Covering the broader realm of culture, plus humor, food and drink.
Ever wonder why Soviet houses looked so drab, colorless, and interchangeable? It all started with Nikita Khrushchev's battle against architectural excess, and continues to plague Russia to this day.
In addition to highlighting local issues, Moscow's mayoral race has generated lively discussions of various national topics. Front and center among these is Russia's immigration and migrant worker policy.
A compendium of 13 useful websites for persons interested in traveling to Russia, covering everything from the latest visa information to cruises, to what not to do when in Russia (etiquette).
The Americans, on FX, is a brilliant episodic drama that recreates the 1980s with only minimal anachronisms but plenty of tension, plot twists, double-dealing and moral relativism.
Has your postmaster chased you down the street with a broom lately? Clearly you don't live in Russia... The Russian Post continues to stoke the fury of millions. But Russian videographers are striking back, documenting abuses by RP workers.
The movie is almost too silly to discuss, as if Saturday Night Live decided to do a parody, but nobody but the costume-director and scene-making crew were ready. A puppet resembling Keira Knightley plays Anna; although thin, even scrawny, the animators make her look almost human.
While the U.S. was being battered by Superstorm Sandy and the Election of Nattering Negativity this week, a steady stream of odd stories out of Russia caught my eye. Worried they might otherwise get overlooked, I decided to corral them here.
Culled from vodkaphiles.com: a listing of 20 things you can do with vodka you may have never considered (and may or may not want to try).
There is not a single other figure in Russian rock – living or dead – who has attained the same sort of cult status as Victor Tsoy, who would have been 50 on June 21. And while Tsoy’s biography is well-known, it hardly explains how it is that the person and legacy of Victor Tsoy continues to this day to play such an important role in Russian culture - even in Russian mass culture.
In honor of Maslenitsa, we offer this great story/essay by Chekhov on bliny: "Did you know that bliny have been around for over a thousand years, since what is known as the old Slavonic ab ovo...? They appeared on earth before Russian history began and have lived through it all from the beginning to the last page, without any doubt, invented, like the samovar, by Russian minds...."
Lyubov Petrova Orlova was born January 29, 1902 and became the first Soviet movie star and sex symbol. She was also Stalin’s favorite film actress and a highly gifted singer. This is an extended biography of the artist (an abridged version ran in the JanFeb 2012 issue of Russian Life).
What comes to mind when you think of a Russian national icon? Vodka, matryoshkas, bears? Fyodor Dostoyevsky? Alla Pugacheva? Cheburashka? Surprisingly few people, including Russians themselves, mention babushkas, the omnipresent grandmothers in head scarves. Yet their influence is huge. Red Square huge. Katyusha rocket huge. So it pays to know how to please them...
Ok, I might be biased, given that at Russian Life we're focused 24/7 on things Russian. But lately it seems like Russians are popping up everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places.
A new movie opens July 30 starring Melanie Laurent and Alexei Guskov and it sounds like a fun summer diversion for Russophiles. We're waiting for our review copy to deliver a judgement, but here is a synopsis...
Life is always stranger than fiction, or, in this case, it may have been imitating [bad] fiction. Or at least so it seems from the transcripts of the case against Anna Chapman.
Avatar has become the largest grossing movie in Russian history. But, more interestingly, a spin-off photo morfing site (which seemed to be connected to McDonald's Finland) allowed visitors to turn pictures of famous people into the blue Na'Vi. A Russian newspaper tried it with Medvedev and Putin. Here are the tinted results. First Putin:
When it comes to bogeymen, China, Cuba, even North Korea can't hold a candle to old Mother Russia. This week, as tempers flared and theatrical protests abounded around health care, a woman offered this irrational take on proposed reforms at a town hall meeting ...
President Obama gave a nice tribute to Russian culture in his speech to Moscow college students.
In our 100th issue, we have a long feature, "100 Things Everyone Should Know About Russia," with loads of factoids, notes, lists and essays. We figured our list of the "must read" fiction and "must see" movies would be a bit contentious (and certainly foreshortened). So we are posting the lists here for reader comment and supplementation...