October 28, 2021

Reindeer, Restaurant Overload, and the Best Taxi Drivers in All the Russias


Reindeer, Restaurant Overload, and the Best Taxi Drivers in All the Russias
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News, reindeer roam the streets, Muscovites fill the streets to prove that announcing lockdowns well in advance is a good idea, and those yellow and green delivery guys (also on the streets) are doing well.

  • Maybe Russia does have wild megafauna roaming its streets, like everyone thinks. This week, reindeer were spotted in suburban St. Petersburg. They were recorded trying to get gas and blocking traffic all over the Leningrad Region. The owner retrieved the reindeer after they went viral, explaining that they had been frightened by a pack of dogs and ran away.
  • Moscow and St. Petersburg are getting ready for the strictest pandemic lockdowns since the first one in March-April 2020. Muscovites celebrated by piling into restaurants the last weekend they would be able to without a QR code. Restauranteurs reported 20% more reservations than they took before the pandemic once the impending lockdown was announced. Because the best way to not catch a dangerous airborne virus is to dine with a crowd – or even to stand in a tight, Russian-style line to process the paperwork required to get a vaccine and a QR code.
  • Don't feel too badly for the food delivery guys wearing matching rain-resistant coats and cube-backpacks, riding their bikes in all kinds of weather. Some of them have been making R200,000 ($2,845) per month since much of the migrant labor force left Russia during the pandemic. At the same time, demand for couriers of all kinds has increased. This is well above the average Russian monthly salary at the moment and nothing to sneeze at. Still, gig work is not easy, especially for those braving rain and snow.
  • Speaking of gig workers, Yandex held a contest for its taxi drivers and deemed 15 of them "perfect drivers." The Yandex Go app workers each earned a prize of R50,000 ($711) for especially safe driving. A key element of the contest for big-city taxi drivers was "interacting" with electric scooters, a hot topic at the moment.

You Might Also Like

Scooter Blacklist
  • May 26, 2021

Scooter Blacklist

The Moscow City Duma is proposing safety regulations that will help prevent Muscovites from scootering into peril. 
The Яs Have It
  • August 10, 2020

The Яs Have It

Yandex, Russia's Google almost-equivalent, is making moves to expand with products including "YaBank," "YaSafe," and "YaCash."
Oh, Deer.
  • February 24, 2020

Oh, Deer.

Sakhalin Island deputies introduce legislation to revive a shrinking livestock trade: reindeer herding.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Moscow and Muscovites

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. 
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.
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.
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.
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 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