June 06, 2019

Opposite Day in the World's Smallest Country


Opposite Day in the World's Smallest Country
It turns out the water is always greener on the other side of the strip-of-Europe fence between mainland Russia and Kaliningrad. (See In odder news, below.)  Newkalingrad.ru

Throwback Thursday

С днем рождения (happy birthday) to Russia’s everything, the father of the Russian language, the genius poet Alexander Sergeivich Pushkin. If you didn’t memorize a line of his poetry at some point, have you really studied Russian? Так дай Вам, Александр Сергеевич, бог любимым быть другим народом – нами. (May God grant that you, Alexander Sergeevich, be so loved by another people – us. One of Pushkin’s most famous lines of poetry, with additions.)

Go on a pilgrimage with the help of our article on places Pushkin visited, or enjoy Pushkin memes from home. 

 

As the students say, I'm dead. Except, opposite day, so it's not funny.

1. A gravedigger in Astrakhan dug his own grave by failing to pay child support, accumulating R200,000 ($3,600) in debt. Then he literally dug himself a grave and played dead in it when the bailiff came knocking at his workplace. It turned out he wasn’t such a dead ringer for a corpse though; his name was the only magic word needed to bring him back to life. Child support delinquency is a grave problem among working men in Russia, who outnumber women in failing to meet child support requirements, most of whom are unemployed, four to one. 

2. Tick bites and short holiday breaks get the Russian scientific stamp of approval. Honored Doctor of the Russian Federation and former First Lady of Krasnoyarsk Natalya Tolokonskaya announced that she believes tick bites are partly responsible for Siberians’ heightened immunity to viruses. Meanwhile, the rest of Russia is ticked off about next year’s official winter holidays being shortened from ten days to eight, yet psychologist Anetta Orlova said that shorter holidays might actually help prevent boredom and family fights. 

3. Students at the State Agricultural University in Tyumen studied their scholarships away. After a 31% increase in students passing their exams, the scholarship fund had to be divided between many more students, meaning less rubles for everyone, especially the best students, some of whom saw their stipends cut in half. The administration is asking for more funding from the government, but, in the meantime, we hope that this does not put friendships to the test, as students become stingy with their notes and homework help. 

 

In odder news

  • “Friends, aliens did not poison the fountain,” said the administration of Kaliningrad on VKontakte when the  city’s water turned bright green after someone dumped antifreeze in it.
  • An official in Kiselyovsk downed a cup of water full of worms in an attempt to calm residents worried about the larvae coming out of their tap
Russian official drinks worms
Not one to worm his way out of an awkward situation. / Rambler.ru
Stolen bridge
Won’t be crossing that bridge when we come to it. / kirap51 / Vkontakte

 

Quote of the week

“Everything is going well, that’s what’s bad!” 

– Mikhail Zhvanetskiy, writer and satirist, complaining that success is demotivating. 

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
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.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955