December 09, 2021

Evil Etsy, Nutcracker Shortages, and Rudolph on His Way


Evil Etsy, Nutcracker Shortages, and Rudolph on His Way
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News, reindeer get their heart rates up, "The Nutcracker" is a nightmare, and Etsy gets sanctioned.

  • Things got real when Russia temporarily shut down Etsy, the whimsical handmade crafts marketplace, over allowing the sale of knockoff designer goods pretending to be Gucci, Dior, and Chanel. Roskomnadzor, Russia's internet watchdog, banned Etsy for about one day until the site took down the knockoff page.
  • The Russian internets cannot stop watching a reindeer racing with a train on a bed of fluffy white snow in Yamal. The video has been set to many different soundtracks, including one that seems quite fitting right now: the Christmas song "Sleigh Ride."
  • Like a scene out of a Hollywood movie, police in the Khabarovsk Region escorted a pregnant woman out of a traffic jam and to the hospital to safety. The eight-months-pregnant woman was not in labor, but she was in pain and her baby might well have been lost in the traffic jam. Police jumped to her aid and whizzed past the fray with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Everyone's emotions were "off the charts." After reaching the hospital safely, mother and baby are doing fine.
  • Want to see The Nutcracker in Moscow? Good luck! All you have to do is stand in a line for a day and a half with 600 other people. There are only 20 performances of "The Nutcracker" in late December and early January at the Bolshoi every year, and you must stand in line to get the tickets, priced at R1,500-20,000 ($20-$270). The Bolshoi has a Kafkaesque, bizarre, and unofficial system that is not publicized anywhere: You need to show up on December 3 to get your name on a list that will entitle you to a bracelet at midnight on December 4, which enters you into the contest for tickets. If you win a ticket, you have to return a third time to get it. The actual performance requires you to come back a fourth time. Apparently, this whole labyrinthine process is to prevent "scalpers" from making money on tickets. Meanwhile, over in St. Petersburg – where "The Nutcracker" was first staged in 1892, you can buy a ticket online. Like a normal person.

You Might Also Like

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
  • November 01, 2012

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky's now classic holiday ballet debuted in December 1892, but it was far from as popular in its debut as it is today. And it has gone through some interesting changes over the past 120 years.
The Museum of Ballet
  • January 01, 2005

The Museum of Ballet

The Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg was Russia’s first home for ballet. And, despite some difficulties, it may still be truest to the roots of the art.
Nutcracker Sweet
  • November 01, 2004

Nutcracker Sweet

The holidays are a time for great music and great sweets. So what better time to enjoy a nutty sweet like these Almond Caramels. We offer not only the recipe, but some interesting history of the most famous holiday musical: The Nutcracker.
Ballet Map of Russia
  • January 01, 2006

Ballet Map of Russia

Everyone has heard of the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky. But what about the great Perm company? Or those of Buryatia or Kazan? Climb aboard, the tour begins now.
It's Nutcracker Season!
  • November 07, 2013

It's Nutcracker Season!

It's that time of year again: dancing toys, mice, and candy, waltzing flowers, presents coming to life... But was this time of year always so closely tied to the Nutcracker?
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
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.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
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.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.

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

800-639-4301
802-223-4955