Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hetalia, Part 3: Russia and the Baltic Trio!

So if you've been keeping up, this would be the third and final and nearly-forgotten-about (sorry) installment of the Russia blog posts, by yours truly: Taylor Takushy-face + Katya (Taylor Takoushian and Katherine Fanning)! But not the actual country -- you see, we're talking about the character from the popular anime, Axis Powers: Hetalia, which personifies and parodies the countries of the world and their respective histories.

Without further ado, the introduction! As we've heard mentioned a couple times in class, there are three countries that border Russia and have important relationships with it: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. They are known as the Baltic Trio, and are all more or less absolutely terrified of Russia.
Latvia is the youngest of the Baltic states, and the most sensitive. Though he wishes he had siblings, the other two do not think of themselves as his brothers. He is easily intimidated by Russia, and arguably the most dominated, as he has tried and failed to oppose Russia various times. He attempts to please Russia, but ends up doing things blindly and bluntly, and is basically emotionally tortured for it.

Lithuania is the oldest of the three Baltic states and a shy, gentle type. He was once the partner of Poland during their days as a superpower, but were split apart when Russia partitioned him. In the main storyline, he is shown as an underling of Russia as part of the Soviet Union. He is often intimidated by Russia even in the modern day -- Russia admitted that one of his goals in life was to see "a crying and confused Lithuana come crawling to [him]." He is actually deeply attracted to Belarus, and is unaware of her utter loathing of him!

And last but not least, is Estonia!

The studious one of the three Baltic states, who is really into computers and allegedly has the most luck in avoiding Russia and problems due to his wit (though this conflicts with Estonia's actual unlucky history). When something dangerous or unfortunate happens to Latvia, he can usually be heard screaming his name.

And that is the end of our three-post special on Russia's role in Hetalia! Thank you for such a great semester, guys ):

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Russian Enlightenment

The Russian Enlightenment
Starting during the 18th century, Russia experienced a time of enlightenment in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of the arts and sciences. Scholars refer to this period as the Russian Age of Enlightenment. Catherine the Great who was the ruler of Russia in this period advocated for several "enlightened" reforms, especially in regards to the gentry of Russia. Educational reforms were perhaps some of the largest reforms introduced by Catherine creating several state-run schools and institutes encouraging a moral and intelligent society. Some large amounts of reforms came in restructuring the political organization and establishing a new set of laws.
Honestly, this era was a reflection of Catherine's desire to make Russia equal politically, culturally, and intellectually to its European counterparts. Many intellectuals of this era saw these reforms as efforts toward Westernization and rejected much of the liberal traditions of the West. By the end of the era, all of Catherine's efforts still did not achieve in matching Russia on an intellectual or cultural scale with the European Nations, but it did make it a significant military and political power of the age. Additionally, the reforms would provide the foundation of Russian intellectual development for the next century. So even though Catherine's reforms were partly unsuccessful in bringing Russia into the light of Western thought, it provided the key for subsequent Russian thinkers to open the door to a new age of cultural progress.

-Anthony McRae

Modern Russian Music Ypok 5

After seeing some of the songs sung at Dr. Steeves house last Friday, I decided to look up some other, more modern, music. This web site gives certain links to different types of music. Once you click the link, musicians and bands will be on display along with a sample of their music. Enjoy!

Russian politics

so this was all over the news last night and after sitting in the library being forced to watch it since they refuse to shut the new televisions off i actually started paying attention and found it sort of interesting. It's not in line with what I usually pay attention to but i think all this studying has gone to my head...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Deanna and Brittany portfolio 5

convo 4 pg 151

Deanna and Brittany portfolio 5

conversation 3 page 151!

Deanna w. & Brittany O Portfolio 5

conversation 2 page 151

Brittany Ooman/ Deanna Wotursky portfolio 5

first conversation from page 151....4 more to come!Just working on pronounciation.

Great Russian Authors: Anton Chekhov

The link is for 201 Stories by Anton Chekhov. Your first question probably is "Who is Anton Chekhov and why would I want to read 201 of his stories?"

Well Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer, born in 1860, who basically invented the short story. In addition to being responsible for formulating the literary concept of Organic Unity (Chekhov's gun) and stream of consciousness he wrote really good short stories.

His works show life in Russia at the time and are a wonderful way of learning about life and culture in Imperial Russia from a humorous or at least interesting perspective.

That said, if you like Chekhov's stories, you should probably read his plays too. Chekhov was basically a master of drama and entertainment as well.

Could black holes be our salvation?

Russian astrophysicist Vyacheslav Dokuchaev proposes that planets with life could orbit massive black holes.

In light of the holiday season...

I thought I'd just post some clips from one of my favorite dances from the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker. I've loved this ballet for as long as I can remember, and I've seen so many different versions over the years. The television station Ovation has done a "Battle of the Nutcrackers" for a few Decembers now in which they compare the latest versions from the some of the most famous ballet companies in the world and have viewers vote on a favorite. The link is to the website where you can see the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from each competitor.
--Kristen Moisio


Tarkovsky's third feature film, Solaris is a stunning psychological drama which is in part a response to Kubrick's 2001. Because of its incredible art direction and camera work, Solaris is an absolutely beautiful film even though it is almost entirely set within a space station.

Бременские музыканты

Aka the Town Musicians of Bremen.
This is an old Soviet cartoon based on the folktale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Despite the title, the musicians never arrive in Bremen.

"In the story a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster, all past their prime years in life and usefulness on their respective farms, were soon to be discarded or mistreated by their masters. One by one they leave their homes and set out together. They decide to go to Bremen, known for its freedom, to live without owners and become musicians there.

On the way to Bremen, they see a lighted cottage; they look inside and see four robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. Standing on each other's backs, they decide to perform for the men in hope of gaining food. Their 'music' has an unanticipated effect; the men run for their lives, not knowing what the strange sound is. The animals take possession of the house, eat a good meal, and settle in for the evening.

Later that night, the robbers return and send one of their members in to investigate. He sees the Cat's eyes shining in the darkness and thinks he is seeing the coals of the fire. He reaches over to light his candle. Things happen in quick succession; the Cat scratches his face with her claws, the Dog bites him on the leg, the Donkey kicks him and the Rooster crows and chases him out the door, screaming. He tells his companions that he was beset by a horrible witch who scratched him with her long fingers (the Cat), an ogre with a knife (the Dog), a giant who had hit him with his club (the Donkey), and worst of all, the judge who screamed in his voice from the rooftop (the Rooster). The robbers abandon the cottage to the strange creatures who have taken it, where the animals live happily for the rest of their days."

Got that summary of the plot from Wikipedia.

I like the cartoon better than the story. Cute music and even cuter artwork.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Unit 5: зеленый борщ

I have to admit, I am not a fan of traditional russian борщ, but I must admit that one of my favorite Russian dishes in indeed зеленый борщ.I hate beets, so this green-colored soup is perfect for me! It's real easy to make and while I have tried several recipes, my friend Ira from Ukraine definitely has the best one.

First you will need: boiled: 2-4 eggs (boil, then chop), 1/2 cup rice, and 2 potatoes (peeled and cubed). chopped: 2 onions (preferably green), 2 sticks of celery, 1/2 of a cucumber, scallions, about 1 bag of spinach, and carrots. Dill, parsley, salt, and sour cream.

*The amount of the ingredients differs depending on how much you plan to make.
**The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or subtract any of the ingredients and it will still be delicious. Personally, I cannot stand dill so I use chives instead.

The rest of the recipe is very easy. Add all ingredients to a pot of LIGHTLY boiling water and cook until favorable consistency and temperature is achieved. Season to taste and serve hot or straight from the fridge :)
Women in Russia
Women make up 46.9% of the unemployment in Russia. They normally work in public health services, education, finance, and information/ accounting services. Equal pay in some industries does not exist though it is in the constitution. Many of the higher wages is to those of higher power and men 9 times out of 10 hold those positions. In Russia there are protective laws that prohibit women from too hard of jobs such as, working at night or carrying too heavy weights. It is also a required 3 year maternity leave for child care, so most businesses do discriminate when looking to fill a position. Last but not least pensions in Russia. The age for pension from the government is 55 for women and 60 for men. The pension that is given to them is only about 1500 rubles a month which averages out to be about $50 so many people have to get side jobs just too survive.

The Russian Protests

Here's what you need to read to catch up on the Russian protests: - And pretty much everything else on газета. - good pictures here - watch the video!

Through all of this, I keep thinking of Richard Pipes when he came to Stetson last year. He was adamant that change would never come to Russia because it's people were too apathetic, too cynical, and didn't believe in democracy. Hmph...

Saturday, December 10, 2011


As with everything else the internet finds entertaining, this is a strange one. Trololo is a "RickRoll"-esque video which gained popularity in late 2009. The old Russian song, similar in style to American jazz scat music, is titled "Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой" or "Indeed I am very glad that I am finally returning home". The performer is Edward Hill, who was given a few honors for being a popular and talented singer during the Soviet era. The result is a silly video of him failing to lipsynch a song that he supposedly sung. It's a cultural thing on a few different levels due to the age of the song, the popularity of the singer, and the video's resurgence as a joke in America. Give it a try, it'll stick with you.

Blog Post Unit 5

Apparently favored by Ivan the Terribleukha is a Russian “fish soup” that’s light and simple to prepare.
A true Russian staple, fishermen would prepare the soup over an open fire with whatever fish was caught that day.
Soups have always played an important role in Russian cuisine. Ukha began life as a simple broth but in the 16th and 17th centuries it evolved into a more diverse and elaborate dish that was served in the lavish Russian courts.
Although ukha is made from fish, it’s not technically a fish soup in the strictest sense. Traditionally, fish was used simply to flavor the water for broth with herbs and seasonings and then root vegetables such as potatoes and onions were added.
Nowadays you can use any freshwater fish, from salmon to cod, although typically smaller fish, such as perch, are used.
Fish soup was an important part of pre-revolutionary Russian cuisine; especially on Russian Orthodox fast days when meat was forbidden.
Typically, freshwater fish such as carp is more frequently eaten inland, while salmon and trout are more common in northern areas.
The fish can be preserved by salting, pickling, or smoking.

- Ezri 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tutoring on Wednesday

No tutoring this Wednesday (12-7). Please contact Christine Jacobson to set up an appointment. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Exporting Raymond

If you haven’t seen Exporting Raymond yet, I highly suggest you do. The documentary follows the journey of a writer/producer from Everybody Loves Raymond as he tries to adapt his show to a Russian audience. The film reveals a lot about the differences between American and Russian humor in a sometimes hilarious way. As you can see, it takes him a while to warm up to the cultural differences and a few interesting characters...


Head of Comedy

Costume Designer

The film's facebook page

Watch it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Russian Folk Remedies

Because medicine is expensive in Russia, the people prefer to use home remedies because they aren't as expensive, they're easier, and they seem to work great!

For a sore throat there are three different remedies you can use. They are: 1) bring a cup of milk to a gentle boil and stir in two tbsps. of honey and serve warm. 2) take three tbsps. of honey, and one tbsp. each of finely chopped onions and grated apples. 3) grate beets and squeeze out the juice until you have eight ounces and then add one tbsp. of vinegar, gargle the mixture five times a day.

For a headache there are two different remedies: 1) gently massage your temples with a grated lemon. 2) drink a cup of green tea laced with fresh mint.

For colds there are two different remedies: 1) pour two cups of boiling water over four tsps. of fresh raspberries and raspberry leaves and let the mixture steep for four hours, drink the warm concoction four times a day. 2) chop four tsps. of horseradish very fine, wrap the bits in hot gauze and then tie the gauze to the back of the head.

For nasal congestion: 1) cover one chopped garlic clove with one tbsp. of vegetable oil and let it steep overnight, strain it in the morning and use as nose drops.

For cough: 1) small pieces of paper covered with mustard flour (called gorchichnki) are soaked in very warm water and placed on the chest for ten to twenty minutes while the person is underneath a blanket; after the treatment, the person stays in bed all night so as to not lose the the warmth generated by the gorchichnki.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ashley Johnson Blog Entry 4: Matryoshka Dolls

Matryoshka dolls are a set of wooden dolls that decrease in size and are placed inside one another. The dolls are usually a female figure wearing a traditional Russian jumper and the dolls are commonly painted very extravagantly. The first Matryoshka doll was carved my Vasily Zvyozdochkin and designed by Sergey Malyotin with an inspiration from the Japanese doll Honshu. The name Matryoshka means little matron which is a form of the Russian name Matryana. The doll's name is also referred to metaphorically when describing the "recognizable relationship of objects within objects". It is also considered similar to the onion metaphor, when describing that one must peel back the layers of the onion to get to the center.

Ashley Johnson Blog Entry 3: Dinner Etiquette

Russians are very traditional in their ways of being social among one another. For instance, there is a particular etiquette when eating in the Russian culture. A big thing among the Russians is that one MUST arrive on time and if there is a need to be late, it should be no more than 15 minutes afterward. When guests arrive at a house they must immediately take off their shoes at the door an are given guest slippers and should be dressed in semi formal attire; something that is considered nicer than everyday wear. When eating, the meal does not start until the guest initiates a start and the food is always served first to the oldest male at the table. The utensils are also placed in a specific place: fork on the left and knife on the right side of the table. When receiving food or drink it is usually considered rude to deny something, however, when alcohol is served take it and either leave it or drink it all and men usually pour the drinks of the women sitting next to them.Toasts are occur often at the Russian tables and it is considered bad luck to toast with an empty glass. No one should leave the table before the host does because this is considered rude, and afterward it is considered hospitable to help clean off the table. Russians are very superstitious and follow these not only to be polite but to avoid bad luck or bad omens.

Ashley Johnson Blog Entry 2: Unity Day

Unity day is a recently adapted holiday in Russia celebrated on November 4th, where peace among different religious and ethnic groups is advocated. The day is a spin off of a holiday that was usually celebrated on November 4th which commemorated the uprising which freed Moscow from the Polish-Lithuanian occupational forces on November 4, 1612. The czar, Alexei Mikhailovich established the holiday that was celebrated until 1917 when the Bolsheviks replaced the holiday in 1918, having it celebrated on November 7th instead of the 4th. The day officially became Unity Day in 2005 when the parliament decided to take the November 7th holiday of the list of public holidays and then replaced it again to Unity Day on November 4th. The day is celebrated greatly by the Russian orthodox Christians who usually hold a church service to honor Our Lady of Koran. Afterward there is a feast where people speak about unity among social groups. Others still celebrate the holiday as they did before, still considering it a place marker for the November 7th holiday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Потап и Настя - Крепкие Орешки

I don't remember how I found this group, but I love them and constantly have one of several of their songs stuck in my head. This one is sort of what we talked about in class (кино и фильмы) and it's quite catchy, as are most of their songs. Идите и послушаете!

The Balalaika

As a guitar enthusiast, I'm fascinated by the string instruments that various cultures embrace. Of course, Slavic culture has its own: the балалайка. Wikipedia, the source of all human knowledge, answers all of your burning questions concerning this cherished churner of beauty:

"The balalaika family of instruments includes instruments of various sizes, from the highest-pitched to the lowest, the prima balalaika, secunda balalaika, alto balalaika, bass balalaika and contrabass balalaika (Note: that's the contrabass on the left). All have three-sided bodies, spruce or fir tops, backs made of 3-9 wooden sections made usually from maple, strung usually with three strings.

The prima balalaika is played with the fingers, the sekunda and alto either with the fingers or a plectrum, depending on the music being played, and the basses and contrabasses (equipped with extension legs which rest on the floor) are played with leather plectrums"

Here's Aлексей Aрхиповский on the prima to demonstrate what the full potential of the балалайка:

Cool Russian Beatboxer


--Kristen Moisio

Monday, November 21, 2011

Karina's Blog Entry

Ever since I was a child, my favorite salad was one that my parents made and they called it a Russian salad. I thought that's what only my family called it but I typed in Russian salad into the search box on yahoo and I found information on it. Apparently that's what a lot of people call it! As you will see, the official name for the salad is Salad Olivier. It is named after the man who invented it. The recipe that I found says to use bologna, but you can substitute it with any other meat. When I was a child my parents would make the salad with bologna but when I got older, they started making it with meat because I confessed that I wasn't a fan of bologna. I know there are different ways to make this salad. You can add or subtract ingredients based on your taste. You don't have to put eggs in the salad if you don't like them but it does add to the flavor of the salad and you don't have to put a meat in it. I have eaten a Russian salad that didn't have any meat in it. Well, if you do decide to make it, I hope you're not disappointed! Also here is a link to the information about the salad:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Anna Netrebko-Russian Soprano

Here's a few links of the world's new leading soprano. She studied at Moscow Conservatory, and is now a household name (for those who talk about opera).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Emmy Minteer's Unit 4 Blog Post

here's part II of Luke Ford's Anastasia/political tales ... enjoy!

Unit 2 Blog Post--The Winter Palace

I found this youtube video about the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Its the 'Russian Culture' section of the Hermitage and its set up to look like it did while the Tsars still lived there.

Unit 4 Blog Post--Should We Be Worried?

So I came across an article like this one in the New York Times and decided to do a bit more research. As far as I have seen, Prime Minister Putin has been recently making comments about the fall of the Soviet Union--a tragedy in his opinion. As we know, Putin plans to run for President again in the next election, and as Prime Minister, he had already extended the Presidential term, so if Putin wins we will be hearing "President Putin" for a potentially long while. This proves to be a bit worrisome, with the President of Ukraine looking to forge strong ties with Russia and Putin dwelling on the former Soviet Union--what will come of this?

Hvorostovsky's Dark Eyes

This is a link to a Russian baritone that I am in love with, Dmitri Hvorostovsky. His performances of Russian folk songs, such as очи чëрные, are amazing. I especially enjoy his performance as Eugene Onegin in the Tchaikovsky opera.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Unit 4 Dialogue - Taylor and Corrine

Here is our Dialogue!

Just click download and play and there you have it :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deanna Wotursky port 4 blog

Everyone’s heard of the mail order bride, the exotic women men buy from foreign countries to marry. This topic interests me because one of the top searched items on Google when searching Russia is Russian mail order brides. On one hand the term “mail order bride” is offensive to some people but on the other hand people view this as an economic trade. I don’t personally have a view on it but hey, who are we to judge?
In history, mail order brides came about when women posed in catalogs to basically be bought by a man. This type of exchange wasn’t based on love but on looks, if the man found this woman attractive and desired a wife they would get married. Typically involves a man from a more developed country and a woman from Asia, what use to be the Soviet Union or many other undeveloped countries.
Now-a-days these exchanges have brought on a million dollar industry which may be a positive, but on the downside the woman aren’t always treated as they should be.

Brandis and Georgia Dialogue Unit 4

Karina and Lindsay Dialogue for Unit 4

Here's our dialogue!

Хеталия: Россия (PART 2)

Hello again everyone, Taylor Takoushian and Katherine Fanning here with PART 2 of the blogs about the character of Russia from the webcomic-turned-animated show Axis Powers Hetalia by Hidekaz Himaruya!

If you don't know what we're talking about, click here to view our previous blog post about Russia himself, which should explain everything really.

Anyhoo, on to this blog's topic. which will be Part One of Russia's Relationships~!

Two other characters that Russia commonly interacts with are his two 'sisters', who are the personified nations of Ukraine and Belarus.

Cuties, aren't they?

Lets start off with Russia's older sister, Ukraine~!

Ukraine is depicted as having short blonde hair (which she keeps held back with a blue or green headband and clips), blue eyes, and wears a long-sleeved white blouse and blue overalls. Her most notable physical feature, however, is her large breast size, representing Ukraine's status as a major agricultural nation ("large tracts of land").  She can also be seen carrying a pitchfork at times. 

Ukraine is the oldest of the three siblings and is constantly getting dragged into some sort of mess. She is described by her brother as being very warm-hearted and motherly, having taken care of him and Belarus when they were little. He also notes that she's a bit of a cry-baby, yet with a big heart. She apparently has chest and back pains due to her assets. She was the one who gave Russia his scarf, which he continues to wear today.
Unlike Russia and Belarus, Hetalia's author Himaruya Hidekaz has not yet chosen a definitive human name for Ukraine. (However, the fans tend to call her Yekaterina or Katyusha.)

Now for Russia's younger sister, Belarus~!

Belarus is portrayed with long, blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She wears a long navy blue dress, a white hairbow (shown in one illustration to be on a headband), a white waist apron, and black shoes with black thigh-highs. Russia has also stated that she is "a very pretty girl" while Lithuania stated that she can be "strong yet cute"

Belarus is most highly noted as prettymuch the only character able to instill fear in Russia himself, who is normally the one everyone else is wary of. She is also shown to carry around a knife at points, most notably in the "Meeting Of The World" comic strip where she's holding it to a traumatized Latvia's back as her brother scares him.
Despite her cute appearance, Belarus is an intimidating, harsh young woman who has a deep infatuation with her older brother Russia, to the point where she wants to get married to him. 
[I just want to add a quick note here for anyone who is perturbed by this: Please keep in mind that this is NOT incest. Remember that these characters are the embodiments of COUNTRIES, so are technically not 'related' as normal humans are.]

However, he doesn't feel the same way, and feels disturbed by her very presence. Her love for him is as obsessive as it is unrequited, though much to Russia's dismay; the latter does not deter her. She is shown to stalk after him, as well as stick by his side to intimidate those who she feels might stand in their way. Her human name is Natalia Arlovskaya. (though there are alternative spellings at the moment)

Below is concept art of their military outfits.

 And here we have posted the episode of the anime where Russia introduces his two sisters to us and tells us about them. Its only 5 minutes long so go ahead and watch it~! [this is the original version of the episode which originally aired in Japan, so the voices are in Japanese. BUT ITS GOT ENGLISH SUBTITLES SO ITS ALL GOOD ;D]

We hope you've enjoyed our latest installment of the Хеталия Россия blog series, and be sure to tune in next time for more about our Russian friend~!