June 27, 2019

Duck, Duck, Owl?


Duck, Duck, Owl?
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an owl drone! TV Zvezda

Throwback Thursday

Battle of Poltava, painting
The Battle of Poltava by Denis Martens the Younger (1726). / Wikimedia Commons

You might know what happened at the Battle of Poltava 310 years ago today. (Peter the Great routed the Swedish army in an early showing of Russian military might.) But did you know that Pushkin wrote a poem about it and that there’s a Soviet joke about it? Find out more, right here on Russian Life.


Perched on the Ledge Between Foul and Fowl

1. The new dining alfresco. A man sits at home drinking vodka, with a carpet on the wall behind him. But you’re not watching a Soviet film. You’re watching Arseny “Is He a Pest?” on Instagram. And he’s not at home — he’s on the side of a building. Arseny is a performance artist working on a project exploring how a single square meter of space impacts people’s lives. Notwithstanding the Soviet imagery, the project critiques the capitalist penchant to “buy houses in anthills and burden yourself with mortgages for half your life.” In other words, he’s not sweeping any critiques under the carpet.

Man drinking vodka on square-meter platform on side of building
Did he take a magic carpet ride up there? / vreditel_li

2. Giving a duck about ducks. While driving down a Petersburg highway, a driver witnessed a car crash. This was distressing, but the reason they crashed was even worse: A family of ducks was trying to cross the highway. The driver left the car and hurriedly escorted the ducks to the side of the road. However, the baby ducklings couldn’t jump over the curb, and they cried until the mother duck came back to street level. Fortunately, several passerby noticed their plight and lifted the ducklings to safety. They really ducked a catastrophe on this one!


The heroic rescue. / Sergey Karasyov

3. Three hoots for high tech! The latest Russian military drone looks like an owl. Unlike most owls, it looks like it’s permanently screaming, but don’t be fooled: it’s designed to be able to approach up close without being recognized. The drone primarily detects targets using a laser and satellite navigation, so if it flew at night, you could say it’d be a real night owl. And for those who are fans of (f)owl-inspired tech, the military plans to create a falcon-shaped drone that plays the cry of a falcon. Let’s just hope these drones don’t engage in fowl play…

Blog Spotlight

Do you like museums? Do you like tech? Discover some of the best Russian museums that incorporate multimedia technology.

In Odder News

5000-ruble notes
A million, million, million scarlet rubles… / Pixabay

Quote of the Week

“IS IT SERIOUSLY THAT HARD FOR YOU TO USE THE RIGHT FILTERS FOR SWEAR WORDS IN MEDIA????? WOULD IT KILL YOU TO DO THAT????? IS IT THE END OF THE WORLD????? NO, B****, NO!!! SO THEN WHY, @, DON’T YOU USE THE RIGHT FILTER?????!!!! OUR EYES ARE ROLLING, YEAH GO F*** YOURSELF!!!”

— The official Roskomnadzor Twitter account, demonstrating how to correctly self-censor profanities when rage-tweeting

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Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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