January 19, 2017

The spy who stayed out in the cold


The spy who stayed out in the cold

TGI Spyday

1. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov knows how spies operate: they dress up as women or in other silly costumes and try to eavesdrop on government officials. Some Internet users went on a quest to unearth these spies. Some were in chicken costumes. Some really were cross-dressed. Others were simply trying to embarrass Russia, disguising themselves as eating out of a dumpster or being drunk in public. James Bond only wishes.

twitter.com

2. On a day meant to celebrate snow, festivities were canceled because of too much snow. The island of Sakhalin had planned a World Snow Day festival with races and classes, but with wintry weather proving too much for the winter sports, the Sakhalin Sports Ministry postponed the events to a day when the thing they’re celebrating is a bit less abundant. After all, a surefire way to celebrate Snow Day is to stay out of it.

3. You know that artist who nailed his scrotum to Red Square, wrapped himself in barbed wire, sliced part of his ear off, and sewed his own mouth shut? He’s just made his most shocking move yet: applying for political asylum in France. Fines and short jail stints didn’t stop Pyotr Pavlensky before, but now he’s being accused of attempted rape – an accusation he sees as a move to silence his anti-Putin protests – and the heavy sentence is sending him out of the country. What plans he has for the Eiffel Tower remains to be seen.

In Odder News

greatdane.photography
  • The Trans-Siberian Railway? Child’s play. The first direct train from Yiwu, China has made it all the way to London. 12,000 miles: that’s a raily big deal.
  • A true animal lover doesn’t leave wild boars trapped in an ice hole to freeze: he helps them get out. Even if they threaten to nab a bite of him in the process.

Quote of the Week

“All of these years, the regime has trying to prove that I am a criminal or a madman - not an artist, but the destroyer of cultural values. The state machine has been able to execute this play successfully. But we will be careful, and life will show who has the last word.”
—Pyotr Pavlensky, a political artist famous for his extreme performances, on what he calls false accusations meant to get him out of the country.

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

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
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 Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
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.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
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.
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.
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.  
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.

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