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Familiar unknowns Posted by on Jan 17, 2022

a boyar

In my blog about idioms with the word ‘white’ (белый), I got a great comment about two Russian words чернила и белила (black ink and white paint). (Thank you @samonen! Have I mentioned we love to read your comments?) Белила reminded me of the phrase “белены объелся”. And before you ask, белила и белена are…

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Let’s Explore Russian Morphology with Baby Animals Posted by on Jan 14, 2022

With all the craziness going on in the world, I think we need a bit of baby animal therapy to take our mind off things. How about a lesson on Russian morphology to go along with it? Уби́ть двух за́йцев Kill two birds with one stone. (Yes, in Russian, we say “to kill two hares”)…

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One of the Two Troubles of Russia: Roads Posted by on Dec 17, 2021

Roads have always played an important part of life in Russia. If you remember my last post about types of transportation in Russian cities, let’s explore what all those machines actually run on: roads. Radishchev stylized his cutting 1790 critique of Catherine’s Russia (which ultimately landed him in exile in Siberia) on a travelogue that…

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Breakfast in Russia and a brief culture trip to 1978 Posted by on Nov 10, 2021

Dear Russian Language Blog, I’m writing to you from the comfort of my desk, where, as always, I am dreaming about the breakfast that, unfortunately, I did not have time this morning to eat. To eat, to eat. But what can one expect to eat for breakfast in Russia? бутербро́д sandwich Open faced sandwiches with…

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Go East, Young Man: the Virgin Lands Campaign Posted by on Oct 29, 2021

From this side of the Iron Curtain, we remember Ники́та Серге́евич Хрущёв Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, as the man who promised the West that мы вас похоро́ним! We will bury you (which is somewhat a mistranslation and a good subject for a future blog), for his 1959 Ку́хонные деба́ты Kitchen Debate in Moscow with then-vice president Richard…

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The Mother of All Rivers Posted by on Oct 4, 2021

As the old song goes, Широка́ страна́ моя́ родна́я. Russia is the largest country in the world by far. Its borders stretch from its westernmost to easternmost points over 9,000 kilometers (over 5,000 miles), covering a total area of over seventeen million square kilometers (6.6 million square miles), which is one-eighth of the total land…

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The Wonderful World of Snacking Posted by on Sep 18, 2021

Imagine it’s 10:30am, you had breakfast not too long ago, but you realized that you проголода́лся [have become hungry] and you just can’t make it to your обе́денный переры́в [lunch break]. Мо́жет быть, пора́ закуси́ть что́-нибудь [Perhaps it’s time to snack on something]? But before we dive into the endless world of snacking and to…

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