Tag Archives: russia

‘Zakh to the future

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Why I’m glad I don’t live in Moscow: Reason 10,441

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Fun facts about infidelity

I came across this article this morning while avoiding academic obligations, and I'm finding it really interesting. This chick named Pamela did a worldwide study of infidelity. She found the following things:

  • In France and America, 4 percent of men admit to having sex with someone other than their wives in the last year. In Australia, for some reason, it's only 2.5 percent. In Togo, it's 37 percent, in the Dominican Republic it's 20 percent and in Peru it's 13.5 percent. There's a lot of stewardesses out there…
  • In Brazil, it was legal until 1991 for a man to murder his wife and her lover if she cheated.
  • "In Russia, cheating is more of a relational problem than a moral violation. Nearly 40 percent of Russians said in a 1998 survey that cheating is 'not at all' wrong or 'only sometimes' wrong. Psychologists in Moscow told me that if you live in a two-room apartment with your in-laws, as many Russians do, an affair is practically obligatory just to get relief from the constant bickering." Nice.
  • This guy's Danish at heart: "A [Japanese] businessman who frequented sex clubs — part of Japan’s 2.37 trillion yen ($1.8 billion) live sex industry — told me he never questioned his wife when she handed him divorce papers one day, after two years of what he had thought was a happy marriage." Can you believe that shit? Sitting crosslegged in front of your breakfast one morning, your wife comes in, says 'I want a divorce', and you just say 'aight.'
  • "Americans cherish monogamy, but they value honesty even more. In the 1970s and 1980s, as it became easier to divorce and couples counseling emerged as the forum for resolving marital spats, Americans decided marriage ought to be a transparent zone without any secrets. They developed a unique mantra about affairs: It’s not the sex, it’s the lying." She's right, we do have a overly-open model of marriage. I don't really know where over-sharing obsession in American life comes from, but I'm sure it's Clinton's fault somehow.
  • "Though they prefer monogamy, when the French do cheat they typically aren’t saddled with guilt. Couples give each other privacy so that they don’t trip over unwanted information." See? Why can't we be cold and distant from our loved ones, like the wonderful wonderful French? I don't know how French people got to be this way either, but if my alphabet had that many silent letters, I'd probably be aloof too. 

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Tomb much?

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Slav to the music

Ahhhh, the Great Musical Cockblock of '07 is finally over. For the fortunate audiophiles who don't live in a scoldy Nordic country, allow me to explain: Last October, almost all of the Internet service providers here in Denmark put a block on allofmp3.com, the generous, WTO-frustrating Internet music store that sells entire albums for the cost of a song on iTunes. Trying to access the site from a Danish computer gives you this message:

"Ved Københavns fogedrets kendelse af 25. oktober 2006 er Tele2 A/S blevet pålagt at hindre vore kunders adgang til http://www.allofmp3.com, som efter IFPI's opfattelse formidler ulovligt kopieret musik."

Which more or less means 'Nice try, bro'. I don't really understand how this ban came about, and why the ISPs capitulated so easily. I mean, I can't yank a 320 kbps version of 'Winds of Change' off the Inter-nyet but I can still be subjected to this dude?

Anyway, this little Scandygram underestimates the Internet's neverending, hydra-like ability to get around regulations, especially when free shit is involved. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: musicmp3.ru.

Like everything ending in '.ru', the site is of dubious legality and full of delicately composed English like "We are starting an unexampled program!" and "iron nerve customer support." They appear to have taken the entire Allofmp3 archive, and new albums are popping up every day like tuberculosis in Siberia. They don't take credit cards yet, but they do give you an opportunity to explore the exciting world of Russian PayPal services (Nyet-banking, maybe? You can tell I'm loving this).

So: My long musical winter is finally starting to melt. I can rejoin my pretentious indie brethren in endless meadows of it-might-as-well-be-free music and rejoice in discovering new twinkly Scand-pop and embarrassing British flamboyance without having to resort to MySpace. I forgive you, Russia.

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The surest sign of civilization in Russia

While surveying the endless scorched earth of Russia's human rights record today, I came across the most promising thing yet: Overheard in Moscow. Yes, that whimsical Russian sense of humor finally has an outlet. A few minutes on babelfish later, and I was checking out the following entries:

Solid the man of average years (by phone): Greetings, you as, still start up the wife home? Well and in vain. Here I have expelled the, and you know – more cheaply. Much more cheaply.

Where it is overheard: marshrutka 13
By whom it is overheard: pushhvost

The cashier (client): I shall issue you. And the baby it is necessary to alter.

Where it is overheard: Aerocash departments
By whom it is overheard: akos

The young man (spitefully kicking konkom an ice):. dets! I Hate sports!

Where it is overheard: TSPKiO it. Bitter
By whom it is overheard: kjorn

Five children in the age of from 8 till 14 years (in eager rivalry): the Daddy, buy a fritter!
The daddy (strictly): It is artificial and harmful meal for muscovites.

Where it is overheard: near to " Buffet of the Underground " at station of the underground " Library of a name of Lenin "
By whom it is overheard: osd

 

I'd make fun of the bad translation, but this is probably what I sound like when I speak Danish (especially when I'm "in eager rivalry"), so I'll just finish these off with my own Slavic conversational experience from last winter:

Me: I don't think I'm going to school today. I've got a really bad flu.

Lithuanian friend: Why do you have the flu?

Me: Huh? I just, um, got it from the –

Lithuanian friend: Because you are weak!

 

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Today in tasteless headlines…

March 8, 2005
From Russia with Domestic Violence
Inter Press Service

More than 50,000 Russian women are beaten by their husbands or partners every hour, a group of women's non-governmental organisations says.

——

You know what, headline writer? Maybe the statistic '50,000 women beaten every hour in Russia' doesn't call for a James Bond reference. Maybe save the clever for the next few stories. Maybe keep shit tasteful today.

I don't know what this newspaper's deal is, but I trolled around the site for like an hour, expecting to find shit like 'Sudan: Planet of the Rapes', 'The Spy Who Genitally Mutilated Me', and 'Hitler Baby One More Time.'

 

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Why Russia is fucked up: Quotes from the Russian Parliament member who talked at my work today

'Russia doesn't have bigger problems than any other country. The historical and philosophical problems are everywhere.'

'Russia is simultaneously living in three centuries.'

'Americans don't understand a place where human rights means access to clear water. They are too busy protecting the rights of sexual minorities.'

'Liberalism and communism have the same goal: Pushing the world toward cultural homogenation.'

'The problem with Europe is that it has forgotten its Christian traditions… Proclaiming human rights without traditions is empty.'

'Russia has not mistreated Chechnya. Look at British treatment of Chechnya before WWI.'

'Russia does not have a problem with press freedom. Look at the press in the United States.'

'If humanitarian intervention continues to occur, the era of nation-states will come to an end. Small states have no choice but to acquire nuclear weapons.'

'With the bankruptcy of the American ideals, the alternative used to be communism. Now it's terrorism.'

'Defined borders between countries reflect the Christian ideal of a distinct divide between good and evil. Western civilization's conception of humans requires that good and evil can be distinguished.'

 

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Depressing Russian fact of the day

According to the US State Department, 'Spousal or acquaintance rape was not widely perceived as a problem … studies suggested that up to half of women and more men think that women cannot refuse sex in marriage.'

 

Half of WOMEN? Fuuuuuuuck. Russia needs a Lorena Bobbitt, stat.

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What are you sinking about?

So I'm working on Russia again for work. This means my mind has gone into 'Vladivostock, vodka and Vladimir' mode again. The problem with researching Russia all day is that you end up taking thoroughly depressing detours. Today, for example, my assignment to write two paragraphs on the history of Russia (they have HELLA) led me to this page on Nihilism.

You know that feeling when you're reading something and you find yourself agreeing with it even though you shouldn't? Going over the sentence that says, 'The world, and especially past and current human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value,' I found myself doing a Puff Daddy 'uh-huh, that's right' through the whole thing. I'm not supposed to agree with this shit, am I? Am I a fucking Nihilist? It's not even 11 am yet.

This is what happens when you start to look into Russia. You click a few blue underlined words, and before you know it, you're one of them. Now I'm gonna need a screwdriver, two pirogies and a lapdance to get me through the rest of the day.

 

 

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