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~!

Meanwhile in Russia...

а тепреь что-то другое... в россии... rated, like, r... for ribaldry and renching... but very funny.

Emmy Minteer & Katherine Fanning Recording Unit 4

Emmy Minteer and Katherine Fanning's Russian Recordings!

Ezri and Stephen speakin' da Russian :D

The Dark Years of Stalin

The Dark Years of Stalin
In the year of 1924, the great leader, Vladmir Lenin, died from heart-related issues. It was in the sadness of this time that a new leader named Joseph Stalin would rise to power in Russia. Earlier in 1922, Stalin had been elected as General Secretary of the Communist Party and had slowly gained power through the party. Following the death of Lenin, he effectively put down all opposing groups within his party and consolidated power into his hands. He then proceeded to exile his antagonist, Leon Trotsky, from the nation in 1929 and to affirm his concept of socialism in one country which would be the Soviet approach for many years.
During the 1930s, Stalin launched a Five-Year Plan which called for collectivization and industrialization to achieve a planned economy. The result was a large famine from 1932-1933 in which many people throughout the Soviet Union suffered. In addition to this, Stalin introduced harsh state control policies that led to several thousand people being executed and millions more being deported. It was a dark era in Soviet history, and  the experienced certainly changed the culture of the nation as a whole. Looking back on it, the years of Stalin show us the consequences of allowing individuals or groups to have unbalanced, excessive power. 

Vocaroo Link:

Dialogue 4!

Billie And Ashley's Dialogue for Portfolio 4

Kristen and Alecsa's Dialogue

Americans vs. Russians

I found this website on the differences and similarities of Americans and Russians. It explains Russian outlooks and how they came to be that way. It focuses more on Russia than America but it gives you an idea.

Ethan's Dialogue

Alexander Nevsky

Directed by Eisenstein and released in 1938. It's certainly not Eisenstein's best or most interesting film but it is very entertaining. Aesthetically, it reminds me of The Adventures of Robin Hood, only in black and white.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Medvedev and Obama

And missiles!

Hannah's blog post unit 4

History in the making... or any way I find it pretty interesting.... Anyway last year there was a famous Japanese pop star, Sho Sakurai, who traveled to Russia as part of a program they do yearly called "24 hour TV" and he was able to interview Mikhail Gorbachev. When he arrived Gorbachev took his preassigned notes and asked for them to simply sit and talk. And so for 30 minutes the pair sat and held a serious conversation about nuclear disarmament and poverty. At the end of the interview Gorbachev complimented the young idol telling him I’m glad to see a surefooted young person like you.” He was pleased to know there were such good young people and that the youth of our time can change the world if we set out minds to it. I actually watched the interview and found it quite touching because after his discussion the idol went and actually did a short documentary on poverty in Romania.

Hannah and Janine's dialogue unit 4

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Martian curse

From the pot and into the frying pan. Seems like nothing can go right for Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nikolai Gogol: One of the Greatest Russian Authors

For anyone that is a fan of Russian literature the name Nikolai Gogol holds immense meaning. A Ukrainian born Russian, his works encompassed the best of both of those worlds. He not only wrote stories of Ukraine that brought the world of the Cossack to life, he was able to create intricate stories of horror set within the modern time.

Linked is the story "The Cloak". It is one of the earliest Russian horror stories, but to simply classify it as such is a bit misleading. Gogol thrived on the surreal with his work and "The Overcoat" is no different. The actions, events, characters, and places all bear some meaning despite their apparent randomness. All of them work together to create what is at root a good ghost story.

But if you aren't into horror, then try reading his other stories like "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" and "The Carriage", both of which show a lighter side of Gogol.

And of course, if you REALLY love Gogol, try reading "Dead Souls". It was supposed to be the first part in a modern day "Dante's Inferno". Only Gogol never had time to finish it.

Gogol's demise was as surreal as his some of his stories. After going through a religious madness in which he burned many of his manuscripts, he proclaims his actions as a joke and shortly after succumbs to sickness. In that odd and disturbing way Russia lost a literary treasure, and the world became poorer for it.

Some Strange Facts about Russian History

When Leo Tolstoy and his brother were children, they created a club with a peculiar, almost impossible initiation ceremony. In order to become a member, one had to stand in a corner for a half an hour and not think of anything white.

(….almost impossible? I’m pretty sure that IS impossible…..)

In the memoirs of Catherine II of Russia, it is recorded that any Russian aristocrat who displeased the queen was forced to squat in the great antechamber of the palace and to remain in that position for several days, mewing like a cat, clucking like a hen, and pecking his food from the floor.
              (hahaha…I can only IMAGINE what that must have been like)

During the time of Peter the Great, any Russian man who wore a beard was required to pay a special tax.

(Which I find particularly interesting because I thought having a beard at that time was a sign of being a proper Christian… So does that mean men were penalized for being good Christians?)

unit 4 blog post,
 EzRi  =D 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Brittany Ooman portfolio 4

If you are a city freak like I am, your greatest excitement about going to a new city is inching closer and closer watching the beautiful skyline get bigger and bigger, well, at least I do. However, I find the history of Moscow, Russia skyline to be interestingly unique and make me that much more anxious to visit.
The “Seven Sisters” or “Сталиские высотки” Stalin’s High-Rises are one of the leading architectural creations of his time, also the most historical pieces of work in Moscow its self. After the great patriotic war, Stalin thought that Moscow needed to be renovated in order to compete with the modern cities of the western allies (Sras). Stalin enlisted some of the world’s top architects to turn Moscow into a modern European city, his goal was to rival completed skyscrapers in the USA and in Europe. His goal was to create eight buildings that looked exactly the same, unfortunately they had only created 7, however, had become to be seven of the most beautifully handcrafted buildings in Moscow.
Ukraine Hotel
Leningradskaya Hotel
Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building
Kudrinskaya Square Building
Red Gates Administrative Building
Moscow State University
Minisry of Foreign Affairs Building

A Waterpark Never to Be Finished...

Here is a link to an interesting thing I found whilst browsing. Construction of this water park began in 1997 and stopped three years later.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Russian singer Vitas!!

The lyrics are very moving and thought provoking.

His full name is Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachyov but his stage name is Vitas. He was born in Daugavpils, Latvia on February 19, 1981 and was raised in Odessa, Ukraine. Vitas was discovered by Sergey Pudovkin and invited him to Moscow based soley on his acting, but he had not heard Vitas' voice yet. He made his debut with Opera No. 2 in Russia in December 2000. He was notable because of his energetic and surprisingly high-pitched vocals. Vitas performed his concert program, Philosophy of Miracle at the State Kremlin Place on March 29, 2002; he was the youngest artist to perform a solo concert there. He tours around Russia, as well as the entire world, bringing his mysteriousness and enchantment to all those that see him. I have definitely been enchanted by him and his voice. Vitas is indeed married to a Svetlana and they have one child so far.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ivan Pavlov

This is a tricky blog post because everyone has some knowledge of Ivan Pavlov. In the spirit of Bear in a Hat, though, I wanted to restate that he was Russian and successful. He was the psychologist/physiologist who worked with animals to discover "conditioning". Animals would be presented with a stimulus that they naturally responded to and a stimulus that did nothing for them. Eventually the stimulus that originally did nothing produced the same response as the stimulus with the automatic natural response. Pavlov also did some early work with the digestive system. He won a Nobel Prize in Physiology and is a figurehead for modern psychology. Also, he has a killer moustache.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ghosts and Ghost Towns

A ghost town was recently discovered in the Moscow region of Russia. Little is known about the town, which is interesting considering its proximity to the capital city. Check out pictures, here.

On the theme of spooky things, Russian ghost stories tend to be particularly dark. Here's an example:

The Dead Mother

In a certain village there lived a husband and wife—lived happily, lovingly, peaceably. All their neighbors envied them; the sight of them gave pleasure to honest folks. Well, the mistress bore a son, but directly after it was born she died. The poor moujik moaned and wept. Above all he was in despair about the babe. How was he to nourish it now? how to bring it up without its mother? He did what was best, and hired an old woman to look after it. Only here was a wonder! all day long the babe would take no food, and did nothing but cry; there was no soothing it anyhow. But during (a great part of) the night one could fancy it wasn’t there at all, so silently and peacefully did it sleep.

“What’s the meaning of this?” thinks the old woman; “suppose I keep awake to-night; may be I shall find out.”

Well, just at midnight she heard some one quietly open the door and go up to the cradle. The babe became still, just as if it was being suckled.

The next night the same thing took place, and the third night, too. Then she told the moujik about it. He called his kinsfolk together, and held counsel with them. They determined on this; to keep awake on a certain night, and to spy out who it was that came to suckle the babe. So at eventide they all lay down on the floor, and beside them they set a lighted taper hidden in an earthen pot.

At midnight the cottage door opened. Some one stepped up to the cradle. The babe became still. At that moment one of the kinsfolk suddenly brought out the light. They looked, and saw the dead mother, in the very same clothes in which she had been buried, on her knees besides the cradle, over which she bent as she suckled the babe at her dead breast.

The moment the light shone in the cottage she stood up, gazed sadly on her little one, and then went out of the room without a sound, not saying a word to anyone. All those who saw her stood for a time terror-struck; and then they found the babe was dead.

Spooky, huh?

Unit 4 Blog Post--Russian Fairytale

The Frog Princess, an old Russian Fairytale (in English):

One Tsar wanted his three sons to marry. He ordered each to shoot an arrow and marry whatever woman lived where the arrow landed. The eldest brother's arrow landed in the courtyard of a boyar's daughter; the middle brother's arrow landed in the yard of a merchant's daughter. The youngest son's arrow went into a swamp. He discovered that a frog had found the arrow and he dutifully but sorrowfully married the frog.

When the tsar ordered his daughters-in-law to make him fine shirts and bake him fine bread, the frog turned into a beautiful princess, Vasilisa the Wise, at night when everyone else was sleeping and made the best shirts and bread.

The Tsar then announced a feast at the palace and commanded his sons to come with their wives. There for the first time Vasilisa the Wise appeared for everyone to see, including her husband Ivan. Later at the dance, Vasilisa performed magical feats with the wave of her sleeves. The wives of the other sons tried to do the same but only succeeded in making a mess.

Prince Ivan, the youngest son, wanted his wife to remain a beautiful princess so he ran home and burned her discarded frog skin. Vasilisa sadly told him that now she would have to become the prisoner of the sorcerer Koshchei the Deathless, and she disappeared.

Searching for her in the forest, Prince Ivan spared several animals who promised to help him in the future. He then came to the hut of a Baba Yaga, a grandmother spirit, who told him he could only free his wife by killing Koshchei. Koshchei's death was well-hidden at the point of a needle, in an egg, in a duck, in a rabbit, in a chest at the top of an oak tree.

Although Ivan could not get the chest out of the tree himself, the animals he had spared broke each thing open until Ivan had the egg. He broke it, broke off the tip of the needle inside, and Koshchei died instantly. Ivan lived happily ever after with Vasilisa.