January 18, 2018

Aliens, help Russia!


Aliens, help Russia!
Hey, who turned out the lights all month?

1. If you’re not a fan of sweat or sunburns, Moscow in December is the place for you. Russia’s capital got a whopping six minutes of sunlight through the entire month of December. Sure, the yearly average of 18 hours isn’t much better, but the December of 2017 was not just particularly dismal; it was the darkest month in the city’s history, according to data from Russia’s meteorological center. When Russians complain about being kept in the dark, it’s not just about secrets they’re not finding out.

2. Farming for salvation? A field in Moscow’s Mitino district is home to a giant, carved message that can be seen in space. The letters carved into the field say “Lord, help Russia.” A previous message spelled “Putin, help Skhodnya,” referring to a valley slated for a construction project. The message to the lord was apparently carved in 2016, but was recently discovered and propelled to popularity by social media. God and aliens may not be listening, but social networks always are.

3. How about an independent poll with your election? No can do. The Levada Center, Russia’s top independent pollster, was labeled a foreign agent in 2016, but is only facing the music now: foreign agents are banned from playing a part in elections, so Levada cannot publish survey results at least until the election. Meanwhile, the state-controlled polling agency VTsIOM is picking up the sociological slack: for starters, it claims that 73.8% of Russians polled will vote for Putin.

In Odder News
  • Lions and tigers and folk art, oh my! Russian airlines decorate their planes with a flair. Check out the animals, flowers, and unusual color palettes that keep Russia’s airways exciting.

  • Bring out the dogs! Specifically, the huskies. Winter is a great time for husky racing and other activities with the cold-tolerant canines.

Quote of the Week

“Last December was the darkest month in the history of weather observations.”
—A report from the weather portal Meteonovosti putting December’s six minutes of sunlight in context.

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

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.
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.
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.
Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
Turgenev Bilingual

Turgenev Bilingual

A sampling of Ivan Turgenev's masterful short stories, plays, novellas and novels. Bilingual, with English and accented Russian texts running side by side on adjoining pages.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

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 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.
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. 
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.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 

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