June 08, 2017

Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots


Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots
Masterpieces of Russian Culture

1. June 6th is Pushkin’s birthday, which is also celebrated in Russia as Russian Language Day. On the Russian language, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev marveled at its being alive and ever-changing, but also stressed the need to preserve its beauty and purity. If you’re more interested in the Pushkin side of the holiday, check out this photo gallery or take this quiz to test your knowledge of Russia’s favorite poet. Want to test your Pushkin smarts in Russian? There’s a quiz for that, too.

2. Renowned Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov has been recognized by the European Film Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Some of the most celebrated works in his lifetime of achievements include Russian Ark, which explores Russian history in a one-take journey through the Hermitage Museum, and his trilogy of films about power focusing on Hitler, Lenin, and Emperor Hirohito. The “European Oscar” he has received celebrates his unique contributions to directing, dramaturgy and cinematography.

3. In a feat not so likely to win any awards, NBC journalist Megyn Kelly had a tough time with Russian interviewees this past week. First there was the state-run news executive criticizing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election – Kelly referred to him a “broadcaster,” perhaps accidentally implying that he had no stake in that particular party line. In her subsequent powwows with Putin, the president deflected, denied, and accused her of hysteria to derail the conversation about hacking. For a first assignment on a new network, Kelly didn’t get a walk in the park. 

In Robotter News
  • For sale: Facebook likes and Instagram followers. All thanks to another robot, also known as a kiosk in a central Moscow mall.
  • If you’ve ever been to a museum in Russia, you’ve likely been hushed, glared at, or told not to take photos by lady in a chair. No, there’s not a robot version yet. But their stories poignantly speak to the power of Russian culture and the museums that display it.
Quote of the Week

"Of course, language is a living organism and it changes, but it is important to preserve its beauty and purity. We have paid serious attention to these issues."
—Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's remarks on the Russian language to mark Russian Language Day.

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.

 

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Some of Our Books

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
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. 
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.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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.
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.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
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.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
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.
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.

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