“Despite the well-established rule, eating ice cream while one has a sore throat or a cough is not harmful. It is reasonably nutritious, and the chill helps with pain.”
– A Russian doctor quoted by the government agency Roskachestvo, disagreeing with every other Russian. It’s cold and flu season; stay healthy, and (apparently) eat cold dairy products.
1. Russians are certainly not in a pickle when it comes to the production of canned food: they have figured it out quite well, with the help of not only family recipes, but also the internet. From August through the middle of October, there were 35 million Yandex (basically, Russian Google) searches about storing food for the winter. The most popular searches among preserves were for cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, plums and currents, but ferns are the thing to pickle in the Far East. The overall number of searches declined this year, however, probably due to the relatively poor harvest, but pickled cabbage and mushrooms became more popular this year versus last. Yet it’s hard to imagine how Russians could become even more excited about cabbage and mushrooms.
2. Gryaz might mean “dirt,” but a playground in the town Gryazi, Lipetsk Oblast, is anything but trashy. Pensioner Sergei Borodin built the playground entirely from recycled materials. He started with a concrete block left over from a construction project, which he painted to look like a train from a Russian cartoon. When it became popular with local kids, Borodin added a swing set, then a ship and sandbox, then cottages, a traditional Russian oven, and more, all made with materials like scrap metal, old tires and broken bricks, and decorated with distinctively Russian fairytale flair. A project like this is certainly not child’s play; Borodin has won multiple awards for his hard work, and, of course, the gratitude of the children.
3. Getting a side job may no longer be a foreign concept to students studying abroad in Russia. Valentina Matviyenko, chair of the Federation Council, announced plans to introduce a law to the Duma that would give foreign students the right to earn some money on the side while at university. According to her, this right to get a side job, “just like we all did, just like Russian students do,” will make Russia a more attractive destination for foreign students. The law is planned to be adopted by the end of this fall, which means that, as early as next year, foreign students studying in Russia could earn side-rubles to pay for all the travel, nightlife, and cultural events that may have drawn them to Russia in the first place.
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