Friday, 24 October 2014

Ukraine PM: Evidence of Russian Interference in Ukraine Elections

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Evil Empire interfering in Ukraine's Parliamentary Elections
Prize tit, Arseny Yatsenyuk - Ukraine's Prime Minister, is already blaming Russia for interfering in this Sunday's parliamentary elections, not sure how thought, unless he is thinking of the wrong Evil Empire.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Pushkin Square buskers 1993

One way Muscovites keep warm in mid-Winter is to dance in the street.  Although it was January when I took this picture, it was unseasonably warm - about null gradusov (zero degrees) but the damp weather still chilled to the bone.  What better way to stave off the chill than to dance along to a jazz quintet!

Me - too miserable to take part in the dancing

Ten McDonald’s Restaurants Closed in Russia

As a result of the mass unscheduled inspections by Russia's public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, the work of 10 McDonald's restaurants in Russia has been temporarily suspended. On the face of it, the restaurants have been closed because they failed these hygiene inspections, but it is suspected that it is part of Russia's response to Western sanctions that have been imposed.

McDonald's has 451 restaurants in Russia. Since August, Russian consumer protection officials have carried out over 200 safety inspections at various McDonald's premises throughout the country. Even the flagship McDonald's on Pushkin Square in Moscow has fallen victim to these failed inspections.  

Moscow’s first McDonald’s, the first one in Russia or the Soviet Union, was the largest McDonald’s in the world when it opened on Pushkin Square, 31st January 1990.   On that opening day, there was a line of customers of snaking around Pushkin Square. 30,000 customers were served during the restaurant's first day of business, a record for the opening day of a McDonald's restaurant.  The queues to get in would exist for quite some time after the opening, because at the time, it was one of the few places in Moscow where you could dine informally, in comfort, relatively cheaply, and where you would be served quickly by friendly staff. Oh, and it had the best toilets in Moscow!

I went in 1993, and while there weren't any queues to get it, it was still very busy.

View of Pushkin Square from inside McDonald's

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Pushkin Autumn

Following my recent post about National Poetry Day, her are some more passages from Pushkin's Autumn courtesy of the Moscow Times. Quote for the day, or #ЦитатаДня from The Moscow Times

Every autumn I blossom anew; the Russian cold is good for my health.
Alexsandr Pushkin

October has come. The grove is already shaking the last leave from its naked branches.
Alexsandr Pushkin

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

ComicCon Russia

The Exhibition "ComicCon Russia" was held in Moscow last week, at the exhibition complexCrocus Expo.  Should it not have been held here instead . . .or am I living in the past?

Old COMECON building, Novy Arbat, Moscow

Thursday, 2 October 2014

National Poetry Day - Think of A Poem

Today, in the UK, it is National Poetry Day.  This year’s theme is "Remember", so if you remember a poem, however short, you are encouraged to pass it on with hashtag #thinkofapoem. 

I caught the end of an article on the radio this morning where someone was extolling the virtues of memorising poetry - in terms of improving memory skills and helping those with dementia. Listeners of the show were encouraged to get involved and post some lines of of poetry they are able to recite from memory. 

Apparently, once you have commited something to memory, a poem for example, it is likely that you will remember it for years - even when the rest of your faculties have diminished.  There is something to be said for rote learning, but it has been out of faviour in the education system for 40 odd years now, because it is said that it doesn't promote critical learning and true understanding.  Supporters of rote learning would claim, however, if you know something off by heart, you are able to devote more mental resources to the critical thinking.

I don't know, but I did feel slightly ashamed that I am not able to recite a single poem.  I can, however, cite a couple of lines from Pushkin's poem Autumn - in Russian as well.

Here is the lines from the poem which I have transliterated and translated.

lyeko i radostno igrayet v sertstye krov
- lightly and joyfully the blood in my heart plays 

zhelaniya keepyat - ya snova schastliv, molod,
- desire seethes, I am again happy, youthful

ya snova zhizni poln - takov ma-ee arganeezm
- I am again full of life - such is my nature (organism)

I'm no translator, so I apologise if I have got that wrong.  This is just a few lines from a long peom by Pushkin which is an ode to the autumn season.