March 14, 2019

Wailing for Freedom


Wailing for Freedom
Spring is coming, not winter! (See In Odder News, below.) Svyatoslav Seleznev 

The worst of times to be a small child; the better of times to be a large whale

1. In Ryazan a woman gave birth in a bathroom. And then threw her newborn in the trash. A passerby heard the baby crying in a dumpster, found him in a plastic bag, and called an ambulance and the police. The mother was found drunk and partying in her friends’ apartment nearby. She has been charged with attempted murder by a mother of a newborn. The doctors treating the baby, who is in critical condition, named him Vanechka, a diminutive for Ivan, and hopefully not derived from the word for bathroom in Russian, which is vannaya. We love a good pun, but we’d give that one two thumbs down.

Possibly the worst place for a newborn to spend his first two hours. / Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Ryazanskaya Oblast

2. Some fifth graders outside of St. Petersburg want their women’s day “without women,” according to post-it notes they stuck on their faces on March 8. One schoolgirl’s mother claimed in a Facebook post that some boys took it further and kicked passing girls, including her daughter. The “campaign” was inspired by a meme from the Russian sitcom Happy Together. The director of the school said it was supposed to be a joke. Cue some sitcom canned laughter. Not laughing yet? Doesn’t seem like the incident made everyone happier together. 

We would translate the Russian for you, but the symbol says it all. / Facebook.com

3. Belugas are not “swimming so wild and swimming so free” in Russia’s Far East. Last fall Russia was scandalized by the discovery of about a hundred orcas and belugas in captivity off the shore of Primorsky Krai, where they had been freezing all winter. On March 12, a group of experts sent to deal with the situation decided that they would work toward releasing the animals from the “whale prison” in early summer. Over the next few months they will rehabilitate the health of the captive creatures and try to prepare them to readapt to conditions in the wild. 

You can practically hear them wailing for freedom. / Vitalii Ankov for RIA Novosti
 

In Odder News

  • It’s a Maslenitsa tradition to burn a scarecrow representing winter, and this year for residents of Lipetskaya Oblast that “scarecrow” was the Night King from the popular TV show Game of Thrones, based on the book series with an more on-the-nose title: A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Russian lawmakers have written dachas out of existence, replacing them with “garden and another-word-for-garden noncommercial partnerships.” Because who likes short laws with words that actual people use?
  • Russian Orthodox priests started Maslenitsa right by curling with brooms and a tea kettle. 
They swept away the competition. / uzlovaya.tularegion.ru

 

Quote of the Week

“In response to one of the most popular questions – is there meat in pelmeni – experts confidently answer: yes! DNA of large horned livestock and DNA of pigs were found in all samples.” 

- Research conducted by quality control authorities on 48 types of frozen pelmeni (Russian dumplings), none of which fully passed inspection.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

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.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
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.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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.

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