1. If you’re not a fan of sweat or sunburns, Moscow in December is the place for you. Russia’s capital got a whopping six minutes of sunlight through the entire month of December. Sure, the yearly average of 18 hours isn’t much better, but the December of 2017 was not just particularly dismal; it was the darkest month in the city’s history, according to data from Russia’s meteorological center. When Russians complain about being kept in the dark, it’s not just about secrets they’re not finding out.
2. Farming for salvation? A field in Moscow’s Mitino district is home to a giant, carved message that can be seen in space. The letters carved into the field say “Lord, help Russia.” A previous message spelled “Putin, help Skhodnya,” referring to a valley slated for a construction project. The message to the lord was apparently carved in 2016, but was recently discovered and propelled to popularity by social media. God and aliens may not be listening, but social networks always are.
3. How about an independent poll with your election? No can do. The Levada Center, Russia’s top independent pollster, was labeled a foreign agent in 2016, but is only facing the music now: foreign agents are banned from playing a part in elections, so Levada cannot publish survey results at least until the election. Meanwhile, the state-controlled polling agency VTsIOM is picking up the sociological slack: for starters, it claims that 73.8% of Russians polled will vote for Putin.
“Last December was the darkest month in the history of weather observations.”
—A report from the weather portal Meteonovosti putting December’s six minutes of sunlight in context.
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