February 14, 2019

From Russia with Love


From Russia with Love
Polar bears in Novaya Zemlya. Irina Elis

Things We Love: Dads, Camels, and Polar Bears (in Moderation)

1. Don’t let us catch you talking about un-bear-able weather, because some Russian villagers might have a bone to pick with you. Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago in the Arctic Circle, is currently dealing with an invasion of at least fifty-two polar bears that has been terrorizing two villages. Scientists suggest that the polar bears have taken to land given the lack of sufficient ice to live on. This puts residents and Russian authorities in a dilemma: do they take violent measures against the legally protected bears, or do they continue living in a state of emergency amid dangerous circumstances? That it is to say, should they bear arms, or simply grin and bear it?

2. In your humble editor’s opinion, the camel is a truly underrated animal. This was demonstrated this week, when a camel pulled a car out of the snow in Saratov. The camel, part of a local circus, put on quite the show of force in this episode, yanking the Lada (of course it was a Lada) out of the snow bank and running it forward about 100 meters. Honestly, at this point we’d believe it if you told us a camel could just walk right through the eye of a needle.

3. Russia wants better dads. As such, the Duma is discussing a law that would extend the current five day paid paternity leave to a whopping ten days. Hopefully the dads will stick around longer than ten days, too. That’s the goal of Duma deputy Boris Chernishov, who wants to introduce fatherhood classes in high schools to teach boys about the importance of family, which is meant to reduce the number of kids growing up without fathers. Hopefully, the young men who elect to take part in the classes will become textbook examples of good fathers. (Yes, that was a dad joke. Those should definitely be part of the curriculum.)

In Odder News

Student Cat Costume
Garfield makes the grade. / E1.RU
  • The cat’s pajamas: one student manages to impress their teacher (and maybe get good grades for life!) by wearing a cat costume to class
  • Abracadabra, praise be to Putin-a! A society of witches cast spells to enhance the power of Vladimir Putin.
  • A rare bat named Pushkin was granted sanctuary in Ufa. He is expected to hibernate for several months, and we hope he uses that time to gestate a historical masterpiece.

Quote of the Week

“But I feel so very sorry for the bears. After all, it’s not like they’re our guests — we’re the ones who live on their territory.”

Nadezhda Volf, resident of Novaya Zemlya

~ Thank you to Katrina Keegan and Tiffany Zhu for the story contributions! ~

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

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.
Tolstoy Bilingual

Tolstoy Bilingual

This compact, yet surprisingly broad look at the life and work of Tolstoy spans from one of his earliest stories to one of his last, looking at works that made him famous and others that made him notorious. 
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.
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.
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.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
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.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

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.
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.
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. 

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