December 13, 2018

Sex, Drugs, and Rockin' Rectors


Sex, Drugs, and Rockin' Rectors
Stories of Russia

1.If you are going to read one thing today, check out The Moscow Times’ new project, “Mothers and Daughters.” The newspaper interviewed three generations of women from different families, and the result is entrancing. The stories are the stories of individuals told in the first person, but they’re also so much more than that. “Mothers and Daughters” is the story of women in Russia, and also the story of Russia itself, across family and class and time and space.

2. Breaking Bad isn’t pure fiction: a couple of Russian science teachers took the show to heart and became entrepreneurs, Walter White-style. Two former science teachers from St. Petersburg were charged with preparing and dealing amphetamine. Apparently, the chemistry and physics teachers used their specialized knowledge to make and sell drugs. No word on whether the act was actually inspired by the show Breaking Bad.

3. Asceticism isn’t for everyone, even when it comes to priests. One Russian Orthodox priest is being investigated for his luxe life as expressed via Instagram photos. Vyacheslav Baskakov has made the news by posting photos of himself with Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci shoes, and all sorts of other branded items. In an apology, the priest fessed up to wanting to add a bit of flair to what is otherwise a pretty square wardrobe.

Luxe priest

Photo: The Moscow Times

In Odder News:

Putin Stasi

Photo: BSTU

  • A blast from the past: an ID card from Vladimir Putin’s life as a spy in Germany appeared, taking everyone down memory lane

  • That’s a rap! A Russian television host decided to prove his regard for free speech and free music by hosting a rap festival on a nude beach next year

  • Drug parties and unprotected sex pose significant health risks to… the elderly? As always, Russia is full of surprises.

Quote of the Week:

“A clergyman cannot be a priest in the church in the morning and then be whoever he wants after lunchtime.”

— A stern rebuke of Vyacheslav Baskakov from Alexander Volkov, a spokesman for Patriarch Kirill

~Thanks to David Edwards for the story contributions!~

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Some of Our Books

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.
Murder at the Dacha

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.
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.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
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.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

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.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
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.
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...
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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