Russia is a dominant force in the world, whose culture has been shaped by its unique position on the margins of both East and West. As Russia faces new cultural challenges from outside its national boundaries, this volume introduces Russian culture in all its rich diversity, including the historical conditions that helped shape it and the arts that express its highest achievements. Newly commissioned essays by leading scholars explore language, religion, geography, ideological structures, folk ethos and popular culture, literature, music, theatre, art, and film. A chronology and guides to further reading are also provided. The Companion offers both historical orientation for the central processes of Russian culture and introductory surveys of the arts in their modern context. Overall, the volume reveals, for students, academic researchers and all those interested in Russia, the dilemmas, strengths, and complexities of the Russian cultural experience.