Vendi’s (Wendy’s) to the rescue!

How to order at Wendy’s when it is cold outside.

Привет. I’d like to start with some hot Чай (chai = tea) immediately! Ok, that is nice. Thank you. May I have the печеный картофель (baked potato) at the top left. It has беконом с сыр соусе (bacon with cheese sauce) and sure, you talked me into a Твист (potato twist). It is cold outside and a good tvist (there is no W in Russian) is good for…..well, its got to be good for something good I’m sure.

Wendy’s on Old Arbat, Moscow.

Okay, next let’s have some hot Чили (chili) and I’d like the классик трипл (Classic triple) except put only one burger patty on the burger but please serve the other two on the side. Why two on the side? If my wife asks then I can say that I ordered only ONE patty on my burger instead of three!



Russian Consulate remains open in New York

Now is not a good time to apply for Americans to apply for a travel visa at the NY Consulate but for Russian citizens stranded or needing help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, help is available at the Consulate. For now most non-emergency services have been suspended but Russian citizens needing information and assistance are instructed to contact Consulate officials via the telephone hotline listed below:

The address:

9 East 91 st Street, New York, NY 10128 [ см. карту ]
Ближайшая станция метро – “86-th street” (поезда 4,5,6 if trains are running)
телефон: 1-212-534-3782
факс: 1-212-831-9162
Официальный сайт:

Russian coverage of Hurricane Sandy

For our American readers there continues to be worldwide coverage of Hurricane Sandy and today we highlight some aspects of the coverage from Russian media. We’ll begin with a short language glossary:

Ураган Сэнди is Hurricane Sandy and spoken as “Ora-gahn Cendi.”

Супер шторм is Super Storm and when sounded is done with a Russian accent so that is sounds as “Su-pyer Storm” or “Su-pyer Stor-ma” depending on use.

США is the Russian abbreviation for USA and sounds like “Sh-Shah.”

Россия is the word for Russia and sounds like “Rah-sea-ya.”

Американский is the term for American (when gender neutral) and sounds as “Ameri-kahn-ski.”

миллион is million; “mil-e-ohn.”

долларов is the world for dollars; “doll-arovhf.”

Report from Russian government TV “Channel One:”

Report from Russian TV channel “Russia 24:”

Russian newspaper and magazine coverage is provided via news syndicates such as

New Putin presidential limo made (partially) in America

The car known as ZIL has been the signature car in Russia for decades and the company that makes the high end vehicle hopes that a new limo for President Putin will resurrect the car’s sagging sales for a vehicle seen as important to past generations but lacking the sleekness desired by younger buyers.  The president gets an updated car with loads of new innovations yet one that retains the historic style of a classic ZIL.

The shell of  Mr. Putin’s new limo was manufactured in Russia by AMO ZIL, the same company that has built Russian presidential limos since the rule of Leonid Brezhnev. The engine and transmission were made in America while the car’s design and special modifications for presidential use were designed and built in Russia.

(foto: Екатерина Рзянина;

The limousine is a ZIL-4112P, the P stands for president, a model the company hopes to continue building for security conscious business executives. The new ZIL executive limo line features technological upgrades in ergonomic design, suspension, cooling system and power supply complete with a standby generator if needed. The new engine, built by American manufacturer Allison, has been upgraded to a fuel injection system with improved fuel economy and acceleration to 200 km/h. Improvements to fuel economy are also significant, now at 25 liters per 100 kilometers from a 7.7 liter engine with 400 horse power and a five speed automatic transmission also made in America.

Mr. Putin’s new limousine has six doors and a wealth of safety and anti-terror innovations. Tires for the car’s 16 inch wheels are specially made at a factory near Moscow and with full armour the vehicle weighs over 3.5 tons yet boasting increased acceleration and speed.

Currently President Putin rides in a German made Mercedes-Benz S-Guard Pullman.

Ukraine election serious flawed

(From the Moscow Times)

The party of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych was on course Monday to secure a parliamentary majority, but international monitors said flaws in the conduct of the election meant the country had taken a “step backwards.”

Exit polls and first results from Sunday’s vote showed that with help from longtime allies, Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions would win more than half the seats in the 450-member assembly after boosting public sector wages and welfare handouts to win over disillusioned voters in its traditional power bases.

The ruling party will face a revitalized opposition boosted by resurgent nationalists and a liberal party led by boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko.

But a team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent more than 600 observers to monitor the election, criticized the way it had been conducted.

“The elections were characterized by the lack of a level playing field caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing and lack of balanced media coverage,” the OSCE mission said in a statement.

Russian minivans — Marshrutki

We want to show you something that is illegal in Russia, but common.

Most Russian towns of any size have some developed transportation such as electric trolley trains, buses, etc. Another option is a legal minibus, called Marshrutki (Маршрутки). These minivans are privately owned but licensed by a city to run the same route as larger city buses but provide express service with fewer stops. The passenger pays a little more for the express minibuses but arrives at their destination faster. Of course the passenger can also choose to pay less and ride on the larger buses which are slower with more stops.

Another form of transportation is the “gypsy taxi” so-named because they’re non-licensed and thus illegal for a gypsy taxi to mimic the same route as official transport. Neither are they supposed to use city bus stops and shelters to pick up passengers. But they do. Private passenger cars on their way pick up passengers for a fee. The driver pulls over, the passenger announces where he/she wants to go and the driver earns some extra money on the way to work.

In this video the camera is inside a (Маршруткa), a licensed minivan operating on its assigned route. Watch closely as private cars arrive at each stop ahead of the minivan to pick up passengers that by all rights belong to the licensed minibus driver who pays the city a monthly fee for the route. Are the gypsy taxis guilt of illegal poaching of paying customers? Of course, and that is why the driver has made a video. But will it help if he takes it to authorities? Probably not.

Marshrutka, or Minibus. They are licensed to operate specific routes.

In large cities like Moscow Gypsy taxis are illegal and not supposed to operate anywhere, but the practice is common. In most smaller cities gypsy taxis are legal but drivers are not supposed to use established city routes and pick up facilities.

Kandalaskha: life beyond the Arctic Circle

What would it be like to live beyond the Arctic Circle?

Welcome to the town of Kandalaskha (Кандалакша) where 36,000 people live in an area that in many ways shares a sense of life perhaps in rural areas near you. A longtime friend from the Appalachians asked recently what it was like in Kandalaskha. Of course he’d discovered a lady of interest on the Internet there and was curious about life in her part of the world.

At first I was about to say that very few things represent the same between his little slice of the world and hers. But then after a moment to ponder, I began to realize how many things are much the same. Of course there is no seaport, no large body of water, no seals swimming up to people, and no large oil production in Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee. There is no passenger train service several times daily and Appalachian and Cumberland states are much warmer in winter.

But there are some striking similarities: In both regions there is coal, poverty, poorly maintained roads, the good character of most residents even in the face of chronic unemployment, the wide open outdoors, opportunities for camping-hunting-fishing, kids who take school seriously, parents who care about their children, families that go to church and pray together. folk who drink beer all Friday night, good drivers, bad drivers, movie theatres, love of sport, talented artists and musicians, and corrupt politicians.

Yes, life may very different in Kandalaskha when compared to a rural area near you. Yet if you look closely, I think you’ll see that in many ways life is pretty much the same.

That is a good thing.