October 13, 2016

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around


Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

Culture, Counterculture, Cuba

1. An effigy of the anti-communist author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was hung – or rather, hanged – on the gate of Moscow’s Gulag Museum. In a letter pinned to the effigy, a group called the Revolutionary Communist Youth Union claimed responsibility, calling Solzhenitsyn a “traitor” who “shamelessly lied about the Gulag.” The museum’s director seeks punishment for those responsible, as the act is not merely hooliganism, but represents a violent vein of historical revisionism.

2. In a gentler approach to culture, thanks to the group 2D Among Us, famous pop culture characters are popping up in everyday Russian settings. A lightsaber battle blazes in Rostov-on-Don; Jon Snow walks through Russian snow; the batmobile is parked at a dacha; Forrest Gump sits by a Lenin statue; Harry, Ron, and Hermione huddle outside a Soviet apartment block. And don't forget Alf on the Metro.

rferl.org

3. Cuban Missile Crisis, Take 2? That’s the fear, as the Russian military is considering reopening bases in Cuba and Vietnam. The Cuba base could put the Russian military as close as 144 km from U.S. soil – perhaps too close for comfort, given deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations in recent months. However, with Vietnam in fine financial shape and Cuba and the U.S. becoming buddies again, the task may be easier said than done.

In Odder News

Raccoon enthusiasts and pet owners (yes, of raccoons) attend a raccoon festival in St. Petersburg. You can bet your boots you're not seeing any coonskin caps at that party.

themoscowtimes.com

Is something wrong with those trees? No, something is right with that art. Take a peek at Gorky Park’s latest sculptures, a series of land art meant to augment the natural landscape.

themoscowtimes.com

How do you translate a word like “shlakoblokun'"? Quick answer: you don’t. You just enjoy the portmanteau of “cinder block” and “bass” and get on with your life.

meduza.io

Quote of the Week

“Often, fictional, drawn, or photographed images can inspire someone else’s fantasies to the point that they don’t want to look at reality anymore."
—Administrators of 2D Among US, a group that superimposes pop culture characters into scenes of urban life.

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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.  
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 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.

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