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SRAS cultural programs, offered with each regular SRAS program, are designed to immerse students in local culture - including food culture! See individual program pages for details. Picture by SRAS graduate Sophie Elwood, Foodways, 2018.

December 2018 - Folkways

SRAS is pleased to announce the launch our latest new site: Folkways

This new educational resource will look at language, food, folk culture, and identity across Eurasia. You'll find links to two very interesting articles on linguistics below in the new Folkways section of this newsletter. Additionally, the free language lessons, including the bilingual cookbook, which were formerly hosted on will now be hosted on Folkways. Much of this material has already been transferred - but there is still much more to come! Watch for more Folkways updates in future editions of this newsletter.

We are also pleased to welcome two new Home and Abroad Scholars to our team: Morgan Henson, from the University of Texas at Austin, and Greg Tracey, from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. See our GeoHistory section below for two fascinating articles by these student-scholars on Russia's changing economy and the policy implications of the recent Chechen-Ingush landswap and the protests it is inspiring. 

Apply for SRAS' new Spring Break Programs by January 14th!

Free Book! Win a copy of On Life by Leo Tolstoy in a new translation and critical edition produced, in part, by Dr. Michael Denner, who will be leading SRAS' Foodways program to Georgia this summer. See the SRAS Facebook contest and enter to win.

In This Issue

Spring Break and Summer Study Abroad

Spring Break application deadline: January 14th.
Summer application deadlines: Start March 15

Spring Break in Russia or Ukraine

Summer in most SRAS locations:

Summer in Poland:

Summer in Ukraine and/or Georgia:

Summer in Russia and/or Cuba:

Summer in Central Asia:

Regular Features: Russia on the Ground Eurasian Affairs TV News - Culture

What do Russians think about issues that matter? What's life like on the ground in Russia? What's going on Eurasia? How does Russian TV report on the main issues of the day? These free monthly resources from are meant to keep you informed.

How the 2014 Economic Crisis Changed Russia's Economy

Just about everyone in the United States knows something about the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. That particular crisis started in the U.S. housing and financial sectors and spread throughout the globe. In 2014, however, another global crisis occurred, one that was an echo of the last. This article is by Home and Abroad Scholar Greg Tracey from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Chechen-Ingush Land Dispute: A Policy Primer

Protests in Ingushetia have been ongoing since September after a land swap with Chechnya was rushed through Ingushetia's parliament. The issue has escalated to federal courts. Incoming SRAS Home and Abroad scholar Morgan Henson from the University of Texas at Austin, examines the policy implications of the situation. 

Visit Website - One More New Article This Month!

My Summer Abroad in St. Petersburg

Want to know what the life is like for a foreign student in St. Petersburg? SRAS Challenge Grant Recipient James Taylor shares his thoughts on logistics, classes, and overall daily life in one of the most beautiful cities of Russia.

SRAS Guide to Living in Irkutsk

Students living abroad for a summer or semester will need more than just a tourist guidebook. This article gives a quick overview to services and products that students often need in the course of a semester or summer abroad. This covers everything from haircuts and pharmacies to gyms and computer repair. Students should generally expect to need to speak at least some Russian when seeking out these experiences – that’s part of study abroad! 

Visit Website
SRAS has just launched Folkways! This new site will look at folk culture, language, food, and identity across Eurasia!

The Hardest Languages in Russia Aren't Russian

According to the All-Russian 2010 census, Russia is inhabited by speakers of more than 150 different languages. Hear some of the hardest-to-learn languages in Russia - including Kalmyk, Vepsian, Yakut, and Tabasaran, in this new resource from! This article is translated by Home and Abroad Scholar Lindsey Greytek from the University of Montana and further developed by Folkways.

A History of Sayings and Expressions about Moscow

Russian has many sayings and expressions that revolve around Moscow and places within or near Moscow. The most famous for foreigners is probably “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” but there are many others such as “to yell to the whole of Ivanovskaya” and examples that might not seem to refer to a specific place such as “to put something into a long time box.” However, all these refer to real places and have real history behind them. 

Regular Features: Nashe Radio Polish Pop Hits Russkoe Radio
Top Russian Movies

Find out what local language hits are playing on local radio stations in Poland and Russia and on Russian silver screens with these free monthly resources from


Yandex (Russian: Яндекс) is often known as “Russia’s Google.” However, it is also striving to be Russia's Amazon, Uber, and GrubHub... and looks like it will likely succeed. This company profile is by Home and Abroad Scholar Greg Tracey from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

15 Soviet Cartoons to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

These cartoons are full of joyful, bright, and homey holiday charm. It’s no secret that the holiday season is most precious to us in childhood. Because for children, it is not just an opportunity to gather together with loved ones. It’s an occasion for presents, Grandfather Frost, Snegurochka, beautiful spruce trees, and hope for a New Year’s miracle. 

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The Alexander Blok Apartment Museum

Alexander Blok’s former apartment is now part of a two-floor museum complex. Blok was one of Russia’s primer Silver Age poets, and his museum shows not only how he worked, but also gives some indication of the emotionally extreme but also socially well-connected life he led. This article is by Home and Abroad Scholar Lucy Harnish from McGill University.

Vladimir Sharov: Literature That Shines a Light on Dark History

Vladimir Sharov was a Russian writer who was deeply interested in the legacy of Russia’s Communist history. His nine novels focus on various aspects of this history: the communist schisms, Bolshevism, Stalin’s Terror, and the USSR’s collapse, and often mixes or juxtaposes ideas from Communism and religion. This biography is by Home and Abroad Scholar Lucy Harnish from McGill University.

Visit Website - Two More New Articles This Month!

Books on Eurasia

New Releases!

On Life: A Critical Edition

In the summer of 1886, shortly before his fifty-eighth birthday, Leo Tolstoy was seriously injured while working in the fields of his estate. Bedridden for over two months, Tolstoy began writing a meditation on death and dying that soon developed into a philosophical treatise on life, death, love, and the overcoming of pessimism. Although begun as an account of how one man encounters and laments his death and makes this death his own, the final work, On Life, describes the optimal life in which we can all be happy despite our mortality.

Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States

The break-up of the USSR was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Though a third of the new states fell prey to violent civil conflict, anarchy on the post-Soviet periphery, when it occurred, was quickly cauterized. This book argues that this outcome had nothing to do with security guarantees by Russia or the United Nations and everything to do with local innovation by ruthless warlords, who competed and colluded in a high-risk coalition formation game. Drawing on a structured comparison of Georgian and Tajik militia members, the book combines rich comparative data with formal modeling, treating the post-Soviet space as an extraordinary laboratory to observe the limits of great powers' efforts to shape domestic institutions in weak states.

Remarks on the Phonological Evolution of Russian in Comparison with the Other Slavic Languages

This is the first English translation of a groundbreaking 1929 work in historical phonology by the renowned linguist Roman Jakobson, considered the founder of modern structural linguistics. A revolutionary treatment of Russian and Slavic linguistics, the book introduced a new type of historical linguistics that focused on the systematic reasons behind phonological change. Rather than treating such changes as haphazard, Jakobson here presents a “teleological,” purposeful approach to language evolution. He concludes by placing his book in the context of the exciting structural developments of the era, including Einstein's theories, Cezanne's art, and Lev Berg's nomogenesis.

If you have views or material you would like to contribute, please contact us.
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