July 26, 2018

Russians in the Dark, One Way or Another


Russians in the Dark, One Way or Another
Back in my day… we got more money!

1. Out with the new and in with the old is becoming a phrase a whole swath of Russians are supporting. The Russian government recently announced that it will raise the age at which Russians can receive their pension, and the State Duma approved the bill on Thursday. Over the next 15 years, the age at which men qualify for their pension will rise from 60 to 65, and for women it will rise from 55 to 63. This sparked protests, both when the bill was announced, and when it was passed. To sum things up (by mixing animal products): these protesters are no spring chickens, but they want to keep bringing home the bacon.

2. Was it a sign from God? Or a sign from the devil? These would have been reasonable questions to ask in the far northeast of Russia this week, when the sun disappeared into a deep, physical darkness for three hours. The devil was probably the better bet, as one of the more reasonable explanations is that the darkness was caused by smoke and ash from wildfires in Siberia (which have brought smoke all the way to New England!). However, officials have not yet been able to identify the cause of the event, and, of course, alternate theories abound: UFOs, military tests, and so forth. TWERF’s not one to spread conspiracies, but we don’t think it would be a bad idea to invest in some anti-devilry protective measures right about now.

Dark day

The Siberian Times

3. Russians rose early to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Romanovs’ execution. And it came just one day after investigators finally confirmed their DNA testing of the Romanov remains. Early meant 2:45 am (for those dedicated to begin at the same minute of the Romanov execution), at which time a 22-kilometer pilgrimage began. 100,000 pilgrims took part, indicating the continuing pull of the Romanov story and the growing popularity of Tsar Nicholas II.

In Odder News:

New old bones

Alexei Akimov

  • She was just big-boned! Scientists found massive elephant-like bones that are half a million years old

  • If you want the bigliest burgers in Russia, check out the Krasnoyarsk restaurant Trump Burger

  • Last week we highlighted Russian adults reflecting on the World Cup, but this time, it’s the kids’ turn (and it’s pretty darn cute)

Quote of the Week:

“So many people from so many different countries came here and spoke so many different languages. And I just think that was so nice.”

—  Igor Chudaikin reflects on the 2016 World Cup

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Some of Our Books

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and 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.
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.  
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...
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.

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