March 21, 2019

A Dog and a Muscovite Come In from the Cold


A Dog and a Muscovite Come In from the Cold
No guns, fast driving, or killing in this new video game. Ilya Mazo, Alexander Ignatov

Throwback Thursday

Today in 1839, the composer of Boris Godunov, Pictures at an Exhibition, and Night on Bald Mountain was born. Happy 180th birthday, Mussorgsky!

Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky. / Wikimedia Commons

It’s Snowing (Wholesome) Cat and Dog (Stories)

1. “It’s Winter”: the coolest new game on the block. Produced by Moscow-based poet Ilya Mazo, “It’s Winter” is an avant-garde video game where all you do is make tea and watch TV in a suburban Russian apartment. And while most English-speakers only know about the game, “It’s Winter” is just one part of a multimedia digital opera. Fans of the game’s timeless yet uniquely post-Soviet feel can read an ebook or watch “It’s Winter: The Movie,” an eight-minute film where ordinary people intone everyday phrases to the accompaniment of buzzing lights and humming washing machines. We think it’s weirdly creepy, but chillingly beautiful.

2. Stop kitty, go kitty. Since the last time we wrote about Zelenogradsk, the city’s love of cats hasn’t lessened. On the contrary, Zelenogradsk has installed a new traffic light eschewing the traditional walking man for images of cats. There is some controversy over whether it’s a good idea. Some believe it is “simply super!”, while others lament that at this rate, Zelenogradsk might as well be renamed “Zelenokots.” Regardless, kitties are here to stay. Even if the traffic light goes, the new sculpture of cats at Zelenogradsk’s entrance isn’t leaving anytime soon.

Cat stoplight
Go kitty go! / overhear_zlk

3. Siberians to the rescue…in America! Two dogs fell into an icy pond in Yonkers, New York, but luckily, a Siberian-raised swimmer just happened to see them. Russian immigrant Timofey Yuriev thought of calling an ambulance, but “I was looking at them and I realized […] the rescuer, they will come maybe in 10, 15 minutes,” he said. So summoning the wisdom of his grandfather, a hunter who had taught him to swim in icy waters, Yuriev took off his shirt and dove in to save them. His loyal golden retriever Kira followed him in, nudging along the two dogs until everyone made it back, safe and sound. The pond may have been icy, but this story has a heartwarming ending.

Yuriev, Kira, and one of the dogs brave the chilly swim back. / Melissa Kho

Blog Spotlight

Robert Blaisdell reviewed Friedrich Gorenstein’s Redemption, a novel about a young woman who betrays her mother and courts a Jewish lieutenant in a town recently liberated from the Nazis. Read his review here.

In Odder News

Slapping championship
Aftermath of the winning blow in Tuesday’s slapping contest. / NTV
  • If you slap someone hard enough, you might just win $500. In Krasnoyarsk, one man won 30,000 rubles ($465) in a slapping championship.
  • Being vegan in Russia can be tough, but it’s worth it. Just ask these five people.
  • In the Novosibirsk Zoo, a polar bear gave birth to twin cubs. The men in the slapping championship may want to learn from the bear mother’s tenderness.
Polar bear cubs

Twin polar bear cubs. / V. Shadrin

 

Quote of the Week

“There’s a point on our arms that you can push, and suddenly, your nervous system gets reactivated. My grandfather, a hunter from Siberia, taught me this.”

— Timofey Yuriev, explaining how he braved the cold of an icy pond to rescue two drowning dogs

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

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. 
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.  
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

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 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.
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.
Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
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.
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.
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
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
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955