Archive for June, 2015

A Whole Lot of Nothing: Sayings with Ничего in Russian Posted by on Jun 29, 2015

Ничего́ (nothing) one of these seemingly basic words that you learn in the first months of learning Russian. However, it is also one that appears in a number of idioms and expressions that are not immediately obvious to the learner. 1. Ничего for doing well Ничего is a popular response to the question “Как…

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Social Networking in Russia Posted by on Jun 24, 2015

The age of the “Social Network” is upon us. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, have popped up over the last ten years or so and dramatically changed our lives. These sites have greatly impacted our lives and they have been responsible for many things such as: increase in narcissistic behavior (i.e. selfies), entertainment…

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Does Learning Russian Endorse Oppression? Posted by on Jun 22, 2015

I was once talking to a young American teacher, who told me he had started learning Russian but gave it up in protest of LGTB rights violations in Russia. It is, indeed, not hard to be discouraged from learning Russian when Russian governments and people, past and present, commit offenses against principles one holds dear…

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In Russia Philosophy is not Just for Plato Posted by on Jun 17, 2015

It was once said by the great Dostoevsky that “all real Russians are philosophers.” While philosophy, and discussions about it, has a place in most cultures and countries, its place in Russia, both during Soviet times and now, cannot be understated – especially while conversing with friends and family. Many of us take this deep…

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Three Ways the USSR Was Unintentionally Environmentally Friendly Posted by on Jun 15, 2015

When people think of the soviet Union or present-day Russia, environmental protection is not the first thing that comes to mind. After all, in its quest for rapid industrialization, the USSR wrecked the environment in many ways, from air and water pollution to deforestation to desertification to nuclear meltdowns. At the same time, when…

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Reading Poetry in Russian Posted by on Jun 11, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we read famous passages from Russian literature (see Part I and Part II here). These works were mostly realist novels written by male authors well known abroad. I would like to wrap up this series with something a little different — poetry by authors lesser known internationally, one of whom…

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KGB Posted by on Jun 9, 2015

When one thinks of the former Soviet Union, many things come to mind. Perhaps one of the first associations would be the KGB. To those living in the USSR, they were an organization to be feared. To those living outside of the Iron Curtain, they were looked at with intrigue. In both cases, they were…

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