March 09, 2017

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs


Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

Marching for women, quacking against corruption

1. On Wednesday, Russians marked International Women’s Day in a few distinct ways. On one end of the gender equality spectrum, feminist activists marched on the Kremlin, some getting arrested for their call for women’s rights. At the more traditional end, not only did millions of women get flowers as gifts; some even rented their own bouquets of 101 roses for Instagram-worthy snaps. Meanwhile, the Kremlin urged officials to “get creative,” spurring poetry, flash mobs, and virtual reality photo shoots.

2. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has declared that Russian-Chinese relations are at a “historic maximum.” But that doesn’t mean the nations are about to get cuddly with each other. Case in point: even with Chinese tourism to Russia booming, the Chinese Embassy in Moscow has released a video series informing tourists about Russian customs and behavior. It comes with warnings: don’t climb on monuments, don’t be noisy on the Metro, and for Pete’s sake, don’t hug children that don’t belong to you.

3. Of all the empowering protest slogans, “Quack, quack,” has not gone down in the history books. At least, not until now. With a new investigative report claiming that former President Dmitry Medvedev has enriched himself through corruption, protesters have taken to the streets in St. Petersburg. Based on the report that Medvedev’s luxury mansion is home to a duck pond, among other luxuries, demonstrators adopted the chant “Quack, quack! We’re against this tsar!” (In Russian, it rhymes.)

In Odder News

  • No, a statue of the Tsar Nicholas II didn’t weep on the centennial of his abdication. Or did it?
  • Fairy tales are no longer for kids: Beauty and the Beast will be released in Russia with an adults-only rating because it includes a gay character.
  • What does Russian jazz sound like? Read about the history, and take a listen for yourself.

Quote of the Week

"A woman for president"

"Our national idea: feminism"

"All power to the women"

"200 years of men in power. Out with them!"
—Just a few of the slogans on signs brandished by feminist activists who demonstrated at the Kremlin with calls for gender equality in government and beyond.

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.

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

Some of Our Books

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.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.

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