April 21, 2016

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all


Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

Photos, Finances, and Your Friend Mr. Putin

A boat of Syrian refugees, and one of the photos that clinched this year's Pulitzer Prize.

1. Russian photographer Sergei Ponomarev has snapped his way to the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for news photography. Along with his New York Times colleagues, Ponomarev is celebrated “for photographs that captured the resolve of refugees, the perils of their journeys, and the struggle of host countries to take them in.”

2. Russia’s law on foreign agents may be getting increasingly draconian. The latest: any money donated from abroad may fall under that sinister “international funding” umbrella. That could mean farewell to funding for orphans, the disabled, hospitals, victims of natural disasters, Russian refugees, and a whole slew of charities – not just the NGOs engaging in “political” activity originally covered in the law.

3. Russians wait all year for President Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” call-in show, when he answers questions from the public. Of the 2.5 million questions submitted, Putin addressed issues such as street potholes, Turkey, breakfast cereal, the Panama Papers, and more. His gentler tone with citizens was apparent – perhaps an attempt to keep his party invulnerable with elections on the horizon.

Quote of the Week 
“The more teeth you have, the more you like kasha.”

—President Vladimir Putin responding to a nine-year-old girl’s question about his breakfast habits. According to the president, kasha tastes better the older you get: he has a bowl every morning.

In Odder News 

  • Photo album bonus: a tiny factory town is an unusual breeding spot for street art. Be like the guy in the painting, and take a peek.
proof.nationalgeographic.com
  • Save the killers! Killer whales, that is. After an eight-hour rescue mission, four orcas escaped an ice trap in the Sea of Okhotsk. Free Willy is finally free.
  • Moscow’s subway will install cameras to scan all passengers’ faces in the next year. We love you, Big Brother. (Oh, and thanks for scouting out possible wrongdoers.)

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 Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
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.
At the Circus

At the Circus

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.
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.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
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.

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