December 02, 2021

Spy Rocks, Scent of a Man, and Lump of Coal


Spy Rocks, Scent of a Man, and Lump of Coal
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News, men have never smelled this manly, a lump of coal has never been such a great gift, and St. Petersburg museumgoers have never been so happy.

  • Watch out for the new spy rock if you are in Voronezh. The "hidden surveillance complex" that looks like a pretty regular rock was invented by cadets at the Air Force Academy in Voronezh. When it senses motion, the rocks stops acting like a rock and a camera and microphone jump into action, recording up to 15 hours of content. The rock can move itself around, as seen here. You might want to kick the rocks around you, just to check.
  • Few art museum exhibits are designed just to make visitors happy. But St. Petersburg's Manege Exhibition Hall decided to just make people happier in its new "Peace and Joy" exhibit – with the help of nineteenth-century Russian painters. You will not find "battles, heartbreaking dramas, fervent passions, heightened emotions, or frightening mysticism" here. In an unusual twist, the exhibit includes an original soundtrack playing in the gallery and swings for guests – though nowhere near the paintings. The exhibition brings together artwork from 39 collections around the world.
  • A Russian dog has received all new paws. Monika was found in southern Russia with all of her paws cut off, and activists raised money online for her to get prosthetics in Novosibirsk. Her titanium paws were printed on a 3D printer.
  • You want Hugo Boss or Tommy Hilfiger cologne for the holidays? That's kid stuff. Try the new Russian man scent, a combination of leather, metal, and exhaust fumes from a stealth fighter jet. The scent is called The Checkmate after Russia's latest Sukhoi fighter jet. All that man musk has had juniper, oakmoss, and patchouli added to it to taste. It is unknown whether the fragrance will see mass adoption after so far only being distributed at the Dubai Airshow 2021.
  • Getting a lump of coal for Christmas is not always a bad thing. Residents of the Far East are being promised coal as a COVID-19 vaccination incentive. Other gifts – which we might rather have – are haircuts, gym memberships, microwaves, and dental services. However, the lump of coal is nothing to sneeze at: it is a three-ton lump!

You Might Also Like

Worthy of Aivazovsky's Brush
  • September 19, 2021

Worthy of Aivazovsky's Brush

If you love the sea, Ivan Aivazovsky is your man. Everyone should know about this Armenian-Russian painter.
Smells Like Money
  • April 09, 2021

Smells Like Money

Soon American coins won't be the only "scents" that are exchanged inside Sberbank's buildings, as Russia's national bank plans to introduce its own perfume. 
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
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.
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.
Turgenev Bilingual

Turgenev Bilingual

A sampling of Ivan Turgenev's masterful short stories, plays, novellas and novels. Bilingual, with English and accented Russian texts running side by side on adjoining pages.
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.
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.  
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.
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.
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.
Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Russian Rules

Russian Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.

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