January 03, 2019

Out with the Old, in with the Emu


Out with the Old, in with the Emu
A Christmas emu escape. The Moscow Times

New Year, New News    

1. The wheels of time continue to turn, and this week we witnessed the passing of another year. Quite a lot happened in Russia this year, and one poll took the opportunity to ask Russians what they thought the most important events of the year were. Both Russians and Putin agreed that the building of the Crimean Bridge (aka the Kerch Strait Bridge) was the event of 2018. Per the poll, this was followed by the increase in retirement age, the presidential elections, the FIFA World Cup, and the Winter Cherry Mall fire. For a bit of a lighter take on the year, The Moscow Times also collected their favorite Russian memes of the year. 

2. A suspected gas blast in Magnitogorsk pitted rescue workers against the -20 degree weather and time on New Year’s Eve. A large residential building was torn apart on the morning of the 31st, killing at least eight and trapping up to 40 more. Vladimir Putin flew to the scene to monitor the rescue efforts. There was some good news to cheer up the somber holiday: a baby boy rescued after 35 hours under the rubble.

3. Looking for Alaska: one lost Alaskan found himself celebrating Christmas in a Moscow detention facility, awaiting deportation. The truly bizarre story of John Martin III started with an attempted voyage to China in an 8-foot sailboat to reunite with his wife and child. The vessel strayed off-course, and Martin ended up in Chukotka. Martin was taken in by a local family, and he spent time giving English lessons and feeding pigeons, until he was sent to a deportation facility in Moscow. Martin remains positive, though, saying he’ll write a book to fund his next attempted trip to China. Frankly, we would buy that. 

Looking for Alaska
John Martin III on his boat. / Jerry Lamont


In Odder News 

Emu who
A holiday emu on the loose. / The Moscow Times
  • How emu-ising… an emu made a daring escape in a Russian Christmas special, and the internet rejoiced
  • Take a bike! One Siberian, disgruntled at a rise in bus fares, protested by taking to his bicycle in the minus 40 degree weather
  • Tarred by their own brush: authorities in a coal-mining region of Russia appear to have painted the polluted snow with white paint, though the ruse did not go unnoticed
     

Quote of the Week


“We recommend Nikita and all residents of Surgut to dress warmer and get to school and work using safer routes.”

— The mayor’s office of Surgut, telling our disgruntled Siberian cyclist to deal with it


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

Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
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. 
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.
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 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.
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.  
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.
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.
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.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.

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