August 18, 2016

Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ


Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ

Olympian Update 
A special section during the Rio Olympics

In the biggest turn of the Olympics, Michael Phelps now swims for Russia!

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Okay, no. Still, despite the Blagoveshchensk banner featuring Phelps’s new and improved swimming cap, Russia has yet to snag a swimming medal – though the medal count of 41 (and counting) now covers a tight silver in women’s wrestling, a medal in every color for gymnast Aliya Mustafina, and a particularly violent boxing match. With three days left in the Olympics, can Russia maintain its fourth-place ranking in the medal count?

New Decrees and Nooscopes

1. You visit the Kremlin, you get the onion domes, the tsars’ bodily remains, and more golden artifacts than you can shake a Fabergé egg at. But there’s plenty more that’s been off-limits for centuries, and a new decree is now opening up more such public spaces in the Kremlin. President Putin approved a list of new routes and spots to visit, including an archaeological dig, an old cathedral, and possibly a new museum. Not a bad way to spend a vacation.

2. Anton Vaino says he can use a “nooscope” to measure unseen things that impact the economy, and most folks can’t make heads or tails of it. So why is he replacing one of Putin’s top dudes? After Sergei Ivanov, head of the presidential administration, was unexpectedly replaced by Vaino, the bureaucrat’s academic past has been unearthed, nooscope and all. Maybe it will help explain the spate of replacements hitting Putin’s old guard.

3. The governor of Novosibirsk has signed a law prohibiting migrants from working in 16 professions. If you were planning on moving to Novosibirsk to become a teacher, taxi driver, or accountant, you’re out of luck. No hunting and breeding of wild animals either, and believe it or not, no work as an interpreter. The authorities describe the decision as a move to “ensure national security” as well as increase employment opportunities for Russian citizens. We can only hope Novosibirsk doesn’t run out of interpreters for wild animals.  

Quote of the Week

“The market is a manifestation of life. The brightest manifestations of life occur in its condensation: in certain points, certain lines, certain spatial-temporal formations.”

—The intro to “The Capitalization of the Future,” an article on economic theory (sort of) by Anton Vaino, the Kremlin’s new chief of staff.

In Odder News

  • Andrei Tarkovsky, renowned for his dark and complex film directing, also dabbled in Polaroids. And auctioneers are going crazy about it.
  • A Hare Krishna follower has been detained for illegal missionary work under the new anti-terrorist law. Maybe his voice was just off-key?
  • How to make the best of flooded streets? By wakeboarding through central Moscow, of course.
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Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

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Chekhov Bilingual

Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
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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.
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Moscow and Muscovites

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