April 21, 2016

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all


Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

Photos, Finances, and Your Friend Mr. Putin

A boat of Syrian refugees, and one of the photos that clinched this year's Pulitzer Prize.

1. Russian photographer Sergei Ponomarev has snapped his way to the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for news photography. Along with his New York Times colleagues, Ponomarev is celebrated “for photographs that captured the resolve of refugees, the perils of their journeys, and the struggle of host countries to take them in.”

2. Russia’s law on foreign agents may be getting increasingly draconian. The latest: any money donated from abroad may fall under that sinister “international funding” umbrella. That could mean farewell to funding for orphans, the disabled, hospitals, victims of natural disasters, Russian refugees, and a whole slew of charities – not just the NGOs engaging in “political” activity originally covered in the law.

3. Russians wait all year for President Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” call-in show, when he answers questions from the public. Of the 2.5 million questions submitted, Putin addressed issues such as street potholes, Turkey, breakfast cereal, the Panama Papers, and more. His gentler tone with citizens was apparent – perhaps an attempt to keep his party invulnerable with elections on the horizon.

Quote of the Week 
“The more teeth you have, the more you like kasha.”

—President Vladimir Putin responding to a nine-year-old girl’s question about his breakfast habits. According to the president, kasha tastes better the older you get: he has a bowl every morning.

In Odder News 

  • Photo album bonus: a tiny factory town is an unusual breeding spot for street art. Be like the guy in the painting, and take a peek.
proof.nationalgeographic.com
  • Save the killers! Killer whales, that is. After an eight-hour rescue mission, four orcas escaped an ice trap in the Sea of Okhotsk. Free Willy is finally free.
  • Moscow’s subway will install cameras to scan all passengers’ faces in the next year. We love you, Big Brother. (Oh, and thanks for scouting out possible wrongdoers.)

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week. 

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Some of Chekhov's most beloved stories, with English and accented Russian on facing pages throughout. 
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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.
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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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.
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Woe From Wit (bilingual)

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