The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes is travelling in a Volga car along the Volga river to take a snapshot of life in Vladimir Putin's Russia, as the presidential election looms. This is his third piece, from the city of Ulyanovsk.

For those peculiar individuals who still mourn the loss of the Soviet Union: I have good news.
In this remote city on the edge of European Russia something of the USSR lives on.
The first sign I had entered a time warp came as I tried to check in to my hotel. A very severe-looking woman in large spectacles and heavy make-up demanded to see my passport, visa and police registration.
This is normal in Russia. What came next is not, or is not supposed to be.
"Mr Wingfield, may I ask what is the purpose of your visit to Ulyanovsk?" the lady asked me.
"I'm a journalist," I said.

A dying industry

Rupert prepares for trip

A dying industry

Rupert prepares for trip

From her expression this was clearly tantamount to admitting I work for MI6.
"Who are you planning to meet while in Ulyanovsk?" she demanded. I wanted to tell her it was none of her business, but I new that would only make things worse.
"The governor's office," I blurted.
Then came the question that really floored me: "Mr Wingfield, exactly how many years have you been a journalist?"
I began to giggle. "Is this for real?" I asked.
My new friend did not see the joke.
Lenin museum
Perhaps I should not have been surprised, after all, Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of a certain Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. The city is named after his family. And in Ulyanovsk there is no escape from him. The city is named after his family. And in Ulyanovsk there is no escape from him.
Stepping out of my hotel, I crossed Soviet Street towards the vast edifice that is the Vladimir Lenin Museum.
It stands high on a bluff overlooking the Volga river, a huge lump of brutalist white marble. It was built in 1970 to mark the 100th anniversary of the great man's birth.
Inside, I walked past hundreds of glass cases stuffed with Lenin memorabilia, past a Lenin library, and a Lenin conference hall. At the centre of the museum stands the very house in which Lenin was born - dismantled and rebuilt here.

1.You can live on very little amount of money.
2.You can live on only by eating potaoes.
3.You can live on for a short period of time if you are sufferning from a disease like cancer.
If you read the fourth sentence of the above, you will read the words 'USSR lives on'.
What does it mean?
Perhaps I should not have been surprised, after all, Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of a certain Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
What is the meaning of the words 'certain Vladimir IIyich Lenin'?
I would write 'Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin'.
We don't say the USA is the birthplace of a certain Bill Clinton.
We say the USA is the birthplace of Bill Clinton.

from Longman Dic. of C. English:
- (formal) used to talk about someone you do not know but whose name you have been told.

I use that a lot in my native language, but it's not formal. Have you ever heard of a certain doctor Jones?

I have never ever heard about a certain Dr. Jones.
However, I have heard about one Dr.Jones.

If I don't know Dr. Jones, I will say there is one Dr.Jones working at the clinic.

Your dictionary says it is formal; so it borders slang to some extent.

I accept your answer. I don't know each and every word in English. By posting questions here I learn more English.
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"Lives on" = cotinues to live. Looks like that Journalist sees only the worst side of the Soviet lifestyle...

BTW, What do you mean by your sig?

What is the meaning of the words 'a certain Vladimir IIyich Lenin'?

The writer is trying to be mildly humorous, mildly ironical. He is suggesting by these words that the reader may not have heard of Lenin, altohough in fact he knows that everyone has heard of Lenin.

Best wishes, Clive
I thank Clive and Ant for the replies.

It seems Ant is a Russian.
You found mistakes in my Russian sentence.
I speak some Russian because I studied Russian.
However, my Russian is beneath contempt.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
«It seems Ant is a Russian.»


«You found mistakes in my Russian sentence.»

Nope! Though it doesn't sound natural: use "русских девушек". And are you sure it'll be _properly_understood?

«However, my Russian is beneath contempt.»

So is my English...

I know Russian has two words for girl.
I have forgotten those minute differences.


Depending the age the word varies.

Under 14 girls девушек?
Over 14 girls девушек ?
«Depending the age the word varies.»

Not as much on the age as on the overall personality... Also русский vs. российский.

*Ant222 meekly expects an off-topic warning from an admin.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?