March 24, 2021

Who is Manizha?



Who is Manizha?
Manizha uses her ethnic heritage and femininity to draw inspiration for her work.  MANIZHA | vk.com

Russian-Tajik singer and prospective Eurovision candidate Manizha has released a cryptic and satirical video in an attempt to address her haters by declaring herself made of salt.

How did we get here? It's a long story.

On March 8, Manizha performed her song "Russian Women" on television and, by a national televoting process, earned herself the opportunity to represent Russia on the international stage. Her song, which strongly advocates for the empowerment and support of women, did particularly well given that her performance happened to coincide with International Women's Day

But not everyone was pleased by this topic, or with Manizha's strong work as a feminist activist. The Russian Union of Orthodox Women, in particular, published an open letter demanding a ban be placed on Manizha's song because it was their belief that the lyrics encouraged hatred towards men and does harm to the ideal of the "traditional family." Others have dismissed the singer in thinly veiled xenophobic comments regarding her nationality (even though she has lived in the country since the age of 2). 

It was with these individuals in mind that she created a faux-exposé in which she herself plays a T.V. reporter who covers what is described as the direst catastrophe of the past year (COVID-19 notwithstanding): herself. The report mainly asks, "who is Manizha exactly?" and to answer that question she brings in the "scientist" Veniamin Aleksandrovich to do some research.

Through the extremely scientific process of breaking into Manizha's dwellings while she was asleep and stealing her skeleton, the esteemed scientist was able to conduct some research and come to some startling conclusions. He ultimately decides that Manizha is something much worse than simply not being Russian, she's not even human and is instead composed entirely of salt (perhaps this is a reference to Anna Akhmatova's famous poem about Lot's wife?). 

We still aren't sure what exactly to make of this hilarious video, but we do hope that it makes Manizha's critics take a minute to think about how ridiculous they themselves are being. Or at the very least, confuses the heck out of them.

You can watch the video for yourself here. Maybe you'll understand it better than we did.

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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.
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. 
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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.
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.
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.
The Spine of Russia

The Spine of Russia

This coffee table book is the photographic journal of an epic 6000-kilometer road trip. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
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. 
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.
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.

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