following links represent a small and admittedly idiosyncratic
selection of useful Russia links. As my Russian has become functional, I tend to use the "Ru-net", but I have
not forgot the days when I was limited to links like these, in English.
All links are live on 15th March 2004.
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Moscow Living, Russian Lifestyles, Culture, and Mores:
Wayan Vota Belly Button Window Russia Weekly PhotoJournal Formerly called the Wayan Vota Russian Experience, this blog includes a great series of weekly journal entries and random experiences about life in Russia, written by an American pilgrim. There are three years' of material, starting from before the crisis to 1999. Although as Russian life begins to converge with Europe (and thus becomes ever more boring) this material is beginning to get a little dated, it still has a wealth of insight.
Russians Abroad One of the ways the world has changed since I started this Russia links page has been the phenomenon of Russian expats. Years ago, the only material worth reading in English were the websites of various expats or travellers to Russia. There are now large numbers of talented Russians living abroad, not as exiles, but as expatriates, and centres of Russian culture have emerged in major cities. One of your first stops should be this site, which provides a good cultural and general Russian website in English. Among the delights of this website is a very good links list, with everything from tours and language course sites to music and CD stores and that old standby, virtual dating.
The Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. provides an official, yet quite useful, guide to culture, government, foreign affairs and news releases in a well-organised and informative dual-language site.
Expat List - If you want to know where to find an English-language bookstore, a quilt, or Hellman's mayonaise, get some news about what is happening in the Moscow Expat community, or many other bits and bobs, this is the place to go. It is a web version of the old Expat Listserv, an e-mail forum among the Moscow Expatriates.
Big Russian Soul. Humourous, irreverent little site about the mysterious Slavic soul we foreigners hear so much about. Includes a test to see if you have one. And a lovely set of quirky links.
You know you've been in Russia too long when . . .
Radio 101 - A Moscow popular radio station on the web. Many more can be found at Live radio en direct tuner virtuel, a French website. Getting access to many of these can be problematic, as the servers that feed the web reach capacity quickly. Moscow radio stations are finally becoming diversified in reality, offering jazz, folk, and other specialised programming for various music market sectors. Pity, that that diversity is not yet reflected in web broadcasts.
Moscow Times - English-language newspaper, which has become a good little paper over the past few years. Another English-language paper is the Russia Journal which also includes an even better leisure section called Lifestyle, which, due to its popularity, often suffers from server overload.
ITAR TASS Newswire - Free for the time being, this is a time-stamped newswire service in English or Russian.
Looking for fun or looking for trouble? Then check out Moscow's 'alternative' English-language paper, The eXile, unabashedly critical, iconoclastic, juvenile, courageous, and irreverent bordering on heretical. Also features a good restaurant and a great bar and clubbing guide, occasionally updated, that tells you what you really want to know about Moscow nightlife. Unfortunately some of the reviews are quite dated, but the organisation of the reviews is seriously cool, and there is more, er, sociological information than you would find in standard club and restaurant guides.
Moscow Weather. From Intellicast.
Links Lists and Other:
Visiting Russia with HCM systems - Over 1100 links here, with emphasis on art, literature, music, videos, books, traveller's resources, and entertainment.
Russia on the Net - Sort of a Yahoo-style heirarchical presentation of links by category, with a search engine.
Razvod General Reference - Excellent short set of links for general reference information. Another sort-of Yahoo-style heirarchical presentation of links by category, with a search engine.
Howard's RussiaLink This one is a bit of a grab-bag, including some charity work, some business traveller facilities, and other idiosyncratic interests. But it also contains a useful Cyrillicisation guide with good screenshots of how to install multi-language support in Windows, and its London Russian Embassy page is extremely useful, including downloadable Visa applications and customs declarations. The same group publishes a guide to Russian Federation embassies and consulates.
Since it is my profession, herewith some financial markets links. The Moscow Times Markets is good for a quick picture, and you might want to take a look at Red Stars Financial for some news and comment. If you wish to go to the exchanges themselves, you can check out the Micex, the RTS, or the MSE (alas, only in Russian). Of course, it is very important for you to visit the homepage of the best bank in Russia, AlfaBank. (OK, guys, how about a bonus?)
A good source of greeting cards is
Russian Greeting Cards In Russian and English. This is a site to visit if you need to send a card for International Women's Day (8 March), Revolution/Reconcilation Day (7 November), or any other Russian holiday, or simply if you want to send a birthday or Hanukkah card in Russian.
A good jumping-off point is Master Russian. It has sections on basic and advanced Russian, Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary, Writing, Proverbs, Literature, Russian names, Folk music and more.
Maybe you want to use an online dictionary. You can pick one from the
Yourdictionary.com list of on-line dictionaries. I personally prefer my Oxford and my ABBY Lingvo, but this is useful if you don't have a real dictionary about. Personally, I think most items in the language category are better done without web resources, using CD-Roms or books, tapes and (dare I say it?) human beings for learning and practice.
Russian for Travelers is an on-line interactive phrasebook. Take note - they have put in so many advertisements, you have to scroll a long way down to get to the beef. When you do get to the phrasebook, remember my atavistic remarks above.
On-line Russian Reference Grammar The textual information is a fairly comprehensive grammar, but its point of view may be very difficult for most people; in my view it is extremely taxonomic. Still, may be useful to check a point or two when your are missing your own favourite grammar book, and it is written in an amusing ironic style. A very nice feature are its Java-script practice exercises, which can serve as a good source of self-practice drill.
For desert, you may wish to take a look at an Alternative Russian Dictionary, for the Russian your baboushka never taught you.
Translation.net's Translation Software FAQ A good FAQ to read. Before you get started with searching for Mechanical Translators, such as those listed below, you should know the basic concepts, such as the need for post-editing, and user lexicons. Personally I find the output of a mechanical translator to be very weird indeed, and prefer to go through the pain of learning the language. Still, the existence of Mechanical Translators can give you immediate access while you are learning declensions...
PROMT's Online Text Translator This is essentially a free web demo page for the Project Mechanical Translation software (link below). It provides fairly clean translations with a variety of lexicons, from English to Russian and back. One of the disadvantages is that, as a demo, it takes only a few lines at a time. Like any mechanical translator, you have to be careful with nuance, and it is not good with compound constructions. Nevertheless, it is useful for quick-and-dirty translations, particularly if you use it to go from your foreign language into your native language. In the other direction, you should use a dictionary to supplement your work, and go through several iterations, checking your work by translating the machine-generated foreign text into your native language again, and then back.
If you just want to browse Russian web pages, try their companion page PROMT's Online Web Page Translator.
Cyrillicisation and Cyrillic:
You will need to do a bit of set-up of Cyrillic in order to have access to the Russian alphabet in your computer. A good place to start to know what you are doing is Paul Goryadansky's Cyrillic: Instructions for Windows and the Internet. Very informative, useful, with good onward links.
"Sovinform Bureau" Russify MS Windows Guide. A very useful guide for windows users who wish to Cyrillicise their systems, with very clearly written tracts on the process. For more general information, and some useful K018R-1256 decoders, go to the general page Russify Everything.
KO18-R Russian Net Character Set Guide. KO18-R is the standard for e-mail (except for junk mail, which always seems to come in Windows-1256!) and is used in other internet applications, and as such is the first of the Cyrillic systems that one needs to implement for applications when the correspondant is unknown. This guide is very complete in the method used to install and use it.
Janko's Keyboard Generator This company claims to give you user-configurable keyboard layouts, which is a good idea for someone who uses Cyrillic lightly - you could assign the keys more or less phonemically to their Latin QWERTY equivalents. I recommend not going this route however, but rather to take the time to learn the Russian ITsUKENG layout, in case you ever have to use a real Russian keyboard.
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