Sending things to Russian north

SeverTrans ( has been recommended to us by the Kandalaksha people as a cheap and reliable company that serves the northern direction (the cities covered are listed below), and today we brought 100kg of household stuff to their Mytishi (just north-east from Moscow, Yaroslavl road), and for 1000 roubles ($33) they undertook to deliver it to Kandalaksha. MORE>>

Soviet Civilization: A Cultural History by Andrei Sinyavsky

Just arrived. My first-ever attempt to order from That was easy. After I go through it myself to see how same things are said in English I’ll probably leave it in my Moscow apartment on the same shelf as Stewart Miller’s Painted in Blood: Understanding Europeans, Rancour-Laferriere’s tedious Slave Soul of Russia, humorous Molvania: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry by Cilauro &Co, Leaving Katya by Paul Greenberg who actually stayed here years ago, Brodsky’s Less than One and a few other books that attempt to get to the core of things and expose the algorithm that makes Russia what it is. There is a kind of mind that is comfortable with numerous manifestations. It’s owner would prefer how-to instructions to an explanation how things work. No, this selection is for someone who opts for general principles. Someone who is sort of lazy and tries to reduce the infinite number of facts to an idea or a formula. The above selection if for that type of person.


River cruises starting and returning to Moscow

boatIn connection with this recurring question I keep on running into Offices in Moscow (Bolshaya Ordynka 21, Metro Tretyakovskaya) and St. Petersburg (Spassky pereulok 14/35, M. Sennaya Ploshad). In Moscow it is several minutes from the apartment I have available for rent. They cater to the local market but if you ask nicely, MORE>>

Andrei Sinyavsky. Soviet Civilization: A Cultural History.

sinyavskyRecommended background reading

Beliefs and values at the core of the Russian culture and especially its Soviet version exposed and analyzed. The nature of perestroika, the paradox of freedom ordered from above, and why “a pyramid can’t be upgraded into a Parthenon”. Widely available in English. The book is based on a series of lectures, and reads very easily in Russian. The English translation I’ve looked at is a bit heavy, which is the cost of staying close to the original text. That forces the translator to turn to words rare and obscure to find close equivaletns. Recommended to anyone who needs to understand how things work here on the level of underlining principles and mechanisms.

You may want to take a look at Sinyavsky’s obituary in The Independent for a summary of his life and his works.

Inter-city bus and cruise ship schedules

Intercity buses from Moscow: Think of $10-something per 100 miles as about the average cost. Or, if you are a large group, hiring a bus in the city will cost you $50-100 per hour, and up to $2 per mile for long hauls.

Cruise ships from Moscow: Prices from $200 to $2000 per person per day, eg. the cheapest of the cheap one week cruises will cost you $1400.

A time capsule of old Zamoskvorechye spirit

Today I would like to present the Ostrovsky Museum in Zamoskvorechye, Malaya Ordynka 9/2. Alexander Ostrovsky is a playwright, and is considered to be the founder of the Russian theatre tradition. The Maly Theatre (to the right of Bolshoi if facing it) is Ostrovsky’s creation, and its repertoire is still based on his plays. The fat bronze man in front of Maly is Ostrovsky himself.
The museum is in the house where Ostrovsky was born in 1823. Such an old wooden houses is rarity in Moscow today, and in itself is a historic rarety. MORE>>

Anarchist-style bookstore

Books are donated or left on consignment. Prices are from low to free. Specialization: rare and “alternative” publications.

But they are in Russian so this piece of info is probably to no interest to my target audience. I’m documenting it here for my own benefit not to lose this piece of information.

Pokrovka 6 (Metro Kitay-Gorod), from the street walk through the ark. Open 11am to 9pm every day. Tel. +7 965 179 3498