Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:59:58
16 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Culture

Covering the broader realm of culture, plus humor, food and drink.

Anna Karenina: The Puppet Version
Anna Karenina: The Puppet Version

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.

Tags: reviews, movies, anna karenina, tolstoy, keira knightley
Omens, Blacklists and Vampires, Oh My!
Omens, Blacklists and Vampires, Oh My!

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.

Tags: vampires, putin, adoption
Vodka: The Miracle Drug?
Vodka: The Miracle Drug?

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).

Tags: vodka
Tsoy Lives!
Tsoy Lives!

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.

Bliny
Bliny

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...."

Tags: bliny, holidays, maslenitsa, chekhov
Lyubov Orlova
Lyubov Orlova

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).

Tags: orlova, film, cinema, alexandrov, stalin, volga-volga, jolly fellows
6 Things Russian Babushkas Disapprove Of
6 Things Russian Babushkas Disapprove Of

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...

Tags: babushkas, culture, étiquette
Etcetera

Russians are wearing less and will have to do with fewer mushrooms this year. President Medvedev is Russia's Internet President (while PM Putin apparently does not even have a cellphone)...

A Russian Under Every Bed

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. 

Notable New Film: The Concert

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...

Now THAT'S a Reset Button!

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.

Tags: espionage, anna chapman, cold war, spies
Putin and Medvedev as Na'Vi

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:

 
Annual Holiday Gift Guide
Annual Holiday Gift Guide

Our annual consideration of some great gift ideas for Russophiles. Now available online as well!

Tags: gifts, russia, holidays
The Bogeyman

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 ...

Tags: health care, russia, cold war
Obama's Speech in Moscow

President Obama gave a nice tribute to Russian culture in his speech to Moscow college students.

Tags: culture, space, obama
Must See Films, Must Read Fiction

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...

Tags: film, fiction, literature, books, movies, arts
Happy Birthday Nikosha Gogol!

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol is one of Russia's greatest and yet least appreciated writers. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and other classics, said that "we all came out of Gogol's Overcoat." What he meant is that Gogol was completely unlike any Russian writer who preceded him, and that all Russian literature that followed was indebted to him.

Tags: gogol, literature, nabokov, dostoyevsky
Independence Day
Independence Day

In most countries, Independence Day conjures up images of grand celebration, fireworks, family get-togethers, parades and so on. These celebrations commemorate the declaration and establishment of sovereignty by a colony or nation occupied and governed by another nation. This is not exactly the case with Russia's Independence Day.

Tags: independence, august coup, yeltsin, gorbachev
Found Email

I get so much spam trash, that today I decided to harvest a line or two from each spam I got (well, the PG or less ones) and shuffle them together into a found poem. Trash into art? Not quite. But something...

Tags: spam
How to Fail at Business While Remaining Truly Russian

Saw an entry from Stanislav Mishin's Mat Rodina Blog, when it was posted to Johnson's List. A superb and well-argued summary of several things Russian business people need to attent to if they want to do business with the West. 

Tags: customs, business