July 19, 2018

The Plagues of Russia: the Risen Dead, Bees, and Floods


The Plagues of Russia: the Risen Dead, Bees, and Floods

This week President Trump and President Putin met in Helsinki. If you’ve missed the hype, or rather, missed the news for the hype, check out this summary on what was actually accomplished.

Romanovs for Real

1. The story of the Romanovs, from the glamour to the execution, to the mystery of the missing children, has captivated the world for a century. This week, Russian investigators confirmed the authenticity of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family members, a day before the 100th anniversary of their murder in July 1918. Although the deaths of all family members were well-proven by 2007, suspicion lived on when the Russian Orthodox Church continued to question the authenticity of the remains. While this final proof may put some ghosts to rest, it’s hard to imagine that the Romanovs, and their story, won’t always be with Russia in spirit.

Public Domain

2. This week a few Russian policemen were angrily told to buzz off. By a swarm of bees, appropriately enough. A truck carrying several beehives collided with another vehicle in the Krasnodar region, releasing a very angry (and dangerous) cloud of stinging bees. Police were unable to approach the accident scene for an hour due to the angry horde (of bees). Although they did this in order to avoid the painful suicide blow of the bees, waiting must have stung, too.

@krddtp

3. The heavens opened in Volgograd… and so did the stadium. Volgograd was hit with heavy rains this weekend as the World Cup finished up in Moscow. These storms brought a deluge of water and dirt through the Volgograd Arena, Volgograd’s World Cup stadium, causing significant damage. Volgograd Arena, which was finished in 2018, cost R16.3 billion to build. This event makes the phrase “cry me a river” take on a whole new meaning…

In Odder News:
  • You can’t stand under my umbrella, ella, ella: Putin got the only umbrella while Macron and Grabar-Kitarović, president of Croatia, got soaked during the World Cup trophy presentation

  • New (old) heights of fashion: the Russian kokoshnik, a traditional headdress, is back in style

  • Culture war and peace: after a more harmonious World Cup than expected, Russians reflect on the surprising changes it may have wrought on their society

Quote of the Week:

“In Mother Russia, only Putin gets an umbrella”

— Katy Tur of NBC muses about Putin’s umbrella (and Macron and Grabar-Kitarović’s lack of one)

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.

You Might Also Like

Death of a Dynasty
  • July 17, 2018

Death of a Dynasty

Who really killed the Romanovs? Read about the survivors of the royal household.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
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.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
Russia Rules

Russia 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.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

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.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
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.
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...

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
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955