July 07, 2016

Get undressed and read the news till you sweat


Get undressed and read the news till you sweat

Breaking Records

1. The Olympics aren’t just for athletes: Moscow’s Federation Council set out to break world records by considering 160 bills – ten times the average – in just one day. Most controversial among them: a package of tight anti-terrorism laws meant to target extremism, but likely to impact citizens on many levels. But with summer recess and State Duma elections just around the corner, it’s all in a day’s work.

2. Maybe not a record, but certainly a feat: as the world’s sportiest president, Vladimir Putin has co-authored a book on judo to be distributed to millions of kids across Russia. The leader’s prowess in the martial art has been proven in print before, but the new book includes history, theory, and training for how to be a fighter, but also live harmoniously. Steps on how to become president not included.

3. Leonardo diCaprio’s Russian doppelgänger is on his way to an Oscar, by way of a vodka commercial. The ad features an assortment of phony designer products – including, of course, the Leo lookalike himself – and culminates with a bottle of the not-phony vodka brand Five Lakes. And in his next role, the former security guard will wrestle a bear.

 

Quote of the Week

“Get undressed and work till you sweat.”

—Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in an inspirational speech turned enunciation disaster. Lukashenko allegedly mispronounced “razvyvat’sya” (to develop oneself) as “razdevat’sya” (to get undressed). And citizens happily complied.

theguardian.com

In Odder News

  • In the States, you star in “The Apprentice,” then run for president. In Chechnya, you rule the region, then model a show on “The Apprentice” to get a new government employee.
  • Come kickoff time at 2018’s World Cup in Russia, natives can watch matches for one fifth the price to be paid for foreigners.
  • Also in soccer, two players from Russia’s Euro Cup team are charged with a €250,000 drinking spree in Monte Carlo. The worst of it: this was after Russia lost the tournament.

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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.
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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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