Seven Things about Russia You Didn’t Know

Posted on 16. Sep, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Many of you know so much about Russia! Some of you were fortunate enough to go there, others spent a lot of time reading about it.  Whatever the case, I hope the information below fuels your curiosity even more and propels you to dive deeper into the culture and history of this country, a country so big that it has 9 time zones. What follows are some interesting bits of information that might catch you by surprise!

1. The Russian language doesn’t contain “the” and “a” in it (we do not have articles). Perhaps this is why you will often hear a native Russian speaker, while speaking in English, say “I want to go to store” or “Please give me cup of coffee.” Though it may take longer to say certain phrases and words in Russian, it isn’t because we have too many unnecessary words.

2. Many of you know that Moscow has several McDonald’s restaurants but did you know that the biggest one can seat 700 people? A large movie theater in America might be able to accommodate that many patrons. Imagine making enough food to feed all of those people at once. The store is located in Pushkinsklaya Square and has seen lines stretched out around many blocks. This store can also seat 200 people outside.

3. We all love to celebrate New Years – Russians love it so much that some do it twice. That’s right, once on January 1 and then again on January 13th. The latter is for the Eastern Orthodox Church. I suppose it is a good idea to have 13 days between them both so you can have time to rest and recover from the first one.

4. Do you remember the planet Pluto? Did you know that Russia is roughly one million square miles larger than what used to be the smallest of the nine planets in our Solar System?

5. Palm trees do exist in Russia! This means that there must be parts of Russia that have tropical-like climate. Far from the cold stereotypes of how people view Russian weather, the Krasnodar region sees little to no snowfall and in the summertime temperatures can reach 40-43C. I have been to the Black Sea growing up and absolutely loved the climate!

6. In Russia, it is not only the lowly drug addict that can be found getting high; it turns out that some bears also enjoy the feeling. Sniffing jet fuel is a favorite and dangerous past time for many bears. They get addicted to the vapors and then pass out. Being that bears can weigh so much, this has been known to cause trouble in some airports. I wonder if they get the munchies too?

7. Though it has already come and gone, September 12th is known as the “Day of Conception” in Russia. Couples will get a half day at work so that they can go home and procreate in hopes of having a baby on June 12th. I wonder if many people get paid for the half of the day they spend at home? Seems like Russians really put a priority on increasing the number of citizens. Perhaps they should speak with China or India to find out what they did to grow so much :-) .

As always, I welcome your thoughts and opinions. As vast as Russia is in size, there is no shortage of “things we didn’t know” about it. Should you have any interesting bits of information, please share in the comment section.

Всего хорошего!




Russian Tour Operators Going Out Of Business

Posted on 15. Sep, 2014 by in News

Image by OakleyOriginals on

Image by OakleyOriginals on

Those of you who follow Russian news might have heard that several travel agencies (туроператоры, турагентства) have gone out of business (разорились). A few have gone bankrupt (объявили о банкротстве) while others have suspended operations (приостановили деятельность). As you know from a previous post, Russian tourists love traveling abroad, so people who had paid the travel agency for their trips are now stranded abroad.

This story has been in the news throughout the summer in Russia, and it may be interesting to see how it was covered.

ITAR-TASS reports on the tourists stranded in China.

Отдыхающие в Китае клиенты разорившегося туроператора “Южный крест” жалуются на попытки выселения из отелей.

разориться – to go under

туроператор – travel agency. Synonyms include турагентство and турфирма.

выселение – eviction.

Business FM reports on the tourists being evacuated from resorts.

В эти выходные, 13 и 14 сентября, ассоциация «Турпомощь» должна также эвакуировать клиентов «Южного креста» из Греции, Кипра, Италии и Черногории. Всего за границей застряли 5,8 тысячи клиентов этого туроператора.

Застрять – to be stuck, to get stranded

Vedomosti (Ведомости) talks about the reasons behind the wave of bankruptcies.

Из-за сложной политико-экономической ситуации европейское направление в этом году могло потерять до четверти клиентов, объясняет топ-менеджер одной из крупных туристических компаний. Чтобы исправить положение, многие туроператоры продолжали демпинговать и довели ситуацию до критической отметки — оборотных средств стало катастрофически не хватать, продолжает он: «Случился принцип домино — банкротство одного туроператора повлекло за собой финансовые проблемы другого».

направление – here: segment
потерять клиентов – lose clients
демпинговать – to engage in price dumping
оборотные средстваfloating assets
принцип доминоdomino effect

The newspaper Российская газета reports that the bankruptcies have encouraged foreign partners to ask for upfront payment from the Russian companies.

Проблем отрасли добавляют и намерения некоторых зарубежных отельеров перейти на предоплату за бронирование мест в гостиницах. Но даже надёжные российские туроператоры вряд ли смогут себе это позволить в разгар кризиса.

отельеры – hoteliers

предоплата – advance payment, upfront payment

бронирование – reservation

позволить себе – afford

I would like to finish this post by sharing this TV report on the situation.

YouTube Preview Image

Vladimir Putin: Interesting Facts About the Man Behind the (Iron) Curtain

Posted on 10. Sep, 2014 by in Culture, General reference article


Though this blog usually centers on Russian culture and the language, certain events have transpired lately that are keeping the Russian president in the spotlight. For those living outside of Russia, he may be seen as a mysterious man, perhaps a hero to some and a villain to others. Your knowledge about him may be limited to what you see on television or read in the headlines. I have found some interesting facts about Vladimir Putin that you will hopefully find interesting. Please keep in mind that I am not supporting or condemning him, simply sharing some information that I’ve found.

1. President Putin has a comic book superhero named after him: Superputin. For those of you that are after some Russian comic books, this may be right up your alley. He is seen wearing a kimono and uses his real-life abilities as a black belt in judo to save people from their imminent doom. By the way, ex-president Dmitiry Medvedev is his sidekick. You can read more about it here:

How many other world leaders can say they have a comic book in their honor?

2. Mr. Putin is definitely not a one-trick pony. He can lead a nation, work in surveillance, and also sing and play piano. Yes, its true! It was reported by Politico that President Putin sang the Fats Domino classic, “Blueberry Hill” at a charity function in 2010. You can watch him sing and play piano here:

3. He is a lover of animals, especially dogs. It seems that the leader that many have called cold, hard nosed, and worse, also has a soft spot for canines. His personal dog, a black Labrador Retriever named, Koni, has been photographed by some of the world’s largest news organizations, she has met many of the world’s most powerful leaders. Before anybody comments, I am also aware that certain other past world leaders and dictators also had a soft spot for dogs, especially German Shepherds. I am just mentioning that Putin has an affinity for his dog, and he takes interest in other animals too. More can be read about Koni here:

In closing I would like to same that I am apolitical at this stage in life. Some may love President Putin, some may hate him, some may not know enough to have an educated opinion about him. Personally, I do not know too much about him; mostly what I read online. When speaking with friends and family in Russia about President Putin, I get the same opinions I do in America about whomever the current president is: some love him, some think he’s doing an awful job, some hate him, and so on. I hope this blog will give you a quick glimpse into the other side of one of our current world leaders, a side we may not get to see in the news. We have to remember that world leaders are mere mortals – even those with comic books created in their honor. They have good days, bad days, they can be ruthless to some, loving to others.

Всего хорошего!