Cold War Spies at the Venice Film Festival

Cold War Spies at the Venice Film Festival – The Moscow Times Support The Moscow Times! Contribute today My account Signout × Sections Home Ukraine War News Opinion Business Arts and Life Podcasts Galleries Newsletters Multimedia projects Mothers & Daughters Generation P News Ukraine War Business Opinion Arts and Life Podcasts Newsletters RU My account…

Maria Stepanova’s ‘In Memory of Memory’

Maria Stepanova’s ‘In Memory of Memory’ – The Moscow Times Support The Moscow Times! Contribute today My account Signout × Sections Home Ukraine War News Opinion Business Arts and Life Podcasts Galleries Newsletters Multimedia projects Mothers & Daughters Generation P News Ukraine War Business Opinion Arts and Life Podcasts Newsletters RU My account Signout Support…

Newspeak in the New Russia

Новояз: Newspeak In 1949 George Orwell published his last novel, “1984,” and it was translated into Russian and published in 1957 — but not in the Soviet Union. More than 30 years would pass before it was published officially in Moscow. Both the самиздат (self-published work) and bound book version were instant hits — after…

Apple Aspic: Down With Stereotypes!

Apple Aspic: Down With Stereotypes! – The Moscow Times Support The Moscow Times! Contribute today My account Signout × Sections Home Ukraine War News Opinion Business Arts and Life Podcasts Galleries Newsletters Multimedia projects Mothers & Daughters Generation P News Ukraine War Business Opinion Arts and Life Podcasts Newsletters RU My account Signout Support The…

Explainer: Is King Charles III a Romanov?

Explainer: Is King Charles III a Romanov? – The Moscow Times Support The Moscow Times! Contribute today My account Signout × Sections Home Ukraine War News Opinion Business Arts and Life Podcasts Galleries Newsletters Multimedia projects Mothers & Daughters Generation P News Ukraine War Business Opinion Arts and Life Podcasts Newsletters RU My account Signout…

Good King… Who?

Макбет: Macbeth If you can believe it, I had been been working on a continuation of my serious, scholarly study of traditional Russian pet names — such an important, under-researched topic — when I got sidetracked by the extraordinary news that “По словам премьер-министра Лиз Трасс, 73-летний принц Уэльский Чарльз возьмет имя Карл III” (In…

From Kyiv With Dry Jam

“What do you mean, jam from Kyiv? From where?” a patron of a Moscow restaurant shouted aggressively at the waiter. “Yes, it’s from the time of Catherine the Great,” the waiter said calmly. “Well, if that’s the case, all right then…” the diner muttered, mollified. That scene really happened about five years ago. Even then,…

What’s In a (Dog’s) Name?

Тузик: Ace (classic dog name) When I moved to Riga, the first morning I was woken up by the unmistakable pitter patter of little dog paws in the apartment above me. Later that day when I was walking my dog, we met the pitter-patterer: a very friendly, sweet-natured dog of mixed, rather confused origins –…

Mikhail Gorbachev, Theater Lover

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91, presided over period of artistic freedom in the U.S.S.R. that had not been seen since the post-Revolutionary era. Russian culture flourished under his leadership, particularly in the theater, in which he took an active interest. But unlike other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev did…

‘Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union’

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin famously labeled the collapse of the Soviet Union “the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Years later, analysts, pundits and casual observers have repeatedly returned to the phrase to find a possible explanation for the Kremlin’s geopolitical moves from the 2008 war in Georgia to the ongoing invasion of…

What Do You Meme?

Six months into the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s political and economic life has changed significantly. New repressive laws forbid Russians from calling the war in Ukraine a “war,” the government blocks websites and social media and large companies have left the country. Protests are impossible. With little space to speak out freely, Russians have turned…

Russian Revolutionary Rassolnik

Today in Russian restaurant menus you might come across “Leningrad style” preceding the word rassolnik. But this St. Petersburg soup is just the Soviet version of a Moscow dish. It was created after the 1917 Revolution and reflected food shortages. It was made with pickled cucumbers, potatoes and pearl barley. What’s to be proud of?…

Annoying Russian Questions

Как дела?: How’s it going? Years ago whenever I would ask an acquaintance “Как дела?” (How are things?), he’d answer: “В Кремле дела, у нас делишки”. Since дела can mean matters, affairs, or work and делишки can mean minor tasks or errands, I understood it as a joke that meant something like “The Kremlin is…

Karl Nesselrode: Foreign Minister and Pudding

Karl Nesselrode (1780-1862) was a staunch conservative and monarchist. In the mid-19th century, he had successfuly transformed Russia into what would later be called “the gendarme of Europe.” And thanks to popular support for the “Russian world” in the Balkans at the time, he achieved the predictable result of Russia’s complete diplomatic isolation on the…

All the World in One Russian Word

Лихач: reckless person; skilled person Friday pop quiz: Name a Russian word that is a noun, an adverb and a short-form adjective all in one and means evil, clever, wicked, smart, rakish, daring, reckless, cool, or wild. I think it could even mean swashbuckling, if anyone is buckling their swashes these days. Any guesses? Лихо.…

Which Came First: Vareniki or Pelmeni?

What’s the difference between vareniki and pelmeni? Both are dumplings. Is it a question of who invented them? Even that is hard to decide. It’s amazing that passions are not raging over vareniki the way they are over borscht. Almost every nation has its own kind of dumplings: Italian ravioli, Japanese gyoza, Georgian khinkali, Asian…

Stepanida’s Rasstegai

The word rasstegai sounds funny in Russian. It sounds like the imperative of the word “unbutton,” which is why people joke: Rasstegai is not a command, it’s a pastry. Actually, the name comes from a word for an old Russian garment. Rasstegai, the lexicographer Vladimir Dal writes, is an “open, unbuttoned, loose shift.” It’s also…

Chowing Down the Russian Way

Хавать хочу: I wanna eat When you are on a diet — сидеть на диете — it’s best not to flip through cookbooks, click on Instagram recipes, or read anything that makes you salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs. You must not, for example, read about много пельмешек, маленьких, ладненьких, кругленьких (many little meat dumplings…

The Russian Sedentary Diet

Диета: diet If there is one word that is immediately understandable in Russian, it’s диета (diet). Right? Well, mostly right. In English, the most common meaning of the word today is “the restriction of food intake to lose weight,” but it can also mean the food usually consumed by a creature or food prescribed for…

‘On The Edge: Life Along the Russia-China Border’

Two “super powers”: One in economic decline and seeking to regain its imperial status by brutally attacking a democratic neighbor, the other in seemingly unstoppable economic ascendence, inexorably extending its “Belt and Road Initiative,” and, with it, its global influence. Author Franck Billé Courtesy of the author These are the Russia and China of international…

The Taste of Russia: Pickles with Honey

What’s the dominant taste of Russian cuisine? Surely it’s the sour taste of fermentation — sour cabbage (sauerkraut), sourdough rye bread, soused apples and, of course, sour (pickled) cucumbers. Real barrel-fermented pickles are delicious as appetizers and as ingredients for many dishes. Soups like rassolnik and solyanka and the classic salad “vinaigrette” wouldn’t be possible…

The Art of Russian Mumbling, Grumbling, and Babbling

Под нос: under your breath Russian – I suppose like all languages — has a bit of fun with various words for speaking outside the normal range of шептать–говорить–орать (whisper-talk-shout). Here we get into onomatopoeia, which in Russian is the more immediately understandable звукоподражание (literally “sound imitation”). This kind of colorful speech might be divided…

Ukha: Not Your Average Fish Soup

Ukha is an enigma in Russian cuisine. It seems simple: fish, vegetables, and spices. But what about all the places where it’s not made with these ingredients? While some people argue about that, others get into  discussions — and sometimes heated arguments that turn into fights — about ukha not being fish soup at all.…

Stop In, Go Behind and Lose Your Mind

Ум за разум заходит: I don’t know if I’m coming or going! I have been remiss. It has been months since I’ve tested everyone’s patience with verbs that have 12 meanings and prepositions that use different cases. To be honest, I actually love this part of Russian. I like to try to figure out conceptual…

Renowned Soviet Animator Dies at 101

Renowned Soviet and Russian animator Leonid Shvartsman has died at age 101. Shvartsman had worked on several iconic animated series, including “Cheburashka,” “The Scarlet Flower,” “The Snow Queen” and “38 Parrots and Kitten named Woof.”  Sergei Kapkov, the head of Russian and Soviet animation studio Soyuzmultfilm, announced his death to Russian media outlets on Saturday. …

Getting Stronger Every Day in Every Way

Крепись: keep the faith The other day a friend and I were talking about keeping our spirits up in these dark times. She tried to console me with a well-known Russian phrase: “Нас бьют — мы крепчаем! (literally “they beat us, we get stronger!” — similar to “when the going gets tough, the tough get…

Kirill Serebrennikov’s Gogol Center Closed

On June 29, the Moscow Department of Culture announced that the contracts with the current artistic director and director of Gogol Center would not be extended. The announcement stated that the theater, which “has been working under the pseudonym Gogol Center,” would revert to its original name: Gogol Theater. And so ends a theatrical era.…