Gifts for a loved one with an interest in Economics and Russian
January 3, 2008 11:19 PM   Subscribe

Gift Ideas for a person interested in Economics and Russian

For various holidays, birthdays, anniversaries I am brainstorming ideas within these interest areas. So far I'm thinking maybe the Indexed book when it comes out, an subscription to the economist, etc. Shes probably already got Russian Dictionaries and things. Any suggestions?
posted by codybaldwin to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd love it if someone gave me a subscription to The Economist. As a language fanatic myself, I hesitate at the thought of others picking up dictionaries and the like . . . I'm picky. I bet languagehat, who's here often, would have some killer book recommendations though.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:01 AM on January 4, 2008

Why not combine the two and get her a book on the Gorbi or Yeltsin years?
posted by slater at 2:01 AM on January 4, 2008

Well, I've definitely got some books to recommend that have to do with Russian history and economics.

You see, in the early history of Russian revolution (17-late 30s) economic policy literally made heads roll. What happened was that Lenin initially made an exception in the state-run economy of the Soviet state to allow peasants to sell their "surplus" farmed goods (left-overs that weren't requisitioned by the state.)

When Stalin came to power, a crop crisis convinced him that the people who prospered from selling their crops, livestock, dairy, etc.. were causing a mass starvation among the less well-off. So he converted to a total requisition economy over the dead bodies of peasants who protested.

Lots of mass graves were filled up during this change in economic policy. Some of them are still being discovered today during excavation digging for new construction projects. (The more fortunate peasants got sent into forced labor in Siberian gulags, if forced labor is considered to be more merciful than outright death.)

Here's a book on sale at that deals with this interesting "economic" period of Russian history by focusing on why and how Stalin decided to crack down on the peasant trade: Stalin, Siberia, and the Crisis of the New Economic Policy.

Another book on Amazon treats Lenin's policy of allowing peasants to trade their surplus produce and crops as a purely economic phenomenon: Russia in the Era of NEP.
posted by gregb1007 at 2:29 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Marx wrote Das Kapital in German, but it had a rather significant impact on Russian economics and history. It's worth reading. I imagine it should not be too hard to find a second-hand Russian translation somewhere.
posted by three blind mice at 4:15 AM on January 4, 2008

Here's something really wierd: My wife has degrees in Economics and Russian, and today is her birthday. I think she would like a subscription to The Economist, and I've thought about getting her one in the past. As I think back on gifts I've given her over the past several years, I have to admit that I've never really given her anything apropos to her degrees. So I'll watch this thread closely.
posted by Shohn at 5:25 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I love Russia, and part of what fascinates me is the meeting of east and west that you can find in that country. If you think she is interested in that intersection, she may be interested in a book on current Central Asian economics and culture. It's entwined not only with Russia via many of the countries' status as former Soviet states, but also has quite a lot of relevance today because of its proximity with the middle east. Something about today's culture and economics of the region could work well, then. Something along these lines, perhaps.

Alternatively, what about a book on the Silk Road? It passed from east to west through Central Asia and was of incredible importance economically.
posted by lorrer at 7:23 AM on January 4, 2008

Ask Tyler Cowen. He's an economist, his wife is Russian and he knows plenty of fun things.
posted by themel at 8:42 AM on January 4, 2008

Well, I wanted to get something sort of fun. I went to a used bookstore and bought a couple of cool old books. One old one with Russian short stories (one one page Russian, on the other english), and a book filled with fun Russian colloquialisms, and I pre-ordered indexed, though by then it'll almost be past our anniversary.

I also asked Tyler, I'll post his response if I receive one. Thank you for your suggestions.
posted by codybaldwin at 11:53 AM on January 4, 2008

E-mail from Tyler:

"A gift certificate for a Russian deli or book store?


Natasha, any ideas?

posted by codybaldwin at 5:10 PM on January 4, 2008

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