November 17, 2016

Clowns, corruption, and overdue library books


Clowns, corruption, and overdue library books

Clowning around for good or money

1. Insane Clown Posse? Try Humanitarian Clown Posse. For the next two weeks, a clowning troupe led by the doctor-clown Patch Adams will pile into their tiny car to visit orphanages, hospitals, veterans’ homes, and homeless shelters in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Their goal: to bring smiles to sad and lonely folks around Russia. After all, laughter and hope can transcend any language barrier. The power of a good balloon animal must not be underestimated.

2. Even economic hotshots have to count their pennies. Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia’s top economic official, has been arrested for bribery. He allegedly accepted $2 million for approving a massive acquisition by the oil giant Rosneft. Even with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stating that no official “has immunity if they commit criminal offenses,” some see the arrest as edging out the top echelon of Putin’s government.

3. Usually it’s librarians who do the shushing. But in a current investigation, Natalia Sharina, former director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, has been charged with “inciting ethnic hatred.” She says putting books on the shelf is not promoting hate speech. But the prosecutors say that the books’ contents classify as extremism. She’s also been charged with embezzlement, but given her line of work, maybe someone just had a lot of late fees.

In Odder News

  • Newsflash: baby foxes. A Russian photographer has taken on the task of photographing wild foxes, and this is the result.
rbth.com
  • The Pushkin Museum is featuring an exhibit of texture-rich paintings for visually impaired patrons to “visualize the invisible.”
  • A movie with an Irish director and a Russian setting may sound unusual enough to give you insomnia. In that case, go check out Moscow Never Sleeps.

Quote of the Week

“It’s important that so many friendly people are coming here from countries that are supposedly not so friendly. They help change our mentality.”
—Maria Eliseyeva, founder of the charity organization Maria’s Children, on clowns’ unique ability to create connections across difference through laughter.

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.  
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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