December 15, 2016

Of mutts and men


Of mutts and men

Dogs, doping, and dirty words

1. Who would say no to a gift of a friendly, fluffy puppy? President Vladimir Putin would, but for political reasons, not hound-hating ones. Is the declined dog a sign of ruff relations between Russia and Japan? Putin has said that there are no territorial disputes between the countries, but the decades-long disagreement over the Kuril Islands shows there’s no puppy love between them. With neither country keen to relinquish the land, one of the leaders will have to throw the other one a bone.

2. There’s a skeleton in the closet, and it’s Russia’s upcoming bobsled competition. The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation announced that it’s moving the championship tournament out of Sochi. The announcement came on the heels of the latest World Anti-Doping Agency report on doping by Russian athletes, and even though the report didn’t directly accuse Russian sledders, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the move a "politicized decision.” He’s right to be worried: push out the bobsled, and it’s a downhill slide from there.

3. A foreign diplomat is generally responsible for fielding debates, making deals, and occasionally, swearing at reporters. At least, that’s what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did at a Council of Foreign Ministers meeting this past week, barking “What do you want?” at a Reuters cameraman and then whispering “debily,” which loosely (and politely) translates to “morons.” It’s not the first time Lavrov has been caught on tape saying naughty words, either. Someone needs to wash his mouth out with soap.

In Odder News

  • It takes a lot of holiday spirit to do winter photography in Moscow. But it’s worth it for the views.
mymodernmet.com
  • Upping the oyster: the last year has seen mussel and oyster production in Russia double.
  • Times New Roman is out of time in Russia: Russian agencies are being deprived of it and other popular fonts due to sanctions. A font of knowledge can’t always be a font of fonts.

Quote of the Week

"Unfortunately, we heard from our counterparts, and our hope to present a bridegroom was dashed."
—Japanese MP Koichi Hagiuda on the news that Japan’s offer of a new dog for President Putin was rejected.

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.

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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...
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. 
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.  
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.
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
At the Circus (bilingual)

At the Circus (bilingual)

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
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.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955