Bears & Vodka

Blogging about Russia like there is no tomorrow


Soviet Cars, Hip Ads
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Livejournal user Nektonemo shares in Foto-History a collection of photo ads for Soviet cars. Shot mainly outside Russia, they depict Soviet cars in typical 70-80-s lifestyle situations, with a distinct Soviet block influence.

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Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Russian Gestures
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Comrades! The time has come! Our nuclear-powered servers work at full capacity, bears are sleeping in their cages, which can mean only one thing: the very first B&V original podcast is here!

In 6 minutes our team will show you how to speak, eat and drink with the Russians — in gestures! Watch closely and take heed.

Spread the word!

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Top Gear Looks at Soviet Cars
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You know Top Gear.

http://youtu.be/7ruZHnsq4yE

http://youtu.be/x7RIOpU8Qko

http://youtu.be/C1XvpGSkQfY

http://youtu.be/rIhh8n37izs

Now you know Russian Cars.

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


How to Touch Russia
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A couple of weeks ago we posted a video about Cody White, the guy who experienced the country of Bears and Vodka by literally touching everything traditionally Russian. But just writing about him didn’t seem enough, so Slava Moroz found out that Cody was currently staying in Moscow and interviewed him.

Let’s first clear out the details of your travel. Did you visit a lot of cities and manage to cross the country?

In 2009, during my first visit to Russia, I was here for 1 month and I spent 2 weeks in Astrakhan, with the following brief stay in Sochi and Volgograd. My second time—I had a chance to travel a lot more, I’m here for a lot longer and I’ve got much more resources. Now I’ve been to Suzdal, Vladimir, Tula, St. Petersburg, Pushkin (near St. Petersburg).

Have you been planning to go to Vladivostok or Khabarovsk?

The top destination now is Kazan. It’s the cultural capital of Muslim Russia, so I’m really curious to check that out. That’s really a lot different than St. Petersburg, Moscow or even the other similar cities in Russia.

What do you do here?

I study at the faculty of foreign languages. The name of the program is actually “Russian studies abroad”, organized by SRAS, a foreign organization, which works with Moscow State University. We have 12 study hours of Russian language at week, then I have 6 hours of elective classes: culture, business, politics etc. It’s a very large choice of electives over here.

It’s like a small island of American education system in Russia.

Exactly.

Cody White almost touching the Moscow State University building

Short question: why Russia?

Whooooa… I guess the answer does have to be “A girl”. It all started with one girl who sparked my interest…

It always does.

Yeah, it’s always girls, but it sparked my interest to travel and since I’ve started traveling I’ve been to many different places: Columbia, Kenya, China. But nowhere captured my love as Russia did.

Well, of course I’m not here for the women. Sure thing, they’re really beautiful but it’s the whole culture, the place that have captured my heart.

How did your friends react when they heard you were coming to Russia?

I didn’t really tell to many people at first, because during the school years the scholarship was really competitive, I couldn’t have been too confident with that. So my close friends knew, they were all like “are you crazy” with all those “in Soviet Russia” jokes. They were really supportive, but a lot of them didn’t understand me, especially when I went here for a year. As for my family’s concerns, they just didn’t want me to go, they had this idea that Moscow is this big, dangerous place where all these terrible stuff happens like in the “Brat” movie they must’ve previously seen.

Well, it was 1990s!

It was, exactly. It evolved a lot since then, but I think western media doesn’t do a good job of portraying Russia.

Well, everybody’s got their job to do and the PR gurus never sleep.

And what’s people’s attitude towards you around here: the Russians in general, the people you study with?

I’ve had a pretty warm welcoming from everyone. I think being American doesn’t affect people’s perceptions. People are not hostile in any way, they are just curious. They’ve got a lot of questions and they also like to share. Many people are speaking English with me and I’m speaking Russian with them.

In your opinion, what’s the difference between Russia and Moscow?

Wealth is one of the startling differences between Russia and Moscow. The quality of life, to be exact. A couple of kilometers outside Moscow the prices will drop a half. That’s amazing to see the way the concentrated population and all international businesses in the capital stimulate the prices to reach the global competitive level, one of  the highest in the world.

Another difference is that on Russia isn’t that developed. It’s really strange because you have really developed suburban areas. You’ve got the basis, the know-how and the ability. But it’s such a big place, it’s almost impossible to manage. It takes a long time, especially coming out of the Soviet Union.  It’ll take a long time before you can catch up to other rural areas and develop. Now, in some places you don’t have water, in some—no electricity. All in all, there’s a lot of poverty and wealth, sitting side by side.

Culturally, I guess the culture is important as well and the cultural differences. I’ve dealt a lot with people from different cities, usually from bigger cities, Novosibirsk, Yakutsk, Irkutsk and they still hate the Muscovites, their pretentiousness.

Even in the “Touch Russia” video we tried to show the Moscow city life, but we still captured a lot of things that are typically Russian.

I didn’t get any feeling that it was only in Moscow, it felt really all-Russian. My first impression was that you travelled all across the country. Well, you’ll have your chance, I’m sure.

I definitely want to do the Transsiberian railroad. Well, I’m not sure about the investment, cost…

And it IS quite dangerous.

I will definitely do, one day, I want to see Kamchatka, so I’ve got to make my way over there.

You’ve come here at very vibrant times in political terms, so what’s your perception of why don’t Russians like Putin?

See the thing is that a lot of Russians do support Putin and a lot of Russians don’t, obviously… I’m not sure if they’re tired of Putin. But of course I have an outsider’s view and my reasons to dislike Putin are different from what the Russians’ reasons could be. In my opinion, it’s all about his economic approach and the fact the economy isn’t diversified.

Also I think that being so long in power isn’t really healthy for democracy. So, people simply want someone new. They might even support any other party if it had a proper leader. They just want a new face, new person, because it’s looking more and more like an authoritarian regime.

Cody White touching Russia’s struggle for democracy

Why do Russians never smile?

Russian culture is very masculine. I’ve always wondered: maybe it’s not cool or manly to smile, maybe the city is pretty gray, the metro is pretty boring, perhaps people don’t like it and thus don’t smile. But it also has to do with the fact that Russians in general tend to be more open and more sincere with their emotions, and usually the American smiles are put on. Americans are HAPPY all the time, it’s a part of the culture, we smile just because it’s what we do, it’s rude not to. Here, if you smile at a girl, she might take that as you’re hitting on her. In America, you can smile at anyone.

So, what are the things you had to get used to when came to Russia?

Transportation sure was tough as I’m from a small city of 50,000 people and it’s like a piece of dust comparing to Moscow. There are constantly people moving around. In the US, before I had a car, my parents drove me everywhere. When I got one, I drove everywhere I needed to. And in Moscow I got used to walking, taking a bus, taking marshrutkas, the metro. Well, truth be told, I’ve never been in a train before Russia.

The food also takes slow I get used to. It’s different from the US food: you use a lot of ingredients. And we usually have very simple dishes, we almost never mix foods. Here it’s very often a lot of combinations of foods together for one dish and it takes a while to get used to separating those ingredients in your mind.

I also had to get used to the cold. Of course it’s not cold all the time: November is fine, March has turned out pretty OK. But March is like December or January in my city so dealing with –30º С is tough.

It was also tough to get used to traffic (including human traffic): it’s hard to find the restaurant downtown, everything is always full, it’s hard to go anywhere, sit down, relax without having a lot of people around you. So, there’s a lack of privacy, even outdoors in public places. In my city it’s easy to go and find a nice place to sit down and relax.

What would Russia be like in 12 years (12 years is a timespan that we expect Putin to be the president)?

It all depends on the next election. I can see Russia falling back into sort of authoritarian state, that tries to keep positive relations with Europe and the US to support its economic stronghold. I think Russia’s got a wealthy future, but I see it being unstable. I also foresee the population growing again as there’s been reforms recently to try to give better social programs for people and everything to help encourage higher growth rate. I think it’s gonna progress as a superpower, but of course not like the one it used to be.

Thanks, Cody. Best of luck in touching more Russia.

Cody White touching the futuristic Russia

 

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Moscow Souvenirs Done Right: Heart of Moscow
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In Moscow, all the tourist souvenirs are limited to overpriced matreshkas, ushankas and other folk crafts. Alexander Elzesser, the creator of Heart of Moscow brand, tries to change the gloomy picture. Our own Irina Vodka interviewed him to see what took so long.

How did you come up with the idea for your project?

I had this idea in my other favorite city—Berlin—where I had been working as an intern in a PR-agency. Berlin and Moscow are very much alike: they both have a socialist past. But Berlin’s tourism industry is really well-developed. Among other aspects, they have at least two high-quality brands of city souvenirs! However, they’ve got a lot of street vendors with the same ushankas we have.

Do you use Heart of Moscow products yourself?

Of course! Right now I’m sitting in one of our t-shirts, which are already on sale. And I always carry around our notepad in a bag or a pocket.

Heart of Moscow t-shirt collection

Heart of Moscow t-shirt collection

Was it hard to go all the way from the concept to its implementation? And in general—what does one need to have a successful start-up in Moscow?

Well, it’s too early for us to talk about it. I think that it’s all about perseverance and hard work.

Where and how do you work? What do you think about a recent trend of “third places” where the creative class comes to work?

I prefer working at home: it’s comfortable. In fact, at the moment we don’t even have an office. At some moment in future, it may appear necessary but currently we have no urgent need for that.

Heart of Moscow aims at creating an image of ideal Moscow for foreigners. Does this message work for the Russian public?

It very much does! Many people don’t like Moscow and they have their reasons. But there are also plenty of reasons to love it! Our main idea is that if a person loves Moscow it will help the city get much better. And if one keeps hating it, nothing will ever change. So, these are the Muscovites who’ll have to be the first to love our ideal Moscow.

Heart of Moscow store

Showcase of Heart of Moscow at a store on 20, Kuznetsky Most

Don’t you think that a foreigner would be more interested in getting some authentic thing with a back story and not a red-white mass production souvenir?

Well, first of all our production is not that mass, even compared to matryoshkas. We’re only aiming at it. Second, there are a lot of things to bring back from Moscow. Many of those things are quite pricey, but there are also a lot of unique and beautiful folk crafts and antiques. Of course, the key aspect is price. And we position ourselves as an alternative not to folk crafts but to the cheap, tasteless and flashy stuff, that can be found all over Arbat. We’re a little bit more expensive, we look premium and yet we’re affordable. We also bring the feeling of love towards the city and its culture, which is really rare in Moscow. And as for the things with a back story—almost all of our products fall into that category.

Why are there so few tourists coming to Moscow?

The answer will be very obvious: visa troubles, cost, lack of comfort and safety. In most cases people come to Moscow on business, in organized groups (like on a safari) or of some inexplicable love to Russia, or, more exactly, to its history, culture and great past. Frankly speaking, Moscow in its modern condition is unlikely to appeal to an average European or American tourist. For a long time nobody has done almost anything for that purpose. Now there have been some positive shifts but of course it’s too soon to talk about the results.

What will be the next steps in the development of Heart of Moscow?

We’ve got a lot of ideas and energy, we’ll keep launching new products and try to bring joy to those who like and support us.

Bears & Vodka editorial wishes Alexander Elzesser the best of lucks with his work and hopes to see more of his game-changing products on the shelves.

 

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


More on Russian Identity
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Jokes aside, Russians have very little to be proud of.

Living off the remains of the Soviet culture, Russians hold on to the cute little stereotypes they force onto themselves as identity. They are no big fans of their own history, ashamed of their oil-based economy, unhappy and dissatisfied. That’s why they might be finding some solace in brown bears, caviar, vodka, khokhloma and matreshkas. Ironically, those are the things most of them never encounter throughout their lives. Especially bears.

So there is no surprise in a growing interest towards everything stereotypically Russian among Russians themselves. They become increasingly fond of those shallow little symbols. See their eyes light up when talking to foreigners: “You must be thinking we are all drinking vodka with bears.”

Russians love this pathetic symbolism. For what it’s worth, they really have nothing else to identify themselves with. Even if they have to do it through the dolesome ironic grin.

Sometimes it turns out cute (and quirky).

Sometimes—you really can’t tell.

And the story goes on.

 

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Three Miracles of The Russian Orthodox Church
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Ahead of Easter, last week was all about the Orthodox Church and its peculiar ways of betraying the Orthodox faith. Catch up with the Russian news in our new installment of words of the week. Or should we say, miracles of the week?

The Miracle of the Vanishing Breguet

Last week started with a fuss about the brilliant Photoshop skills demonstrated by an editor of Russian Patriarch’s Office official website.

There was nothing extraordinary about a photo taken during Patriarch Kirill’s meeting with the Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov three years ago. Except for one minute detail: the patriarch seemed to be wearing no wristwatch, while his reflection in the glossy tabletop clearly sported a 40-thousand-dollar Breguet:

Patriarch’s Breguet can only be seen in reflecting surfaces

Patriarch’s Breguet can only be seen in reflecting surfaces

Now that’s humility and asceticism!

The plot of the story thickened when the link to the enlarged photo failed to work. A few hours later the photo was replaced by the unretouched version where the Breguet and its holiest owner were finally reunited.

The owner claimed he was wearing the made-in-Russia “Kremlin” watch that was a gift from President Medvedev. Following a vain attempt to comment on the situation, the Patriarch made things even less comprehensible admitting he once also had a Breguet as a gift but, unlike the President’s “not-that-expensive” present, the expensive one never left the gift box. Oh, he is just full of it.

The ending of this orthodox drama was rather banal: the Patriarch’s Office officially apologized for the “stupid mistake” of their young employee and promised to “reprimand her” for taking such “unnecessary initiative.”

The Miracle of Propaganda

On April 3, the meeting of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) Supreme Council left no doubt: Russian church officials would rather be engaged in witch-hunts than deal with actual problems. The council approved the official address to be read in all churches of Russia starting April 9. Amidst the loud words on national consciousness and people’s initiatives, the address points out the Enemies of the Church. It lists all protests related to the actions of the church, starting from the notorious Pussy Riot.

“The rivalry of the Church and anti-christian forces is becoming evident and fierce. The attacks were becoming more obvious, especially in the pre- and post-elections period, which demonstrates their political and anti-Russian motives.”

With the Orthodox Easter coming next Sunday, this address is sure to become a yet another powerful element of the omnipresent state propaganda, now channeled through the voice of the Holy Spirit. Russian religiousness is overwhelmingly limited to the biggest holidays, like Christmas and Easter, so there is no better time to start brainwashing.

It also seems to be one of those long-playing pieces of news: on April 21, all the churches of the Moscow Patriarchy will witness the mass prayer and standoff of people “to protect the faith, the desecrated shrines, the church and its good name”, which is also to be supported by a motor rally in Moscow. Clearly, there is no stopping the faith.

For those of you reading in Russian, enjoy the absurd of church propaganda by reading the complete text of the address.

The Miracle of The Holy Dust

Another news surfaced on April 6th, when former Minister of Health Yuri Shevchenko was charged almost RUR 20 million in favor of the ROC Patriarch Kirill. Grounds for the fine? The alleged dust residue in the patriarch’s apartment that was left after the renovations in Shevchenko’s flat in the same building.

Shevchenko’s representative in court—his son—was forced to sell his apartment in Saint Petersburg to pay the fine. Until the fine was paid, Shevchenko couldn’t leave the country to take his ailing father to Europe for treatment.

What strikes you in this story is not the fact that the dust in Patriarch’s apartment is worth RUR 20 million (about $670 000), and not the fact that Kirill refused to budge and went all the way to get his money. The striking fact is that Kirill didn’t even live in that apartment. At the time of the accident, Kirill’s two cousins were living there.

We hope Kirill cleans up before the next big church-related scandal makes Jesus want to burn the whole ROC operation to the ground.

Dear God, this place is beyond repair. Burn it down!

Dear God, this place is beyond repair. Burn it down!

More Miracles, Coming Soon

Russian Internet folklore encyclopedia Lurkmore ironically describes the ROC as a “solid successful state corporation” dominating the Russian service market. “Its first office appeared in 988 and it is still actively functioning with the representation in all parts of the Earth including the Antarctica.”

Leading providers in orthodoxy, “ZAO ROC is an acknowledged leader in developing and implementing various complex methods of work with people, following its own unique PR-strategy and being in close collaboration with ZAO Kremlin”.
Before 2008, the ROC was led by Alexey Ridiger, who managed to “take the enterprise to a totally new level, gaining full monopoly in orthodoxy”. Today’s head of the ROC is Vladimir “Kirill” Gundyaev—widely known for his earlier success in tobacco business.

Our Bears & Vodka sense tells us the ROC has more in store for its flock.

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Moscow, Typical
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Meet Maxim Lessnick. An extravagant dweller of Moscow, he is among its less-typical characters. Maxim trades in ethnic goods, black market magic and battle hypnosis, which makes him a perfect companion for the Bears & Vodka crew. Since not being mainstream is so typical of the trendy Muscovites, we thought we’d ask him to do the very usual things Muscovites do—on the most tourist-polished Moscow landscapes imaginable.

Maxim Lessnick arguing with someone on the phone near an apartment block in Moscow
Maxim Lessnick arguing with someone on the phone near an apartment block in Moscow
Maxim Lessnick continuing his conversation near an opposition protest rally
Maxim Lessnick continuing his conversation near an opposition protest rally
Maxim Lessnick doubting his recent purchase of the new Esquire near the McDonalds on Pushkin Square
Maxim Lessnick doubting his recent purchase of the new Esquire near the McDonalds on Pushkin Square

Maxim Lessnick in line at a McDonalds on Pushkin square
Maxim Lessnick in line at a McDonalds on Pushkin square
Maxim Lessnick examining his McDonald’s order near the Bolshoy Theater
Maxim Lessnick examining his McDonald’s order near the Bolshoy Theater
Maxim Lessnick checking his IKEA purchases near the Kremlin
Maxim Lessnick checking his IKEA purchases near the Kremlin

Maxim Lessnick looking through The Book of Mormon near the Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square
Maxim Lessnick looking through The Book of Mormon near the Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square
Maxim Lessnick having a tea from his thermos near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Maxim Lessnick having a tea from his thermos near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Maxim Lessnick blending in with a Krishna cult on Arbat
Maxim Lessnick blending in with a Krishna cult on Arbat

Maxim Lessnick checking up on his recently purchased antique sword on Noviy Arbat
Maxim Lessnick checking up on his recently purchased antique sword on Noviy Arbat
Maxim Lessnick enjoying a Starbucks coffee near the Viktor Tsoy commemorative graffiti wall
Maxim Lessnick enjoying a Starbucks coffee near the Viktor Tsoy commemorative graffiti wall
Maxim Lessnick reading a book near the Moscow State University main building
Maxim Lessnick reading a book near the Moscow State University main building

Maxim Lessnick giving directions to a young student in the middle of a forest in southwest Moscow
Maxim Lessnick giving directions to a young student in the middle of a forest in southwest Moscow
Maxim Lessnick getting a ride in the middle of a snow field near Ostankino
Maxim Lessnick getting a ride in the middle of a snow field near Ostankino
Maxim Lessnick counting cash near an apartment block in northeast Moscow
Maxim Lessnick counting cash near an apartment block in northeast Moscow

Maxim Lessnick tweeting in front of the 11 Nations monument, near Worker and Kolkhoz Woman monument, near VDNH
Maxim Lessnick tweeting in front of the 11 Nations monument, near Worker and Kolkhoz Woman monument, near VDNH

If you believe you could be Bears&Vodka’s guide to Moscow or Saint Petersburg—drop us a line at bears@bearsandvodka.com.

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Words of The Week: Inappropriate Edition
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Last week was big on moral issues in Russia. This is what happened — in all its inappropriateness.

I Will Transmit This Information to Vladimir

March, 26. Dmitry Medvedev met Barack Obama in Seoul, during Nuclear Security Summit, to talk missile defense. At the end of the 90 minutes of discussion President Obama leant towards Dmitry Medvedev and asked for some “space” so he could win his elections and then finally discuss the matter with no electoral pressing. President Medvedev replied: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir”. Both men thought their microphones were off.

Medvedev will transmit this information to Putin

Medvedev will transmit this information to Putin

Lucky Americans, they are only wondering how could Obama fall as low as to negotiate with and ask a Russian for concession. Russians, in their turn, have to suffer a lot more—why on Earth was Medvedev’s English so lame? “I will transmit this information to Vladimir”?

Even though Medvedev’s other phrases were professionally interpreted into English, they seem to keep up perfectly with all that Mr. Medvedev was saying by himself:

“Now, in my view, time has come for discussions between technical aspects and, of course, we remain at our own positions, both the United States and Russian Federation.”

“…and I hope that we will be able to achieve similar successes in resolving remaining issues, such as the revoke of Jackson-Vanik amendment.”

This is one of the many examples when Russians are not as good in English as they think they are.

Still, for better of worse, nobody in Russia expects Medvedev or Putin to speak English fluently, as they have seen way worse, but still, how could the President, the embodiment of the whole country, have said such an ear-bleed thing?

Teach The Police Some Humanity

Курс человеколюбия

On March 27, head of Russia’s Dept. of Internal Affairs Rashid Nurgaliev offered to introduce a course of humanity into the curricula of police schools and academies. If the offer makes it to execution, future policemen and women will learn to be kind and listen to people during their vocational training and higher education.

Russian Police Brutality

Russian Police Brutality

The initiative can be traced back to the Kazan incident and a series of other cases involving outrageous acts of police brutality. In Kazan, a 52-year-old man died after local police officers raped him with a bottle of Champaign in a police station “Dalniy” on March 11. Other cases of brutality include lethal beatings, sexual assault, theft of personal possessions, framing for unsolved crimes, planting drugs and more.

For the vast majority of Russians, the Police is no less than a foe. Nurgaliev’s plan to make the police more humane and friendly, might be the right thing. But it just as well might be a joke, since college is too late to teach humane behavior.

Racist Morons

Тупое быдло

On a football Sunday (on March 25) many at Russian Premier League regretted Moscow winter wouldn’t give up dropping snow on people’s heads. Apparently, the remaining snow on the stands of Arena Khimki stadium was just the thing required to once again demonstrate how uncivilized and savage Russian football fans are.

Uncontrollable aggressive fans of two top Moscow teams, Spartak and Dynamo, started snowballing the players at the pitch. To boot, they provocatively whooped at Emmanuel Emenike, a Brazil forward of Spartak, showing their skills as ultimate racists. No wonder many of the players couldn’t hold on any more and expressed some of their feelings back, as seen on the following video. Who would blame them?

The story was far from over. Showing a middle finger to anyone at a public event is undoubtedly wrong and should be punished. But the racist provocations are to be punished twice as severely. Clearly, Russian football officials think a bit differently, as following these events Emenike was fined 500,000 rubles and got a suspended disqualification. As for the fans (and football clubs responsible for them) the disciplinary hearing haven’t been held yet.

Unfortunately, this is by far not the first case of showing racism at Russian football stands. The most recent and outrageous ones are the so-called “banana cases”, when some of the very creative viewers would throw or hold out these fruits to dark-skinned footballers. After being apprehended these morons would usually make excuses like “I didn’t mean wrong” or “I was upset with the team’s play and that banana was the first thing I found to express my emotions.”

Ultranationalist movements have actually been prevalent at world football stands since the 1950s, but by 1990s any racism outbursts in civilized countries would be almost extinct due to effective government regulations. Clearly, Russia is far from being civilized.

Inappropriate Patent Pending

Патенты Гаева

On March 25, yet another criminal case involving a Russian state official abusing his power was initiated: Dmitriy Gayev, ex-head of the Moscow Metro was accused of having appropriated 112 mln RUR of tax payer money. Gayev himself denies his illegal enrichment regarding it as the remuneration for his inventions is officially registered at RosPatent.

The amazing Gaev, inventor of all things

The amazing Gaev, inventor of all things

Let’s set aside all legal details including the Moscow Metro, trials and the Criminal Code of Russia: these are not newsworthy. What really needs mentioning are Gayev’s patented inventions: transit pass automated validation system (which is actually a turnstile validating passengers’ tickets), transit pass vending machine and video surveillance system recording train operation. With all those things widely used all around the world, Gayev has to be nothing short of a genius to have invented all that!

Dorofey, Medvedev’s Missing Cat

Пропал Дорофей

The news of an alleged missing of President Medvedev’s cat Dorofey broke out in Russian media on Wednesday. And although the scoop proved fake in a few hours, it grew sensational.

Russian web users liked the news and Dorofey became a web star. A great number of messages hashtagged #Дорофей flooded Twitter. In the end, Dmitry Medvedev himself put paid to the fuss over the cat. He tweeted to reassure the public, stating that Dorofey was ok and he hadn’t been lost at all. Non-Russian speakers should know that Medvedev used a web slang word to refer to his pet—котэ, which made him enter the history as the first Russian president to use an Internet meme in his public communication.

Russian tandem in power are known for their obsession with pets. But while Vladimir Putin is a hard-boiled owner of a black Labrador Connie, Medvedev’s favorite is his wife’s cat, allegedly bought for $1000, which cannot but reinforce his image as a president.

President Medvedev conversing with his cat Dorofey

“Next time you escape, can I come with you?”

Illustration by Yolkin

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.


Russian Tea Party
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Russians take tea very seriously.

Very seriously.

Here is how.

Buttercream rings trio
The ultimate teagasm
The ultimate teagasm

A bublik trio with honey and butter
Forever Alone with lots of sugar
An Alenka chocolate bar mix

A mix of candy, pastry and kozinaks
A Kozinak duo
With a candy vase

Classic Samovar Layout

Russians boast a wide selection of sweets and pastry that go with tea. While the tea part is normally black Indian tea, currently widely replaced by Lipton sachets.

A samovar is a traditional 3 to 5-litre tea kettle running on pine cones or electricity. Able to keep water hot, it is the center of attention at Russian tea parties.

Kozinakis are sunflower seeds pressed together in caramel or honey. A rather filling and satisfying treat, especially when done the right way.

When asking to join for tea, Russians expect you to go all the way, with sweets, pastry and at least 4-5 cups of tea. Russian tea normally comes after a Russian meal. A full-hearted 3-hour-long and 4-5-course meal. Be there. Experience that once.

And if this still leaves you hungry—take some home. Like these wallpapers we’ve brought together for your enjoyment.

The Russian Tea Party Wallpaper Pack (7.9 MB)

Stay warm! Stay hungry!

 

Originally published at Bears & Vodka. You can comment here or there.

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