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In Canada we have the idiom "selling ice to the eskimos" to illustrate someone doing something redundant. What is it in russian that illustrates redundancy? I've looked at lists of idioms but haven't seen any that illustrate redundancy.

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    Concerning snow - there is an expression that describes a very greedy person: "У него/неё зимой снега не выпросишь". – Artemix Dec 21 '14 at 7:48
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For a native idiom, you are looking for

ездить в Тулу со своим самоваром

See the "Culture" section of the Wikipedia page about Tula for more information.

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15

There is also a phrase similar to taking coals to Newcastle:

дрова в лес возить

which means to carry wood back into the forest, to do something that is not needed.

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When Israel sold snow-making machines to Russia for the Winter Olympiad in Sochi, there were lots of jokes that "jews sold to russians snow in winter". The expression продать снег зимой is quite well known. Although I don't think it's about redundancy; rather it means executing a clever con.

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    I agree, that meaning is quite different from redundancy. Sell ice to the Eskimos = To persuade people to go against their best interests or to accept something unnecessary or preposterous. – naXa Dec 21 '14 at 1:05
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There's also a series of idioms that follow the pattern of "...like [an animal] needs [an object]", e.g. "Мне это нужно, как зайцу велосипед" или "Им это нужно, как рыбе зонтик" etc.

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    Как зайцу стопсигнал – Boris Ivanov Dec 23 '14 at 10:08
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    Как собаке пятая нога – Dmitry Ilukhin Dec 24 '14 at 8:34
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Two more idioms for redundancy. Both are used to describe an action, performed with an inappropriate instrument:

Стрелять из пушки по воробьям (To shoot sparrows from a cannon).

Микроскопом гвозди забивать (To hammer nails with a microscope).

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    that's not redundancy, that's overkill. – Qwerty Dec 23 '14 at 15:43
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Russian idiom with means redundant is 'Масло масленное', literally in english: 'Buttery butter'.

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You can use in Russian the literal translation,

Продавать снег эскимосам "Sell snow to the eskimos"

But it would be understood as a hopeless enterprise, defective by design business rather than "persuading people against their will" as you say it means in Canada.

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    That sounds artificial. Better to say "продавать снег чукчам" – SomeWittyUsername May 7 '17 at 13:13

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