May 16, 2019

It's an Animal World After All

It's an Animal World After All
That’s one bold thief right there. Alexander Vorobyov

Throwback Thursday

Maximilian Voloshin
Maximilian Voloshin. / Wikimedia Commons

On May 16, 1877, the poet Maximilian Voloshin was born. He lived through three very different eras: the Russian Silver Age, the 1917 revolutions, and the Russian Civil War. Read some of his poems in translation right here on Russian Life.

Planet of the Free Bees and Bears

1. If you can’t find a honey, then make some honey! Humans and bees don’t have a lot in common, but one thing’s for sure: we all get lonely when we’re single. Luckily, if you’re a bee, the Moscow Zoo has the solution for you. On May 13, the Zoo opened a brand-new “hotel for single bees and wasps.” It’s designed mainly to give single bees a resting place while they pollinate flowers, but if the bees so desire, they can raise bee families there. No wonder these hives are getting so much buzz!

Hotel for single bees and wasps
The swanky new bee hotel. / Photo: Moscow Zoo

2. Freeing the animals, one circus at a time. It’s not just the Moscow Zoo that empathizes with our animal relatives: the mayor of Magas has officially banned the use of wild animals in circuses. “Animals are not entertainment or soulless toys; they are living beings. Cruelty towards them is unacceptable,” he announced in a press release. Before we celebrate, though, we should note that right now, activists are being detained in inhumane conditions for protesting the new border with Chechnya. Ironic, because wasn’t it a wild animal who said, “We are all connected in this great circle of life”?

Free as a horse. / Photo: Администрация города Магас

3. When a bear (b)ruins your hunting plans. A couple of hunters were driving on Kamchatka peninsula when a bear came over and started raiding their truck. The bear picked up their ration box and absconded in what has to be the heist of the century. Incidentally, the previous day, another driver on the same highway noticed a bear searching for food; some speculate it was the same bear. We usually tell people not to feed the bears, but we can’t always help it if they take matters into their own paws.

Blog Spotlight

Are you a fan of Kidnapping, Caucasus-Style (Кавказская пленница)? Are you just curious about Caucasus culture? Either way, don’t miss Katrina Keegan’s article fact-checking the Caucasus.

In Odder News

Bentley tank
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a Bentley tank! / Photo: Carbuzz
  • A mighty military mashina: Watch this Russian car enthusiast turn a Bentley into a tank.
  • Belgorod, best known for its Star Wars-loving mayor, is getting a major redesign. Check out the details here.
  • During a wrestling match, one fearless babushka intervened to defend her grandson.
Babushka defending grandson in wrestling match
The world needs more heroes like this. / Photo: Soviet Visuals

Quote of the Week

“The dead are burying the dead.”

— One Tweeter commenting on a scandal where Zvezda channel falsely claimed that a deceased opera singer commented on journalist Sergei Dorenko’s death

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

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.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
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 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.  
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.
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.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

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.
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...

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