I’m alright. Sometimes I’m wrong.

“A serious and good philosophical work could be entirely of jokes.”

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

The setup is that I think I know everything. The punchline is that I’m totally ignorant.

Seventy-five million deaths shocks my bones.

Why didn’t I learn this number, earlier? Why do I still know nothing about anything?

That one night in 1991 inflation rose prices of goods some 200%.

Economic collapse and inflation ensued.

But how would they afford to eat? Afford to pay rent?

People just like you and me lost their homes. Their life’s savings vanished into thin air as a byproduct of this man’s ambition.

Women and children begged for rubles or worked as prostitutes and a lucky man would be paid with 13 barrels of sunflower oil or with some another commodity.


starvation and

death and

rented coffins

heroin from Afghanistan and East Asia

widespread alcoholism

I can only begin to comprehend the Russian people’s desire for stability. How could anybody forget that?

озёрск / Ozersk

Those in paradise were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative.

(From the dystopian novel We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1924)

Deep in the vast forests of Russia’s Ural mountains lies the forbidden city of Ozersk. Behind guarded gates and barbed wire fences stands a beautiful enigma – a hypnotic place that seems to exist in a different dimension.

Codenamed City 40, Ozersk was the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme after the second world war. For decades, this city of 100,000 people did not appear on any maps, and its inhabitants’ identities were erased from the Soviet census.

From this well written article on the closed city of Ozersk (озёрск) whose title really tells you something: “Grave Yard Earth – Inside City 40 Ozersk – Russian – Deadly Secret Nuclear

Vulnerability in Russian is уязвимость.

Pronounced as uyzvimost

Wired and fried, I’m out of sight.

My new friend and roommate laughs when the instant coffee I’m gulping down spills down my neck, down my chest, and onto my dress.

“Did you forgot how to swallow pills?”

Well, I forgot how to do anything.

Have you ever had your mind so preoccupied with something that your body starts accumulating bruises, scratches, sprains.

And then your thoughts run like so: bruises, broyses, spelled бройсес.

Learning Russian by listening to music

Idea #1: Listen to a lot of Музыка (music).

Check out the fun song Давай замутим by the two members of RASA. Repeat for as many hours as you can tolerate in a day.

I’m not sure if it works for or against you if you’re listening nonstop to Russian while you’re on a flight.

Pro AND Con: you won’t be able to get the song out of your head. I believe that’s called an earworm.

авай замутим means “let’s start something”

We could choose the spectacularly entertaining Vitas to obsess over instead.

I prefer to watch Vitas instead of listening to him, to be frank. But this has less to due with his voice and more to do with my admiration for his flamboyant clothing choices.

Ok, maybe only watch that video when you need a palate cleanser.

Idea #2: Learn the chorus of a песня (song).

Sample gems:

Уля – это ураган, полюбила дурака. Ой мама, o my god, o my god… o my god… Пуля – это ураган, полюбила дурака. Ой мама, o my god, o my god… o my god…

Julia, it’s (like) a hurricane. You fell in love with an idiot. OMG OMG OMG (Hit like by a) bullet (or a) hurricane. You fell in love with an idiot. OMG OMG OMG

and also:

Я пришёл дать эту песню Из мира грёз. Я пришел дать эту песню Из хрустальных слёз.

I came to bring this song / From the world of dreams. I came to bring this song / From the crystal tears.

Seems feasible, right?

Some additional songs:

Hand-selected by yours truly from the Russian Hits 2019 playlist