The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This appeared in the Dec 18 issue of USN&WR:
"Why not get ahead of the geopolitical curve and study Russian? Though it has never been a top foreign language among American students, Russian did grow in popularity during the Cold War. And the wealth of Russian history and literature has always made learning the tongue rewarding enough for many. Now, a resurgent and more nationalistic (though post-communist) Russia is again doing some muscle flexing, albeit much more modestly than in the past. American students currently rank Russian eighth on a list of foreign languages that interest them. But with Russia widely pegged as a re-emerging great powerâ??and taking a tough line against a range of American policiesâ??mastering the tongue of the Kremlin could well come to regain some cachet. And, if not, you still could read Dostoevski in the original form, not to mention order a vodka in Moscow with a certain grace."
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After just 22 years of independence, in 1940 Estonia was overrun by Soviet troops. The Estonian Socialist Republic was set up in the wake of th Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in violation of nearly all existing legislation. And Stalinism's evils had the Estonians, just a year later, greeting German invaders with open arms. But trading one totalitarian dictator for another didn't solve the problem.
Everyone in the Soviet Union knew his songs, despite constant censorship and troubles with the Soviet regime. To this day, any Russian will recognize his raspy singing voice and silly falsetto. But what was the great Vladimir Vysotsky like in person?Read More
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