February 10, 2022

"Slush Funds," Spotify, and a Subway Surprise


"Slush Funds," Spotify, and a Subway Surprise
In Odder News

In this week's Odder News: an Oscar nomination, slippery sidewalks, and IT-giants.

  • You may be familiar with Cheburashka, but did you know that some good cartoons are still coming out of Russia? In fact, the Russian cartoon "Boxballet" has been nominated for an Oscar in the short animation category. It tells a tale of love between a boxer, Yevgeny, and a ballerina, Olga.
  • Russian streets are covered in snow! Unintentionally. After receiving over one thousand complaints from citizens in St. Petersburg, the city's prosecutor's office has started an investigation into the embezzlement of funds meant for the removal of snow. Inspectors have found hundreds of code violations. It raises the question: where is all the money going? And from something so crucial?
  • An alpaca has been filmed taking the Moscow Metro with its owner. The alpaca walked around the train car and greeted many smiling passengers, but nobody really knows what the South American animal was doing in the Moscow subway in the winter.
  • One of the perks of living alone is having lots of space for yourself. Unless, of course, you're renting this apartment in St. Petersburg. For the small fee of R9,000 ($120) per month, you could live in a tiny, 10 square-meters apartment, decked out with a bed, a kitchen, and a toilet right above said kitchen. And we thought Raskolnikov had it bad.
  • Apple and Spotify have officially opened offices in Russia, something that has been made more difficult by a new law with strict requirements for large international IT companies wanting to operate in Russia. Gotta protect Yandex.

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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 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...
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. 
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.
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 Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
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.
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.
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.

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