September 07, 2017

Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways


Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways
Of Veishnoria and Vogons

1. All hail Veishnoria! In preparation for the Zapad 2017 joint military exercises later in September, the militaries of Russia and Belarus will be facing off against three fictional Western countries called Veishnoria, Vesbaria, and Lubenia. Inhabitants of Western Belarus have gotten creative in response to Veishnoria’s imagined incursion on their territory, some inventing a flag, currency, national anthem, and state seal for the nation, and at least 6,000 applying for a Veishnorian passport.



2. Forget building a highway through the cosmos and paving over Earth, Hitchhiker’s-Guide-to-the-Galaxy style. In the Nizhny Novgorod region, a homeowner returned to her property after spending time in the city and found a spanking new road paved straight across the premises, with half of her house in disrepair or just plain missing. Local administrators are skeptical and say they’ll have to check it out. These days, you’ve got to let Vogons be Vogons.

3. The start to another school year: get ready for math, science, history, and...propaganda? In the Krasnodar region, Russian education officials are requiring schools to hold five-minute information sessions for all students to discuss what they’ve seen on state-run Channel One. Discussion topics include “Glory to Russia,” “News of the Week,” and “We Live in the Kuban.” It may be a good way to learn about current events, but some think it breaches Russia’s law against propaganda in school.

In Odder News

  • What do you get when you mix space travel, technology, and post-Stalinist Russia? Unique and beautiful architecture. Take a look.

  • The latest tool for quieting the opposition: sausages. Plus, they make a great gift. Here’s why the Russian media is abuzz over bratwurst this week.

  • An eternal underground glacier. Medieval relics. A floating bridge. All this and more modern wonders in Moscow’s new Zaryadye Park.

Quote of the Week

“It was difficult not to see it.”
—An official at the local office of Russia’s State Registration Federal Agency, commenting on the visibility of a house that was partially destroyed to build a highway.

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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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