May 11, 2021

Ninety-Four Years Young



Ninety-Four Years Young
Especially after a year of being stuck inside our homes all the time, exercise is so important for our health.  Photo by Anna Shvets via pexels.com

Every year, Stephan Kolesnichenko completes the governmental Ready for Labor and Defense exam, and this year, just before his ninety-fifth birthday, he has earned himself a gold badge. 

For those unfamiliar, the exam (simply called GTO in Russian) was started during the Soviet era as a way to encourage physical fitness among youth (oh, and also to ensure that there would be able-bodied soldiers for battle once they turned of age). As years passed, different events, age groups, and requirements were added to the roster to meet the demands of a changing world. 

These days, there are levels for school children as well as a range of categories for adults, even those over the age of sixty-five, like Kolesnichenko. A military veteran, Kolesnichenko is convinced that physical fitness is the key to a healthy life. He goes for jogs and does exercises at the park in the summer and skis in the winter. 

For the GTO exam, he had to complete trials in Nordic walking, swimming, flexibility, and strength, and he performed exceptionally well. Despite being the oldest person to complete the exam this year, he still earned its highest honor, a gold badge.

Perhaps we should all be practicing our pushups more often... 

You Might Also Like

Why Russians Don't Run
  • September 01, 2013

Why Russians Don't Run

A tale of two long distance road races – Russia’s oldest and its most prestigious – and what they tell us about the state of running and fitness in Russia.
Drop and Give Me Fifty, Mr. Mayor
  • May 04, 2021

Drop and Give Me Fifty, Mr. Mayor

It's not very often that you see the mayor of a city get punished by a group of school-age children, but that's exactly what happened in Krasnoyarsk when mayor Sergei Eryomin lost a challenge.
A Blog for Babushka
  • December 23, 2020

A Blog for Babushka

A recent survey of the elderly finds that one-fifth of pensioners hope to supplement their income with a blog.
Pushups for the Poor
  • July 24, 2020

Pushups for the Poor

Russian lawmakers seek to boost the economy – and citizens' heart rates – by providing vouchers for workout classes.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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. 
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.
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.
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.
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.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
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. 
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.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.

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