Russian Language Blog

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6 Slang Words for Your Face in Russian Posted by on Oct 24, 2019

woman smiling

It has recently occurred to me that Russian has multiple ways of referring to someone’s face, especially in a critical manner. Learning some common synonyms of лицо́ (litso, face) will help you understand colloquial Russian more easily because they come up a lot in informal speech. This post will use International Phonetic transcriptions for each…

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Autocomplete Question: “Why Is Russian Life Expectancy So Low?” Posted by on Oct 17, 2019

elderly couple on a bench

We are continuing our Autocomplete Questions series — these are questions that pop up in your search bar when you start typing. This time, I put in “Why is Russian…” and one of the questions read “Why is Russian life expectancy so low?” Let’s tackle this question in this post. Some Statistics First, how low…

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4 Business Failure Verbs in Russian Posted by on Oct 7, 2019

woman counting money

You might have heard the news that the Thomas Cook travel agency has gone under. The company had purchased two Russian subsidiaries (доче́рние предприя́тия), Intourist (Интури́ст) and Biblio-Globus (Би́блио-Гло́бус), but their management has assured their customers that the Russian-based companies would not be affected. This may be a good opportunity to look at some vocabulary…

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5 Russian Books That Were Banned in the Soviet Union—Part II Posted by on Sep 30, 2019

bookshelf with books

Last time, we looked at several Russian books that, for various reasons, never saw the light of day in the Soviet Union or sometimes in their author’s lifetime. Some of these books were initially snuck out and published abroad and only came out in Russia in the late 1980s or early 1990s. 4. Мастер и…

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5 Russian Books Banned in the Soviet Union—Part I Posted by on Sep 23, 2019

hands typing on a typewriter

Some of the books that have entered the Russian literary canon were virtually unknown in Russia until the late 80s or the 90s. These books were either outright banned from publication or were only available as bootleg copies—famously as homemade samizdat (самизда́т) copies. Here are five books that are mainstream now but were out of…

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Passports, Visas, and Other Diplomatic Vocabulary in Russian Posted by on Sep 16, 2019

French passport on top of a map

One area where you might need Russian is dealing with the embassies and diplomatic missions of Russian-speaking countries abroad. (Remember that the Russian Federation, Росси́йская Федера́ция, is not the only country where Russian is an official language.) This post will feature some vocabulary you can use when contacting diplomatic missions that use Russian, loosely grouped…

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Autocomplete Question: “Do Russians Believe in God?” Posted by on Sep 10, 2019

Orthodox cathedral

Sometimes, to make sure my blog posts stay topical, I draw inspiration from popular search queries. Some of you might have seen the autocomplete interview series, where celebrities answer the most-searched questions about themselves. This time, I typed “Do Russians,” and “believe in God” was one of the suggestions. I will attempt to answer this…

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