Category Archives: Russia


Quantum was a wonderful student magazine published by the National Science Teachers Association from 1990 to 2001. Born in the heady days of perestroika, it was a collaboration with the renowned Russian journal Kvant. Sadly, just at its early adopters were graduating from college and heading into science careers or becoming teachers themselves, the magazine was euthanized. […]

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A day in the life of Russia, 14 July 2011, courtesy of headlines in the Argumenty i fakty phone app. Some of the stories seem to have disappeared, so I can’t provide links. Попавший в реанимацию в Турции россиян доставлен в Москву | Russian resuscitated in Turkey taken to Moscow В Лондоне установили памятник Юрию […]

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To kick off the new year, here’s a story by a Russian writer with a very Polish name: Sigismund Krzhizhanovsky. I’m just starting to explore his works, only a few of which have appeared in English. I thought I’d add to that little pile by translating a short piece called “The Land of the Nots” […]

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Not many notes have been emanating from the basement recently. A lot has been happening upstairs, but the excitement generated there is unlikely to be of particular interest to you. And of course something big is afoot in the world outside, yet whenever I’m on the verge of writing about an especially funny or shocking […]

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I’ve been a little slow in posting this update to l’affaire Litvinenko. Back in May the Independent ran a follow-up, tallying up 18 months later what we know and still don’t know about how Alexander Litvinenko died. That article pointed to a piece by Edward Jay Epstein in the New York Sun from March of […]

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Russians may be great chess players, but they don’t seem to get the hang of American politics. Commenting on press reports that Hillary Clinton is open to the idea of being Barack Obama’s running mate, a reporter for Moskovskii Komsomolets writes: Experts predict … if Obama invites Clinton to join his team as vice president, […]

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As they have been doing for almost a century, Armenians around the world today commemorated the genocide carried out by the Ottoman government under the cover of World War I. In Moscow cars with Armenian flags drove in a column around the Garden Ring Road, but were prevented from entering the street where the Turkish […]

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Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest, Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum … I always imagined fifteen guys stomping up and down on some poor guy’s chest. Maybe I’m the only one—I never really checked with anyone else. Well, today I came across this translation at a Russian blog: пятнадцать человек на сундук мертвеца, […]

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A day in the life … Today it was announced that the legendary British band Deep Purple will perform in the Kremlin this month as part of the 25th anniversary celebration for Gazprom, the biggest extractor of natural gas in the world. Attendance will be by invitation only. Possible attendees include Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

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Старые привычки … I don’t know if there’s a Russian equivalent for the English phrase: “Old habits die hard.” It would certainly apply to recent events in the Russian hinterland, where workers were ordered to attend pro-Putin rallies in a number of cities. The Guardian reports: A telegram from Sergey Lemikhov, a railways boss in […]

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  • Proverbs for Paranoids, 3: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.
    Gravity’s Rainbow

    ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
    The Third Policeman