March 29, 2018

New Zealand, Nuke Names, and New 'dos


New Zealand, Nuke Names, and New 'dos

We have no words. This week’s tragic mall fire in Kemerovo killed over 60 children and adults. We know all Weekly Russia File readers share in our feelings of grief and empathy for their families and loved ones.


Round Two of Election News

1. This man’s as good as his mustache. Or at least, as good as his mustache was. In an update to one of last week’s stories, Communist Party Presidential candidate Pavel Grudinin made good on his word and shaved his mustache. Prior to the election, he had promised blogger Yuri Dud that he would shave his mustache if he got less than 15% of the vote. As the shaving gods would have it, poor Pavel only got 11.7%. Grudinin hemmed and hawed for a while on whether he would carry out the deed (inspiring a mobile game in which you yourself could shave Grudinin’s moustache), but he finally realized he needed to make good on his campaign promise. His upper lip may be shaven, but at least it’s stiff!

 

2. Russia’s most important election of the year has concluded! No, not the presidential election. This week Russia announced the winners of the nuclear missile system naming contest. The winning names were “Burevestnik” for the cruise missile, “Peresvet” for the laser, and “Poseidon” for the underwater drone. Burevestnik is a Russian name for a bird but literally translates to “the announcer of a storm,” Peresvet was a medieval Russian monk warrior, and hopefully Poseidon is self-explanatory.

3. I spy… no spies. New Zealand got itself into a bit of a pickle this week when it tried to expel Russian spies in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent that was residing in the UK. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find any. The Prime Minister of New Zealand said she wasn’t surprised that New Zealand is not Russia’s top spy destination, given the lack of Russian interests in the island nation. But what with New Zealand’s stunning scenery, that seems like a failure on the part of the FSB.

In Odder News:

Photo: evgeny__volkov

  • Russia (along with much of Eastern Europe) said “hello yellow” as an African dust storm reached its southern regions, imbuing the landscape with a lemony tint

  • If there can be treehuggers, there can be television tower huggers: citizens of Yekaterinburg held a “Hug the Tower” rally in an attempt to stop the demolition of an aging, half-finished TV tower

  • A slam dunk for Yekaterinburg: American point guard and WNBA retiree Jamierra Faulkner just joined their basketball team (she got citizenship, too!)

Quote of the Week:

“We don't have Russian undeclared intelligence officers here. If we did, we would expel them.”

—Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern

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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.
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93 Untranslatable Russian Words

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Bears in the Caviar

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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.
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.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
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A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
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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.

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