October 04, 2018

Politics and Technology: And never the twain should meet


Politics and Technology: And never the twain should meet
Russians Dying to Get New iPhones

1. Russians went to X-treme lengths this week to get a chance at buying Apple’s new iPhone XS models, which cost over $1,000 in Russia. If you think that’s an absurd price, driven by consumer culture and the unhealthy hold Apple has over the world, get this: in Moscow people were selling their place in line for as much as $6,000! Why would a place in line cost six times as much as the phone? Well, in part because people were waiting in line for up to five days, and don’t forget that time is, er, an iPhone. And don’t even get us started on the Russian headstone that looks like a massive iPhone...

iPhone headstone

Photo: Ufa1/eat2west news

2. In a few unfortunate instances, it is simply inappropriate to take a selfie. One trailblazing member of the Duma is trying to convince his fellow members that while they are voting on legislation should be one of those instances. Vyacheslav Volodin warned his comrades that doing both at the same time could end in an unfortunate mistake (since both voting and selfie-taking require concentration). Volodin’s public stance may have been prompted by one member’s accidental vote in a similar situation. Of course, this to some degree counters the party line: in January the government offered iPhones (of course) as prizes for the best selfies taken at the polls!

3. Yet another American-turned-Russian entertainer is considering the shift to politics, following the brave lead of Jeff Monson. Steven Seagal, an American movie star and recently minted Russian citizen, has announced his intention to run for governor of Primorsky Krai, which is located in Russia’s Far East and has Vladivostok as its administrative center. The results of Primorsky Krai’s original September election were annulled due to allegations of severe fraud (clearly some thought they were Above the Law). The elections will be reheld in December of 2018, though it is unclear if Seagal will actually be eligible to run, or whether he would even take the Executive Decision to do so (though, admittedly, the urge toward politics can be Hard to Kill).

In Odder News:

happy birthday google

Photo: Meduza

  • Game recognize game: Yandex gave Google a shoutout on its birthday

  • Surprising exactly no one who knows anything about Russia, it turns out Russians like to read books!

  • Is this real life or The Matrix? Or both? Either way, this Russian wrestler showed some serious skill in defeating his opponent

Quote of the Week:

“Colleagues, you can’t make decisions and selfies at the same time”

— Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin speaker on the perils of snapping in the politician’s profession

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 Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

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.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
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.
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.
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.
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
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.  
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.

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
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955