October 11, 2018

Things Look Different Below the Surface


Things Look Different Below the Surface
Freaky Fish, Fake Feminists, and Freed Fishermen

1. One fish, two fish, red fish, what-the-heck-is-that fish?! Roman Fedorstov is a Russian fisherman whose life’s work is finding the weirdest, creepiest, and sometimes cutest fish you’ve ever seen. Roman is a deep-sea fisherman based in Murmansk, an Arctic Circle city. He goes out for months at a time, returning to the internet with photos that elicit all types of emotions, from disgust to fear to love. Whatever emotion it is, we’re taking the bait.

Fish breath

Photo: Роман Федорцов

2. Not just punked but double-punked… Russians outraged by a feminist prank video may just be falling into a trap. Last month, a video of a woman appearing to dump bleach on metro-riding, manspreading men went viral on Russian social media. This, of course, caused outrage beyond compare against “feminists who take things too far.” Well, the video may be fake. A St. Petersburg publication found evidence that the disgruntled men in the video were paid and suggests that the studio that shot it is linked to the Kremlin. In this light, the video may have been created to stir resentment towards feminists, taking he said, she said to the next level.

Fake bleach

Photo: The Verge

3. In the past week, Russian border guards have helped rescue at least six North Korean fishermen stranded in capsized boats during deadly typhoons. The helping hand isn’t limited to aiding North Koreans: officials said that in the past 2 months 540 Chinese, South Korean, and North Korean vessels sought safety in the port of Primorye during dangerous typhoons. However, it’s not all good neighborly generosity, as the acting governor of Primorye stated that the need to rescue North Koreans demonstrated the amount of North Korean poaching in Russian waters.

In Odder News:
  • Fines are temporary, glory is forever. One helicopter pilot flew under a St. Petersburg bridge and is now paying the (minor) price

  • Tough stuff for Russians: Russians rank second in the notorious death-by-selfie

  • Udder destruction: a bus colliding with a cow in Dagestan left 10 people injured (no word on the cow)

Quote of the Week:

“I will be at sea for 2.5 months. Without internet. See you in late autumn. I hope you will like my new photos!”

Roman Fedorstov, as he leaves for a new funky-fish-finding voyage

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Some of Our Books

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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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