January 11, 2018

A little vodka, a little puppies, a little Despacito


A little vodka, a little puppies, a little Despacito

1. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Despacito may have been nominated for the song of the year Grammy, it may have sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks, and it may have garnered four billion YouTube views (thanks, Bieb). But you know a song's really made it when it gets covered by a Pavel, Vasily and Kirill’s folk band from Novosibirsk. You’re welcome.

Need more. Ok, fine. Here is also a hilarious parody of the song (subtitled, and also from Nizhny) that is, well, a bit NSFW.

2. New Year’s is a special time in Russia – so special, in fact, that they celebrate it twice! The second time being January 14, aka Vasilyev’s Day. [English]. And, given that 2018 is the year of the dog, what better way to bark in the New Year than with a wag of the tail from cute puppies? Brought to you by the Russian Ministry of Defense, who is raising these service dogs (for entirely peaceful purposes we hope).

 

3. Whether celebrating New Year’s the first or second time, you need to go out and get yourself a really nice, pricey bottle of vodka. No, no, wait, you have to pay for it! Which apparently was not the plan of a thief who stole a $1.3 million dollar bottle (yeah, you read that right) under the watchful eye of a Danish bar’s CTV camera. He walks into the storage room at night and walks right to the most expensive bottle. As if, you know, he knew his way around. (Just saying.) 

4. What's "yat" got to do with it? Exactly 100 years ago on January 1, 1918, the Bolsheviks took the orthographic reforms set in place by the Provisional Government and made the ironclad rule of the land. The goal? To show that they were making demonstrable changes. And quickly.  Russian | English Well, letters are one thing, language another. Noted Russian translator of the Harry Potter novels, Natalia Mavlevich offers some fascinating thoughts on her profession, not least of which is this: “I became convinced that in the Russian language there are infinitely more synonyms for grief, misfortune, sorrow, grief, misfortune, wretchedness and much less for happiness, joy, fun, jubilation.” Russian | English

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

Some of Our Books

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.
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.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
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 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.  
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.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
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.
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.

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
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955