Thursday, September 30, 2010

#40 in the programs, #1 in our hearts...

With the season fast approaching (starting October 7th), many teams are making their final cuts and starter adjustments. One of the most problematic positions in Washington has been that of the goaltender, but a young Russian seems to be their best bet...
Semyon Varlamov [Семён Варламов] was drafted 23rd overall in the 1st round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. From 2006-2008, he played for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) before playing with the Washington Capitals’ minor league affiliates, the Hershey Bears for one season.
The 3rd year goaltender made his most impactful debut during the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoff during Game 2 of the series versus the New York Rangers (after starter Jose Theodore allowed 4 goals and a Loss in Game 1). After working out some kinks in his 1-0 loss, ‘Varly’ went on to help the Capitals win Games 3, 5, 6, & 7 to help the team advance to the second round.
After fighting for the starting spot, Theodore was released after the 09-10 season and Varly became the starter, thus changing his jersey from #40 to #1.
He is a respectable athlete, but a questionable Russian. When asked about partying (and drinking) he told the reporter that he did not drink vodka because he is an athlete. There are plenty of Russian-born NHL-ers who party and consume mass quantities of alcohol [see also, Alex Ovechkin]. Whatever works for him though.
Remember: High-Fives are a universal language, even to Varlamov! (Start @ 0:36)

[Composition B] [dialogue pg. 50] <---((Both with ZACH COLE))

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian eagle owls are found in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and the Middle East and Asia. It is the world's largest owl; it grows up to: 58-73 cm in length, 150-200 cm in wingspan, and 1600-4200 g in weight. They usually hunt at dusk and into the night; they hunt small birds of prey such as buzzards and Tawny Owls. They prefer mammals but they will grab a duck or crow while in flight. They can live in a wide range of habitats: cold pine forests, cooler forests and pastures in middle Europe, and hot deserts such as the Sahara. They are a very successful bird and have few natural enemies but numbers continue to decline. Birds raised in captivity are easy to breed and then released into areas where there once were many of them living. They usually live in the wild (if the babies can survive the first winter.) up to 20 years. The longest wild lived Eagle Owl recorded was 26 years and 7 months, this was in Finland; and the longest lived Eagle Owl in captivity was over 80 years. (information). (picture).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Предупреждаю... with any luck I will not break the website this time...

more Tolstoy films forthcoming...

Leo Tolstoy as seen by BBC

Producer of the BBC project Tom Birchenough is convinced that the interest in Leo Tolstoy's personality abroad will never fade away, since his work has always been acquainting people with the realities of Russian life and culture. The attention of the British is drawn not only to the writer himself - they also plan to find answers to a number of questions concerning present-day Russia, in particular, what kind of ideas suggested by Tolstoy are still relevant in our country and to what extent the young generation is familiar with his work.

I wonder if the Beeb can make even Tolstoy dull?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Russia's "Golden Hundred"

Considering the sheer amount of competition for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's love, I have decided to focus on other possible love prospects... The 100 wealthiest people in the Russia are known as the "Golden Hundred," and they are on my "list."

The collective wealth of these hundred had jumped 54% in the 2007-2008 year. This obscene amount of money totals $552 billion, which is over a third of the whole country's GDP. Also, 2008 was the first year all one hundred of the wealthiest Russians were billionaires; in 2007, only 60 of them had passed the $1 billion mark.

Luckily for me, only one of these hundred billionaires is a woman: Yelena Baturina, the wife of Moscow's mayor, who owns a successful construction company.

Another fact boding well for the "list of wealthy men" is that only six of these billionaires have less money than they did last year.

Soviet Legacy Lingers as Estonia Defines Its People

Soviet Legacy Lingers as Estonia Defines Its People

Though short and lacking in some historical depth, this article conveys the complexity of identity and nationality that persists twenty years after the breakup of the Soviet Union:

Whoever is at fault, deep friction is one legacy of Soviet ethnic and demographic policies that moved millions of people around — and shifted many borders — in order to cement Kremlin control over a vast patchwork of territories. The fallout endures, and the post-Soviet countries are constantly confronting it.

Just scan recent headlines: Major rioting breaks out in areas of Kyrgyzstan that Stalin gave to the Kyrgyz, but are still populated by Uzbeks; a firefight erupts over an enclave disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan; Georgia asserts that Russia wants to go to war again in support of two separatist territories, as it did two years ago; Moldova demands that Russian troops leave its own breakaway region.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Ancient" Russia

As a History major, I kind of wanted to explore the early years of the country/area that is now known as Russia (because none of my History classes have ever paid as much attention to ancient Russia as they have to other civilizations). I'm sure this will be a fairly dry and boring post to the majority of you who actually read these, so you may just want to turn away now.
Originally, before Russia became home to an empire, the country was simply scattered with a random assortment of cities and smaller towns. Around the 9th Century AD, a Scandinavian group known as the Varangians, who are most commonly considered to simply be Vikings, crossed the Baltic Sea and found their way to the city of Novgorod. Somehow, the group came into possession of the area by 862 AD (apparently it could have been gifted to them, or taken by force) and began to extend Novgorod's influence southward. Oleg, the successor to the original leader of the Varangians, acquired Kiev in 882 AD and established the first, dynastic structure in the general area.
Within the next century, Oleg's great-grandson, Vladimir I, had established a large kingdom and sought to establish a state religion, eventually deciding upon Greek Orthodox and subsequently forging a connection with Constantinople. Vladimir was followed by Yaroslav the Wise, who is known for codifying laws, encouraging the arts, and dividing his kingdom between his children; by 1054 AD, the area had broken up into separate states, yet again, and was finally invaded by the Cumans / Kipchak peoples.

Just a few side notes:
1. One of the Russian terms for the Varangians, немец, was used to denote any foreigner from a European country, but today is interpreted as referring to a German.
2. Several different languages and groups have terms for the Cumans that refer largely to their blond hair. The Russian word Пóловцы means "blond," and derives from the older word polovo or "straw." It is also said that the term comes from the Russian word for "pole," an open field. Lastly, Пóловцы may come from the Serbo-Croatian plav, which means "blue" and could refer to "blue-eyed."

Recordings (with Josh Solomon):
1. Page 50, Dialogue 1

2. Page 53, 2-18, #2, Airport Arrival

Disney East

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Пятачок! (Little Coin)

This is probably the cutest short I've ever seen, courtesy of Dr. Denner's previous post about

The story is about a little badger who finds a coin and his quest to return it to the owner. It was so adorable and practices much of the ходить/едит verbs.

Thanks for the link :)
Unit 2 Dialogue:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ghosts of WWII

A very interesting compilation of photos from the Eastern Front in WWII, photoshopped onto pictures taken from the same positions years later.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jehovah's Witnesses - Their Dilemma in Russia (Tito Feliciano Portfolio Post Unit 1)

The Jehovah's Witnesses, a christian group of an estimated 7 million members, has been subject to legal persecution in Russia for many years now, and as of 2004, they were banned from practicing their religion by law. This was due to the fact that the political leaders in Russia thought that the Jehovah's Witnesses were "it encourag[ing] younger members to disown families and neglect civic duties".

This ruling was taken to the European Court of Human Rights and it decided that the ruling "to dissolve the Moscow branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses was illegal" and "was based on insufficient grounds".
The result was that, for a while, the court's decision went unchallenged. However, on the 9th September, 2010, Russia officially challenged the unanimous decision by the ECHR, requesting "that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber."

"The unanimous decision of the ECHR made clear that the liquidation and ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses was in violation of fundamental human rights guaranteed by the European Convention, including freedom of religion and freedom of peaceful association. Reversing the ban on the Witnesses and restoring their status as an officially registered religious association in Moscow would be an important step forward for Russia regarding freedom of worship. However, the Russian government’s request for a rehearing of the matter by the Court’s Grand Chamber delays Russia’s compliance with the Court’s ruling and adds fuel to an already heated environment of religious intolerance against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

The Moscow ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses, based on a June 16, 2004, ruling of the Moscow City Court, has been systematically used by officials to justify a campaign of hostility with the aim of banning the Witnesses throughout Russia. Since then, a series of negative court rulings in Russia threaten freedom of worship. In particular, the December 8, 2009, ruling by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation regarding the literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses has led to a dramatic increase in the number and intensity of incidents against Witnesses. There have been arson attacks on their places of worship, physical attacks on individuals, and unwarranted arrests. These and hundreds of other documented acts of religious intolerance, either instigated or condoned by the Russian government, continue unabated.

Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide look to the European Court either to allow the present ruling to stand or to reinforce it by an affirming ruling from the Grand Chamber."

Dialogues: David Kinkaid posted our dialogues on a blog post of his.


Grain, meat prices a threat to world's hungry: FAO

(Reuters) - Rising grain, meat and sugar prices pose a threat to the nearly one billion people who are undernourished, with global hunger still above pre-economic crisis levels despite the first decline in 15 years in 2010.

"The recent increase in food prices, if it persists, will create additional obstacles in the fight to further reduce hunger," the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report on Tuesday.

The FAO estimates that 925 million people are undernourished in 2010, a decline from 1.023 billion in 2009 due to a more favorable economic environment, but still higher than before the economic crisis of 2008/09.

The number of hungry people in the world had been rising for more than a decade, reaching a record spike in 2009 triggered by the economic crisis and high domestic food prices in several developing countries.

"Food prices in most low-income, food-deficit countries remain above the pre-crisis level, negatively affecting access to food by vulnerable populations," the FAO said.

Riots in Mozambique earlier this month in which 13 people were killed, showed the potential dangers for governments if food prices start to rise.

A 30 percent rise in the price of bread -- linked to soaring global wheat prices -- had to be quickly reversed.

Despite some pockets of instability, the FAO has repeatedly said the latest bout of price rises in some key staples has not brought markets closer to a repeat of the 2007/08 price-induced food crisis. It said this was because there have been two years of plentiful crops around the world and the situation on global markets remained different.


Russia's worst drought in more than a century sparked a searing rally in global benchmark wheat prices and now livestock producers are likely to pass on the higher cost of feeding their animals to consumers.

Russia's biggest meat producer Cherkizovo (CHEq.L) said on Tuesday that prices are set to rise.

"The rise of meat prices this year is unavoidable. We hope that the situation will be limited to 10-15 percent ... by the end of the year," Cherkizovo's chief executive officer Sergei Mikhailov told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit on Tuesday.

Wheat prices rose to their highest level in about two years in August after Russia banned exports of the commodity while corn is continuing to climb, hitting the highest level in nearly two years on Monday.

Global wheat production looks set to fall this year but a rise in stocks following the two largest wheat harvests in history in 2008 and 2009 should help to keep a lid on prices.

"Global grain stocks are actually at relatively comfortable levels having been built up following record harvests over the past two years, and this should allay fears of an outright food scare," Jonathan Blake, manager of the Baring Global Agriculture Fund said on Tuesday.

Corn prices have been supported by concerns yields in the United States, by far the biggest global producer, may fall short of expectations.

In its September supply/demand report on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), reduced its yield forecast for U.S. corn this year to 162.5 bushels per acre from its August estimate of 165.9 bushels.

Sugar prices are also on the rise, climbing to the highest levels in more than six months on Tuesday buoyed by worries drought will erode yields in Brazil, the world's top producer and exporter, into next season.

"Trade estimates for Brazilian sugar production are declining almost on a week-to-week basis," Rabobank analyst Doug Whitehead said, although analysts see global supply prospects improving in the fourth quarter.

(Additional reporting by Catherine Hornby in Rome, David Brough in London and Maria Plis and Toni Vorobyova in Moscow; editing by Keiron Henderson)

Unit One Recordings - David Kincaid and Tito Feliciano

From the book:


Schnittke - Neo-romantic Russian Composer

Alfred Schnittke (Альфре́д Га́рриевич Шни́тке in Russian) is a Neo-Romantic composer. He was born November 24, 1934 and died August 3, 1998. His music can be described as "Polystylistic", meaning that he combines several different styles into one piece. His String Quartet No. 3 is a great example of this. Notice how at 1:13 his music changes drastically from Romantic to Modern.

ну, погоду!

ну, погоду! is a cartoon about the ongoing pursuit of a kind hare, by a bullying wolf. This cartoon seems to be the Russian equivalent of Tom & Jerry. The wolf is always destroying public property, smoking, or cursing while the hare is an upholding citizen who helps out the less fortunate. The first series of this cartoon was published in January 1969. There are a total of 20 episodes. E[isodes 1 to 16 were filmed from 1969-1986. Episodes 17 & 18 were filmed in 1993. The last two episodes were filmed in 2005.

Unit 1

I thought that everyone would enjoy listening to the different kinds of modern Russian music. The bands and songs are from a website that describes each band listing and says a little bit about each. I included just a few from different genres, most of them are said to be the most popular in their genre. The one I thought was the most interesting was the Rap/Hip-hop. Many of the punk bands, like the one I have shown, have songs with lyrics that have to do with politics as well as other controversial issues. I thought the dance/techno video was hilarious. I could not imagine this band being popular, but I guess it is. I found it amazing how different music made by Americans vs. music made by Russians was. Hope y'all enjoy! :)


Ruki Vverkh--Their name "Ruki Vverkh" is the common-place call of DJs for dancers to "get their hands in the air." Their music is so well known for its energy that the sportswear company Adidas once employed them as official spokesmen. Known for love songs, they often blur the line between boy band and techno.

Contemporary Pop

Gradusy--Their first hit "Rezhisyor" ("Director") began getting heavy rotation on popular Russian radio stations in fall 2009 and they shot their first music video for the same song in November 2009.


Tarakani--They are known for socially conscious lyrics, which attempt to tackle some of Russia's biggest problems: alcoholism, drug abuse, extremism, and racism.


Bad Balance--This is the Run DMC of Russia – they pioneered hip-hop and rap in the Soviet music scene in the 80s and 90s. Their music was considered politically subversive and they did not produce a record until the early 1990s.


Dialogue p.23 #4

Dialogue/Composition Piece p.26 #3

Unit One Recording

should be Kara and Veronica's link to the recordings.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Volga and Unit 1 Recordings

If you take a look at any busy street in the U.S. today, you can see many different vehicles made by many different brands. There are small energy efficient cars, big trucks, and mid-sized sedans, manufactured by companies that originate in the U.S., Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and even Korea. However I doubt you will find a car made in Russia. Upon doing a little research, I found that there are indeed a few car manufacturers located in Russia, one of which is called "Volga" (like the river).

Volga began in 1956 during the Soviet era, and since then it has only ever produced one general design of a car. Over the years the Volga car has evolved through four main generations, with each generation creating several different models. The changes that these models introduced, however, are trivial and (in my opinion) a Volga from the 60's looks very much like a Volga from 2004.

Because of the worsening economic conditions in post-Soviet Russia, the Volga never really became a major player in the global car market. In recent years, the company that owns Volga, GAZ, has suggested that Volga will continue to be produced as historical vehicle. Since Russia is now becoming much more economically stable, it will be interesting to see if GAZ and other Russian car companies eventually decide to market their cars to the rest of the world. Until that day, we will have to be content with what the Japanese give us.

Micah Ivey

Volga 1950's - 1970's

Volga 2000's
Unit 1 Recordings Links:

Will Russia see Putin as President in 2012?

Vladimir Putin served as the President of the Russian Federation from 1999 until 2008. Constitutional limits on a third term prevented Putin from seeking re-election in 2008, so he moved aside as Dmitri Medvedev (who remains supported by Putin) was elected President in 2008. The former President is now the Prime Minister in the Medvedev administration and is the leader of the United Russia party. With his party role and political leadership, Putin continues to be an influential politician in Russia and is still very much in the spotlight both at home and abroad. With the next Presidential election in 2012, the BBC reports ( that Vladimir Putin has not ruled out seeking another term as President. Prime Minister Putin stated that he and President Medvedev would decide on "what would be best for Russia" as the election approaches. With more then two years until the election, Putin and Medvedev are not facing any pressure to make a decision. With the United Russia in firm control of the Duma and the presidency, neither leader faces significant opposition at this time. However, could the collusion between both politicians lead to a backlash by Russians during the 2012 election? Despite frequent multi-party elections, Russia has been criticized by some NGO's as being semi-authoritarian with unfair elections. If Medvedev passed the presidential baton back to Putin, would more criticism arise, or would a decisive vote by the Russian people silence critics?

Audio Links for Unit 1:

Алексaндр Порфирьевич Бородин

Alexander Borodin 1833 was a Russian Romantic composer and a successful chemist, of Georgian-Russian parentage. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, and his opera Prince Igor. His most famous string quartet is String Quartet No.2 the most gorgeous movement and well known being the Notturno.

Collin Dougher's and Josh Solomon's Portfolio Dialogues

The dialogues can be accessed here.

The Great Buckwheat Shortage of 2010

In Russia, a Shortage Triggers Soviet Habits

An illuminating article today in the Times on the shortage of buckwheat groats and flour. Buckwheat, a grayish and pungent flour. We don't eat it in the USA much, but it's an integral part of much of Central European cuisine. In Russian: гречи́ха обыкнове́нная, гре́ча, гре́чка, гречуха... all of them mean buckwheat... the more a culture loves something, the more names it has for that thing... It holds a special place in Russian hearts largely, I think, l because it's the only grain that produces consistently in far northern climes. I like the discussion of "Soviet mentality" that persists today. Plus, I love гречка, buckwheat groats... cold. Next to a leftover fried cutlet, with a cup of tea. For breakfast. Mmmm.

Portfolio 1 Recordings/Post: Dostoevsky and Crime and Punishment

Since reading Crime and Punishment I have developed an interest in Russian literature, especially Dostoevsky's. I have noticed that many Russian authors are extremely philosophical, two that stand out to me are Vladimir Nabokov and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Both of these men have a unique ability to decipher the human psyche and illustrate both inter and intra personal interactions.
In the case of Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment is not only his masterpiece, it is a peak into what is going on in his life at the time. Raskolnikov's attitude of superiority and lack of spiritual morals bears great resemblance to early Dostoevsky and his participation in a radical political group by the name of the Petrashevsky Circle.
Raskolnikov's shattering realization that he is not one of the elite in society that he theorized about is similar to Dostoevsky's disillusion with his group upon his arrest. The personal torment that Raskolnikov endures after murdering his landlady and her younger sister can be compared to Dostoevsky's imprisonment as well.
Rodia meeting Sasha and slowly being converted to Christianity reflects Dostoevsky's conversion to Christianity in prison through his study of the New Testament. His sentence to hard labor in Siberia is pretty literally interpreted as Dostoevsky's same sentence. However, the enlightenment that Rodia experiences through that is similar to Dostoevsky's change of heart and new conservative mentality.
I did not realize it until I studied Dostoevsky as an individual but Crime and Punishment is literally a synopsis of his reform through prison. The emotions that Rodia feels and the suffering that he endures seem so realistic and detailed because Dostoevsky actually experienced similar thoughts, tribulations and enlightening experiences. link: and

Unit 1 Portfolio Entry--Traditional Russian Food

Since Russia is located towards the north, they have been known for their extremely cold and long lasting winters. Their traditional foods all contain ingredients that would keep one warm, the ones that produce carbohydrates and fat instead of protein. The majority of their ingredients are potatoes, meat, eggs, butter, and bread. Also commonly used are cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, and onions. If you regularly eat traditional Russian cuisine, you will notice a lack of fruit and vegetables.

-Borscht is one of the most well-known dishes not only in Russia, but in the majority of the slavic region. Borscht is a soup that often contains beets, meat, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, buckwheat, and is topped with sour cream. There are various types of Borscht depending regionally where you are. The above listed would be considered as "Krasnee Borscht" (red borscht). There is also "Zeloniy Borscht" (green borscht). In this borscht, there are eggs, cucumbers, celery, meet carrots, spinach, potatoes, lemon, and a few other ingredients. Usually, red borscht is served hot and green borscht is served cold. Other than borscht, other soups are very common dishes in Russia.
-Potatoes and Buckwheat are very commonly used as garnishes and side dishes. Boiled, fried, steamed, baked, and any other way you could possible make potatoes, they make them. Potatoes could be in virtually almost every traditional Russian dish. Sour cream and mayonnaise are also used as toppings for almost everything.
-Blini are Russian's version of pancakes. They are basically potato pancakes. They can be made thick or thin but are generally smaller than our "pancakes" and they are fried. They are topped with sour cream, jam, sugar, honey, or butter.
-Vereniki are similar to the American "dunpling". Vereniki is a more western Russian/eastern European dish. They have a dough-like outside and are filled with either meat, berries, potatoes, or sweet cheese. Often times they are topped with sour cream.


Ukrainian borscht.jpg



Unit 1 blog post, also dialogues.

Killing two birds with one stone here, and offering up an alternative for uploading dialogues in case Rachel breaks the internet again. Badongo is a free site where you can upload files to be shared with the world. So, my and Катя's dialog is here: Clicky

So, back in May, apparently there was a zombie flashmob in Moscow. This is awesome and I firmly believe that it needs to happen more often in more places. EnglishRussia has a sizable collection of pictures from the day, including several shots of people getting into costume. The guy who painted himself blue really shows dedication to the craft. I chose a few of my favorite images to share on the blog; link to the rest of the pictures will be at the end. Warning: lots of fake blood and occasional slight nudity (but I didn't pick any of those pictures for here).

Here's one of my favorite shots of a cop apparently surveying the crowd; I really want to believe he is extremely confused by the sight of a couple hundred citizens decked out in ripped clothes and about a swimming pool's worth of fake blood.

Что это? Зомби!!

Even somebody's бабушка shows up to watch, although it would've been even better if they'd gotten her in makeup too:

Finally, this is another favorite shot of mine because it looks like a screenshot from Dead Rising or a similar video game where the object is to kill as many zombies as possible by any means necessary. I dunno, maybe it's the lighting or something:

Source: Here (again, warning, blood and nudity)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

UNIT 1 Portfolio Blog

Stalin Gothic Skyscrapers

Also known as the Seven Sisters by English speakers and known as Сталинские высотки by the Russians. These seven towers were raised from 1947-53 by the orders of Stalin. They are an elaborate combination of Russian Baroque and Gothic styles, and the technology used in building American skyscrapers. Two of them are private apartments, two house government buildings, two are hotels, and one is Moscow state University: Hotel Ukraina, котелническая Embankment Apartments, the Kudrinskaya Square Building, the Hotel ленинградская, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the main building of the Moscow State University, and the Red Gates Administrative Building.

A great Website for more information is:

The History of Russia's National Tune

The old days of the Russian National Anthem go back to the Napoleon. Early versions consisted of canons depicting the retreat of Bonaparte in 1812. In 1833 the “Russian Hymn” was composed by Alexis Lvov and remained Russia's official song for the next 100 or so years. Outside of Russia, it is most often heard in English as the hymn “God the All-Terrible”
The National Anthem of the Russian Federation (Государственный гимн Российской Федерации) is the most recent official National Anthem of Russia. It's roots, however, go back to 1944 when the Soviet Anthem was composed by Alexander Alexandrov with lyrics by Sergey Mikhalkov. Containing more Russian Nationalistic themes, it was written to replace the more vague previous Russian Hymn. This anthem was amended in 1956 to remove lyrics that had references to former Soviet leader Comrade Stalin. The anthem was amended again in 1977 to introduce new lyrics written by Mikhalkov. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in1990, Chairman Boris Yeltsin chose the lyric free “Patriotichekara Pesnya” by Mikhail Glinka which proved to be highly unpopular. The government sponsored contests to create lyrics but none were ultimately chosen. This led Vladmir Putin to restore the Soviet Anthem as the new Federation's tune. Again a contest was government sponsored to write more relevant lyrics and eventually a composition by Mikhalkov was chosen. According to the government, the lyrics were selected “to evoke and eulogize the history and traditions of Russia”. The new anthem was adopted in late 2000, and became the second anthem used by Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Lyrics translated to English:
Russia-our sacred state,
Russia-our beloved country.
A mighty will, a great glory
Are yours forever for all time!
Be glorious, our free Fatherland,
Ancient union of brotherly peoples,
Ancestor given wisdom of the people!
Be glorious, country! We are proud of you!
From the southern seas to the polar region
Lie our forests and our fields.
You are one in the world! You are one of a kind,
Native land protected by God!
Wide spaces for dreams and for living
Are open to us by the coming years.
Our faith in our Fatherland gives us strength.
So it was, so it is, and so it will always be!

Here's a video on the Federation Anthem-

Food for thought, with all the rich Russian music history, it is surprising they had such difficulty coming up with an original national anthem. One would think they would call upon their multitude of renowned composers.

The Russian Brothers Grimm

Alexander Afansyev was the first person to amass and compile the collection of Russian folk tales. Eventually recording more than six hundred stories, he began the project in the 1850's when scholar-noble Sergey Uvarov trashed his reputation as a history professor. With no job, Afansyev returned home to Bobrov to begin a journalism career. He began listening to the tales local women would recite and eventually compiled them into his first scholarly article – The Wizards and Witches. Afansyev hoped that his work would legitimize the Russian language, giving it the same international respect that French enjoyed at the time. Through the 1860’s, he continued to collect, record, and analyze Russian folktales, culminating in his magnum opus, The Poetic Outlook on Nature by the Slavs – a three-volume piece. At the height of his success however, Afansyev’s career was once again ruined suddenly. Discovered to be communicating with socialist radical Alexander Herzen, Afansyev’s property was seized. Forced to sell the rights to his works for food, he died in1871 in poverty at the age of forty-five.

Vasilissa the Beautiful is one of Afansyev's most significant tales.

Mysterious Habitats - Dusan Bogdanovic (Guitarist)

My old guitar teacher first introduced me to this song, and this composer, about a year ago, and I just realized that it would fit fairly well into this blog... Hopefully!

Dusan Bogdanovic is a Serbian-born classical guitarist, but, since I never could really find him playing this song, I settled for the above version on YouTube by Joe Galambos. I wasn't exactly sure of his nationality for a long while and, while surfing Wikipedia to learn a bit more about Bogdanovic, his page eventually led me to one about "Russian guitar."
Apparently, until around the 1920s, the more common type of guitar in Russia was a seven-stringed variety, as opposed to the traditional, Spanish instrument. The tuning (Open G, or DGBDGBD) is supposed to allow for a more flexible playing style, and also enables a large number of chords to be played fairly easily. In addition to this, the guitar was designed specifically for arpeggios (or broken chords, to put it simply), having adopted the tuning of a common harp.
Nowadays, the six-string guitar has become much more popular in Russia, largely due to a tour of the country by Andres Segovia (arguably the father of "classical guitar," and a contemporary of Stetson's own Stephen Robinson). Those who wish to emulate the sound or style of the seven-string guitar, however, often resort to switching from the standard EADGBE to DGDGBD, dropping the lowest B.

Just a little extra background information:

During the early years of the Soviet Union, both Lenin and Stalin considered all guitar music to be "bourgeois;" the two favored large orchestras and similar types of music, instead. After Segovia's tour in 1926, a large number of Russian guitarists switched to the six-string variety, including one Piotr Agafoshin, who later authored a book on six-string technique. Despite this, the Russian guitar remained popular until the emergence of groups such as The Beatles in the 1960s, but, at the same time, a second style of "bard music" also gained fame. Vladimir Vysotsky was one person who continued to use the seven-string guitar, whereas a so-called bard named Bulat Okudjava simply used the six-strings tuned to Open G. More recently, the Russian guitars have experienced a growing fan base, due to the work of Dr. Oleg Timofeyev, who has sought to expand and revise the database of classical songs.

(First Recording - Darian Shump and Collin Dougher - Игровые ситуации, Page 26, #1)
(Second Recording - Darian Shump and Collin Dougher - Диалоги, Page 23, #3)

Russian Dialogue Self Made

Adam Brink and David Bell talking in Russian ((=

Russian Dialogue Self

Adam Brink and David Bell

Adam Brink and David Bell, recording for portfolio.

Russian Pop

After browsing around and fiddling with Russian youtube videos, i have learned that i love Russian pop. The words flow out very smoothly and are understandable. There are many words that Russian 1 learners will hear and that will stand out to them.

-Adam Brink

so i'm sure all this is illegal...

Claire sent me this.

Not that I'm condoning the rampant disregard for copyright here, but, wow, what an amazing selection of Russian films with subtitles... and American films with Russian subtitles... a feast (of cake!) for the language learner.


This site has like every famous Russian movie and short with English subtitles (Чебурашка included). Just go to Subs located on the menu and then yeah....

Also, there is a movie/TV show website No subtitles, just a good place to watch some Russian movies and horrendously dubbed American movies.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Russian Barbershop

I found this youtube video because I actually really like barbershop music and this guy makes a lot of really cool multitracks. Essentially he sings with himself and harmonizes with his own voice using multiple tracks. He did this one Russian song so I thought I'd post it here.

Lyrics as stated by him in the information section of the video:

Duh Tvoy Blagiy, nastavit miia na zemlia pravu. Alliluiya, alliluiya, alliluiya.

Let Thy good Spirit led me on a level path. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

~Collin Dougher

The snow leopards of Russia

In March of 2010 Russian scientist decided that they would install special video cameras, otherwise known as "photo traps", to monitor the endangered snow leopards of Siberia. These are one of the most elusive of all the big cats. These mountain cats can weight up to 165 pounds, their should height can come up to 60 cm, and they have the longest tail of all the big cats (their tail helps them chase their prey up the steep mountains).
The Photo traps have a sensory device that activates as the animal walks toward it. The Russian scientist are hoping that the photo traps will help them identify how many of the red book endangered species are left in the area. And this method has been used before in Russia. Russian sceintist in the Far East used photo traps to Monitor Russia's Far East Leopard. The camera shots will also help scientist identify each individual snow leopard ( each snow leopard has a unique fur pattern). Not only will these cameras be able to estimate the amount of big cats in the area, but they will also allow scientist to track these big cats.
Several photo traps have already been set up in the Altai mountains and eleven more are to be installed soon.
* The youtube video is about snow leopards in Northern India, but has a great example of photo traps that the Russian scientist will be using.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Recordings, Unit 1 (M. Ezra Keith, Matthew Blair)

Dialog 3:


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Я вас любил... for real

Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov

Ice skating. I can't even stand up on a pair of skates, but it's a sport I've always marveled at and enjoy watching. And never has the world been more entranced than when Olympic Pairs champions Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov took to the ice. They won gold for their native Russia in pairs skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary (Katia was just 16, Sergei, 21) and at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

They were paired together on the ice at the young ages of 10 and 14. Over the course of their career, they would compete 31 times at the senior and professional levels, finishing first a remarkable 24 times. Their skating partnership also blossomed into a romance. They were married in 1991 and welcomed daughter Daria in September 1992. Apart from their Olympic victories, Gordeeva and Grinkov also toured extensively with Stars on Ice in the early '90s.

Gordeeva and Grinkov are widely regarded as the finest skating pair ever. They remain the youngest pair to win Olympic Gold. They are one of the few pair teams in history to successfully complete a quadruple twist lift in international competition (at the 1987 World Championships). In addition to their technical excellence, Gordeeva and Grinkov seemed to possess a magical quality that allowed them to move together in (almost) perfect harmony.

Sergei Grinkov died, tragically, of a massive heart attack in November 1995, the result of severely clogged coronary arteries and a genetic risk factor linked to premature heart attacks. He is buried in Moscow. Ekaterina Gordeeva returned to the ice in 1996, skating a solo tribute to her husband. She has continued her career as a solo skater and still honors Grinkov's memory; in 2007 she was the headliner for the event "Skate for the Heart," which was aimed at raising awareness of heart disease. She remarried in 2002; her husband is the 1998 Nagano Olympic Champion Ilia Kulik, with whom she has a young daughter named Elizaveta.

Ekaterina Gordeeva, Daria Grinkova, and Ilia and Elizaveta Kulik currently reside in Newport Beach, CA. (Fun fact: They still speak Russian at home.)

Video: My favorite Gordeeva and Grinkov program, Vocalise, skated at the 1994 Canadian Pros.


1.) Laura Foster and Keri Dillet: Recording of the composition dialogue. See porfolio for script.

2.) Laura Foster and Keri Dillet: Recording of Dialogue #3 - p. 23


We've had a few slight problems with Vocaroo, but on the whole it seems to work well. Though it's not required, I recommend strongly that you create an account, since this will allow you to find your old recordings if you need to. The quality is only so-so, but much depends on your microphone.

In any case, wow, it's really easy to use...

for Rachel and her Putin obsession

I want one like Putin, full of strength...

Такого, как Путин, полного сил,
Такого, как Путин, чтобы не пил.
Такого, как Путин чтоб не обижал,
Такого, как Путин, чтоб не убежал.

The Recent Winter Olympics

In the recent Winter Olympics, Evgeni Viktorovich Plushenko came in second place, winning the silver for Russia! He was born in Solnechny, Khabarovsk Krai, Soviet Union on November 3, 1982. He now resides on Saint Petersburg, Russia. I watched him on live TV in awe. He was amazing on the ice even after taking a three year hiatus from resting his past knee injuries. His program for the 2009-2010 was: "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaquin Rodrigo, "Tango Amore" by Edvin Marton, and "Je Suis Malade" by Serge Lama. It was graceful, sophisticated, elegant, precise, and beautiful. I watched each of his song performances and would have loved to watch his whole program but they kept going back to the USA and different events. I hope that he is more events in the future and that I know about them so that I can either watch them or be updated because in my opinion, Plushenko is the best figure-skater I have ever seen.

I once Loved You - Pushkin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Early 1900's Russia, in Color

''With images from southern and central Russia in the news lately due to extensive wildfires, I thought it would be interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912.''
Click title for link.

Found at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


4 Weeks Until The Season Starts, But Who's Counting?

Hockey is a great sport. It combines speed, skill, and grit to form the most action packed game on earth. When most people think of hockey they imagine Canada, tooth-less men, and Miracle. When I think of hockey I imagine a tooth-less guy, yes, but he also happens to have a crooked nose from having broken it so many times, be the best player in the NHL, and the craziest Russian in hockey. Alexander Ovechkin. [Александр Михайлович Овечкин]
According to an article on, the 'Russian school' of hockey is "predicated on finesse, speed and passing." Russian hockey before the 1980's was very respected (and almost feared). Players focused on meticulous moves and abilities rather than actually scoring. Perfection was key.
In 2005, (after being drafted 1st overall in 2004, the lock-out canceled the season) Ovechkin made his debut in October. He made his presence known immediately by scoring 2 of the 3 goals that led to the team's 3-2 win. If you mention "The Goal" to anyone who follows hockey, they know exactly what you are talking about. In January of 2006, Ovechkin made the most memorable goal in the history of the NHL. While playing the Coyotes (and then coach, Wayne Gretzky) he was tripped. As he slid on his back, head first toward the goal, he hooked the puck around his head right past the goalie. Through his five seasons in the league Ovi, as he is affectionately know by teammates and fans, has racked up more honors than most players can imagine.
He was the first player in the history of the NHL to sweep all 4 major individual awards in one season, get name to the All-Star Team every season of his career (5), and win the Kharlamov Trophy (given to the best Russian player in the NHL as voted by all Russians) five consecutive times, just to name a few. He isn't even 25 yet.
Ovechkin's big presence on the ice isn't just his personality. He is 6'2 and around 240 lbs. During the Olympics, Ovechkin's hit on Jaromir Jagr became a highlight favorite. Jagr had a concussion. Most Russians were taught to be fast and graceful and unemotional on the ice, but Ovi is anything but unemotional. It's not uncommon to see him throw himself into the plexiglass after scoring a goal or jumping wildly into a group of his teammates. This has gained him a vast following, but also negative publicity. People who still believe in the older, traditional forms of hockey believe Ovi is a nuisance to the sport, but he could care less what they think. The best way to sum him up is through a quote by his teammate, Brooks Laich, “He’s crazy, he’s wild, he’s fun. He doesn’t shave, he’s missing a tooth, his hair’s all over the place but, somehow, the girls, they just keep coming to him!”
He's just as great off the ice. He has his own charity, 'Ovi's Crazy 8s" in which he raises money for under-privliged youth of DC, donates eight ice-level seats to families with military parents overseas, AND donates to orphanages in Russia, especially around Moscow where he is from. He's been the cover athlete for 2 video games, name-dropped by multiple rappers, been given the Key to the City for DC, drives expensive cars, parties like crazy, & was featured in an E:60 segment. It's hard not to love the guy!

(Both were Noel Kreger & Zach Cole)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Unit 1: the AK 47: Russia's gift to the world

To celebrate the beginning of a new year learning Russian (yay!!!) I thought it would be nice to start the year with a bang, literally. This blog entry pays tribute to the only lasting product the old Soviet Union was able to create. Alongside depressing writers, failed political dogmas, and copious amounts of vodka the Автомат Клашникова 47, more commonly known as the AK-47 is Russia's biggest export. From video games to real fighting around the world this weapon has become a poor man's weapon of choice, carried by terrorists, the new Afgan Military police, and, regrettably, children who were brainwashed to fight in countries such as Liberia and Seirra Leone. Not only is it Russia's greatest export it is also the most successful assault rifle to date. More AK 47s, or copies of AK 47s, have been produced than any other assault rifle combined.
The idea for the rifle ironically began with the Nazis. During the war on the Eastern Front the Germans noticed that most firefights took place at distances under 300 yards. The Germans began to develop a weapon and bullet that would be easier to produce then their current standard rifle and better equipped to cope with close quarter combat. The Germans were able to create the first mass produced assult rifle, the Strumgewher 44. This had a profound effect on the Soviet military, which was attempting to improve its battlefield rifles and create thier own true assault rifle. During the war the Soviet military held competitions to see who could improve their combat rifles and create thier own assault rifle. In 1943 a man named Mikhail Kalashnikov entered a competition with a design based off the American M1 Garand, one of the greatest rifles ever created. He would later create a carbine that was rejected because it was too heavy. Eventough he lost, Kalashnikov began working on a true assault rifle, and in 1946 he entered a new rifle that utilized design cues from the Garand, older Browning rifles, and the infamous Strumgewher. The modern AK 47 was born and was adopted by Soviet Army in 1947.
Although the original AK 47 has undergone some revisions such as the creation of a carbine version and variations that take a smaller caliber bullet, the basic design has been barely changed. Utilizing a gas fed firing mechanism it fires 7.62mm assault rounds at the rate of roughly 300 rounds a minute. That being said its success has come from its legendary reliability. Since it is made of very few moving parts it is easy to disassemble and clean. It will almost never jam and can take a tremendous amount of punishment and abuse while still being able to fire. It was designed to weather the abuses of front line combat and adheare to a massed fire doctrine, in other words accuracy is not its forte. That being said, the AK 47 is a well designed weapon that has found success on the battle field and will continue to be successful for many years to come.