February 18th, 2004



Although it's unrecognisable from the newspaper I used to translate in Russian class at school, online Pravda is still worth a read. And it's in English. Where else could you find this glum photo of Vladimir Putin aboard a Russian submarine? And who could blame him in that situation? There is certainly a noted increase in UFO stories and the tone's a little apocalyptic. But then that's always been the case. Even Komsomolskaya Pravda (originally the paper of the communist youth section) is still going. This is apparently where Rybkin was burying his face during his recent disappearance. Line Read Line. Good good.

It turns out that our top-selling history professor Orlando F. is off to Moscow for the forthcoming election in a few weeks as a professional commentator. Despite my suspicion (and I presume his!), well, hardly suspicion, knowledge rather, get on with it... that Putin is going to win with a very large majority and no one else will get anywhere at all, he is still going. He could do the report now and we'd get an extra week of tuition in the nature of Stalinist historiography. Never mind. Just as long as he doesn't take up any offers for impromptu visits to spa resorts, we should witness his safe return.

There's a variety of other English language Russian news sources out there, but I'd still recommend the eXile above all. Yes, it's frequently a little offensive for some tastes, but in that sharp visceral tradition of P.J. O'Rourke and others. It also makes me laugh. I don't find there's much to laugh about in Russia, but then I am studying Stalinism this term. Not exactly a barrel of laughs.

[News not exactly just in. I would like to record my sorrow at the apparent split of Russian pop duo Tatu. I hope a second album might sneak out, but it looks unlikely. Their heady mix of sexual politics, breathy/screechy vocals and hi-power Europop will be much missed. We shall not see their like again. Oh Lena, the nights shall be darker without you. Sweet Yulia, apparently you attend church regularly and confess your sins, according to the recent Anatomy of Tatu documentary (another DVD I will be glad to receive), you are too good to be true. Now you are stretching my credulity...]