Матрешки 2 – Russian Dolls

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Руссиан Доллс – this is what my transliteration engine showed when I typed a name of the new Lifetime cable channel show into it.

The show made it in to the Sunday’s  NPR news feature due to the vehement protests from the Brighton Beach Russian community. In a badge of Russian pride you will surely recognise from the people’s reactions to translating “окрошка” as “oh, baby,” Yelena Makhnin, director of the business improvement district in Brighton Beach, says Russian culture in America isn’t about brand names or diamonds,  “We are a nation of Tchaikovsky, Pushkin and Lermontov.” Elina Miller, ‘Russian Dolls’ co-creator, remains unpersuaded by this. “I know that people want us to show the librarians and the nurses and the computer programmers … But that’s not necessarily what is interesting to people.”

While Russians may be angry at the way NPR misspelled “Borshch,” or Lifetime propagating the gossipy, bling-loving, and vegetables-and-meat-soup-eating Brighton Beach reality TV Russians, it is instructive to look at the photos of these people that give you a view of what their childhood and youth in Russia Soviet Union was like and decide for yourself whether they represent Russian emigrants as faithfully as the librarians and the nurses and the computer programmers in love with Chaikovskii and Pushkin do.

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