January 06, 2022

Weak Stomachs, Romanov Reboot, and Ciao to 2021


Weak Stomachs, Romanov Reboot, and Ciao to 2021
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News, say "Ciao" to 2021, say "Privyet" to someone living intentionally with a carbon footprint of zero, and prepare for another retelling of the last of the Romanovs.

  • We were right: Ivan Urgant's (er, Giovanni Urganti's) "Ciao 2021" variety/talk show on January 1 was as weird as expected. It was completely in Italian, with Russian subtitles, with fake suntanned and coiffed audience members in 70s wear on Russia's Channel 1. The best part was President Putin's speech that ended the show: the clock struck midnight on a different tower, and Putin addressed the nation in deepfake Italian in front of the Colosseum, here. Check out the entire show – if you have way too much time on your hands – here.
  • Russian-speaking Ukrainian blogger Stas Asket is showing the world that a completely eco-friendly life is not only possible but also internet-glamorous. Asket – which means “Ascetic” – gets everything he needs from a local landfill, including food, and millions of people are watching him do it. The 25- or 27-year-old (it's complicated) was born in the rundown house he lives in, and his parents left it to him when he turned 18. Ascetic will eat nearly all food that he finds in the landfill, arguing, "There is no stale food, there are only weak stomachs." According to his pictures, Ascetic has a dog but, we are guessing, no wife or girlfriend.
  • Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin has proudly announced that Moscow has 3.5 times fewer orphans than in 2010. What that really means is that Moscow is shifting to a foster care model, so there are 3.5 times fewer children living in orphanages. A whopping 93.4% of orphaned Muscovite children are not being raised in institutions anymore. At the end of December, Sobyanin gave awards to both foster and adoptive families that are helping to solve the problem of orphaned children. The "Family of the Year" has five adopted children. Sobyanin emphasized that not terminating parental rights, but returning children to their biological parents, is the system's priority.
  • Sergei Kozlov's The Romanovs: Loyalty and Betrayal is being turned into a Russian movie, and actress Milla Jovovich wants to play Tsarina Alexandra, the wife of Nicholas II. In an interview, Kozlov and producer/screenwriter Oleg Urushev said that Alexandra was a foreigner anyway, so the native Russian-Serbian Milla Jovovich who went to school in the United States and does not have perfect Russian should be a great fit. Filming is expected to begin in late 2022. In the concept photo, does anyone else think that Jovovich looks like Nancy Kerrigan?

You Might Also Like

Reconnecting Adoptees
  • January 01, 2008

Reconnecting Adoptees

Russia remains one of America's largest sources of foreign adoption. Now, after more than a decade of cross-cultural adoptions, thousands of children from Russia are bound to begin wondering about their roots. Some, in fact, are already digging.
Finding Her Russian Roots
  • July 18, 2021

Finding Her Russian Roots

How a conversation led one of 60,000 Russian adoptees in the United States on a journey to her past.
Not All Eco-Heroes Wear Capes
  • October 06, 2021

Not All Eco-Heroes Wear Capes

Meet Khokhulya: he's a Russian desman, the official eco-hero of the Kaluga Region, and now an internet personality to boot. 
The World Cup Whirlwind Begins
  • June 14, 2018

The World Cup Whirlwind Begins

Is it football or soccer? Either way, TWERF prepares for the start of the World Cup by examining Russia’s chances (not great), while still paying attention to a few other stories before the madness begins.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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.
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.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.

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.

Latest Posts


Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955