Thursday, January 31, 2008

Дах - Портал коммерческой недвижимости - Moscow, St Petersburg and Pr

You know, three or four years ago, NO ONE would have predicted that Russia would be the "new frontier" for consumers... For any business/design/marketing students out there, a knowledge of Russian would open up many doors. And keep in mind that with Russian, languages like Czech, Bulgarian and Polish become very simple to learn -- sort of like the way that Spanish helps French study.
Дах - Портал коммерческой недвижимости - Moscow, St Petersburg and Pr: "Cities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) dominate a top-20 ranking of new-destination cities to be targeted by cross-border retailers over the next five years, with Moscow in No 1 position, followed by St Petersburg and Prague.

The only Western European city in the top ten is Amsterdam, which shares 10th position with Kyiv. This year’s risers are the capital cities of the European Union’s newest members, with Sofia and Bucharest both up two places to 6th and 7th respectively."

Russian ABCs

It goes...
A БЭ ВЭ ГЭ ДЭ Е Ё Ж З И Й (read и краткая, short eee), КА ЭЛ ЭМ ЭН О ПЭ ЭР ЭС ТЭ У ЭФ ХА ЦЭ ЧЭ ША ЩА (the reader hardly distinguishes them) Ъ и Ь (read твёрдый знак [hard sign] и мягкий знак ([soft sign]) Э Ю Я

A phonetic language like Russian hardly needs an alphabet song, much the less to "Frère Jacques"... Most Russians have trouble remembering the order of the letters in the dictionary, so maybe this song has some use.

And, frankly, the commercial comes across more creepy and sinister than comfy and consumery... The tagline Учитесь спать с нами (Learn to sleep with us!) only emphasizes the M. Night Shyamalan overtones.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Election, Elections, Elections, Oh My!

It seems to be election year for everyone. While many of us have been focusing on the U.S. presidential election, some may have forgotten that Russia is having its first Putin-free (well, sorta) election this year since 1996. While it is pretty much a given that Dmitry Medvedev will be the victor, I thought we should give attention to the other candidates.

So, here are the nominees:

Andrei Bogdanov - Leader of the Democratic Party of Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev - Putin's former Chief of Staff and Vice Prime Minister since 2005. He is supported by president Vladimir Putin and the parties United Russia (Russia's largest party), Fair Russia, Agrarian Party, and Civilian Power. He stated that he would appoint Putin as Prime Minister if he was elected prompting many political analysts to believe that he would only act as a figurehead with Putin holding the power. A December 2007 poll found that 79% of Russians would vote for Medvedev if elections were held right then.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky - Nationalist Deputy Speaker of the State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. He ran for presidency in 1991, 1996 and 2000. Is seen as as the "living embodiment of authoritarianism and militarism in modern Russia." Has been involved in a lot of scandals including his apparent Antisemitism, friendship with Saddam Hussein and support of his regime, and his supposed support of forcibly retaking Alaska, the dumping of nuclear waste in Germany, and the use of nuclear weapons in Japan.

Gennady Zyuganov - Leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and former presidential candidate. Ran for president in 1996 and 2000. In the 1996 election he came in at a close second to Yeltsin with 32% of the vote (Yeltsin received 35%).

Mikhail Kasyanov, former Prime Minister under Yeltsin, current leader of the Popular Democratic Union, and political enemy of Putin was recently disqualified (as in Sunday) when it was discovered that 13% of the required 2 million signatures that qualified him were forged.

Mark March 2nd on your calendars for voting day!