Author: Josh Wilson

All About Shashlyk (BBQ from the Caucasus)

Shashlyk is considered to be one of the very first dishes humans invented and most likely hails from the place the first modern human likely appeared – the area covering Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Caucasus. Почему он так называется? The word “шашлык” was adopted into Russian in the 18th century. It may have come […]

Maslenitsa, Blin! The Food and Celebration

Они хранили в жизни мирной Привычки милой старины; У них на масленице жирной Водились русские блины. А.С. Пушкин In peaceful life they protected Sweet olden-time traditions; With them on fatty Maslenitsa Was always the Russian blin. A.S. Pushkin Russians revere both блины and Масленица as being “truly Russian” although, ironically, neither is without multiple counterparts […]

Manas: The Kyrgyz Odysseys, Moses, and Washington

The main thing to know about Manas is that it is epic. Created, most historians believe, more than a millennia ago, it is one of the world’s longest poems at more than half a million lines. It has been written down more than sixty times from various bards, creating a different version each time. It […]

Home Sweet Yurt

Yurts are felt-covered, portable housing that have long been used throughout Central Asia. Although the region is urbanizing, the Kyrgyz still know and follow the traditional customs that surround the traditional yurt. Hospitality is revered in the traditionally poor country of Kyrgyzstan. As soon as they see a new arrival, neighbors will come to meet […]

Central Asian Culinary Discoveries

As an American having lived in Moscow for the past 12 years, I’m fairly well acquainted with Central Asian culture. Much of Central Asia was incorporated into the Russian Empire and was part of the USSR. Today, the majority of immigrants to Moscow come from Central Asia. Thus, finding examples of Central Asian cuisine, dress, […]

Russian MiniLessons: Aging

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. Most Russians feel uneasy talking about aging. There are many Russians proverbs that express a negative attitude towards old age, such as , or , or . […]

Russian MiniLessons: Election of the Patriarch 

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. In the 20th century,   5 times, and each time the elections procedure was different. However,  of the 16th Patriarch, which are scheduled for the end of January, […]

Russian MiniLessons: Thankfulness

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. This topic is doubly pertinent this month, as has just passed, but also because many  are likely to be affected by the new law on NGOs. The […]

Russian MiniLessons: Truth is not truth – Правда, да не истина!

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. Russian has two distinct words for truth, although both can be translated to English as simply “truth.” “Правда” is generally thought of in the same context as […]

A History of Russian Holiday Ornaments

Ghosts of Holidays Past: Interview with Kim Balaschak by Josh Wilson The expat community in Moscow functions much like a smaller town in the US, where the degrees of separation between individuals rarely total more than two. So it was that my email address had crossed Kim Balaschak’s computer (through a mutual Russian acquaintance) and […]

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