Russians Happier Than They Look, UN Study Shows

UN Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2017) Don’t be misled by those grumpy faces on the Moscow metro: Russia is the 49th happiest place on Earth and it is becoming happier, a new study has found. The United Nation’s yearly World Happiness Report measures “subjective well-being” in 155 countries along criteria such as GDP per capita and life expectancy, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “What do Russians dream about when they sleep?”

File Photo of Dogs Dressed as Batman and Robin, adapted from photo at whitehouse.gov

Most Russians dream about people, fish, children and snakes, claims a Yandex study based on the analysis of search queries. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – March 20, 2017) A study conducted by the leading Russian search engine, Yandex, shows what Russians most frequently see in their dreams. The results are based on search queries […]

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NEWSLINK “Russia Quality Of Life Indicators Worse Than China’s” – Forbes/Kenneth Rapoza

Moscow Roads

“… According to the big data cost of living number crunchers at Numbeo, Russia’s biggest problems are weather; Moscow traffic that makes the 405 in Los Angeles and the Marginal in Sao Paulo seem tame; outrageous real estate prices in city centers, and pollution. Russia may be known for great culture, world-class great museums and home to one of the […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Russian marches on Women’s Day seen as an attempt to revive feminism”

Kremlin and River

This year’s International Women’s Day was marked by feminist protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Experts note that the idea of gender equality remains unpopular in Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – March 10, 2017) “March 8 is the day of women’s solidarity in their fight against gender inequality, not the day of spring, […]

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Putin Orders Demolition of Moscow’s Iconic Post-War Apartment Blocks

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – February 21, 2017) Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete demolition of Moscow’s post-war Khrushchevkas: Soviet housing blocks which once offered hope to millions of families after World War II. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced on Tuesday that 1.6 million Muscovites were still living in the buildings, many of which were […]

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Russians 1% ‘Happier’ in 2016

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 7, 2017) Don’t believe the faces you see on the metro – more than half of Russians are happy. According to a new Gallup International/WIN poll, 56 percent of Russians considered themselves to be happy in 2016, an increase of 1 percent on 2015. Happy Russians find themselves in good company. Some 68 percent […]

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Putin Country; As authoritarian control and renewed superpower tension dominate headlines, telling stories of Russia’s everyday heroes can reveal lost alternatives.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Susan Richards – January 19, 2017) Susan Richards is a non-executive director and founder of openDemocracy. She has produced a number of feature films and written a prize-winning book, Epics of Everyday Life, about the lives of ordinary Russians in the transition from communism. Lost & Found in Russia, Encounters in the Deep Heartland, which covers the period […]

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Sex, Suicide and Death Named Russia’s Top Taboos

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 10, 2017) Sex is the biggest taboo among Russian families, with one in three Russians describing the topic as “unpleasant” to discuss with their closest friends and relatives, a report by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed Tuesday. Suicide and death were considered too controversial to discuss by 15 percent and 7 percent of […]

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RUSSIALINK RT: “Moscow celebrates despite coldest Christmas night ‘in 120 years.'”

Russian Orthodox Believers Holding Candles at Cathedral at Christmas

“Bitterly cold temperatures haven’t stopped worshipers from celebrating Epiphany and Orthodox Christmas. Christian believers across the globe joined in celebrations. Those who attended midnight liturgy at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior had to bundle up for the bitter cold as temperatures in the capital dropped to about -30C on Christmas night. In Moscow Region, temperatures dropped below -32C. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Despite political clout, Russian seniors find later life options limited; Though their numbers are increasing and their voting bloc powerful, elderly Russians generally lack either the savings or sufficient government pension to finance a comfortable retirement” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… Tradition remains strong here, and huge numbers of pensioners still live with their families. Millions more take refuge in state-run old age homes, which are of varying quality. Due to the unusual political strength of pensioners and war veterans in Soviet and now Russian society, publicly-run facilities for the elderly have always been relatively well-resourced and are currently under […]

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Survival guide: How to survive New Year, Russian-style

Happy New Year, Clock, Champagne Glasses

A popular Russian saying holds that the way you spend New Year’s Eve is the way you will spend the entire year. Throughout 2016, RBTH has tried to provide you with advice on such crucial topics as how to drink with Russians, how to understand Russian women, how to behave when you are invited to somebody’s home and similarly important […]

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Russians Toast Recession as Pubgoers Drink ‘Less But Better’

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov, Andrey Lemeshko – November 30, 2016) A staple drink of Russia’s recession comes in different flavors but it’s best consumed standing up. Food is optional. Not a beer country until the arrival a decade ago of a central European tradition of sit-down bars that married brews with hearty meals, Russia is now reveling in […]

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RBTH: Russians rediscover their Jewish identity

File Photo of Torah Scrolls

After decades of Jewish emigration from Russia, today a new generation of young Russians is learning about their past with the help of a number of cultural organizations. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDER CHERNYSHEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – November 18, 2016) Starting in the late 1980s, a flood of Russian Jews left the country for new homes […]

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Russians Now Killing Doctors as Aggressiveness Spreads throughout Population, Commentator Says

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 16, 2016) Aggression in Russian society is “changing qualitatively,” Aleksey Tarasov says, with ordinary Russians now regularly attacking and even killing doctors and others whom they would never have lifted a finger against in the past and with an increasing share of Russians accepting this as the new normal. As a […]

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Russians’ Incomplete Transition from Rural to Urban Life behind Many of Russia’s Problems, Vishnevsky Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 6, 2016) During the 20th century, large numbers of #Russians moved from villages to the cities, but as of now, many of them have not completed the psychological transition from rural to urban life; and that has given rise to marginal groups who represent a threat to the country, according to […]

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Ya Heart Vladimir: A Visit to the Regions

Russia Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – September 22, 2016 – Mary Elizabeth Malinkin) Giant, Cyrillic block letters spelling “Ya Heart Vladimir” (“I Love Vladimir”) now illuminate Cathedral Square in downtown Vladimir, Russia. The cheery, familiar slogan brought a smile to my face – da, ya lyublyu Vladimir. In early August I traveled back to the ancient city (just how ancient remains […]

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Russia’s Blockbuster Museum: The Tretyakov Reborn

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Director Zelfira Tregulova has breathed new life into the Tretyakov, toppling art’s ivory tower and attracting record-breaking crowds. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Mongayt – September 26, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-blockbuster-museum-the-tretyakov-reborn-55436] People waited in line for up to four hours in temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. There were ambulances and rescue workers on hand, just in case. Volunteers […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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Russians Today Shorter and Weaker than Their Parents, Moscow Medical Experts Say

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 5, 2016) Russians coming to adulthood now are approximately two centimeters shorter and much weaker than those who did so as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the result not of genetic degradation but rather of a wide variety of #environmental factors, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical […]

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Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 From: Stephen D. Shenfield <sshenfield@verizon.net> [New Book: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia] I recently published an e-book on Amazon Kindle entitled ‘Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia’: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Soviet-Studier-Experiences-Studies-ebook/dp/B01EBG3RIA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1460977096&sr=1-1&keywords=shenfield My summary This is a collection of stories about personal […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Restoring Old Churches Inspires a New Philanthropy in Russia” – New York Times

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

In a country where the state has traditionally maintained extensive control, private charity is still in relative infancy. Foundations and groups that receive funds from abroad usually must register as foreign actors. Restoring churches is one area where Russians have seized the volunteer spirit, however. Both churches in Tarusa have been restored with a mixture of state, church and private […]

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Eight Things That Will Make You Jealous of Russians and Their Dachas

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2016) [Text with photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/8-things-that-will-make-you-jealous-of-russians-and-their-dachas-38139] In summer, the dacha becomes the focal point of Russian existence. Children and grandparents live there while school is out, and those who still have to work head out for their own bit of greenery once Friday afternoon rolls around. It doesn’t have to be a luxury […]

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A survival guide for dating Russian women

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Champagne Glasses

If you really want to unravel the mystery that is a Russian woman, you should probably skip this survival guide entirely and read some Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Still, since Russian authors were never known for their brevity, sending you off to a library before your first date with Natasha or Tatiana or Olga would simply be inhumane on our part. […]

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Life Through a Different Lens: Moscow’s Jewish Film Festival

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ruth Moore – June 13, 2016) Tomorrow is opening night of the Moscow Jewish Film Festival, a cultural event offering Muscovites the chance to become acquainted with the world of Jewish professional cinematography. Over the course of the week, more than 35 films with a focus on Jewish culture will show at leading cultural venues […]

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Russia’s young people aren’t angry, they’re furious

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Five years after Russia’s protest movement turned sour, young people are still frustrated with the status quo. (opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Ugarov – June 8, 2016) Mikhail Ugarov is a Moscow-based writer, art director and director born in 1956 in Arkhangelsk, Russia. He graduated from the department of dramatic arts at Moscow’s Gorky Literature Institute and went on to direct numerous […]

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RBTH: How to be a Russian? A user’s manual; For the foreigners out there wondering what it takes to be a Russian, check out our simple guide on how to imitate typical Russian behavior and avoid standing out.

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA NOVIKOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – June 2, 2016) Recently I received an amusing gift. It was a book with the intriguing name, “How to be a Brit” and it was written by a man named George Mikes. Having rather limited experience of being one, I dove into the book, looking for answers […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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1 out of every 2: What do half of all Russians believe?

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Opinion polls are regularly published in Russia containing curious facts about ‘every second Russian’ – according to surveys half of the population pray, steal items from hotel rooms and live in anticipation of a war, among other things. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 11, 2016) Sociological services often publish […]

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Nearly Half of All Russians Now Say They Can Live without Relying on the State, Sociologists Find

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 27, 2016) Given everything that has occurred in Russia over the past five years, few have noticed what can only be described as “a quiet revolution”: the percentage of Russians who say they don’t need to rely on the state has increased from 34 to 44 percent, with an ever rising […]

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Five foolproof ways to identify Russians on holiday abroad

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

I will not waste your time describing boring images of Russians squandering money and wearing tawdry outfits on vacations abroad. You have probably already read such tropes a million times. Here I’d like to discuss the not so obvious, but no less true, signs that a tourist is from Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA POTAPOVA, RBTH […]

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Five great new Russian films to watch online with the Dubl Dv@ festival

File Photo of Reel of Film

New Russian movies will be available for streaming online with English subtitles as part of the Dubl dv@ (Take Two) film festival from April 11-22. We have selected the five most interesting movies from the program. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDER NECHAYEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 11, 2016) Festival website: d2.rg.ru 1. ‘CH/B’ (‘Black/White’) After Nurik, […]

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Office Affairs and Chit-Chat Around the Russian Water Cooler

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michele A. Berdy – April 8, 2016) Облагора́живать: to ennoble Imagine that you are a foreigner who has been studying English. You’ve mastered most of the grammar – except those pesky articles and absurd tenses – and your listening comprehension is pretty good. So you go to the U.S. and meet someone in a coffee […]

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Six Russian writers to watch at the London Book Fair

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

A delegation of Russian authors is coming to London on April 11-14 for the city’s international book fair. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDRA GUZEVA, RBTH – April 7, 2016) The Read Russia international project returns to the London Book Fair. Among daily meetings with award-wining contemporary writers, this year the Russian stand (5D169) at Olympia Exhibition Center […]

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Russia’s Inability to Deal with Its Past Imperils Its Future, Inozemtsev Says

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier, Crimea, Ukraine, 1855; adapted from image at loc.gov; Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer;

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 7, 2016) Russians love to compare themselves and their country with others and especially with the United States and to ask why others have done better than they have, Vladislav Inozemtsev says; but in general, Russians focus on differences in economic, legal or belief systems rather than on the critical problem […]

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Russian Karjakin to Compete in Chess World Championship Title Match

Chess Pieces File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2016) Grandmaster Sergei Karjakin will become the first Russian since 2008 to compete in a title match of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) championship, after he defeated Fabiano Caruana of the United States in Moscow on Monday, according to an announcement on the FIDE website. Karjakin, playing the white pieces, […]

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Russian, U.S. Chess Grandmasters Face-Off In World Champions Tournament

Chess Pieces File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 29, 2016) Eight of the world’s top chess grandmasters have converged on Moscow to compete for the right to challenge reigning World Chess Federation (FIDE) champion Magnus Carlsen for the championship title, the FIDE website reported. Going into the final round on Monday, Sergei Karjakin of Russia and Fabiano Caruana of the United States […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Putin’s Embargo Is Reshaping Russia’s Cuisine. Putin’s embargo is changing the way Russians dine out, and chef Vladimir Mukhin is taking the opportunity to transfigure the country’s cuisine. 16. The Economist: Russia and sanctions. Toe in the water. Why is Russia tapping international debt markets?” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov » Read more

Russians’ Values ‘Normal but Weak’ not ‘Strong but Abnormal,’ Sociologist Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 28, 2016) Many are inclined to believe that Russians strongly hold “abnormal” values; but in fact, sociologist Ella Paneyakh says, the values they hold are quite normal but they are only weakly attached to them. As a result, there often occur sudden and otherwise apparently inexplicable changes in the goals and […]

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It’s official: Native Americans and Siberians are cousins

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

After more than a century of speculation, an international group of geneticists has conclusively proven that the Aztecs, Incas, and Iroquois are closely related to the peoples of Altai, the Siberian region that borders China and Mongolia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ARAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – rbth.ru – February 23, 2016) Scientists have suspected for a long time […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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