December 27, 2018

Favorite Stories from 2018


Favorite Stories from 2018
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (see August 2 story noted below) Russian Foreign Ministry

 

Wow! Looking back at our favorite stories from 2018 reminded us just how much happened in Russia this year, both big and small. Thank you to our readers for sticking with us, and we look forward to sharing the journey of 2019 with you. Here is a look back at some of our (and your) favorite stories from 2018:

February 15

One Russian grandmother isn't waiting for the cows to come home: she's skating across the deepest lake in the world to get them herself. Lyubov Morekhodova, a 76-year-old woman who lives next to Lake Baikal, skates up to six miles to check on her cows when they've strayed too far from her home. Very poetically, her first name means "Love" and her last name literally means "the one who walks on the sea." Even Gogol couldn't have given her a more appropriate name. [original post]

March 1

The adults are trying to appeal to the youths, and, as usually happens in such cases, the result is amusing. A local Russian media company just dropped a new music video, "Oi, come to the ELECTIONS!" The video features singing and dancing pensioners, rapping youth, and uncomfortable-looking cadets, all for the purpose of encouraging young people to vote in the Russian presidential elections, which will take place on March 18. These videos are nonpartisan, but they aren't immune from controversy: one widely-shared advertisement portrays a post-election world in which middle-aged men are asked to enlist, children beg parents for millions of rubles, and families must adopt gay people when their partners dump them. Will it be better at encouraging the youth to vote than it has been at riling them up? Unclear. [original post]

July 5

All hail Saint Akinfeyev and his holy foot! On Sunday, Russia narrowly beat out the football heavyweight Spain during a penalty shootout, launching them to the World Cup's Round of Eight. Who do Russians have to thank for this surprising victory? Goalie and captain Igor Akinfeyev, who blocked a Spanish shot with the tip of his cleated foot. As Russians partied like they'd never partied before (and that's saying something), Akinfeyev took on a special status in Russian society. Amid the celebration there were many who came to terms with the last-ditch promises they had made on the condition of Russia beating Spain, and Twitter is littered with evidence of them running through the streets nude, getting tattoos, and even searching for spouses. Thankfully this is all a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, unless, of course, Russia beats Croatia on Saturday. [original post]

Akinfeyev's Shoe
Akinfeyeva's Foot | innubis

August 2

With all this tension in the air, the Russian Foreign Ministry is trying a new tack. This week, it posted on its social media pages a photo of Sergey Lavrov (the Foreign Minister of Russia) holding a Russian flag. While the photo may be fairly innocuous, the caption is decidedly not Russian diplomacy as usual. The caption claimed that the photo has healing powers, advises that it be applied to the world's sore spots, and warns that it may cause exorcisms. Although the photo quickly received sneering comments, perhaps this new strategy may break through current roadblocks of foreign diplomacy. After all, laughter is the best medicine. [original post]

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Chekhov Bilingual

Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
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.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
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.
At the Circus (bilingual)

At the Circus (bilingual)

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.
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.
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.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

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

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