Russia tests vacuum bomb

1:05 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

The military authorities declared that a new kind of weapon – a vacuum bomb – has been successfully tested.

The bomb was tested in September 11, Tuesday. “Effectiveness and potential of the bomb can be compared with those of nuclear armaments”, says Alexander Rukshin, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. One more advantage – the vacuum bomb doesn’t pollute the environment. In 2003 the USA tested the analogue of the air bomb, and later it entered the service of the USAF. But, the vacuum bomb, created in Russia, exceeds the American analogue in 20 times. America called their invention “mother of all bombs”. Russia echoes – we got “the father of all bombs”.

A new kind of aircraft bombs, as the military authorities state, will replace low-powered nuclear armaments and it will help to solve the problems of national safety more productively. Moreover, the invention of the bomb doesn’t break any international agreements.

The main charge of this kind of weapon is high-calorie fluid fuel (ethylene oxide). When a bomb meets a barrier, it explodes and the fuel is sprayed and turns into gas, which forms aerosol cloud. As soon as the cloud reaches the particular size, it is blown up by the special grenades, shooting up from the bottom of the bomb. The pressure of the cloud is high enough to hit the objects, vulnerable to air-blast. Gas-masks cannot help, even isolating ones.

First the vacuum bomb was used by the Germans in 1943, when they sank a battleship “Roma” in the Mediterranean Sea. Later it was used by the Americans in Vietnam and by the Russians in the Caucasus.


Domostroy or the guidelines of how we should live

2:17 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (4)

Domostroy (home building) was a regulation book for behavior of people in everyday life, a monument of the high written language in the 16th century in Russia. Domostroy was written in the first half of Ivan the Terrible’s reign. Its author is a priest, an associate and a tutor of Ivan the Terrible, Silvestre. When writing the list of rules, Silvestre used Russian and western “teaching collections”. Articles XXIX, XXXIV, XXXVI play a very important role, because they are concerned with upbringing the children, including the rules of upbringing children (girls had to be busy with needlework and boys had to do “male” household duties). The mistress was called “The gracious lady of the house”. Domostroy taught women how to please their husbands, to be honest and take care of family and children. Due to Domostroy, women were real autocrats, who controlled all the expenses, cooking, organized duties of the family members and servants (cleaning, water delivery, spinning, tailoring and etc.) All the members, except the head of the family, had to help the mistress, doing everything what she asked about. The head of the family, according to Domostroy, was a “thunderbolt” for the family and punished them very hard including “breaking ribs” of his wife and children. They could be whipped as well. The cruelty of Domostroy doctrines concerning relations with wife and children was quite typical of the morale of the late Middle Ages and didn’t differ much from the west European books of the same type.

Domostroy consisted of three parts: attitude of a Russian man to the church and throne; interfamilial atmosphere; organization and doing household duties.
“Be afraid of your Tsar and serve him devotedly and always pray about him” Domostroy says. “And if you serve devotedly and are afraid of him, you’ll learn at the same time to be devoted to your God…” Thus, service to the Tsar was the same as service to the God. There is a part of Domostroy which tells about the way “the Christians live with their wives and children and other members of the family, the way to punish and teach them, and to save their souls through fear…”

On the whole there is everything in Domostroy. There are some very touching guidelines of how “children should love their parents, be obedient and help them in everything”. It also says that “if God presents you a good wife, then think of her as if she is the most expensive stone in the world. There are practical advices about the way a woman must wear her dress, about gardening, laying the table, but all of them have religious character. The language of the book is very subtle and simple, calm and easy.The abstract from Domostroy:“Every evening a wife and a husband and the members of their family, if they are literate, should pray in the silence and very attentively, standing on knees. Afterwards you should not eat, drink or talk…. At midnight you should get up from your bed and pray as long as you can. Every Christian must pray about his sins, health of the Tsar and Tsarina, their children, brothers, sisters, help against any enemies, release of the prisoners and about the saints…”


The Last Bell Day

12:06 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

It’s a tradition to celebrate this day on the 25th of May in every school of the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May the graduates visited their last classes and now a difficult period of taking exams lies ahead.
All the schools existing more than a year celebrate the holiday. There is no strict order of celebrating, some schools follow one way every year but other schools choose to celebrate this holiday in a different way, trying to invent something new.
Traditionally there is a ceremonial line in the morning when graduates and first-former are gathered in front of their school or in the stadium. The teachers tell a summing-up, give advices to the graduates who enter a grown-up life. Then by tradition the graduates lead first-former to school by hand. After that the graduates, their parents and teachers come to the assembly hall. The children usually make a concert; it is a funny and merry part of the holiday. The hall is nicely decorated.
The graduates usually look pretty good on the day. There is funny tradition that they wear a school form looking like small children. Girls make tails, tie white bows. Sometimes they hang up little bells with a red bow.
When the ceremony is over, children usually go home, change their clothes and go to have fun. It is really nice to spend time going along the river by boat. It is usually prepared beforehand. Some people rent a café or a cruiser. The graduates get presents, but they also try to make presents to their schools. For example, some pupils plant trees near the school in the autumn and in spring when they leave the school, they will hear the rustle of leaves in The Graduates Alley.


The Victory Day

10:55 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

Wars always begin suddenly. In 1941 the most horrible, the closest war for Russia began – the World War II. They say we could not stop the fascists without heavy losses.

Russia lost over 26 MILLION PEOPLE. 26 MILLION PEOPLE – this figure sounds like a verdict. Just imagine – it is the population of the whole country like Norway.
In Berlin operation in 1945 at the end of the War over 2.5 million soldiers and officers were involved. There were 6250 tanks and self-propelled mountings, 7500 planes. During the first day of the liberation the Red Army lost over 15 000 soldiers and officers. During the whole Berlin operation about 352 000 people were killed. The battling lasted for two weeks. The Russian army smashed 70 infantry, 12 armoured and 11 motorized divisions. 480 000 people were taken prisoner.

On the 9th of May it was announced that Germany signed the act of unconditional surrender. On the 24th of June there was a victory parade in the Red Square.

It’s difficult for us - Russian people - to remember what happened there during the World War II. Difficult to look at our miserable worn-out elderly people who had lived through it. There is almost no family in Russia who has not lost somebody – a wife, a husband, children, parents, sisters and brothers – in the World War II.
The Victory Day celebrated in Russia on the 9th of May is one of the most respected, the saddiest but at the same time the happiest holiday.

Glory, glory to the people who struggled for the sake of their country! May their memory live on forever!


Nastoyka is better than vodka

3:37 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

“Of course, you know that ashberry tincture is a favorite drink of the Russians. Remember, that it owes its success to the peculiar taste, calming effect on the stomach, increasing digestion. Don’t forget to drink a glass of nastoyka at breakfast, lunch and supper. You’ll get both pleasure and good” said Russian manifacturers at the beginning of the 20th century, advertising nastoyka.

Nastoyka (tincture) is a Russian national drink as well as vodka and it has a long history. There are so many sorts of nastoyka in Russia, that you can hardly find one tenth of it in other countries of the world. With the help of nastoyka Russia compensated the lack of wine.
First alcohol tincture were used in medicine. Alcohol helped to keep useful natural substances in fruit and berries. Much later the tincture gained popularity as alcoholic drinks.
First tinctures had been produced before distillation was invented. People infused the herbs with the help of alcoholic liquids, got through brewing. Beginning from the pre-Petrine epoch there was a great variety of nastoyka in every house of the boyar, and later of the nobleman: anisic, birch, wormwood, mint, cardamom, cranberry, tormentil, pepper, lemon and other tinctures. Then the tinctures were used by monacs and alchemists as medicine. And only in the 17th century tinctures and liquers became popular and were no longer used in treatment.

The plenty of sorts and flavors is concerned with the great variety of feed stock. To tell the truth, a Russian nastoyka has a flavor of gardens, fields and forests of this great country.

There is a list of some components to use in nastoyka production:
Spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom;
Herbs – St. Jon’s wort, sweet-grass, origanum, camomile, wormwood, sweet clover, milfoil, thyme, mint, acacia, white bird cherry, fennel, coriander, lime, gingseng, aralia, hips, juniper and others.


Nowadays all the tinctures manufactured in Russia can be divided into three groups:

  • Bitter ones – containing 25-60% alcohol
  • Half-sweet – containing 25-40% alcohol
  • Sweet – containing 16-25% alcohol. By taste it is close to liquer.

There are also “simple” and “complex” tinctures. A simple nastoyka is made of one sort of aroma herbs and a comlex one is a mix of aromatic substances.

Production of nastoyka

Nastoyka is made through blending alcohol, juices and syrup with herbs.The most wide-spreaded way to make a nastoyka at home is alcoholic infusion. Berries correct the flavor of vodka, create a special aroma and give piquancy to the drink. Nowadays distillery plants regulate all the technological process in producing tinctures. Raw materials are certified. The composition of alcoholic tinctures is under control. But to produce nastoyka at home is much easier, because the method of cold infusion is used. You need to put fresh or dried plants into a bottle, pour alcohol into it and keep it some time until active substances are dissolved in alcohol. After infusion the mix must be filtered and shaked up. The infusion time depends on the raw, temperature conditions, but usually it lasts about 3-5 weeks. There are two main methods of producing a nastoyka. The first one is a maceration of fruit, berries or plants in pure alcohol or brandy. This process lasts up to several months. Then you must filter the mix and add distilled water, honey, sugar and something else and repeat the whole process again.
The second method is the following: fruit, berries, plants are infused in alcohol (up to some weeks), after that the mix is distilled for one time.

How to drink nastoyka

Nastoyka can be used just as it is, can be mixed up with water or ice, or used as a cocktail component. Nastoyka shouldn’t be kept in cold place, because it can grow turbid. Any nastoyka can be used as an aperitif.
Sweet tinctures can be served for dessert. Sometimes strong bitter nastoyka is used instead of vodka and served for spicy snacks, meat and fish dishes.
Nutritionists say that nastoyka is very good for health. It is used to treat ischemia, leukemia, vascular diseases.

Some recipes

Lemon nastoyka
1 bottle of vodka
2 lemons

It’s a traditional lemon nastoyka. Wash the lemons and dry them. Use only yellow peel because white pulp adds bitter taste. Keep it for several days in a warm place, then filter.

Moscow nastoyka
0.5 l. vodka
20 gr. sage seeds
20 gr. peppermint seeds
20 gr. tormentil seeds
20 gr. ginger seeds

Put the seeds into the vodka, keep it for a month, then filter and pour into the clean bottles.

Nastoyka “Erofeich”
The fragrant flowers and herbs: origanum, St. John’s wort, lovage, sage, wormwood, balm, milfoil, thyme, wild strawberries, apple-tree and pear-tree leaves, hawthorn blossom – 2 gr. each.
Cardamom and anise – 0.5 gr. each
1 l. of good vodka

Mix all the ingredients up, keep it for 2-3 months, filter and pour into the bottles of dark glass. Cork it up. The nastoyka brings vitality and relieve a stress.


The Slavs - who were they?

4:51 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

Old Russia from the very very beginning.

The vast East-European plain was inhabited with the Slavs - the ancestors of the Russians. Nobody knows when and how they had come. They settled in different parts of the huge deserted country along the Great Waterway: on the coast of the Varangian (Baltic) Sea, near Nevo Lake (Lake Ladoga), on the bank of the river Volkhov, Ilmeni Lake, the river Lovati, the Dnieper up to the Russkoye (Black) Sea. The folks were named according to the place of their living. These people built the city of Novgorod. Along the Dnieper the Polyans lived in the city of Kiev. The people who lived near by in the forests were called the Drevlyans. There were lots of Slavic tribes who lived near the rivers and lakes. But there were also foreign nations. In the North Finnish tribes lived (Chud, Ves, Merya, Muroma, Cheremisa and others). In the West there was Lithuania, in the South - the Turkis (the Khozars, Pechenegs, Polovtsy). They were engaged in farming. They were ruled by the Fathers, but it wasn't a peaceful time because the tribes carried war on each other and offended their neighbours.
Then they sent ambassadors to the tribe of the Varyags over the Baltic Sea to the country which was called Russia, with words: "Our country is great and rich, but there is no discipline here, please come here to be our grand dukes and masters". Three princes (brothers Rurik, Sineus and Truvor) came with their armed forces, including lots of Slavs, and since that they began to govern in Novgorod, Beloozer and Izborsk. It happened in 862. And it was the beginning of Russia.

Some facts from the life of old Slavs.

There is much information about the life of old Slavs. Strength and stamina, indifference against the weather and climate were inherent for them. Like all the Barbarians they didn't take care of their appearance. The most important thing for them was beauty of strong muscles. The Greeks emphasized good build, tallness and pleasant features of the Slavs. They were very hospitable, according a hearty welcome to any strangers. They supplied their guests with the guard, until they were safe. The Slavic wives were uncommonly faithful. Men kept fidelity as well. According to the tradition wives didn't want to live after their husbands' death and they took death by fire. Vendetta was a usual thing. In case of murder not only a murderer was punished but all his family. The relatives of a victim demanded blood for blood.


The Slavs were engaged in farming. They cultivated rye, wheat, barley and millet. Gardening was also popular. The archaeologists found the seeds of turnip, beet, carrot, radish and cucumbers. Hunting also played a very important role together with collecting and activities, concerned with forest and water. Fish was a very important thing for food and for trade. They bartered it for bread. To root up the trees the Slavs used an axe which was first made of stone, and then of iron. With the help of hoe and spade they loosened the ground. The harvest was gathered with reaping-hooks, threshed with chains and ground with manual corn-crusher. Cattle-breeding played secondary, but important role. The Slavs kept pigs, cows and goats. It is known that they gathered honey and used it as a basis for cooking alcohol drinks.


Northern Slavs built land-based houses with wooden floor, gable roof and a big stone stove. Under the ground there was a barn, called "podpolye", "podklet" or "podizbitsa". In the South houses were called semi-earthhouse ("poluzemlyanka"). There were some floors under the ground. The walls were interlaced with willow branches, dry brushwood, rye straw. Stoves were made of clay. The roof was hipped and had no flue. Russian houses were decorated with fretwork and paintings, which had magical sense and played a role of a protector. They reflected pagan ideas of the Slavs. On the front of the house there were the sun and the sky. The Sun was painted on the wooden "towels" located on the roof. The central towel demonstrated a circle divided into six parts which symbolised a seal of Rod or Perun (their Gods). It protected the house from the lightning.


Every kind of food played a ceremonial role. For the Pancake week the Slavs cooked pan cakes, symbolising the Sun, for funeral they cooked kissel - fluid food of the dead, for the holidays they baked pies, speaking about the wealth of the family. What ate our ancestors thousand years ago? The Chronicles say that in 907 a monthly tax included wine, bread, meat, fish and vegetables. The word vegetables meant both vegetables and fruit at that time. At the end of 10th century you could find salted lemons, raisin, nuts and honey on the table of a duke. The chronicle of 996 describes the feast of the grand duke Vladimir - much meat, in the streets people could get bread, meat, fish, vegetables, honey and kvass. The army made complaints against wooden spoons and the grand duke ordered to bring silver ones. Porridge could be found in every house. It was made of everything. There is a Russian fairy tale called "Porridge made of an axe" proving the previous statement. The Slavs added beef, brains or yuraga (butter foamed in water) into the porridge. Besides vegetable porridge was also popular. Turnip was the most commonly used vegetable in Russia up to the 18th century. Bad turnip harvest could be the real tragedy for people. This vegetable was boiled, baked, filled or eaten fresh.


The Slavs used hemp and cotton to make clothes. Besides, they framed sheep, fleeced and weaved a thick cloth. Most clothes was white. The Slavs knew only one way of coloring - with the help of plants. Alder bark gave brown colour, alder leaves - black, lady's bedstraw roots - dark red. The most popular clothes was shirt, which both men and women wore. It was decorated with embroidery. Trousers were a prerogative of men, boys didn't put them on up to 15 years old, when they became men - hunters and warriors. Their length hardly reached knees. The idea of women's clothes was also interesting. Young girls up to 15 years old wore long shirt, it was prohibited for them to wear a skirt which was called "poneva" - it was a prerogative of a married woman. Poneva is a seamless piece of cloth fixed with belt and covering the backside and thighs.The Russian word "poneva" means "understand", it means that the girl reached the age when girls realize who they are. There was a ceremony of putting on the poneva. It was made in public in presence of all the relatives and friends and it denoted that the girl attained her majority. The girl climbed a wide bench and her mother, a poneva in her hands, asked her to jump into the skirt. The girl said: "If I want, I will, if I don't want, I won't". As soon as she agreed to do it, she was announced a bride.


The Slavs were pagan. Their beliefs could be divided into several groups.Forest and hunting let the Slavs live. That's why the hunting beliefs are concerned with all the possible animals. The most important god was a BEAR. He was a master of the forest. Cult of WOLF was also popular. During the holidays men wore wolf skins to frighten the evil away. A woman was associated with a deer. Water ghosts - mermaids and vilas - helped to irrigate the ground, they were worshiped as goddesses. The Slavs believed in Khtonos. It was a creature born by the Earth. It was awful and frightening, looked like a huge snake. The sanctuary of the Snake was situated on the bank of the river. Young girls and horses were offered to the Snake as a sacrifice. The pantheons of the Gods was very large and needs further consideration.


An Alien Comes to Russia

6:12 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

A dwarf

This story happened in Kalinovy village near Kyshtym city, Chelyabinsk region. Once upon a time there was a harmless old lady Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina. In autumn and spring her relatives placed her into the mental house, because she had acute conditions.But all the rest time she wandered around the village, called on the graveyard - she liked to pick up flowers and ceramic name boards. She couldn't harm anybody.

At night on the 13th of August 1996 there came an awful storm. It was heavily raining and hailing. But it didn't prevent Tamara Vasilienva from walking. In the copse near the hillock she saw a strange creature: it was little as a premature baby, just 25 sm long, its head had a pointed shape, its eyes were as big as coat buttons. Instead of lips it had a chink, its body was covered with hair and it was sharp-clawed. The creature was peeping, and the old lady took it home.

My son, Alesha

Some weeks later the citizens of the village began to worry: "Prosvirina seems to have exacerbation". What else could they think when she told the neighbours that she'd got a son, Alesha?
The only son of the pensioner had been imprisoned, his wife, who visited Tamara sometimes, worked as a cook on the rotating schedule and she'd been off at this period. The neighbours decided to call for ambulance. Tamara didn't want to go, she cried and said that her son would die without her.

What a hell is this?

It was too late, when the people remembered "the son" of the old lady. There were some people who had seen this creature alive. At first, Tamara's daughter-in-law. Once Galina brought food to her mother-in-law and heard: "That's great, that you've brought a cottage cheese, I need to feed a baby". "The baby" lay in bed and peeped. "I saw that he had a mouth like a pipe. His tongue was red. He had two teeth. When I stared at him, I noticed that he wasn't like a real baby. His head was brown, his body was grey, there were no eyelids, no genitals, no navel. His head was onion-shaped. Instead of ears he had just two holes. Fingers and toes were very long. My mother-in-law gave him a caramel and he began to suck. I thought it could be an animal", says Galina.The other witnesses are: Galina's mother, Tamara's grandson Sasha, her neighbour Nina Glazyrina. No one told about the baby neither the authorities nor the scientists.What for? If it were a baby, they would need to call to police. But strange pets are another question. Let him live like a cat.They also told later that the creature didn't piss, he just sweated. Prosvirina sponged him down. They say that the house has become permeated with some kind of chemical smell because of Alesha. He smelled like a cheap cologne.

Posthumous life of the creature

While Prosvirina was receiving treatment at the hospital, her daughter-in-law decided to check the house. She came in together with the lodger Vladimir Nurdinov. At once they smelled a strange smell - strong, carrion. In bed they saw a small body, which had already begun to rot. "It's neither an animal nor a mutant. It's an alien. We must keep the body and sell it to the lab", said Nurdinov. So said, so done. He took the body and dried it up in the sun. It wrapped the body.

What happened later?

Vladimir Nurdinov didn't have time to sell an alien. In autumn he had to give evidence of the cable theft. He was questioned by Evgeniy Mokichev
"Do you want to see an alien?" offered Nurdinov.
An investigator, who had seen much in this life, agreed with a smile. They went to his place together and Mokichev saw the strangest creature ever. It seemed to be a baby but its head consisted of four parts and looked like a comb.The mummy was withdrawn. When Mokichev came back, he told his partner Vladimir Bendlin about it, who decided to investigate the case. Informally, of course.
The pathologist and gynaecologist in the local hospital examined the body and said it was evident that the body was not a man and not an embryo.
Bendlin took photos and videotape recording of the mummy. He interviewed Prosvirina and recorded the talk as well. Then he called to Kamensk-Uralsky where there was an ufological society. It was the last place where the body was brought to.

Mysterious death of Proskvirina

This is not the end of the story. A group from the Chinese television learnt about the dwarf. They came to Russia to talk to Prosvirina. On the very next day there was a call to police about the road traffic accident happened to Tamara Prosvirina overnight. She had been knocked down by a car to death. It happened in August 1999. They say Tamara rushed out of the house without shoes as if somebody had called her. She dashed to the road and had no chances to survive.
The Japanese interviewed other witnesses. But there was no sense in making an investigation without the main character and Alesha's body. The Japanese producer Deguti Masao instituted a prize 200 000 dollars for the mummy.

There are some interviews below obtained by the journalists from Russia and Japan:

Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina.

Luckily, Vladimir Bendlin, the investigator, kept the videotape with her interview.
We see an old lady. She wears a crumpled green hospital gown. She is bold, her look is wandering. The lady is guided to the yard.

- This is Prosvirina in the mental house, says the investigator.

- This talk in unofficial and has no validity... The woman can hardly say her name. She has a neural tick. She is asked who Alesha is.

- My son.

- Where did you get him? She is looking at the sky. Then says:

- I found him under the tree. He lay head first. I cleaned him up.

- How did the place look like?

- In the forest... It was raining and hailing. Alesha is mine, I'll give him my name.

- He is dead.

- Dead?

- Yes.

- Oh, Gosh. She bursts into tears.

- Why?

- He had no food.

On her face there is a real tragedy. She is sobbing: "Poor baby! I told the doctors I had a baby... Let me go..." She is taken away.

Stanislaw Samoshkin, a pathologist.

In 1996 I was asked to examine a strange creature. It was done in the presence of the district militia officer. The body has been embalmed, there were no internals, only skin and skeleton. It was 25 sm long. I was surprised to see a tower-like skull. There was no division between temporal and parietal bones. It could be related to homo sapiens, because it is known that a cerebral cavity of apes is bigger than their face. Pelvic bones are formed orthograde. I was asked to say whether it is a man or an animal. I've never seen such a skeleton among the animals, but it couldn't be a man as well. The proportionality of the skeleton didn't meet the norms. The arms when straightened could reach the knees. I couldn't do it myself because I wasn't allowed to touch the body and its arms was wrapped. The creature had no teeth. I couldn't determine the sex of the creature. I've never seen something like this before...

Lyubov Stepanovna Romanova, a lab assistant of the municipal hospital

"In 1996 at the beginning of August an embalmed body of a little man was brought. I can't say whether it was a baby or a foetus. Its skin has been half-rotten in the area of stomach and on the extremities.Its bones were safe. Ordinary arms, legs. A head looked like a helmet and consisted of four parts. It had no auricles. Very large almond-shaped eye-sockets. This creature - Alesha it was called - when it was alive, could walk, it didn't crawl. I think so. It's a pity, it's gone. It's a very interesting, unique case. I wish the scientists could examine it better!"

- Could it be an alien or it was just a foetus, a mutant?

- No it wasn't. I've been working at the hospital for a long time. It didn't look like a foetus, of course. At the same time, I didn't thought, that it was an alien - it was just a strange thing, that's all. And it didn't' seem to be a foetus, because bone construction was really strange. There can't be such a human foetus.

- What about its internals, did it differ from the human ones?

- There were no internals. It was an embalmed body. He had been dried up, somewhere there was skin.

- Do you think it was a grown-up creature or a child?

- I think it was a creature similar to a child, but it was not a human child. A small one. Probably, it looked pretty because of its large eyes and a helmet-like head. Of course, it is interesting.

- Do you consider it to be a sentient being or not?

- I don't know what to say. I can't judge.

- What about the skull?

- The skull... it corresponded to the development of its arms, legs and body.

- Could it have brains?

- I guess it could. If we had dissected it, we would have viewed it.

- Didn't you have an opportunity to dissect it?

- No, we didn't. When it had been brought to us, there wasn't any directives or instructions for dissection, and we have no right to do it without them. That's why we refused to dissect. And moreover there were no expert. We could have dissected the body for the sake of interest... That's all. After all the body was taken away and I don't know where.


Family business

11:32 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

In Russia husbands still enjoy the rights of taking the most important family decisions, but, to all appearances, wives “climb to power” and succeed. Look at the statistics given below.

1. Must be there a head of a family?

2. Who must be a head of a family – a wife or a husband, or it doesn’t matter? (The question is addressed to those who agree that there MUST be a head of a family).

3. Who must earn more money?

4. What is the situation in your friends' family? Who earns more?

5. Who must do the household duties in the family?

6. Who does the household duties in your friends' families?

7. Must a woman, when getting married, take her husband's name?

8. Are you married now?


Kamchatka: a place for the strong ones

6:15 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (1)

A peninsula which enters New Year first of all in Russia, which you can't reach by train... How many people can boast that they've been there? The majority of people do not even suspect that it is worth visiting Kamchatka at least one time in life।There are few cities there (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yelizovo, Vilyuchensk, Klyuchi) and lots of places where no foot may tread। If to take risks and go deep into the vast expanses, you can easily come across with bears, foxes, badgers, sables and even kalans, which are registered in Red Data Book (endangered species list).
On the whole, all the travellers who come to Kamchatka can be divided in two categories. Foreigners - particularly, Americans, the Germans, the French - come here to see exotic things. They are delighted with wild nature and enjoy discovering virgin places. It is the rich and politics who come to Kamchatka from Moscow. They are also enchanted with exotic looks of the peninsula, with freshness and primitiveness of this region. And the opportunity to ski down the real volcano appeals to even the VIPs.

For those who have strong nerves

When you come to Kamchatka first time, you must be ready for surprises of nature. This region may be both severe and wonderful. When forming an elementary habit to feel calm about earthquakes, you'll stop noticing them. Earthquakes are a usual thing for Kamchatka, because there is a high seismic activity. That is why there are almost no multi-storey houses there. For example, there are only 2 such houses in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - 16 and 9-storey, both monolithic).

South-Eastern coast of Kamchatka is subjected to tsunami. People, living there, are ready for an alarm signal. Radio is switched on in every house for them to leave the house and to hide in a knoll at the earliest convenience. Unfortunately, tragedy is there all over. For example, in 1952 Severo-Kurilsk was wiped off the face of the earth.

Of course, volcano eruptions are not rare in this region. Such volcanoes as Shiveluch, Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Bezymyannaya Sopka, Karymsky volcano erupt sometimes and it is a wonderful performance for tourists. But if Koryaksky volcano 30 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is going to erupt, it will be a real catastrophe, equal to a horror film.

Is there a travel industry?

Unfortunately, no. Though there is everything in Kamchatka to become a paradise for tourists, infrastructure is badly developed. A lack of investment, a lack of attention.
The majority of tourists come here in summer, because it is the most wonderful season here. One of the most famous national holidays is The Chavycha holiday (chavycha is a kind of red fish, living in Kamchatka), which is celebrated in June। The Koryaks fish, cook chavycha in the open air and treat all the passers-by. On this day there are lots of people walking around, they are dancing, enjoying summer weather and a haul. People believe that this tradition brings happiness. Boating routes - there are more than 700 there - are popular among adventurers। Helicopter tourism is very popular in Kamchatka. First of all, tourists are helicoptered to the famous Geyser valley - a miracle of nature, discovered in 1941 by the geologist Tatyana Ustinova. The flight to the Geyser valley lasts about 5 hours and costs like a ticket from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The flights to the ancient volcano Uzon are also popular. Around its crater there are weird plants, water is boiling, there are berries here even in winter. The lakes in the craters are coloured in a weird way: in black (Bolshoy Semyachik volcano), bright-green (Maly Semyachik volcano), purple, emerald, light-blue - it depends on the level of acidity and chemical composition. It's gorgeous!

Fishing is mainly popular among foreigners, who enjoy the process. As soon as the fish is caught, they take photos of it and let it go - they are not interested with the fish itself and its caviar. One of the most famous sea routes is a journey along the Avachinskaya bay and going out to the open Pacific ocean. The cruise lasts about 10-12 hours. During the journey you may fish, sunbathe and try an exotic food. Meal is consisted of unusual sea products, so you can see a sea-urchin on your plate. There are also 10-days cruises, including the coast of Kamchatka, the Komandorskye Islands, on which the Biospheric reserve UNESCO is located and protecting enormous number of sea mammals and birds. Thermal waters Paratunka in Kamchatka are world-famous. Lately it was wild basins. Now they are equipped with necessary facilities, there are hotels, bars, cafes there. Besides, there are lots of health centres with low prices.

In winter Kamchatka is turned into skiing resort, but unfortunately there are not so many skiers here like in Austria or Italy. The most popular skiing routes are Avachinskaya Sopka and Vilyuchensky volcano.
In spring and autumn Kamchatka is especially beautiful, but exactly in these seasons the number of tourists come down in comparison with summer. The only entertainment here is hunting, especially for bears.
There are really lots of bears here, they can be met near the rivers, in the forests. The bears living in Kamchatka are the biggest in Russia, they can weight 700 kg. Of course, hunting for bears in interesting for inveterate hunters.


The First Open Championship for cabbage throwing

1:14 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

Last weekend in Yekaterinburg was marked with the First Open Championship for cabbage throwing which took place in the Central park of recreation and entertainment. More than 800 people participated in it.
The Championship lasted about 2 hours during which the participants threw heads of cabbage to find the strongest sportsman.
The most adroit and strong was Michael Dolgikh, a 22-years old mounter from Yekaterinburg, who threw a cabbage 39 meters. He won a prize of 300$.
«Besides, Michael Dolgikh became an absolute record-holder of Russia for cabbage throwing। The previous record was settled on the 18th of February in Chelyabinsk। It amounted to 31,2 meters and it is 7,8 meters shorter», - the sponsors of the Championship say.

And in the Kirov park in Pyatigorsk the Third Open Championship for valenki* throwing took place. The local newspaper reported that the number of persons wishing to throw valenki grew up day by day. And results are getting better. However, sometimes valenki flow up in the wrong direction. The difficult point is a special aerodynamic peculiarity of these shoes, because of which the valenki do not keep to the trajectory. Besides, this year there was a heavy snowfall which prevented the valenki from smooth flying.
The strongest valenki-thrower was Gennady Kapustyansky. He threw the valenki 42 meters।

Syktyvkar is a city in which valenki-throwing is also popular. This year there were more than 300 participants. Every person wishing to throw valenki could participate, choosing a suitable valenok** for throwing. The citizens of Syktyvkar passed through the accuracy test. They aimed to hit the mark with a thrown valenok. Next year the participants will try to throw valenki at a distance.

*valenki - an old Russian hand-made winter footwear, together with lapti it were the first shoes which appeared in Slavian Russia.
**valenok - singular from valenki

1:56 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

Dear Ladies!

Let me congratulate you on the International Women's Day! I wish you all the happiness and joy, let your men carry you on their hands. It's not bad to be weak sometimes. Don't forget that we are a weaker sex!


Unexampled shocking experiment on the Russian classical literature

11:02 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

American publishing house "Harper Collins" is going to publish a new "adapted" version of "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. The original version of 4 volumes will be shortened to about 900 pages. The editors suppose to address this book to the students studying creative work of Leo Tolstoy and other Russian classical writers. They think that it will be also interested to those who consider the original version to to be too long and difficult for reading. Thus, the parts of the book concerning battle scenes, philosophic speculations and lyrical descriptions of the nature will be cut off. "Harper Collins" says that these changes will be made according to the old original version of the book which has been found by them in archival manuscript copies written by the hand of Tolstoy and which has never been published before.

Together with it, the end of the book will be changed. The dramatic orientation of the book loses its significance. The book is going to present a typical Hollywood "happy end": the prince Andrey Bolkonsky will not die of his wounds, he got during the battle of Borodino, Peter Bezukhov will be alive and young. Thanks God, Natasha Rostova will have time to marry him...

First "War and Peace" was published by Leo Tolstoy from 1865 to 1869 in "Russki Vestnik" and told the story of Russia society during the Napoleonic Era. It is usually described as one of Tolstoy's two major masterpieces (the other being Anna Karenina) as well as one of the world's greatest novels. Indeed, in January 2007, Time magazine placed it third in their list of The 10 Greatest Books of All Time. Anna Karenina topped the list.
War and Peace offered a new kind of fiction, with a great many characters caught up in a plot that covered nothing less than the grand subjects indicated by the title, combined with the equally large topics of youth, age and marriage. While today it is considered a novel, it broke so many novelistic conventions of its day that many critics of Tolstoy's time did not consider it as such. It was Tolstoy who translated this book first into French. In 1885 Clara Bell translated it from French into English.

The professor of the Russian language and literature Anthony Briggs published his English translation of "War and Peace" in 2005. He responded to this news in a critical way. "To say that it's an original is a nonsense. It's a Hollywood happy-end version, accented on the sales. Frankly speaking, it is scandalous! Don't try to cheat us", he says.

The question is who will be the next. It's not bad to leave Juliet and Romeo alive. Why not change "American Tragedy" to "American Comedy"? It's unfair, isn't it?


Russia. In General.

2:00 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

Russia stretches over much of the north of Eurasia, covering the area of 17075200 sq. km. It is the largest country in the world. Just imagine: Russia = 6601 Luxembourgs, 78 Great Britains, 47 Germanys, 2 Australias.

Russia =

It borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea.
Russia comprises 86 federal objects, namely:
  • 48 oblasts (provinces)
  • 21 republics which enjoy a high degree of autonomy on most issues and which correspond to some of Russia's numerous ethnic minorities
  • seven krais (territories)
  • seven okrugs (autonomous districts)
  • two federal cities Moscow and Saint-Petersburg
  • the Jewish Autonomous Oblast

There are lots of islands belonging to Russia: in the Arctic ocean - Novaya Zemlya, the Franz Josef Land, the New Siberian Islands, the Wrangel Island, in the Pacific ocean - the Kurils islands and Sakhalin.
Russia has an extensive coastline of over 37 000 km. along the Arctic and the
Pacific oceans as well as the Baltic, the Caspian and the Black Seas. Lots of rivers and lakes. There is an opinion that Russia is covered with snow and ice. No, not at all. The mid-annual temperature is + 5,5° C. Compare with Sweden with +4 °C. The average summer temperature varies from 26 to 32 grades, but extremely high temperature in the south can exceed +50 grades. Extremely low temperatures can be observed in Siberia, Kamchatka and badly populated areas in the north.

Though there are 143 million people living in Russia, it is one of the countries with a low average population density. 79.8% of the population is ethnically Russia, 3.8% Tatar, 2% Ukarinian, 1.2% Bashkir, 1.1% Chuvash, 0.9% Chechen, 0.8% Armenian. The remaining 10.3% includes those who did not specify their ethnicity as well as (in alphabetical order) Assyrians, Avars, Azeris, Belorussians, Bulgarians, Buryats, Chinese, Cossacks, Estonians, Evenks, Finns, Georgians, Germans, Greeks, Ingushes, Inuit, Jews, Kalmyks, Karelians, Kazakhs, Koreans, Kyrgyz, Lithuanians, Latvians, Maris, Mongolians, Mordvins, Nenetses, Ossetians, Poles, Romanians, Tajiks, Tuvans, Turkmen, Udmurts, Uzbeks, Yakutz, and others. There are 13 cities in Russia with more than one million inhabitants. The largest are Moscow which is the capital of the Russian Federation (10.342.151) and Saint-Petersburg (4.661.219). Then come Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and others.

The official state language is Russia but there are some variations of the language with Ukrainian, Kazakh, and other roots native to Russian. The dominant religion in the Russian Federation is Russia Orthodoxy. There are also Islam, Protestant churches, Judaism, Roman Catholicism and Buddhism.


Theodore Тiоutсheff about Russia

11:34 PM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

You'll never get it in your mind,
And common measures there can't be.
A special trait here you can find.
In Russia you may just believe...
November 28, 1866
These beautiful words wrote about Russia our great poet Theodore Tioutcheff. Together with Lermontov, Yesenin and other poets of all the epochs he was fascinated by the enigmatic Russia soul which remains undiscovered for people from other countries.


Old New Year!!!

4:50 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

There is a tradition in Russia to celebrate New Year's coming two times a year - according to both Gregorian and Julian calendars. The Old New Year's day, coming on the 13th of January, is a very popular holiday in Russia.

The most famous symbol of this holiday is vareniks (boiled dough with filling, which is usually smashed potatoes). We cook vareniks with surprises - some special ingredients we put into every varenik. Every ingredient denotes something that may happen with a person this year. There are the following ingredients:
  • salt denotes misfortunes

  • sugar - luxurious life

  • pepper - hard life

  • cotton wool - smooth life

  • raisin - career growth

  • a gold ring - a wedding

  • a key - a new flat

  • thread - a journey

and etc.

How did my family celebrate The Old New Year
My mother and I secretly put "surprises" into vareniks. After they were boiled we served a table: red wine, some salads and the king of the table - a dish with vareniks. Every person chooses vareniks himself or herself. Then, breaking a varenik carefully in two pieces, we find out what there is in. The dinner on the Old New Year's Eve is very cheerful and funny. This year is not an exception. My husband and I found a thread which means a journey, coins denoting wealth and buttons meaning new clothes.
My father and mother were not so successful. Father, making a wry face, was chewing a peppered varenik and my mother - a salted one.
Happy Old New Year to you all!



2:32 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (2)

Sviatki refers to the yuletide or Christmas season. Prior to 1917, Sviatki ran from December 25, for 12 days until January 7. This period symbolized the time between Christ's Birth and Baptism. After 1917, with most of the rest of the world adopting the Gregorian calendar, December 25 (Julian) appears as January 7 (Gregorian). Today, Russian's enjoy a secular Christmas on December 25 (Gregorian) and their Church celebration on January 7 (Gregorian which appears as December 25 on the Julian or old calendar).
Prior to Tsar Peter the Great, the Muscovy calendar placed the first day of the new year on September 1. Peter, in 1699, determined that New Year's Day should be on January 1 and further ordered that all households would sport festive lights and a seven day feast would commence.
Very popular during Sviatki was the practice of mumming. Mummers were, typically, young folk who would dress up in colorful and clown like costumes. They would race through the streets of their village in their troikas, visiting and entertaining neighbors and friends with song, dance and games. Second only to Paskha (Easter) Sviatki was the most holy time of the year. It was, also, the gayest. Carols and folk songs, known as Kolyadki, were sung to herald Christ's Birth and the coming of a new year. Trees were decorated, gifts given and a great Christmas feast enjoyed by gatherings of family and friends.
During the years following the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and the end of tsarist rule in Russia, Sviatki took on a different meaning and tradition. The Soviets sought to suppress and outlaw any and all forms of religious expression or celebration and either destroyed church buildings or converted them into public/governmental centers. Thus, the Nativity of Christ was replaced by an emphasis on the celebration of the winter solstice and new year. There remained, throughout the Soviet Era, groups of Russian Orthodox Christians who continued to celebrate and practice their faith and its holidays; but not without consequence.
Now Sviatki are associated with fortune-telling.
New Year and Christmas fortune-tellings.
Once the girls were having fun.
Threw the slippers - they were gone.
Off the gates the slippers fell -
So the girls their fortune tell
V.A. Zhukovsky
Fortune-telling or sorcery is a very interesting, enchanting process but dangerous one. The most favourable time for it fell on Sviatki. The best days for fortune-telling were considered to be the 13th and the 19th of January.
Fortune-telling by mirror
  • You need two big and equal mirrors to set them one opposite each other. Between them you place two candles so that there must be a long corridor lighted with candles. A person who does it must be alone or with somebody who is also interested in it. They must keep silense. No animals in a room. You sit in front of one mirror so that to see the reflection in another one. The moment you see your future groom you must cover the mirror with a cloth otherwise who knows what can happen...

Fortune-telling by a ring

  • Put a thread through a golden ring. Pour some water into a glass. Lower a thread with the ring into the glass with water. It'll begin to swing and knock against the borders. Count the number of strikes - they denote the age when you'll get married.

Fortune-telling by wax

  • Melt a piece of wax in a spoon and pour it into a cold water. Guess what the image means.

Fortune-telling by names

  • Write down all the male names you know on the pieces of paper and put them under your pillow. Before you fall asleep say "My fiance, come into my dream". You must see HIM in your dream. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing take a piece of paper under a pillow and find out the name of your future husband.


Christmas in Russia

1:05 AM / Posted by Linda McGregory / comments (0)

Today is the 9th of January - the third day of Svyatki. It is the period starting from the 7th of January - Christmas Day - and lasting up to the 19th of January - The Day of Kreshchenie (Epiphany).
Christmas in Russia differs much from that in Catholic countries.
Most Christian Russians belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it is customary to fast until after the first church service on January 6, Christmas Eve. The church in Russia still uses the old Julian calendar, therefore their Christmas celebration is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar that is used in Catholic countries.
Many other religious and folk traditions were suppressed during the communist era. For many Russians, a return to religion represents a return to their old roots and their old culture. Throughout Russia, after Christmas Eve services, people carrying candles, torches, and homemade lanterns parade around the church, just as their grandparents and great-grandparents did long ago. The Krestny Khod procession (religious procession) is led by the highest-ranking member of the Russian Orthodox Church, now it is Patriarch Alexei the Second. After the procession completes its circle around the church, the congregation reenters and they sing several carols and hymns before going home for a late Christmas Eve dinner.

True Christians keep the 40-days fast, but unfortunately there are not many people whose faith is still strong enough to give up the meals which is served on New Year's Day. It can be explained by the influence of the Soviet period.

The New Year's tree - Yelka - is also an essential part of Christmas.

Traditional Christmas dinner consists of 12 dishes (according to the number of apostles). It starts after the first star. The whole day of January 6 people do not eat, waiting for the Christmas dinner.

Christmas Eve dinner is meatless but festive. The most important ingredient is a special porridge called kutya. It is made of wheat berries or other grains which symbolize hope and immortality, and honey and poppy seeds which ensure happiness, success, and untroubled rest. A ceremony involving the blessing of the home is frequently observed. The kutya is eaten from a common dish to symbolize unity. Before starting the dinner, people eat three spoons of kutya. According to tradition, if the kutya stuck, there would be a plentiful honey harvest.

Another traditional meal is pie filled with cabbage, potatoes and other ingredients.

On the whole, it is one of the best holidays here in Russia, but it is not so widely celebrated as New Year's Day.
(pic from