July 11, 2019

Swipe Me! Eat Me! Watch Me!


Swipe Me! Eat Me! Watch Me!
Ukha, of which there was much this week. Wikimedia Commons

Throwback Thursday

Peter Tchaikovsky
Peter Tchaikovsky. / Wikimedia Commons

On July 11, 1877, Peter Tchaikovsky wrote a letter — one that was never published due to the censorship of his personal correspondence. Tchaikovsky’s letters were censored for a variety of reasons, some to eliminate references to his homosexuality, but others for far more mundane reasons, like swearing. Read more about Tchaikovsky’s letters here on Russian Life. {subscription required}


Adventurous Ads and Conspicuous Consumption

1. 1 swipe = 1 vote. One Yabloko Party member running for Petersburg city deputy is literally making himself attractive to voters. He created a Tinder profile where he markets himself as Deputy Charming to voters’ Cinderella. It’s a great publicity stunt, of course, but there’s more to it than that. Most social media platforms, like VKontakte, have strict rules about political campaigns, whereas Tinder provides all the “hyperlocal targeting” and none of the strings (if you’re outside the U.S, that is). Plus, we’re not going to lie — it feels good getting swiped right on Tinder.

Candidate's Tinder profile
But the real question is, why 642 “Earth and Universe”? Earth is already part of the universe. / Tinder

2. Quiet flows the Don, and tasty flows the fish soup. On July 6, fans of fish soup congregated at the Donskaya Ukha Festival, a cultural initiative of the Rostov regional government that marks its twelfth year this year. Ukha, which is claimed as a local invention by Rostov region, is made from freshwater fish, potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs. Sounds simple, right? But don’t be deceived: the festival this year featured no fewer than twenty different kinds of ukha, one of which was cooked with a full liter of vodka. All of them draw on the Don River’s plethora of fish and Cossack culinary traditions. And of course, all of them are equally tasty.

3. Surf’s up! In Petersburg, you can do many things with liquids: You can drink, or if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can go wakeboarding in the streets. After an evening of unusually heavy rains, one Petersburger hooked himself to the back of a car and performed daring stunts while the car drove him along. Don’t test the waters on your own, though. It turned out that the Petersburger is a professional wakeboarder who did it for an ad. Compared to him, the rest of us are kids in floaties.

Man wakeboarding in Petersburg street
Taming the mythic Petersburg floods. / mike_milenin

Blog Spotlight

Everyone knows Leo Tolstoy was a great writer, but did you know he was also a mediocre biker? Find out more in this blog post from June, and feel better about the fact that you probably bike better than Tolstoy.

In Odder News

Robot waving Tatarstan flag
Welcome to Kazan! / Kazan’ Kriminal’naya
  • Have you ever liked Pushkin’s poetry so much that you wanted to eat it? Then take heart: the Pushkin Museum’s café in Moscow now serves dishes named for Pushkin quotes.

Quote of the Week

“We beg you not to fall into the ash dump in the pursuit of selfies!”

— The Siberian Generating Company, warning tourists not to get too close to a picturesque but mildly toxic turquoise ash-dumping lake

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White Magic

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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.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

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Fearful Majesty

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The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

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