December 06, 2018

Jedi Masters, Moon Colonies, and More


Jedi Masters, Moon Colonies, and More
Fly Me to the Moon

1. That’s one small step for man, one giant sleep for mankind. Those are the words we expect to hear from the first astronaut to sleep on the moon in Russia’s forthcoming moon colony. This week Russia’s Roscosmos announced plans to establish a moon colony by the year 2040. Construction is slated to begin in 2025. It seems the colony won’t lack inhabitants, as hundreds of would-be cosmonauts have already submitted applications to become the first Russian to touch the moon.

2. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. The chief executive of Russia’s state-owned bank, VTB, took this to heart and wore an Obi-Wan Kenobi jedi costume to Russia’s largest financial conference (photo, above). Jedi Master Andrei Kostin compared the US to the Death Star and Russia to the Republic, and he was joined by Luke Skywalker (the bank’s corporate and investment business manager). While we quibble with the analogy (the Enemy should be the Empire, not the Death Star!), we do find this year’s costume more universally friendly: last year Kostin showed up to the conference as Stalin.

The Moscow Times

3. More Muscovites may be taking the metro to get around, as some Moscow taxi drivers have launched a strike. The strike is aimed against poor working conditions and low wages, as well as the taxi aggregators that the drivers claim exacerbate them. The strike began with one taxi driver announcing a hunger strike, but has since grown. Drivers note the danger they pose to themselves, their passengers, and others when driving for excessive amounts of time in a day.

In Odder News:
  • A tsarist who fights for civil rights? Only in Russia.

  • No meeting, no problem: Putin shrugs off a meeting cancellation from Trump

  • J.K. Rowling knows Russian?! Or something magical appears to have happened on her Twitter account

Quote of the Week:

“If that’s so, then President [Putin] will have a couple of extra hours on his agenda for useful meetings on the sidelines of the summit.”

— Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reacting to Trump cancelling his meeting with Putin over events in the Kerch Strait

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Some of Our Books

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 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.  
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...
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
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.
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.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

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.
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.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and 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. 
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.

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