День Победы – Victory Day

День победы (Victory Day) is celebrated on May 9th of every year to commemorate the surrender of Nazi Germany to Soviet forces in 1945. This year’s Victory Day Parade marked the 70th anniversary of Allied victory.


The Russian Ruble

The ruble is the currency that Russians use. In Russian, the word “ruble” is pronounced a lot like it is in English, but it has a soft /l/ at the end: рубль [rublʲ] (listen). The ruble is divided into 100 kopeks. A kopek (Russian: копе́йка [kɐˈpʲejkə] (listen) is pretty much worthless in modern times, much… Continue reading The Russian Ruble


Yaga Baba Rides Off to Fight The Crocodile

This lubok dates from the 17th century and depicts Baba Yaga, riding a pig, battling a crocodile. It is believed to be a satire of Peter the Great and his wife Catherine by the Old Believers (who called Peter the Great “the Crocodile”). The figure of Yaga Baba, which is the reversed name of the… Continue reading Yaga Baba Rides Off to Fight The Crocodile


Krokodil, the flesh-eating substitute for heroin

With the recent news about Krokodil entering the United States, I figured it was time to make a blog post about this drug. If you are interested in Russian culture, then you probably already know about Krokodil. But do you really know how big of a problem it is, and WHY it is a problem?… Continue reading Krokodil, the flesh-eating substitute for heroin


Cat of Kazan

The Cat of Kazan is a lubok (Russian: лубо́к) from sometime during the 18th century. It is a possible satire of Peter the Great. The author of this lubok is unknown. The text reads “Cat of Kazan, mind of Astrakhan, reason of Siberia, he lived sweet, ate sweet, and farted sweet.”


The Mayan Apocalypse In Russia

December 21, 2012 marks the end of the 5,125-year-long Mayan Long Count calendar. There are many people across the globe that believe that the world will end on this date… I was first exposed to this apocalyptic prediction by watching the movie “2012”, starring John Cusack. It’s pretty good. I recommend it. But, do I… Continue reading The Mayan Apocalypse In Russia

Holidays · Russia

Christmas in Russia

In the Russian Federation, Christmas is a public holiday observed on January 7th. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for days of religious celebration. Here in the west, we use the Gregorian calendar for everything — that’s why we celebrate it on December 25th. Some Roman Catholics and Protestants… Continue reading Christmas in Russia