April 12, 2018

Singed Sweets and Stolen Sea-Dwellers


Singed Sweets and Stolen Sea-Dwellers
Charred Chocolate, Freezing Fishermen, and Phantom Fish

1. Burn, baby, burn! Russian social media users are turning up the heat by demonstrating the flammability of various brands of Russian chocolates. Bloggers have enjoyed comparing how different chocolates – by brand and country of origin – fare when put to the fiery test. Following a public outcry, Russia’s consumer protection watchdog said it would subject domestic chocolates to lab testing. It all puts a slightly different spin on the idea of “a hot mess.”

2. Over thirty fishermen found themselves on thin ice this week (or at least, breakable ice). On the coast of Russia’s Far East, the ice floe that the fishermen were on broke off from land and floated into the ocean. The fishermen went out on the floe (about 500 meters from shore) despite warnings from emergency services. They were rescued, but two fishermen decided to stay behind, saying that the fish were biting. Hey man, whatever floe-ts your boat.

3. An unknown man made out with a reel haul this week: he stole 13 metric tons of fish. The man was disguised as a transport company representative and put the fish into his car and trailer. The fish, which cost over R6.4 million ($101,500), were stolen from Moscow but were originally destined for Nizhny Novgorod. Hopefully the police can reel him in.

In Odder News:

Photo: Иван Марков

  • The people of Kaliningrad found that the lamp posts on their new bridge were sneakily decorated with flower pots… oops-a-daisy!

  • Open the floodgates! Warm weather and piles of snow led to a deluge of floods across Russia

  • One friendly seal refuses to go back to the wild: it seems as though he’s seal-ed the deal on staying with his St. Petersburg human friends

Quote of the Week:

“From the very beginning, there was a sense that the files responsible for wildness were deleted in his brain. There was not even a hint that this program would ever be launched.”

— A fisherman describes Kroshik the seal

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The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

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Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

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At the Circus (bilingual)

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.
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.
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Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
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.
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.

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