February 16, 2017

The Kremlin on Ice


The Kremlin on Ice

Convicts and murderers and technocrats, oh my!

1. Why bother with jailhouse rock when ice is so much easier to carve? That’s the idea in Komi, which holds an annual snow sculpture competition for convicts. If you take a stroll through the region’s federal penitentiaries, you’ll see tigers, cannons, fairytale characters, soldiers, and polar bears. An SUV won first prize, but female convicts who created Moscow landmarks in honor of the city’s 870th birthday snagged second-place prize for putting the Kremlin on ice. Working with only snow, water, paint, and creativity, the convicts definitely earned their stripes.

rbth.com

2. The World Press Photo Contest has announced the year’s best photos. Per usual, Russian entries claimed several top awards. But the prize of Photo of the Year was claimed by a murder, with the shot capturing the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey deemed the most powerful image of the world’s most prestigious photojournalism contest. The decision was controversial, with some judges arguing that rewarding the image could encourage other would-be killers to publicly stage their violence.

3. In a gubernatorial game of dominoes, five governors (and counting) have submitted their resignations, months in advance of September elections. Three of them have already been replaced by “young technocrats” – perhaps appointed to solve managerial problems, or perhaps representing the “new guard” as the Kremlin gears up for presidential elections in 2018. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says it’s just "a routine rotation process." With all those explanations, dominoes sounds like the likeliest option.

In Odder News

  • White-collar clerk by day, white-collar adventurer by later in the day. For Pavel Makarov, a suit is the dress code for office work and extreme sports alike.
themoscowtimes.com
  • When you call an ambulance and a hearse shows up, is that a problem with you or the medical profession? (Hint: the medical profession. Regional prosecutors are looking into it.)
  • Gotta love a heroic dog: this one kept a toddler warm for two days after the kid was left on a porch in sub-zero temperatures in the Altai region.

Audio Spotlight

Netflix’s favorite Russian inmate meets one of Russia’s favorite creator of twisted fairy tales and fiction. In a new audiobook project, Kate Mulgrew (pictured as Red Reznikov in Orange is the New Black) will be the voice of Liudmila Petrushevskaya’s memoir, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel. With Mulgrew’s prestigious audio history and tenure as a starship captain and Petrushevskaya’s literary excellence, it’s bound to be a great – if weird – collaboration.

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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.
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Bears in the Caviar

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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.
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.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

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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.
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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. 
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. 

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