From Diaries to Blogs: Cultural and Political Networking in Russian Autobiographical Practice.

Tatiana Saburova, Natalia Rodigina


We aim to reveal the transformations of the subject, structure, goals, and functions of autobiographical practice from diary to blog in Russia, its traditions and developments as a specific form of political and cultural networking. The proposed paper is based on the comparison of the diaries of Alexander Turgenev (1784-1845), historian and a journalist, and the blog of Boris Akunin (Georgii Chkhartishvili, 1956-), a writer, translator, historian. Turgenev’s diaries were published as “Chronicle of a Russian” in reputable literary magazines and political journals in the 1830-40s; they contributed to the formation of the intelligentsia and furthered cultural links between Russia and Europe. Akunin expresses his political views on his blog “Love of History”, posting autobiographical notes, travelogues, reflections, correspondence, and photographs. Juxtaposing the diary and blog promises to yield rich insights into Russian cultural practices over time.


This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing in May 2014 and published on 16 March 2015.


Russian intelligentsia, diary, letter, and blog

Full Text:



Turgenev Alexander, Politicheskaya proza. Мoscow, 1989;

Turgenev Alexander, Khronika Russkogo. Moscow, Leningrad, 1964;

Akunin Boris Love of History

Paperno Irina, What Can Be Done with Diaries? Russian Review, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Oct., 2004), pp. 561-573;

Hellbeck Jochen, The Diary between Literature and History: A Historian's Critical Response, Russian Review, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Oct., 2004), pp. 621-629;

Schonle Andreas, Authenticity and Fiction in the Russian Literary Journey, 1790-1840 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000). Revised Russian translation: Podlinnost’ i vymysel v avtorskom samosoznanii russkoi literatury puteshestvii, 1790-1840 (St. Petersburg: Akademicheskii proekt, 2004);

Todd III William Mills, The Familiar Letter as a Literary Genre in the Age of Pushkin. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999;

Buhks Nora, The Role of the Everyday Letter in the Development of Russian Sentimental Prose of the Late Eighteenth Century, The Modern Language Review, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 884-889;

Sherman Stuart, Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form, 1660-1785. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Ostaph'evskii archive of Vyazemskii. St. Petersburg, 1899. Vol. 3.


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Tatiana Saburova, Natalia Rodigina

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

European Journal of Life Writing - ISSN 1876-8156 - is an open access initiative supported by the VU University Library.