Wednesday 30 April 2014

Why Russians Love the Number 3

Nice article!)

Тройка: three of something

If numbers can be said to have personalities, три (three) is deeply conflicted. It is highly spiritual but sometimes very naughty. It is a very small amount of something, unless it is more than you can imagine. It is average and in between, but at the same time it is exalted and magical. If три were a person, he would be on drugs.
Of course, три is just the number three, helpfully defined as more than two and less than four. Три describes three units of something, like три часа ночи (3 a.m.; literally and properly "at night" in Russian).

Monday 28 April 2014

#UnitedForUkraine )

The State Department Is Getting Ruthlessly Mocked For Tweets Of 'Hashtag Diplomacy'

Forget sanctions, military options, or tough talk. The State Department is now hitting Russia with bizarre tweets.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Twitter account tweeted this out early Thursday:

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Saturday 26 April 2014

Unique Russian dialect continues to exist in Alaska

Speaking of Alaska, it's hard not to mention this)

An antiquated dialect of Russian is still spoken in Alaska. Mira Bergelson — professor of linguistics at Moscow University, philologist, and expert on regional dialects — discusses how this dialect has been preserved, how it first arrived in Alaska, how it was learned and how it escaped the social class mutations forced upon Russian as spoken in the Soviet Union.

Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines -

dfaContinue reading

Sunday 20 April 2014

Learning Russian!)

Untranslatable russian words :)

Тоска (tas-'ka)

While this Russian word roughly translates as emotional pain or melancholy, native speakers continue to claim Americans can't possibly understand its depth. Vladimir Nabokov, the famous Russian-American author of "Lolita", put it best:

No single word in English renders all the shades of "toska." At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.

Read more: 9 Incredibly Useful Russian Words With No English Equivalent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Wednesday 16 April 2014

"I'm confused, can anyone help me?"

If anyone has answers to these questions, please share. I am also confused...


I'm confused. A few weeks ago we were told in the West that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine was a very good thing. These people, we were told by our political leaders and elite media commentators, were 'pro-democracy protestors'.
The US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these 'pro-democracy protestors' even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.
Now, just a few weeks later, we're told that people occupying government buildings in Ukraine are not'pro-democracy protestors' but 'terrorists' or 'militants'.

Monday 14 April 2014

Sunday 13 April 2014

Images of old Russia from 1872

66 pictures of the scenery, people and well known landmarks of Russia dating from 1872

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Friday 11 April 2014

You Can't Beat Putin, Because He's Already Won

Great reading!


A game theory guide to understanding the cynical genius of Russia’s president.

Ah, Vladimir Putin. He's the icy-eyed former KGB colonel that everyone loves to hate. Does his ambition have no bounds? Why can't he just be a nice guy? Can't he be reasoned with? This handwringing misses the point. In fact, reasoning is his strong suit -- and the West could learn a lot from him.

Putin wants to make Russia great and powerful again, thus cementing his own legacy as a great and powerful leader. Because this situation is not the status quo, he must find ways to change the state of the world. But there is no point taking big risks; every time he gambles and loses, Russia appears silly and weak. So he follows a simple three-step process designed to guarantee success. It could come right out of a game theory textbook, and this is how I think it works:

1. Locate the opportunity. Besides ice hockey, Putin only plays games that he knows he can win. Like a game theorist, he looks at his possible moves and the moves of his opponents. He plays through every scenario, all the way to the end. If he wins outright or at least is better off under all the possible outcomes, then he's in. Very rarely is he forced to play a game he doesn't want to play.

Thursday 10 April 2014

Playing Hockey With Putin


Shortly before the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin played in an exhibition hockey game there. In retrospect, he was clearly warming up for his takeover of Crimea. Putin doesn’t strike me as a chess player, in geopolitical terms. He prefers hockey, without a referee, so elbowing, tripping and cross-checking are all permitted. Never go to a hockey game with Putin and expect to play by the rules of touch football. The struggle over Ukraine is a hockey game, with no referee. If we’re going to play — we, the Europeans and the pro-Western Ukrainians need to be serious. If we’re not, we need to tell the Ukrainians now: Cut the best deal with Putin that you can.

Are we serious? It depends on the meaning of the word “serious.” It starts with recognizing what a huge lift it will be to help those Ukrainians who want to break free of Russia’s orbit. Are we and our allies ready — through the International Monetary Fund — to finance Ukraine’s massive rebuilding and fuel needs, roughly $14 billion for starters, knowing that this money is going to a Ukrainian government that, before the overthrow of the previous president, ranked 144 out of 177 on the Transparency International list of most corrupt countries in the world, equal with Nigeria?

Monday 7 April 2014


Pat Buchanan: Putin is planting flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity


In his Kremlin defense of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin, even before he began listing the battles where Russian blood had been shed on Crimean soil, spoke of an older, deeper bond.

Crimea, said Putin, “is the location of ancient Khersones, where Prince Vladimir was baptized. His spiritual feat of adopting Orthodoxy predetermined the overall basis of the culture, civilization and human values that unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.”

Russia is a Christian country, Putin was saying.

This speech recalls last December’s address where the former KGB chief spoke of Russia as standing against a decadent West:

“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

Heard any Western leader, say, Barack Obama, talk like that lately?

Friday 4 April 2014


Nice old russian cartoon "Little Silver Hoof"

It's a delightful animated version of a traditional Russian fairy tale, Little Silver Hoof. It tells the tale of a lonely old man who adopts a little orphan girl and her cat, and searches for a magical deer.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

U.S. Sanctions List Sets Dangerous Precedent

Good analysis of the sanction imposed on Russia by the West


U.S. Sanctions List Sets Dangerous Precedent

The U.S. sanctions imposed on high-ranking Russian officials caused many to gasp in dismay that the U.S. had targeted figures believed to be close to President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. government's decision to include the likes of Yury Kovalchuk, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko were shocking — but more for the groundless allegations against Russian officials than anything else.

It is relatively easy for the U.S. to sanction members of a government deemed to be acting in a hostile way, but what are the grounds for extending them to people who had no formal connection to that government? 

The U.S. statement that accompanied the list described the targeted individuals as being part of Putin's "inner circle," a term that is presumably somewhat difficult to define legally. But it also contained some surprisingly bold statements. It claimed that Putin has investments in the commodities trader Gunvor, whose former Russian shareholder, Timchenko, is one of the Treasury Department's new targets. Similarly, the document claimed that Bank Rossiya, now a sanctioned "Specially Designated National," or SDN, along with its main shareholder, Yury Kovalchuk, is the "personal bank" for senior officials. Kovalchuk, according to the statement, is the "personal banker" of senior officials, including Putin.