January 01, 1990

Butina, Babies, and Baby-making


Butina, Babies, and Baby-making
Baby Blues

1. The times they are a-changin’ for Russians in the United States and other Western nations, and not always for the better. This video highlights the experience of young Russians and other Eastern Europeans living in the United States. They are facing both greater suspicion from Americans and greater divisions within the community itself. American suspicion can be traced to election-hacking and, more recently, the Maria Butina affair, while internal division is often generated by differing opinions on the current Russian government and its practices. But, on the upside, there is as yet no shortage of Russian restaurants and clubs in the US.

2. For the first time in a decade, Russia’s population has decreased. The announcement by the government statistics agency Rosstat follows a May United Nations report that predicted the Russian population will fall by 11 million by 2050. But the Russian government is not taking the news lying down. President Vladimir Putin has promised to spend $8.6 billion over the next three years on programs that will encourage Russians to have more babies.

3. To continue the theme... A Russian Orthodox archbishop in charge of family affairs recently agreed with Pope Francis that sex is a gift from God and to be enjoyed. Of course, the usual terms and conditions apply: the archbishop clarified that sex is only to be enjoyed between a married couple. That caveat aside, there is so far no word on a joint Putin-Church pro-sex, pro-babies tour that no one is talking about. It’s all very hush-hush.

In Odder News:

Moscow dog show

Photo: Парк культуры и отдыха “Красная Пресня”

  • Russian pups hit the runway in Moscow’s first doggie costume show

  • In a very Putin way, Putin tested Kalashnikov’s newest sniper rifles

  • Excessive and, unfortunately, effective: men wielding an axe robbed a taxi in Moscow

Quote of the Week:

“Sex is a component of love… but only love within marriage.”

— Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov, on the ins and outs of sex in Orthodox life

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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.
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.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
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...
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.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
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.

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