May 25, 2017

Russian Youth, Then and Now


Russian Youth, Then and Now
From Pioneers to Generation Z 

1. This week marks the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Pioneers – the rough Soviet equivalent of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, but with a heavy dose of communist ideology. The Pioneers were disbanded in 1991, and some  former members feel deeply nostalgic for the red bandanas and sense of community that scouting imparted. Branches of the Communist Party hosted events last weekend to celebrate the anniversary, while less nostalgic former members auctioned off their Pioneer tie clips and books.

2. Tsentennials, the Russian version of Millenials, do not have Pioneer scouting or communist ideology to unite them. Instead, as new studies of the first members of “Generation Z” to graduate university are demonstrating, they have a deep love of games, smart phones, rap, and video bloggers. Research into their political lives shows that they’re not too politicized, but are moved by ideas of justice and anti-corruption, while studies of their work habits show that different motivations move them than did their X and Y predecessors. It’s a good guess red bandanas have nothing to do with it.

3. Centennials know their memes. The same is not always true for well-meaning citizens. Novosibirsk resident Anton Burmintsev tries to spice up anti-litter and pro-sobriety signs with pictures of pop culture icons like Iron Man or cartoon characters. But his latest sign, which features a sarcastic-looking man meant to be mocking poor decisions, has itself been mocked for its unironic appeal to folks to pick up their trash. Social media users rushed to offer more appropriately ironic slogans.

Quote of the Week

“There won’t be litter in the apartments’ courtyard if the apartments have no courtyard!”
—One of the suggestions for an ironic anti-littering slogan to accompany the photograph of a man sardonically pointing at his temple as an appeal to Novosibirsk residents to pick up after themselves.

In Odder News
  • Historians unearthed more than a billion Soviet rubles in abandoned missile silos. There’s no treasure like moldy, obsolete banknotes.
  • What would Jesus do? Accept a pricey new Land Cruiser as a gift, according to Russian Orthodox bishop who, coincidentally, just accepted a pricey new Land Cruiser as a gift. 
  • A bear helps plant potatoes, and it’s pretty adorable. Yep, that’s the whole story.

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Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
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.
A Taste of Russia

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.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
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The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

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Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

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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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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.

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