Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
So, I'm sure a lot of you have heard about the results of the location decisions for the FIFA World Cup in футбол. Here's some more info on it and its other sporty activities :)
Taken form the BBC News Website:
The impact of winning the bid was illustrated in the headline "Russia, live with the World" which appeared in one of the main Russian newspapers.
And analysts suggest that the World Cup will improve the institutions of civil society and the well-being of the nation.
Government support was a key factor in securing the tournament for Russia and the country will be a focus for major sporting events in the next eight years.
Apart from the Winter Olympics and Kazan Universiade, there will be a first Formula One grand prix in Russia in 2014, the World Athletics Championships in 2013 and, more than likely, the ice hockey World Championship in 2016.
Also, my recordings are with David Kincaid's post.
The 1985 film Come and See is a Soviet era film about the Belorussian resistance against the Germans during World War II. The Russian language film is shot from the perspective of a young Belorussian boy who joins the partisans at the height of the German occupation of the Western Soviet Union. After finding a Soviet rifle in the remains of a battlefield, the boy, Florya, leaves his rural village fight for the partisans.
With his rifle and what little belongings Florya has, the young Belorussian enters the partisan camp in a forest. Shortly after joining the camp, the partisans leave to fight the Germans, but Florya is considered too young by the camp’s commander and is left behind. He soon meets a girl near his age as German bombers start to strike the camp. German paratroopers then begin to land outside of the camp and Florya and his new friend face a surprise attack. The film continues into a violent and disheartening tale of pain and despair as the young partisan faces death at every corner.
Come and See is a shocking portrait of the brutality that the Soviet citizens faced at the hands of the Germans. The film does not shy away from the violence and horrors of war, which provides as close as possible an accurate visual of World War II. For most of the film, Florya is not fighting, but rather trying to survive and cope with the horrific scene of death surrounding him. Come and See is not a propaganda film, but instead a film about the struggle of the Soviet Union through the eyes of rural peasants trying to avoid slaughter at the hands of the Germans and perhaps being able to exact their revenge.
Recording with Patrick Bailey: http://www.box.net/shared/2v8hz8cluf
Russian yetis start a war with bears
An expedition that was looking for the mysterious yeti in Mountain Shoria – a faraway region in the Siberian taiga - has recently returned home. The expedition’s members claim that the forest fires of this extremely hot summer made Altai yetis move to the Kuzbass region, where they have started a “war” with local bears.Searches for this mysterious creature, also known as “bigfoot” or “snowman”, started several decades ago. People look for yetis – or, at least, their traces – elsewhere: in Canada, Europe, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Russia. Several times, yetis’ traces have been found – footsteps that resemble that of humans but are too big for a man, flocks of hair or gigantic branch shelters in forests. In 1967, a certain Roger Patterson even filmed a yeti in northern California, but experts still argue whether this shooting is real or fake.
Source: Voice of Russia.
What is interesting is a study that was done on Russian organized crime and the higher echelons of government, showing a relationship far greater than one may have previously believed. Bribes to upper level officials are believed to exceed 10% of the entire country's economy. What was believed to a loose and undisciplined mob in Russia is apparently strongly connected to the government on all levels, and is protected against prosecution.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Although the Russian Mafia has been known to be one of the worst sources for underground smuggling, outsourcing, fraud, and criminal acts, the Russian government is now taking control back from the mafia. They are providing protection to those feeling threatened and are making it impossible for the mafia to remain in control.
To read the full article from the New York Times, click here.
This one amused me. It seems that, in the years to come, nowhere will be safe from the craziness of super stores. Godspeed to you, Russia.
On the other hand, there might be good news: Wal-Mart heads to Russia as unemployment soars.
Dialogue: Laura Foster and Keri Dillet, p. 151, #1
The article, as per usual for EnglishRussia, is full of neat pictures from the early 20th century--snapshots and posters advertising ice cream. I can't tell if they're advertising specific brands or just the concept of ice cream; both of them seem equally likely for the USSR. My favorite snapshot is this one, though. Never too cold for ice cream!
Link to full article for moar pictures.
The opera opens on the Larin Country Estate and focuses on the two daughters of the house, Olga and Tatyana. Tatyana, the elder daughter, is engrossed with a romantic novel but when she speaks of it she is chided by her mother and sister who tell her that real life is nothing like the book. Soon after, Olga's love sick fiancé Lensky (tenor), a young poet, and his friend Eugene Onegin (baritone), a world-weary St Petersburg 'drawing-room automaton arrive and Lensky promptly begins to serenade his undying love for Olga... too bad the feelings do not seem to be completely mutual. Onegin, on the contrary, seemingly falls smitten with the introverted and dreamy Tatyana and thus the drama begins.
Later Tatyana is with her personal nurse when she professes that she has fallen irreversibly in love with the dashing Onegin. She has decided that she must marry him or she will simply die of longing. Despite the nurse's warnings (because since when does a crazy teenager listen to the voice of reason) Tatyana chooses to write a long and thoroughly damning confession to Onegin and demands that the nurse take her letter to the church the following Sunday to give it to the object of her affection. Not surprisingly, Onegin receives the letter and rather gently rejects her claiming that he is unsuitable for marriage. Obviously Tatyana is embarrassed and unable to respond.
In the next act, a party is thrown for Tatyana's name day and all the villagers are in attendance. Onegin and Lensky are also present although Onegin becomes increasingly irritated by the party goers who all seem to be trading rumors over his behavior towards Tatyana. In retribution to Lensky, who he quite unfairly blames for dragging him to this mockery, Onegin dances with Olga who flirtatiously obliges him. Lensky absolutely loses it and challenges Onegin to a duel. The long in short of it: Neither actually wants to go through with the match but since both men are too stubborn to back out Onegin ends up killing Lensky. He flees to escape the guilt.
A little while later Onegin finds himself at a nobleman's house. At this point he his racked by remorse and ruined by his past. It therefore comes as quite a shock to him when the Prince walks in with his bride who happens to be none other than the ravishingly attractive Tatyana. In a desperate attempt to regain her affections, Onegin writes her a letter and eventually finds himself in a room with her alone. Tatyana suspects that he only loves her for her social status but Onegin vehemently claims that his love for her is sincere. In tears, Tatyana admits that she still has feelings for him but that he is too late. She is married and she will not be unfaithful to her husband. Talk about Karma!
The letter scene is one of the most famous moments of the opera. Below is a recording of Tatyana's aria. Enjoy!
For my last blog entry (sob) and in honor of Russian being chosen for the 2018 World Cup, I thought it would be fun to explore the history of the Russian national soccer team. Since they are hosting the tournament they automatically qualify to play. They hold the ninth spot in the FIFA rankings, beating out England, Portugal, Ukraine, and the United States. The team played their first international game in 1912 where they lost to Finland 2-0 and a devastating loss to the Germans, 16-0 (no doubt forshadowing the bloodshed to come). After the rise of Communism, Russia continued to play soccer even erecting pitches in Red Square for May Day. The Soviet Union joined FIFA (the world organization for soccer) in 1946. During the Soviet era the team consistantly made the quarter finals and regular appearences in European championships. Thier greatest triumph came in 1972 when they made it to the finals, but lost to East Germany 2-0 (those damn Germans!). After the breakdown of the Soviet Union Russia entered on its own. They were good, but they suffered a humilitating defeat in 2002 against Japan.
Today Russia remains a powerful force in European soccer. They are currently first in their division in qualifying for the 2012 European Cup. Their best offensive threats are Alexander Kerzhakov and Pavel Pogrebniak. Overall, Russia has a very good team, and they should be worth watching when 2018 rolls around.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Taking old World War II photos, Russian photographer, Sergey Larenkov carefully photoshops them over more recent pictures to make the past come alive. There are pictures of places like Berlin, Prague, and Vienna that are captured in ways we could have never imagined. It gives a new appreciation to history.
Personally this reminds me of the scene from Pinocchio with the dancers.
Original Dialogue with Josh : http://www.box.net/shared/16q1738i86
Book Dialogue : http://www.box.net/shared/omf2ni048i
Thursday, December 2, 2010
1. If you invited a girl or a woman somewhere be prepared to pay for her everywhere. If you invited a man, he’ll pay for himself, and there's a good chance he'll pay for you as well without telling you about it.
2. When you are invited to the party bring something with you - beer is usually accepted with pleasure.
3. Men should be strong and assertive and women should be smart and beautiful. That's just one of our stereotypes.
4. We believe in magnetism. The thing is, that every so often the sun sends some electro-magnetic signals and this affects the whole course of events on the earth, including our mood and feelings. So, if you see two housewives discussing how bad their day went because of the electro-magnetic storm that happened in the afternoon - don't think they are adepts of some sort of new age philosophy, it's completely normal here.
5. We like all things fancy. But our understanding of it is very original. You will often see men in suits or tucked-in shirts and office trousers (even in clubs on Friday night), while women prefer noticeable and sexy outfits. The colors for men are usually dark or grey, while women like light and white colors. This is a generalization and of course you'll see a lot of different people and outfits.
All of this information (and more!) was found at : http://www.waytorussia.net/Practicalities/Traditions.html
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The Kontinental Hockey League (Континентальная Хоккейная Лига), or KHL, is the strongest organized hockey league in Europe. It's 23 teams come from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Latvia, though most reside in Russia. Due to money problems within the league and teams, the fate of the league (like it's multiple predecessors) is constantly on the forefront.