Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) is one of Russia's most acclaimed writers. His most famous novels include Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov. Although Dostoevsky created many works that were celebrated even within his lifetime, his life was anything but easy. He became orphaned as a teenager, was exiled to Siberia for reading banned materials, and struggled with disastrous spending habits that nearly lost him a decade of his work.

Tyler is still on hiatus so Hannah sits down with a different Tyler. Tyler Francke is a journalist and co-owner and founder of Now Hear This Media.

Now, we had added Dostoevsky to the episode lineup way back in the winter. Then, just as Hannah was picking up her biography (The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece by Kevin Birmingham) to start research for the episode, Vladimir Putin's army invaded Ukraine. If you're not up to date on the current situation in Eastern Europe, Hannah's coworkers are doing fantastic on the ground reporting on the war, its horrific toll, and the Ukrainian people's fierce resistance.

Francke and Hannah talked briefly about postponing the episode for a time when Russia wasn't such a hot topic, but ultimately decided that they didn't want to punish Dostoevsky, a writer who was almost executed for standing up to a corrupt regime in his own lifetime, for the current Russian dictator's sins. The pair also discuss the many ways in which the Russia of today still resembles the Russia of Dostoevsky's time.

The episode has plenty of laughs too: Hannah can't pronounce "Moscow" (but has a valid excuse!), Dostoevsky makes a bad business deal, and Francke’s Kenny Rogers joke goes way over Hannah’s head.


Thank you to Jake Bassen for our theme song:



As well as Cam Clawson, for our Correspondence Remix:



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