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From Text to Context:

Crime, Punishment and Putin’s Russia

Can student journalism and current events bring a 19th century novel to life?

Students at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, California, accepted that challenge this year, working with Global Student Square to produce websites, annotated photos, commentary and other multimedia products that connect Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” published in 1866, to everything from punk rock and Internet censorship to the February 2015 murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Under the guidance of award-winning teacher Justine Rutigliano and GSS Executive Director Beatrice Motamedi, students connected these current events and their ongoing study of literature to journalistic practice and the academic standards of Sequoia’s international baccalaureate program. Global Student Square’s student editors then read and reviewed what students produced and designed this Russia page to reflect their work.

Click below to see the results of a deep dive into a country, a culture, and a work of literature that seems more timeless today than ever.

—the editors

Censor This

A look at Russia’s new blogger law shows how a review of “Crime and Punishment” might look today.

Can't Breathe

Pussy Riot’s new “I Can’t Breathe” video is a Russian punk feminist take on police brutality in the U.S.

Behind the Crime

An annotated photo shows where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down and how his murder is a modern-day “crime and punishment.”

Radical Raskolnikov

What if Raskolnikov had a Tumblr page? It might look something like this, a blog by Sequoia students on youth and activism.

Euromaidan Explained

A website and timeline show how a city square became the place where West and East came head-to-head.

Putin Portrait

Who is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin? And why does the West struggle to understand him?

Balancing the Crimea

Arguments against — and for — Russia’s March 2014 annexation of the Crimea.

Kolya versus the Kremlin

Corruption, repression, and a bad streak of luck are the subjects of “Leviathan,” a Russian movie nominated for this year’s Oscars.

(Don't) Visit Donetsk

A Facebook page guides armchair travelers to a city trapped in conflict but rich in history.

Assignment Ukraine

A Q&A with a former student journalist who got his start covering “total disaster.”

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