Plane Ticket to Budapest

Do you guys think that flying from Boston to Budapest (one way) for $633 sounds like a good deal (with one stop in Istanbul)? For a flight in early September?


So I heard back from CEU…

So I found out this morning, after much anticipation, that I was accepted into Central European University’s Nationalism Studies program, with a 70% tuition scholarship.

Hooray for me!

I know it sounds cliche, but I really do feel like a great burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I will probably say some more later this week about it, maybe once I have a little more time to process it.

But most likely, I will be headed to Budapest this fall. Finally getting a chance to go back to Europe.


Some ‘Light’ Reading…

Since I started working at my current job (its already been almost two years) I’ve been trying to get back into reading for my own amusement/ knowledge. While I was at Tufts I sort of fell out of the habit, but beginning with “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” I’ve been demolishing book after book on the train, on the bus, or on the odd park bench.

I recently finished Azerbaijan Diary by Thomas Goltz, who had a long career as a journalist throughout the North and South Caucasus. If you’re interested at all in the history of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the politics of Post-Soviet Azerbaijan, you should definitely look into it. The style makes for easy reading, and it is sprinkled with genuine insight and discussion of Post-Soviet politics and diplomacy in early 1990’s (mostly because it seems like Mr. Goltz was actual interested in the material he was witnessing and because he made excellent connections with some pretty high level bureaucrats, both Azeri and American.

The book is considered the first part of a trilogy on his reporting from the region, the last of which, about Georgia, I just bought. It was updated after the war in 2008, which made for a slightly clunky beginning (first a new introduction, then the original, and a rather chunky historical overview of Georgian history). It is also much shorter than his work on Azerbaijan, but I think will turn out to be of similar quality.

On my plate are the following recent purchases:

A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Aftermath by Troung Nhu Tang

In the Jaws of History by Bui Diem

Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina by Bernard Fall

I also bought at a nice bargain two books by Raymond Garthoff, a former U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria appointed by President Carter: Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan and The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War. Since my Twitter feed is dominated by scholars and journalist covering the FSU, the advertising targeted to me is super specific. Some professor on Cold War history kept tweeting a picture contrasting his new book’s thin size with Garthoff’s two massive (apparently classic and often assigned) tomes. So I felt like I had to check them out.

If you have any suggestions about further reads, feel free to message me.  I always appreciate a recommendation.


CEU interview

I had my interview with CEU and I think it went okay, but it was definitely not my finest moment. Trying to recall books I read 3 years ago was not the easiest thing to do on the spot. I also got disconnected part of the way through. Oh well. Let’s see what happens?

Tags: Me Life Rargh

Russian Word of the Day

войска - troops, forces (plural)


Article Headline on Ukrainian Pravada website: “Правозащитники РФ - против планов Путина ввести войска в Крым.” - Russian human rights activists are against Putin’s plans to deploy troops to Crimea. 


Russian Word of the Day

вторжение - invasion


"Куницын: "В Крыму происходит вооруженное вторжение российских силовиков."

Kunitsyn: “A Russian military invasion is occurring in Crimea.”


A point about cursing

The past few words of the day have been related to pejoratives and vulgarities of the Russian language. Calling someone an imbecile or a bitch will probably not make you many, if any, friends.

However, I think that being exposed to this type of language isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While I don’t condone using this type of language in your contact with Russian speaking people, you might want to be aware of such words and phrases, in case you run into some unsavory characters.

Unfortunately, not all encounters in foreign places are fun and safe, and sometimes knowing that you are being disrespected, or possibly even threatened might make a difference in your travels one day.


Russian Word of the Day

сука - bitch


Закрой свой рот сука! (Za-kroy svoy rot soo-ka!) ~ Shut your mouth bitch!

Obviously, don’t say this around your babooshka.


Russian Word of the Day

неуч - ignoramus, stupid person  



Russian Word of the Day

невежда - ignoramus, airhead, ignorant person 



Russian Word of the Day

невежа - boor, lout 



Russian Word of the Day

вeжливый - (adj.) polite, courteous, civil 



Graduate School

I got accepted to George Washington University’s MA in Media and Public Affairs program today. The details are forthcoming by snail mail, but I am both slightly surprised and slightly relieved I was accepted. The only other program I’m waiting to hear from is Central European University’s MA in Nationalism Studies program. I don’t hear back from them until April 1 though. But in the meantime, I can relax a little knowing I can stay in DC if I want and have something to do.


Russian Word(s) of the Day

Since the Olympics is taking place in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation, I thought I would post some of the demonyms of the various nationalities that reside in the region, as they are in Russian. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It should also be noted I only gave the nominative, masculine version of the demonym:

Aзербайджанец - Azeri, Azerbaijani (Az-er-bai-jan-ets)

Aбхазец - Abkhazian (Ab-khaz-ets)

арец - Avar (A-var-ets)

Aрмянин - Armenian (Ar-mi-neen)

Грузин - Georgian (Gru-zeen) 

Ингуш - Ingush (In-goosh)

Kурд - Kurd (Koord)

Oсетин - Ossetian (As-ye-teen)

Черкес - Circassian (Cher-kyes)

Чеченец - Chechen (Che-chyen-ets)


Russian Word of the Day

подросток - teenager