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

Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

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

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
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.
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.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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.  

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