Survival Russian

Category Results

Catch the Wind
November 01, 2011

Catch the Wind

Russian talking names can lead to many unexpected places. In this instance to euphemistic phrases for, well, you know...

A Cheat Sheet for Tom Hanks
September 01, 2011

A Cheat Sheet for Tom Hanks

The recent visit of Hollywood megastar Cameron Diaz to Moscow – to promote the launch of the movie Bad Teacher – started Mikhail Ivanov's creative juices flowing toward a seasonally appropriate theme: school slang.

The Art of Draznilki
July 01, 2011

The Art of Draznilki

Every Russian learned a few "draznilki" (teases) in childhood. While these usually have cruel intent and may not be something you will use in your Russian, it is good to be able to recognize and understand them.

Less than PC Russian
May 01, 2011

Less than PC Russian

The domino revolutions in the Middle East got me thinking about the word “Arab,” along with some other less-than-politically-correct Russian colloquialisms. 

Pamela Potemkin
March 01, 2011

Pamela Potemkin

A consideration of Russian leaders and eminences who have left their imprint on the Russian language

Survival Japanese
January 01, 2011

Survival Japanese

Where columnist Mikhail Ivanov considers the influence of Japanese on Russian language and slang.

Kvas v. Cola
November 01, 2010

Kvas v. Cola

A consideration of patriotism and language.

Wearied by the Sun
September 01, 2010

Wearied by the Sun

Where we consider Moscow's summer heat wave and its impact on language.

Lemme Tell Ya!
July 01, 2010

Lemme Tell Ya!

The fine art of linguistic shortcuts and slang.

Seeing Red
May 01, 2010

Seeing Red

How to find the "red price" when haggling for goods and services.

A Country of Poets
March 01, 2010

A Country of Poets

The role of poets in Russia has always stretched beyond the realms of literature. We look at poetry in everyday speech...

Tender Insults
January 01, 2010

Tender Insults

There is nothing like the tender, inoffensive insult to patch up strained relations...

 

Join Our Tribe. Get a Fun Newsletter + Ridiculous Deals

EVENTS FOR RUSSOPHILES

Russian-Language Gallery Tour
February 22, 2022 to February 22, 2032

Russian-Language Gallery Tour

Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY

Russian-language tour exploring our collection in depth, second Sunday of each month at 1 pm. Free, reservations required

A Few of Our Books

Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 

Popular Articles

Russian Life Takes a Pause
March 07, 2022

Russian Life Takes a Pause

As the world reels from the horrific, criminal events being perpetrated in Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, the Russian state, and the Russian military, all of us who nurture a love for Russian people, their culture and history, have been heartbroken. It is not easy to remain a Russophile when suddenly, all across the globe, the adjective “Russian” has become toxic.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955