7 Good Things Russia Has Given the World

Remembering these things could keep us out of another cold war…

Sure, maybe they did, but maybe they didn’t. Russia is just a shout away of Pallin’s jacuzzi (apparently), but with so much in the news about the Russian’s potential influence over United States elections, the whole Crimea thing, and Putin kicking around the Russian outback shirtless on a horse, and Russian hackers, we can’t look at everything Russian as bad as tensions rise. What about some of the good things the land of the Kremlin has given the world? Here are 7 things to help keep the Cold War II away from your heart as we live day after day in an American 24-hour news cycle:

1. Literature!

Portrait of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) Soviet postcard

Some of the most rewarding reading of your life will come from the misery of Russian authors: Dostoevsky (“Crime and Punishments”, “Notes from Underground”, “The Brothers Karamazov”) Tolstoy (War and Peace, Ana Karenina) Chekhov (his play and short stories). Hey, in the cold of a Utah winter, try some of these on for size. Sure, they can be long with many characters, but they are fantastic. If you look at the size of some of these novels and feel intimidated, I recommend starting with “Notes From the Underground” or this volume of Chekhov shorts.

2. World War 2

Germany started getting uppity on the Eastern Front in 1939, invading Poland, which Stalin basically ignored (unchecked aggression, dude!) and then 1941 Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and nearly made it all the way to Moscow. Yes, Stalin was a bad dude, but eventually, he had to listen to his generals more about what a bad dude his buddy, Hitler, was and buckle down to kick some Axis ass and buckle down with the Allies in Finland, Japan, and even Iran (this unchecked aggression will not stand). This doesn’t discount all the bad things Stalin did, but what would the world would look like today if Russian soldiers weren’t badass enough to whoop Germany in the bitter Russian winter on the Eastern front over those years?

3. All the Russian Ladies!

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - March 15, 2014: Nadia Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot) on the peace March in support of Ukraine, the March of Russian opposition against war with Ukraine

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – March 15, 2014: Nadia Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot) on the peace March in support of Ukraine, the March of Russian opposition against war with Ukraine

According to there are 10 million more Russian women than men, so you are a fan of ladies, you should be a fan of Russia. Why so many women? It’s “believed to the result of so many men dying during World War II.” And let’s not forget about Pussy Riot! They look the Russian government in the eye and don’t blink.

4. Eugene Hütz

The frontman for the band Gogol Bordello was born in Russia. Gogol is arguably one of the best touring bands in all the world, in my opinion.  According to his Wikipedia article, “When Eugene was 14, he and his father made his first guitar of plywood, his first distortion pedals out of radio parts, and his first drum set from large metal fish cans, skinned with layers of Scotch tape.” That’s just badass. His mentors were Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen. He was in the film “Everything is Illuminated“, Madonna’s directorial debut, “Filth and Wisdom”, and had a documentary made about him on tour, “The Pied Piper of Hützovina.” He’s even worked with Primus’ Les Claypool.

5. Russia has a national sex day!

Valentine’s Day can suck it! According to, on September 12th Russian workers are given a day off to have sex to help increase population numbers and sometimes given a cash prize if they deliver a new bouncing baby Russian 9 months later. Maybe they didn’t give this to the world, but we should borrow it!

6. Tetris

The music, the mind, the blocks. Yes, it’s not just a clever marketing ploy for a puzzle game. Tetris was released in 1984, invented by Alexey Pajitnov and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. It was the first entertainment game exported from Russia to the United State and has been played on everything from your TI-85 to Xbox. It’s the game that put the Gameboy on the map! Hell, you can play it right now, for free! 

7. Vodka

It’s the drink to conquer them all. The list of cocktails you can create with Vodka is mind and liver numbing. It goes with just about anything or all by itself. On a diet? Still want to party? How about a vodka tonic? It goes with pineapple juice, cranberry juice, Juicy Juice and on and on and on…since the 1880’s it’s been kicking around the world whether distilled from grains or potatoes it’s the clear go-to when you’re not sure what to bring to the party. Oh, and it gets your drunky pants. Oof! Here are some fresh ideas if you think you’ve tried them all.

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