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How to Speak Russian: Eat Blini.

If you want to know how to speak Russian, an important word to learn is blini.

How to Speak Russian: Eat Blini.

Russian Tradition: Blini.

“Blini” are delicious Russian-style pancakes eaten with a variety of toppings—the most common are sour cream, caviar, butter, and jam (but not all at the same time). The streets in Moscow and other Russian cities are always full of vendors selling blini. They make a great late night snack or street food for walking around, since they can be rolled up into a tube. It is also fairly easy to prepare them yourself at home—not much different from pancakes, with a few tweaks. The batter includes eggs, milk or heavy cream, sugar, salt, and flour. They are cooked similarly to crepes, by pouring the batter into a pan and then tilting it to form a thin layer over the entire surface. Different varieties can be thicker or thinner, wrapped around fillings or dipped in sauces. One of my favorite fillings is a very Russian combination of mashed potatoes, dill, and mushrooms. There are many English language recipes available on the Internet, but to learn how to speak Russian, it is great practice to try following an authentic Russian recipe in Russian.

Learn Russian Tradition: Maslenitsa

Blini are so central to the Russian tradition that there is an entire week-long holiday centered around them. In Russian, it’s called Maslenitsa, from maslo, the word for butter. In English it can be called Butter Week, Blini Week, or Pancake Week. This holiday happens the week before Orthodox Lent and is one of the cheeriest and also strangest of Russian holidays. The general concept is similar to Mardi Gras, in that it is a week of revelry that precedes the more somber Lenten season. But Maslenitsa is much more rooted in religion than Mardi Gras, and instead of throwing beads and eating king cake, the Russians throw snowballs and eat pancakes.

Fistfights and Blini, really?

Everyone is happy because Maslenitsa signifies the beginning of spring. The sun starts to come out, the snow starts to melt, and the seemingly endless winter is over. The central focus of the festivities is the consumption of blini slathered in butter, as their round shape represents the sun and their dairy-heavy ingredient list represents basically every food forbidden during Lent. The Maslenitsa holiday marks the beginning of Lent and serves as a last chance to indulge in rich food, dairy products, and general merrymaking. Thousands and thousands of blini are prepared, and given to friends, family, and really anyone who wants them. There are also some very unique traditions associated with the festival—including fistfights! Yes, fistfights. The reasoning behind holding scheduled, public fistfights during Maslenitsa is to celebrate Russia’s fighting spirit. Another feature of the festival is Lady Maslenitsa, a huge straw figure of a woman dressed in bright clothing. She goes up at the beginning of the week, and on the last day, is burned to signify the end of winter. There are also sleigh rides, snowball fights, elaborate visits to extended family, and an entire day dedicated to begging forgiveness of everyone around you. These festivities are fantastic for visitors or tourists, but if you know how to speak Russian —even just a little— the experience becomes wonderfully immersive. Even if you don’t know how to speak Russian, you can bring some of the spirit to your own home by cooking blini and sharing them with your loved ones. Maslenitsa begun on February 24th this year, so start baking!

Choosing to Learn Russian is an A-Plus Choice

Russia is the largest country on the planet, spanning across the continents of Europe and Asia. It takes up nearly 11.5% of the globe, and is almost double the size of the second largest nation, Canada. Russian is an official language of the nations of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Students Learn Russian to Boost Skills by PimsleurWhy the geography lesson, you ask? Because Russian is the eighth most commonly spoken language in the world today, and the number of speakers continues to increase.

Even though the Russian language is comparatively difficult to master for those who haven’t been exposed to it, it is as useful as it is exotic. Russian is not a member of the Romance language family. It is comprised of its own alphabet, Cyrillic, which consists of thirty-three characters, seven more than our alphabet for those who are counting. When choosing to learn a new language, Russian historically has been low on the totem pole. However, in recent years, the popularity of this globally large- scale language has been on the rise.

Learn Russian to Take Advantage of New Science and Technology

More and more students are taking the time to learn Russian through college, university, or online courses. As information technology advances; the time has never been better to learn Russian. The benefits of learning Russian are increasingly becoming obvious. Both educational and economic opportunities have students adding Russian classes to their already busy itineraries. Students of the sciences are amongst the highest number of pupils signing on to learn this important language. Russia has always had a prestigious reputation in regards to science, engineering, and technology. New innovations in computer programing, software engineering, and information technology are coming from Russia, and students from all points on the globe are looking to get involved.

At the other end of the spectrum, students in the fields of art and literature are also cashing in on the benefits of learning Russian. As the works of classic Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Gogol are being taught on a global scale, it has become apparent that the best way to appreciate these literary icons is by reading them in the original Russian. Students studying Russian literature are taking advantage of online resources to learn Russian to help them truly comprehend the classic authors and their Russian cultural heritage.

Russian Boosts International Business Skills

Increased business opportunities have fueled the Russian language revolution. Studies show that entrepreneurs from Russia are well-versed in international economics and are eager to create business relationships with partners from other nations. Well represented in the international economic arena, Russia’s immense size and abundance of natural resources make the Russian business market appealing to foreign businesses. However, Russian business people are renowned for being serious and tough negotiators. So taking time to learn Russian goes a long way when it comes to efficient communication in dealing with new business prospects.

Russia is returning to prominence as a world super power and is part of BRICS, the projected 5 emerging global economies. This emergence opens the door to new realms of financial, educational, scientific, and technological possibilities.The time has never been better to learn Russian and expand one’s knowledge of the culture and language of the largest country on earth.