August 22, 2019

Come Hell or High Horses, Let's Save This Plane!


Come Hell or High Horses, Let's Save This Plane!
Twenty-first-century convenience meets eighteenth-century flair. Tipichny Saratov

Quote of the Week

“Of all my hobbies, I like problems with self-esteem the most.”

— What one Russian bot thinks a female Elon Musk would sound like

Road Trips through Inferno, Horse Trips to Your House

1. If, in 2009, you asked Damir Yusupov what he’d be doing in ten years, he probably wouldn’t have said “crash-landing a plane to safety.” But that’s exactly what the lawyer-turned-pilot did last Thursday. When a flock of seagulls flew into the engines of their plane, Yusupov (and his 23-year-old co-pilot) had almost no time to react. But, thanks to their rapid thinking and extensive training, they landed the plane in a nearby cornfield — and everyone lived to tell the tale. “I don’t think I’m a hero,” Yusupov said afterwards. But when the president gives you a Hero of Russia award… then yeah, you’re a hero.


A woman in the background describes it as a “second birth.” / Deniz G via Youtube
 

2. Sometimes the road to hell is paved with… nothing. Driving along a newly paved road to Yaroslavl, Maxim Malkin reached the city limit and discovered that the road ended in a dirt path. He struggled across the “kilometer-long hell,” during which he saw horrors fit for Dante’s Inferno: a huge clearing with no lane markers, an abandoned construction site, and potholes the size of craters. “If you’re really going to finish restoring part of the road, then you might as well sweep the entire road away with a dirty broom,” Malkin fumed on VKontakte. The mayor has now promised to fix the road, though, so even this street has a sunny side.

A road ending in a dirt path
Not the road to hell so much as a hellish road. / Maxim Malkin via VKontakte

3. What’s better than getting your lunch delivered? Getting your lunch delivered on horseback. Saratov food deliverer Alexei Savelyev has eschewed the traditional car, opting instead to deliver food astride his glamly saddled white horse. (He used to teach horseback riding, so he’s not soe kind of greenhorn.) His employer has offered him an electric scooter, but Savelyev insists that at least he should be allowed to alternate. So, if you get delivery from him when you feel like you could eat a horse, well, no.

In Odder News

  • Paragliding is fun, but have you tried paragliding off a construction crane? These construction workers in Siberia did, and it looks like fun. (Don’t try this at home, or at your under-construction future home.)
Paragliding off a construction crane
Whee! / Anastasia Verevkina
  • Twenty-eight years ago, the August Coup against Gorbachev began. It was the last in a series of events precipitating the end of the Soviet Union. Check out photos of the coup by a foreigner who saw it with his own eyes.
  • Need a gift for a Russian friend? A new poll says you should buy them books.
Pushkin's self-portrait
This guy would approve. / Wikimedia Commons

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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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.  
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
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. 
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.

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