October 05, 2017

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia


Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia
Big Spies, Little Spies, and Pilots

1. The spy who went out into the cold: British double agent Kim Philby, who defected to Russia in 1963, is getting a new set of honors in his adopted country. A new portrait hangs in the Russian state art gallery, and an anticipated exhibit displays both personal belongings, like a favorite armchair, and many of the secret documents he passed to the Soviets while working in British intelligence. Honoring Philby’s loyalty to Moscow may be a handy way to boost the KGB’s legacy, but however you feel about spies, the spy gadgets make for a great display.  

2. Philby needed a special briefcase to smuggle MI6 documents, but parents today just need a new monitoring service to do the dirty work. The company SocialDataHub has launched such a service, which analyzes kids’ public data on social media and notifies parents if their child seems interested in drugs, weapons, sex, crime, or “radical ideas.” As a bonus, they’ll profile children’s interests and suggest suitable universities and majors. It’s not every service that can offer monitoring and college counseling in one.

3. The sky’s the limit – or it was until this week for Russian girls dreaming of becoming pilots. For the first time in post-Soviet Russia, the Air Force is opening its ranks to young women. Sixteen of them took their army oaths at the Krasnodar Aviation School, starting the path toward becoming military pilots. The Ministry of Defense decided to extend its pilot training program to women after receiving letters from girls across Russia explaining their long-held dreams of the sky and desire to fly for their country.

In Odder News
  • What’s it like to be a female manager in a mostly male industrial factory? Watch and find out.
  • A good day for fidgety fingers: consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has ruled that fidget spinners pose no psychological risk to kids wanting to get their spin on.
  • Wisconsin is known for its cheese, Switzerland for its watches, and Dagestan for its wrestlers

Quote of the Week

"For me it doesn’t matter with whom I’m working, man or woman,because it depends on the professional level of the people and their willingness just to hit the target we put together."
—Marina Potoker, managing director of the construction materials company Rockwool Russia, on being a female leader in a male-dominated industry.

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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.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

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Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

Steppe / Степь (bilingual)

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Moscow and Muscovites

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The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

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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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