Surprised by Russia
Svetlana Smetanina is a professional journalist. She graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in journalism, and since then has worked at “Kommersant,” “Gazeta,” and “Moscow News.” Her professional interests cover a wide range of topics. She writes articles on politics, psychology and personal relationships. But most of all, she enjoys writing about everyday life. For the last year and a half, she has written the column “Surprised by Russia,” which she herself conceived. In her own words, she would like to tell foreign readers about the things that often escape the attention of the serious media. In the first instance, this is the everyday life of Russians with all its problems, sometimes serious, sometimes funny. She is sure that Russia will never cease to surprise the world.
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May 1, 2012
Why is Russia’s Eurovision group so popular? Could it be because they show an aging world that all is not lost with time?
April 3, 2012
A Russian gerontologist is certain that the normal human life span is 110-120 years
October 21, 2011
Polls show that most Russians are against liberalizing gun laws, but proponents are gearing up for a long fight
September 14, 2011
New laws are supposed to ban smoking in public places, but the only realistic way to get Russians to smoke less is to raise the price of cigarettes
August 26, 2011
Russian businessmen are learning how to choose suits that are both understated and expensive from the best the UK has to offer
July 8, 2011
It wasn’t that long ago that Russians discovered the allure of Egypt and Turkey as vacation hotspots. This year many have rediscovered the “staycation,” a holiday near home
May 19, 2011
A group of international psychiatrists try to answer the age-old question
May 10, 2011
Public protest help scuttle an absurd law on parental rights
April 13, 2011
Monitoring international adoptions is only a piece of the solution to the problems of Russia's orphans. Changing the system within Russia must also be part of the process
February 23, 2011
In a new memoir, the former head of IKEA Russia describes an experience not altogether unfamiliar to foreigners living long-term in the country
February 15, 2011
Even as Boris Yeltsin's image experiences some rehabilitiation, Russians still harbor negative feelings towards Mikhail Gorbachev. Will he have to wait for the grandchildren of Perestroika to get his due?
January 26, 2011
A high-ranking Russian Orthodox priest says that women can solve Russia's ethnic problems by dressing more modestly.
December 29, 2010
Russian New Year traditions provide a window into the enigmatic Russian soul
December 23, 2010
An ordinary man in the Russian taiga saved 80 lives just by doing the right thing without any expectation of reward.
November 25, 2010
Mikhail Prokhorov has proposed increasing the work week from 40 hours to 60
November 15, 2010
The Ministry of Health is starting a campaign to combat obesity in Russia through dietary guidelines and changes in school menus.
October 25, 2010
One in every five Russians has turned to witchcraft for help at least once in their life
October 11, 2010
Although Russia has no official organic certification, most locally sourced food is grown according to organic methods.
September 23, 2010
Russia most assuredly has no luck with international ratings. Whatever topic you take — the war on corruption, freedom of speech, even the happiness index — Russia inevitably ranks somewhere around 150.
September 7, 2010
To tell, or not to tell, your boss where to get off