June 21, 2018

Russia Makes Hay in Moscow and Surmounts in St. Petersburg


Russia Makes Hay in Moscow and Surmounts in St. Petersburg
World Cup Double Whammy

1. Russian fans around the world just died and went to heaven. Against the naysayers and the disbelievers (among which you may count this shamefaced newsletter), Russia not only won its first World Cup match against Saudi Arabia with a stunning 5-0 final score, but continued to impress with a 3-1 victory against Egypt. This virtually ensures that Russia will play in the Round of 16, but before that they will play their final group of four game against Uruguay on Monday, June 25. Who could have predicted this result, if not your favorite newsletter? Well, try one of eleven oracles that Russia boasts, from the famous Achilles the Cat (famous to us, at least) to a Beluga whale named Puziryok. Maybe TWERF can’t correctly predict World Cup outcomes, but surely at least one of our animal friends can.

2. American mixed martial artist Jeff Monson is running for City Council in Krasnogorsk, Russia (no eye-catching hook necessary for this story). Or rather, Russian-American mixed martial artist, as Monson recently received his Russian citizenship. The fighter just won the United Russia primary, making him a virtual shoo-in for the general election, which is scheduled for September. Check out this interview with Monson to learn what his platform is (more opportunities for kids), how much Russian Monson knows (not much), and if he plans to win (yes).

Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa5165ecE1E

3. Zabivaka, the 2018 World Cup mascot, will light up your night and even your skyline, if you happen to live in Kaliningrad. For those of you not as World Cup crazy as TWERF, Zabivaka is a friendly and energetic wolf who loves to play soccer. In Kaliningrad, a bright Zabivaka stands 37 meters tall, glows in the dark, and is a stylized part of a power line. Constructing this cheery structure was no mean feat: it consists of 2,000 small parts and 3,500 nuts and bolts!

In odder news:

Photo: branconegra

  • Flying saucer spotted: a rocket exhaust trail looks suspiciously like E.T.’s new ride

  • It happens to everybody: a taxi driver blames his crash in Moscow on mixing up the pedals

  • Setting sail for the World Cup, literally: one Brit sailed to Volgograd from Europe for the World Cup

Quote of the Week:

“Maybe [the UFO is] coming to watch the World Cup. Why not? We welcome all guests.”

— The Russian Embassy in Britain on the possible UFO sighting

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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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 and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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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 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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.

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