with a retired, high-powered, Communist party official, her experiences in the provincial city of Irkutsk, and a brief trip to a Buddhist monastery and, later, an excursion to Lake Baikal. Back in St. Petersburg, Chapter Eleven gives a humorous account of a ski trip with several Russian friends. Amanda finishes her work with her final chapter, “The Dacha," which describes a weekend spent at a Russian country home with her friend's family.
Russia, life, New Russia, Historical context, collection essays
Recommended CitationSprang, Amanda, "Beyond the Threshold: Life in the New Russia" (1997). Senior Scholar Papers. Paper 288.
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