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

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.
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.
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.
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.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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.
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 Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
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.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.

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