Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape

As nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cities; they are living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches, and connect us to nature and our past. Today, four-fifths of Americans live in or near urban areas, surrounded by millions of trees of hundreds of different species. Despite their ubiquity and familiarity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their fascinating natural history or remarkable civic virtues.

Kyrgyz Cultural Evening: “Rooted in Felt” & “Salt Peanuts”

The Kennan Institute and the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada invite you to an evening celebrating Kyrgyz art, both contemporary and traditional. The event will begin with a reception featuring a display of artworks at the Wilson Center. The exhibit, titled “Rooted in Felt” has been organized by the organization Voices, a DC nonprofit, and includes felted rugs, wall panels, fashion design, and other objects created by artisans from Kyrgyzstan and this Central Asian republic’s neighbors such as Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Russia.

Moscow’s Facelift as Modernization

Part of a Moscow street is sectioned off with a semitransparent construction curtain for renovation. Photo: Maxim Trudolyubov

Central Moscow has been a scene of digging and dredging for about three years now. Muscovites have gone from denial, anger, bargaining, all the way to acceptance. The current mood in Moscow: “We are in this forever.”

What’s in a Name? The Kremlin's Political Strategy, That’s What

Parents who think names like Princess Daniella, Tsar, and BOCH rVF 260602 have a nice ring to them are out of luck. A new law prohibits giving children names that include numbers, combinations of numbers and letters, symbols, swear words, ranks, or last names with more than two hyphenated words. The grounds: these kinds of names violate the rights of children.

Cultural Undercurrents in the Post-Soviet Space

Photo by Chris Boland /

This article first appeared on Intersection

Oral histories are emerging as a useful way for analysts to get beyond the façade of high politics, public discourse, and popular protests in the post-Soviet space.