PHOTOS: What Russians can Do, the Story of Lina Kulchinsky

Meet Lina Kulchinsky of Sigmund Pretzel Shop in New York City. She’s a Russian who wanted to be successful in the food business. Here’s her formula (photos from the New York Times):

Step #1: Get the hell out of Russia.

Step #2: Forget about Russian cuisine. Make German, with a healthy dose of American influence.

Step #3: Focus on quality and customer service.

Step #4: Get a big wheelbarrow for all the money.


57 responses to “PHOTOS: What Russians can Do, the Story of Lina Kulchinsky

  1. Voice of Reason

    What else is new? There have been even much more successful emigrants from Russia, who excelled in the food business, like the Jewish-Russian man who brought delicious Russian candies to Israel and made his company a symbol of Israel’s food industry:

    History of Elite

    Eliyahu Fromchenko, a Russian Jew, with his family launched a candy business in 1918 after preparing confections in his home kitchen. Fleeing the economic and political chaos that followed the rise of Communism in the Soviet Union, he moved to Latvia and founded a new company, Laima, in Riga. In 1933, after the Nazis came to power, Fromenchenko sold Laima and immigrated to Palestine[3], bought property in Ramat Gan and opened Elite. The Israeli snack food market had been traditionally divided by Elite in the sweets market and Osem in the salty market.

    Or the Jewish-Russian man who brought delicious Russian dairy products to the American supermarkets:

    The Lifeway Foods story begins in 1986 with kefir, a milk-based cultured drink that is popular in Eastern Europe and is said to be more nutritional than yogurt. That year, Russian immigrant Michael Smolyansky began manufacturing kefir in his basement to bring the taste of his native country to the U.S. Today, Lifeway is the country’s leading manufacturer of kefir and a provider of other probiotic natural and organic dairy products for health-conscious consumers.

    Or the two Armenian-Russian men whose name is synonymous with gourmet food all over the World:

    It was in the 1920’s that two Armenian brothers–Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian–first introduced Paris to the magic of caviar and, in doing so, founded the company that today is the premier buyer and importer of Russian caviar worldwide.

    Petrossian Tsar Imperial is the title of preeminence we bestow on only those Petrossian caviar that reveal an unmistakable superiority in every essential of taste, texture, color and size.

    Born on the Iranian side of the Caspian Sea and raised on the Russian side, the two Petrossian brothers emigrated to France to continue their studies of medicine and law which had been interrupted by the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

    During the “Roaring 20s”, Paris welcomed exiled Russian princes, intellectuals and aristocrats with open arms, and Parisians quickly embraced all things Russian, especially the arts, ballet, the choreography of Diaghilev, and the music of Igor Stravinsky. Nonetheless, there was one thing missing from the Russian expatriates’ lives: caviar. The French had yet to be introduced to this rare delicacy, a situation that the Petrossian brothers immediately set out to remedy. For more than eighty years, the Petrossian family has continued to develop this market, maintaining a rare and privileged relationship with the Russian fisheries. Even today, the family personally choose, on site, the very best of the fresh, high quality caviar produced in Russia during each catch.

    Or the Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish emigrants who define the term “delicatessen” in USA:

    History of Katz’s delicatessen

    In 1888, a Russian emigrant family established a delicatessen in New York’s Lower East side.

    Katz’s Delicatessen is the best delicatessen in New York. To be the best in the city known for delicatessen is to be the best in the country.

    Zabar’s is a specialty food store, founded by Louis Zabar, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is one of the best known commercial landmarks of the Upper West Side. Zabar’s is frequently referenced in popular culture; it is mentioned in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail, the 2009 TV series V and on the sitcoms Will & Grace, Dream On, Mad About You, Sex and the City, The Nanny, Seinfeld,The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip 30 Rock and Castle.
    Louis Zabar (1901–1950) came to the United States through Canada from Ukraine, Soviet Union in the early 1920s… From 1960 until 1994 brothers Stanley and Saul Zabar partnered and co-owned Zabar’s with Murray Klein, who joined the store in 1953… Klein, whose birthname was Mordecai Klein, was born in 1923 in a shtetl in southwest Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. Klein was away at a trade school at the time of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. His parents and five siblings, were captured and killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

    Murray Klein: Manhattan deli owner who gave Americans a taste for quality foods

    In the run-up to Christmas in 1983, New Yorkers were entertained by what became known as the Beluga caviar war.

    Klein’s championing of European delicacies also helped foster the so-called “food revolution” in America, as first Manhattan’s middle class, and then that of the nation as a whole, developed a taste for ever more sophisticated cuisine.

    Let me repeat: it was a Jewish emigrant from the Soviet Union who who gave Americans a taste for quality foods and introduced them to the ever more sophisticated Eastern European/Ukrainian/Russian cuisine.

  2. Well, here’s what isn’t new: They aren’t doing any of it in Russia.

    • Voice of Reason

      True. But America is the land of immigrants. All the great Americans, who came from England, aren’t doing any of it in England. And great Italian–Americans aren’t doing it in Italy, etc.

      So, USA has greatly benefited from immigrants from Russia. But Russia too benefited greatly from emigrants from other countries, starting with Faberge, Euler, Catherine the Great and the Russian Czarinas. Pushkin too was one eighth Ethiopian, descending from Peter the Great’s godson Gannibal. In fact he saved Gannibal from Turkish atrocities:

      Major-General Abram Petrovich Gannibal, also Hannibal or Ganibal or Ibrahim Hannibal or Abram Petrov, (1696 – 14 May[1] 1781) was brought to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great and became major-general, military engineer and governor of Reval. He is perhaps best known today as the great-grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, who wrote an unfinished novel about him, Peter the Great’s Negro.

      At the age of seven (c. 1703) Gannibal was taken to the court of the Ottoman Sultan at Constantinople. The German biography of Gannibal, compiled anonymously from his own words, explains that “the children of the noble families were taken to the ruler of all the Muslims, the Turkish sultan, as hostages”, to be killed or sold into slavery if their fathers misbehaved. Gannibal’s sister Lahan was taken into captivity at the same time but died during the voyage.

      In 1704, after one year in Constantinople, Gannibal was ransomed and brought to the Russian capital by the deputy of the Russian ambassador Savva Raguzinsky.

      Gannibal was baptized in 1705, in St. Paraskeva’s Church in Vilnius, with Peter the Great as his godfather.

      • Well, not always true. Many US citizens move to the UK, and other countries of origin.

        Many immigrants to the US also remain influential in their homelands.

        Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (February 5, 1840 – November 24, 1916) was an inventor born in the U.S. who emigrated to England and adopted British citizenship. He was the inventor of the Maxim Gun, the first portable, fully automatic machine gun, and the ubiquitous mousetrap, and he laid a claim to inventing the lightbulb. He also experimented with powered flight, but his large aircraft designs were never successful. However, his “Captive Flying Machine” amusement ride, designed as a means by which to fund his research while generating public interest in flight, was highly successful.

        Current influential Americans in the UK:

        1. JAMES MURDOCH, chief executive of BSkyB

        2. BOB DIAMOND, head of Barclays Capital

        3. MADONNA, singer

        4. ERIC DANIELS, chief executive of Lloyds TSB

        5. MARJORIE SCARDINO, chief executive of Pearson

        6. BILL BRYSON, author

        7. JOEL GLAZER, businessman

        8. TOM GLOCER, chief executive of Reuters

        9. LOUIS BACON, hedge fund founder

        10. BILL COLEY, chief executive British Energy

        11. DAVID BRENNAN, chief executive of AstraZeneca

        12. CYNTHIA CARROLL, chief executive of Anglo-American

        13. JOHN STUDZINSKI, banker

        14. KEVIN SPACEY, Actor and director

        15. MATTHEW EMMENS, chief executive of Shire Pharmaceuticals

        You see, most civilised countries, like the UK/US/EU states, encourage their people to be successful both at home and overseas.

        Globalisation VOR, surprised you have never heard of it.

        However, Russia seems to be determined to (once again) stamp out any form of free thinking amongst the masses.

        • Gosh that was cool abt Murdoch influent in theUK:)

          He’s also influent in France and Poland, I wonder for how long did he live there?

        • Current influential Americans in the UK:

          1. JAMES MURDOCH, chief executive of BSkyB

          2. BOB DIAMOND, head of Barclays Capital

          3. MADONNA, singer

          Oh, and who knows not Madonna, a fascinating success for a simple Italian British girlie:)

          Andrew, better get back from your wonderland.

          I’ll tell you one thing:

          Obama was, is and “will remain” for the next 6 years the most influental American in the UK. And he does not need to even reside there.

          I’d like to believe you understand my point, but I know you don’t. So I’ll explain:

          It’s not what you call “the outcome of globalization”, b/c noone of them four is influental in a very globalised India or China.

          And it’s more than simply “influence”.

          It’s external administration.

      • Vocie of Reason wrote;

        So, USA has greatly benefited from immigrants from Russia. But Russia too benefited greatly from emigrants from other countries, starting with Faberge, Euler, Catherine the Great and the Russian Czarinas. Pushkin too was one eighth Ethiopian, descending from Peter the Great’s godson Gannibal. In fact he saved Gannibal from Turkish atrocities:


        You ommitted [on purpose, of course] one of the most important fireigners in your history – Polish Catherina, Catherine the 1st as opposed to German Catherina – the Second. The Polish Catherina the First WAS THE FIRST FEMALE TZARINA in the Russian history. She was born Marta Helena Skowronska, 100% Polish peasant, stayed all her life illiterate, and as a profession? She was following the troups of any nationality; cooking cleaning and performing sexual requests. She was sold to the Peter the Great by Menshikov and the rest is history – Your greatest tzar, married her and made her his tzarina. Talking about upwordly moving person – the Polish Catherina bits everybody. This Polish illiterate peasants RULED OVER RUSSIA for almost a thre years and apparently was pretty good tzarina. Glory and Power for POlish women!! The illiterate Polish 18th entury hooker was GOOD ENOUGH for your greatest tzar. Priceless!!!

        • The illiterate Polish 18th entury hooker was GOOD ENOUGH for your greatest tzar. Priceless!!!

          It seems a bit deja vu to me.

          I bet next time you’ll bash Jesus for getting involved with Mary Magdalene.

        • aaa, usa wrote; “Polish Catherina”

          Comments; Are you sure, baby?


          There are no documents that confirm the origins of Catherine. The commonly accepted version is that Catherine was born in Ringen (Rõngu), in present-day Estonia. At the time this area was the Swedish province of Livonia.
          Originally named ‘Marta Skowrońska’, she was the daughter of Samuel Skowroński, later Samuil Skavronsky, a Latvian peasant of Polish origin, most likely a Catholic, and who was already a widower of one Dorothea Hann. Her mother has been listed on at least one site as Elisabeth Moritz, whom Samuel married at Jakobstadt in 1680.

          • Gordon wrote; Polish Catherina

            Comments; Are you sure, baby?

            Yes, Marta Skowronska is an equivalent of Jane Doe, one of the most popular Polish names. She was indeed born in present day Estonia – in 18th century this part of Europe was a Commonwealth of Kingdom of Poland and Duchy of Lithuania. The largest, multinational, multireilgious country in Europe that survivided over 300 years. And yes she was born a catholic so there no doubt about it – Russians have been trying to change the facts little by little. What doesn’t it mean of Baltic origins??? This hole story about Catherine the 1st has been a source of ambarrassment for Russian historians – so they keep rewriting the history….what’s new????

          • You’re still using my handle. At least you don’t sound like a complete sovok….yet.

    • And none of the people he listed are Russian. I was told that Russians do not consider Jews Russian and of course age-old relentless anti-Semitism and discrimination prove it. I bet some of those people on his list spoke only Yiddish.

      And how come two Armenian brothers are Russian too?

      • I was told that Americans do not differentiate between ethnos and nationality inside any other nations but the US and the UK (like French, Italians, Russians), but did not believe it until I came to this blog for the first time.

        But sunshine, if you need ethnic Russians that influenced the US, here you go:

        Sergei Rachmaninoff (composer, not that you can feel his influence in the US much, but the outside world was influenced greatly),

        Vladimir Nabokov (perhaps you’ve seen his film about a girl),

        Igor Stravinsky (again composer, same story),

        Igor Sikorsky (engineer, this one surely influenced the modern US much),

        Alexander Seversky (again aviation expert, again greatly influenced the modern US army),

        Vladimir Yourkevitch (the USS abbreviation could be so meaningless now),

        Vladimir Zworykin (do you have a TV at home?),

        Wassily Leontief (economics, NP winner’73 and raised another 3 NP winners for the country),

        Georgiy Gamov (nuclear physics),

        and so on…

        What I want to say is, the US could not be so advanced and wealthy a country without all those emigrants from all those strange countries.

        In fact, the US could not be at all without them.

        And, in the States, it’s especially commendable to know the difference b/w nation (Russian citizen), and ethnos (ethnic Russian, which can well be Scott, or Georgian or Arab by blood).

        We in Russia have two nouns and two adjectives for that, just like you do for British and, say, Welsh.

        You don’t have it in English for Russians, so better check before you make any assumptions on what Voice of Reason says.


        Listen you idiot, THERE IS ONLY ONE WORD FOR “AMERICAN.” There are not different words that mean “white American” and “black American” AND THERE NEVER WERE.

        The ignorance necessary to suggest that “Welsh” and “English” are the same as “Rooski” and “Raseeski” is beyond comprehension. Your head is as empty as your heart.

        When Marat Safin wins a tennis title, do Russians refer to him as “Raseeski”? NO!!!! Raseeski is a RACIST word designed to imply that anyone who is not Slavic is a second-class citizen.

        Shut your fat stupid racist mouth. You are one milisecond away from being banned from this blog.

        • I was talking about the Jews only. All of a sudden, for Mr. Voice they became “Russians” while it’s clear that in Russia they were a prosecuted minority and were not considered Russian.

          Why are you saying Rachmaninoff is not influential in the United States? We have about 100 full time professional symphony orchestras in the United States (how many do you have in your highly “cultured” country?) and every one of them plays Rachmaninoff

          • Voice of Reason

            how many professional symphony orchestras do you have in your highly “cultured” country?

            In Russia? I have no statistics for Russia as a whole, but Wikipedia lists at least 15 professional orchestras for the city of Moscow alone:


            How many professional symphony orchestras are there in Washington, DC or in Chicago or even in the Metropolitan New York Area (which is twice as large as Moscow’s)?

            I also tried various smaller Russian cities like Novosibirsk and Ekaterniburg, and each of them has a professional symphony orchestra.

          • Voice of Reason

            If you are in Moscow and can’t decide which of dozens of classical concerts to go to on a particular evening, here is a rating of the very best Moscow orchestras:


            Rating the best orchestras in Moscow:

            1. Russian National Orchestra
            2. National Philharmonic of Russia
            3. Tchaikovsky Grand Symphony Orchestra
            4. State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia, Svetlanov
            5. Symphony Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre
            6. State Symphony Orchestra “New Russia”
            7. State Symphony Capella of Russia
            8. Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Moscow Philharmonic

            And here are some other ones in Moscow:

            Moscow Virtuosi
            State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia
            Chamber Orchestra «Kremlin»
            Moscow Symphony Orchestra
            Persimfans orchestra
            The Presidential Orchestra of Russia
            Russian State Symphony Orchestra of Cinematography

            • You really know nothing about music if you think you can impress me with this list. Not a single one on this list has any kind of reputation outside Russia, except maybe #4, but I believe Mr. Svetlanov is dead.

              You list is also misleading because it include opera orchestra (Bolshoi), a choir (Capella I think is an Italian for choir), and chamber orchestras.

              And even if you count them all, and added 10 more from the provinces, it will not even make 30.

              • Voice of Reason

                Tell me, RV, you haven’t heard of the Russian National Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Russia, and Tchaikovsky Grand Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio or of their conductors? And you don’t know that they have a reputation outside of Russia? Wow.

                Why don’t we switch to something that you do know. Who are your favorite hip-hop “artists”, RV?

          • RV,

            Ethnicity is not written anywhere it’s been decades.

            We have 71 to 89 symphonic orchestras in Russia, according to different sources.

            Now to duffer’s FAMOUS SPARTAAAAAAN POST:D

            Safin is, of course, named “Rossiyanin” in every major media, literally “Russian national”, or “Russian tennis player” – “Rossiysky tennisist”.

            Duffer pwn3d 3rd time for the last 2 days:D (first and second were him using fake picture of Khruschev’s shoe)

            “Rossiyanin” is by no means a racist term, of course, and

            duffer is pwn3d over this for a 4th time.

            I have never compared “English” and “Welsh” with “Rossiyanin” (Russian national) and “Russky” (ethnic Russian). I said “British” and “Welsh”. Here’s exact wording from my post:

            “We in Russia have two nouns and two adjectives for that, just like you do for British and, say, Welsh.”

            Duffer pwn3d 5th time over this.

            Then duffer turns to Americans, and shouts “THERE IS ONLY ONE WORD FOR “AMERICAN.”

            Of couse, there’s only one word in English for “AMERICANS” – and that’s “Americans”, namely:D

            With this stupid a point duffer is surely pwn3d 6th time.

            Then he claims “There are not different words that mean “white American” and “black American” AND THERE NEVER WERE.”

            But, unfortunately, hispanics are still there, one word, and still it means “Americans” of a sort (not to mention WASPS or Afro-Americans, etc.).

            This it the 7th time duffer is pwn3d.

            So our little duffer, with all due respect, is a, er, not exactly virgin after these two days.


            I have asked you to ban me for three times during these 2 days.

            Each time you just deleted my messages.

            Now I demand you to ban me – just to protect me from communicating with me.

            I do understand that you do not know how to ban people really, and you do not know anything about how the internets work.

            But duffer, you can just say “Dmitry, you are banned” – and I won’t ever bother you at this BS blog again.

            Because you make people sick

            • Voice of Reason

              Dmitry, RV is confusing Russia with Israel, where indeed they don’t recognize Israeli nationality, and until recently put down a your ethnicity as “nationality” in the child’s birth certificates and ID cards. Thus, if you are an Israeli citizen of Arab ethnicity, Israeli IDs will say that your nationality is “Arab”:


              In the Israeli birth certificate their nationality appears as “Jewish” (aka “Yehudi”, “Hebrew”), not as “Israeli”.


              Apartheid Israel: ‘Jewish national’ or ‘Arab national’ – but there’s no common ‘Israeli ‘ nationality

              Israel refused to recognize an Israeli nationality at the country’s establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between “citizenship” and “nationality.” Although all Israelis qualify as “citizens of Israel,” the state is defined as belonging to the “Jewish nation,” meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora.

              Some 30 laws in Israel specifically privilege Jews, including in the areas of immigration rights, naturalization, access to land and employment.

              Arab leaders have also long complained that indications of “Arab” nationality on ID cards make it easy for police and government officials to target Arab citizens for harsher treatment.

              The interior ministry has adopted more than 130 possible nationalities for Israeli citizens, most of them defined in religious or ethnic terms, with “Jewish” and “Arab” being the main categories.

              Mr Ornan said indications of nationality on ID cards carried by Israelis made it easy for officials, including police officers, to discriminate against Arab citizens.

              The government has countered that the nationality section on ID cards was phased out from 2000.

              However, Mr Ornan said any official could instantly tell if he was looking at the card of a Jew or Arab because the date of birth on the IDs of Jews was given according to the Hebrew calendar. In addition, the ID of an Arab, unlike a Jew, included the grandfather’s name.

              “Flash your ID card and whatever government clerk is sitting across from you immediately knows which ‘clan’ you belong to, and can refer you to those best suited to ‘handle your kind’,” Mr Ornan said.

              The distinction between Jewish and Arab nationalities is also shown on interior ministry records used to make important decisions about personal status issues such as marriage, divorce and death, which are dealt with on entirely sectarian terms.

              Only Israelis from the same religious group, for example, are allowed to marry inside Israel – otherwise they are forced to wed abroad – and cemeteries are separated according to religious belonging.

              Some of those who have joined the campaign complain that it has damaged their business interests. One Druze member, Carmel Wahaba, said he had lost the chance to establish an import-export company in France because officials there refused to accept documents stating his nationality as “Druze” rather than “Israeli”.

        • Voice of Reason

          La Russophobe wrote: “When Marat Safin wins a tennis title, do Russians refer to him as “Raseeski”? NO!!!! Raseeski is a RACIST word designed to imply that anyone who is not Slavic is a second-class citizen.

          What do you mean? “Rossiyskiy” is the proper word to denote any athlete representing Russia, be it Safin or Kafelnikov or Kuznetsova or anybody else. For example:


          Former Rossiyskiy tennisist Marat Safin, who was in Vancouver, shares his impressions of the Olympics.


          Famous Rossiyskiy tennisist Yevgeny Kafelnikov won the third place in Brazil Sao Paulo veteran tournament.


          Rossiyskaya tennisistka Svetlana Kuznetsova

        • It is always funny when LR comments on racsism and Russia.

          “Listen you idiot, THERE IS ONLY ONE WORD FOR “AMERICAN.” There are not different words that mean “white American” and “black American” AND THERE NEVER WERE.”

          Oh, really? In this statement, there is the same degree of hypocrisy as when saying that the US never occupied other countries.

          “When Marat Safin wins a tennis title, do Russians refer to him as “Raseeski”? NO!!!! Raseeski is a RACIST word designed to imply that anyone who is not Slavic is a second-class citizen.”

          Raseeski does not exist, there is “Rossijskij”, you stupid ape; and this is quite normal term, as “American”. “Rossijskij” means simply “from Russia”. The problem is that in USA you have no real Americans (maybe only native people dying off in their reservations) but in Russia we have. So if you say “Rossijskij sportsman with tatarian ethnicity”, there is nothing wrong, as if you say “afro-american”. Again you accuse people around you in something you propagate at most by yourself — racism. Racism is to have a blog like you do.

  3. “Meet Lina Kulchinsky of Sigmund Pretzel Shop in New York City.”

    Are you sure she is Russian? Lina is not Russian name, and Kulchinsky also sounds like polnish or jewish, not russian.


    Step #1 Get the hell out of Russia (and land as a “dirty immigrant” to the hell US).

    Step #2: Forget about Russian cuisine. Make German, with a healthy dose of American influence (=make most of your customers throwing up)

    Step #3: Focus on quality and customer service (=make ugly, salty and tasteless pseudo-deutsche Bretzel. Don’t forget to make them kosher for 70% of your respected customers)

    Step #4: Get a big wheelbarrow for all the money (mainly for 1 cent coins)


    • If you read the article, you hopeless dimwit, you’d know she is Russian.

      Unless that is you think only “Slavic” people with “Russian” names can be Russian (bye-bye Pushkin and Lermontov). In which case you’re a piece of racist filth.

      • Pushkin and Lermontov are Russian names. I only mentioned that Lina Kulchinsky is not Russian name. Where is racism here? In fact you are an obvious to everybody racist by yourself, as you deeply hate all Russians.

  4. Her name is of course not of an ethnic Russian, and you can’t say from her look if there’s anything related to Eastern Europe even (cheeks, eyes, etc.)

    But who cares, when she “forgot about Russian cuisine”:D

    And the Russian cuisine is a very special theme for our duffer:)

    • Racism is banned on this blog. Do it just once more and you are permanently banned as a commenter.

      • O rly? Then quit calling people baboons, gorillas, apes, and other racist epithets heard quite often in the US.

        You’re probably the biggest racist here.

  5. What Russians can Do, the Russian vote rigging
    Democracy !

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it is the country’s goal to achieve “a mature democracy and a developed civil society.” Putin also proclaimed his support for a “free society of free people in Russia.”

    Russian MPs caught in voting scandal

  6. Voice of Reason

    RV wrote: “I was told that Russians do not consider Jews Russian

    No, Russians do not consider Jews to be Christians. Jews in Russia are “Jewish-Russians”, just as in America we are “Jewish-Americans”.

    How else would you explain that so many Jews have been elected/selected as modern Russian political leaders, Prime Ministers, Vice Premiers, etc: Fradkov, Gaidar, Primakov, Nemtsov, Zhirinovsky, Yavlinsky, Rutskoy, Kirienko, Chubais, etc

    Even in old times, some of the most revered figures in Russian culture were Jewish. For example, the most beloved Russian painter, the Pushkin of painting – Issak Levitan. And the great Russian classical composer Anton Rubinstein.

    RV wrote: “And how come two Armenian brothers are Russian too?

    For the same reason why Andrei Agassi – an Armenian- is American. You have to remember that Russia has always been the safe haven for Armenians escaping constant ethnic cleansings in muslim Persia and Turkey.

    For the same reason why Leon Trotsky and Genrikh Yagoda – Jews – and Alexander Pushkin – part-Ethiopian – are Russian.

    They were Russian citizens, grew up in Russia, and when moved to Paris, became part of the Russian emigrant community, promoting Russian culture and Russian food to the French.


    It is PERFECTLY correct that Russians do not consider Jews to be “rooskee” and therefore to be second-class citizens and “not Russian” in the sense that counts. You lose all crediblity by claiming otherwise, idiot.

    • Voice of Reason

      I wrote: “How else would you explain that so many Jews have been elected/selected as modern Russian political leaders, Prime Ministers, Vice Premiers, etc: Fradkov, Gaidar, Primakov, Nemtsov, Zhirinovsky, Yavlinsky, Rutskoy, Kirienko, Chubais, etc

      LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS: “It is PERFECTLY correct that Russians do not consider Jews to be “rooskee” and therefore to be second-class citizens

      If by “second-class citizens” you mean that most oligarchs; most top scientists; most revered composers, musicians, singers, writers, painters, actors, directors; most political experts; most journalists; most TV personalities etc – are Jewish; that Jews are constantly elected/selected as Russian Prime Ministers, Vice-Presidents and Parliament speakers – then “second-class” must be top class. And Jews make up less than 0.5% of the Russian population.

    • I don’t know if it is true, or was true, but I’ve met and talked with many Jewish immigrants from the USSR. Every one of them told me that every person’s ethnicity was written in his identity papers. And Jews were identified as such, not as Russians but as Jews. So that there would be no mistake during the next pogrom, I guess.

      Religion, however, was not identified. So, don’t tell me Russians distinguish Jews just by religion. That’s how it is in America. I doubt it is so in Russia.

      And don’t give me this crap about Jews being the upper class. Migration patterns speak for themselves. Over 1 million Jews left Russia and how many returned? Even you, with your super-patriotism, stay in America. Why don’t you go back if life is so great in your beloved motherland, and particularly good for Jews?

  7. Voice of Reason

    Michael Tal wrote: And speaking of politicians, what I do know is that there are about 12 times more Jews in USA than Russia. Yet, there has never been a Jewish or Hebrew President or Vice President in the 230 years of US presidency. But in the short 17 years of its existence, Russia has had the following Jewish/Hebrew leaders:

    Mikhail Fradkov – Prime Minister for almost 4 years
    Yegor Gaidar – Prime Minister
    Sergey Kiriyenko – Prime Minister
    Yevgeny Primakov – Prime Minister

    Alexander Rutskoy – Vice President
    Boris Nemtsov – Deputy Prime Minister
    Anatoly Chubais – the man who ruled Russia for Yeltsin in the 1990s

    Four Prime Ministers in 17 years.

    Historically, most leaders of Russian parties have been Jews. Most political experts are Jewish. Most journalists and TV commentators are Jewish.

    The man who brought Putin to power – Berezovsky – is Jewish. Most oligarchs are Jewish. Most composers and singers are Jewish. Movie and TV producers and directors. So are most famous scientists. Lawyers too. And doctors. Even the leader of Russian nationalists – Zhirinovsky – is Jewish.

    My point is that given that the majority of Russian elite are Jewish and that there have been 4 Prime Ministers in the 17 years of existence of Russia, even a moron can understand that we, Jews, enjoy a very good life in Russia.

    • VOR,

      It is interesting that you mention that “most oligarchs are Jewish.”

      How on Earth could that possibly be a good thing???

      It is common knowledge that these same oligarchs robbed Russian high and dry in the 1990s.

      And no, I am not an anti-Semite.

  8. Voice of Reason

    Speaking of Russian cuisine. Not only have Soviet Jews introduced fine foods to Americans, as noted by The Times article, modern Moscow now enjoys a great wealth of greatest restaurants.

    Let’s look at the Top 100 restaurants in the World:

    75 Varvari Russia
    85 Doce Uvas Russia
    93 Cafe Pushkin Russia
    94 Semifreddo Russia

    Moscow has 4 out of 100 top restaurants in the World. Metropolitan Los Angeles, which is a larger metropolitan area than Moscow, has 0 (zero) restaurants in the top 100. In fact, all of Southern California (with population twice larger than Moscow’s) has no Top 100 restaurants.

    Moreover, both Varvari and Cafe Pushkin feature the traditional 19th century Russian cuisine, while I don’t see a single American restaurant in the top 100 which is based on the traditional American cuisine.

    Clearly, the traditional Russian cuisine is far superior to the traditional American cuisine, just as blini and caviar are superior to macaroni and cheese.

    • You are truly insane if you think that Russian blini is something special. They exist in many cuisines, particularly in French. Ever heard of crepes? And we have various pancakes and hotcakes etc.

      And caviar is too expensive for an average Russian to be “traditional.” I admit there is such a perception in the U.S., but honestly, how can drunken peasants and factory workers afford it. The thieves in and around the Kremlin sure can, but they are a tiny minority of population, are they not?

      To say nothing that caviar is a raw natural product. The word “cuisine” implies cooking.

      • Russian cuisine is delicious. Blini is just a negligible part of it. Did you ever try pelmeni (can be compared with best sorts of dumplings, but of course have their own taste, very different from traditional chinese dumplings)? Tried okroshka, solyanka, general’skaja ukha, sshi, etc.? Tried kholodets, pirogi, seledka pod shuboj, etc.?

        • No, did not try any of this, except the word “pirogi” sounds like a Polish dish that I tried and liked. However, I only responded to a message extolling blini and caviar. And I merely said that there is nothing special about blini and caviar hardly qualifies as a prepared dish

          • you are right but here the sign of genius is to combine blini and caviar together. Who else but barbaric Russkies could do that? Note that this is not an ordinary dish, one cannot afford to eat it regularly.

            • Of course not ordinary. What’s the going price, $100 per oz. or so? How many peasants can afford that? Or even how many Moscow office workers or engineers? Well, if it’s not ordinary how can it be traditional? And yet, someone here tries to convince us that 2 Armenian bothers selling caviar in Paris is a triumph of Russian cuisine.

              • 10 years ago, many people could afford that as the internal prices for caviar were quite low. Now, it is getting more difficult, as the prices grew up to the international level. At least I can say — I tried this dish many times (both in good Moscow restaurants and at home) and always loved it. If the younger generation of Russians can no longer afford it, then they should work out how to increase their earnings. BTW, I believe 10-15% population still can afford it, at least once in a while. It will cost you perhaps 100-200 $ per person to try. For example, caspian fresh pressed caviar (pajusnaja, the best for blini in my experience) costs $250 for a 7 oz cane, see The sturgeon non-pressed caviar is more expensive: $392 for 2 oz, still acceptable, if you wanna enjoy blini not every day.

                • And in Russia you still can order caviar much cheaper, see, f.i., (need to read Russian). Prices are 1500 to 2000 dollars per kg, really cheap.

                  • Doesn’t matter, let belugas cry:-)

                  • You must be kidding about “really cheap.” Remember, you are talking about population making way under $1,000 a month

                    • I don’t know the histogram of income in Russia, but I’m quite sure top 20% are making more than $ 5000/month. If you make under $1,000 a month in a big city, you are quite poor, and you shouldn’t even think about going to a good restaurant or eating anything expensive, and of course forget about the caviar. Anyways, in the West, caviar is also affordable not for everybody.

                • Oh yep, in contrast to caviar, freedom fires for 1.25 per HUGE portion can be swallowed every day:-)

                • Fries, not fires.

  9. Why is the author of this blog so concerned with Russia and Russians if (s)he is American?

    Did he or she have a bad experience with a Russian?

  10. The reason America has been successful isn’t necessarily where their people originated from, but the freedoms and liberties enumerated in the constitution and the bill of rights, which has (up until about a year ago) limited the power of the government to subjugate it’s citizens, unlike most other countries. We have people of all walks of life contributing to our success, simple as that.

    • Successful in what? In becoming a world policeman empire? I have been living in Germany for the last 20 years and I have business trips to US at least 3 times every year. And I see so much difference in the life quality — the life in Germany is much more comfortable and higher standard than in the US, even though more Germans live in apartments. We don’t have your criminal ethnic gangs, our cities are safe, there are no “middles-of-nowhere” and dirty corners in Germany — all is well maintained, and people enjoy their living, as they can walk and have their coffee everywhere, and not only in “safe” and “walkable” areas.

      • Well, I guess you don’t have to come to the United States then, if it is so bad here. Remain in Germany. Your disappointment is going to be very hard for us to swallow, but we’ll manage somehow

        • Unfortunately, I have to come, just for business reasons. I have not much pleasure to see so many gorging cellulite people as I see in US, so many ugly fat “afro-americans” and kikes whearing shorts and sport shoes on their 150-kg bodies, but my job bounds me to come to the US…

          • Putting aside your racism and anti-Semitism, that must be very hard, to endure all those hardships when you come to the United States. I guess Germans did a good job explaining to you how ugly all those minorities are. If it is so unbearable to come here, maybe you should change your job. I wish all those illegal aliens thought along the same lines. But no, they refuse to boycott us. Pity

      • Unfortunately, with individual freedom and economic success comes consequences. Our people don’t have to walk very far, or engage in much physical activity, and some choose to be gluttons. Personally I detest the big cities, so I’m not familiar with the ethnic gangs, etc, that you mention. I enjoy the freedom of riding my Harley Davidson in the Black Hills. Maybe you should find other parts of the country to do business with, don’t judge the whole vast nation from a few rat holes.

  11. Francis Smyth-Beresford

    As it happens, the pretzel is likely not German at all, but Italian in origin. Attributing something to the nation that made it famous is a common mistake. For instance, Macadamia nuts are not Hawaiian, but Australian in origin. Most just accept the commercial explanation without question.

    Anyway, yes, isn’t that an inspiring story? Americans are often ludicrously sentimental over such vignettes about immigrants, often from countries Americans don’t like, who come to America and take some manual-labour job that doesn’t require much intellect and are successful at it. It’s even better if they’ll appear on television outside their store or shop and say, “What a country!!” or something like that. And if we’re not too cynical, it IS heartwarming. But that’s not the point of this article, which attempts to illustrate that Russians who come to America – while obviously making the smart choice – will never achieve much more than modest success because of their horrible background and origin. Still, entities like LR will talk it up magnanimously as a wonderful achievement that could have happened nowhere else.

    You probably won’t see articles on Russians like Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. Yes, it’s true he emigrated while very young and grew up in the U.S., but he’s still a Russian.

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