Do they still use samovars in Russia? Or have they been replaced by boring modern electric kettles?
I’ve never seen anyone use a samovar in real life (although I live in Belarus, not in Russia; it might be different in Russia).
Russian Wikipedia says that "samovars were almost universally replaced by electric kettles or kettles for stoves", and it says this this trend begain in middle 1990's.
Here’s a text from a fantasy novel «Чистовик» by Sergei Lukyanenko. Even though it’s a fantasy novel, I think it describes reality pretty well:
Но вот что я́вно преврати́лось в туристи́ческий сувени́р э́то самова́р. Он у́мер вме́сте с больши́ми се́мьями, что собира́лись за одни́м столо́м, с совме́стными у́жинами: неспе́шными, без включённого телеви́зора и разогре́тых в микроволно́вке полуфабрика́тов. Не́которое вре́мя они́ ещё держа́лись в ка́честве украше́ния пра́здничного стола́, пуза́тые самова́ры, никели́рованные и́ли распи́санные под хохлому́. Их достава́ли на де́нь рожде́ния, на Но́вый год и на Первома́й, но всё-таки их достава́ли и са́мым вку́сным ча́ем де́тства был чай, кото́рый налива́ли из самова́ра.
А пото́м разноцве́тные пла́стиковые ча́йники уби́ли самова́ры оконча́тельно. Про́ще бы́ло принести́ с ку́хни ча́йник и вы́ставить пе́ред гостя́ми коро́бку с паке́тиками зава́рки, чем тащи́ть большо́й самова́р и зава́ривать чай по всем пра́вилам дожда́вшись жемчу́жных ни́тей в кипятке́, сполосну́в фарфо́ровый ча́йник, пожени́в зава́рку. Я уже́ и не по́мнил, когда́ после́дний раз доводи́лось сиде́ть за столо́м с самова́ром.
But the thing that has really became a mere touristic souvenir is samovar. It died out together with the large families, which gathered together around the table, with common suppers: slow, without the television turned on and without convenience foods heated in microwave ovens. For some time they remained a decoration of the holiday table, paunchy samovars, nickelled or decorated in Khokloma style. They were taken out on birthdays, on New Year and the 1 of May, but at least they were taken out, and the tastiest tea of our childhood was the tea poured from the samovar.
And then the plastic kettles of various colours have finally killed samovars. It was easier to bring the kettle from the kitchen, put a box with the tea bags in front of the guest, than to move the huge samovar and brew the tea according to all the rules, waiting for the 'pearl-strings' to appear in the boling water, rinsing the china teapot, 'marrying' the brew. I couldn’t even remember the last time when I has a chance to sit at the table near a samovar.
I wonder if it depends where in the country? I know my хозяйка had a samovar (albeit an electric one)' and while it wasn't in daily use, it got brought out when people came over в гости or on Easter, etc, and if memory serves at least a few other families I knew had one. Though my хозяйка was from an older generation, maybe that was part of it?
I don't know that they used it 'to the rules', I have to say.
Sad though :-/
I currently live near Moscow (~800 metres from its border anyway) and I last saw a samovar in use about 20 years ago, at my school (and it was an electric one). I think it can still be seen as something you can use at an informal party but not many people actually have it. We used a kettle, then an electric kettle.
You can buy a samovar quite easily, at least in Moscow. For one, this very summer I visited a shop with a wide selection of samovars; it was somewhere in the centre.
I live in Pskov and I saw a samovar very recently. Last Christmas my grandmother placed the electric samovar on the table.
With the usual caveat that my experience of living in Russia is some fifteen years old - as I remember it, a lot of people still had and regularly used samovars, even if they also had a kettle, but the samovars were usually heated by electricity. A marriage of the old and new, I guess! I don't know if this is still the case.
(I also remember drying out teabags on the heaters and reusing them.)
Thanks! I guess tradition couldn't keep out electricity forever, but I'm glad the samovars are surviving, even if in a modified form.
Me too! I hope they're still around, but it seems like a kind of tradition that will go on. Russians do love their tea, and a samovar is so quintessentially Russian.
Random, because I just remembered; we visited Volgograd when I was living in Ulyanovsk, and there's a place which is called, I think, simply the panorama or maybe the panorama museum, and it is this huge round painting of the battle of Stalingrad, and I think alongside it (really, really long time ago, poor memory) is a museum of memorabilia of the time, and we were slightly 8-o when we discovered a very pretty, delicate China teapot in there that said in Russian on the side something like "death to the German occupiers"... More tea, vicar?
This sentence means 'turning on' an electric kettle? Not putting a kettle on the stove? Or it can mean both.
It can only refer to an electric kettle. To ask someone to put kettle on the stove, you could say «Поставь ча́йник на плиту́».
For a phrase that works regardless of the type of the kette, you could use «Вскипяти́ во́ду в ча́йнике» 'Boil water in the kettle'.
Thanks. In that case I think the primary translation should have "turn on". "Put on" might be assumed to mean "on the stove". In which case you would "turn on" the stove (assumed), and "put on" the kettle. "Put on" would work for an electric kettle, but definitely be less common.