July 14, 2016

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Here, there, and to the courthouse

1. The Kremlin has given the Federal Security Service (the FSB) two weeks to decrypt the entire internet. In other words, they’re demanding encryption keys for all internet data as mandated under the newly adopted “anti-terrorist” laws. The laws limit information on the web, and they’re making the internet a much smaller place, what with political sites blocked for anti-Kremlin messages and a tech company withdrawing from Russia – likely just the first of many.

2. Russian tourists flock to Turkey, to be greeted by champagne and expectations of a big boost for Turkey’s tourist-starved economy. The influx of sightseeing Russians signals improved relations between Russia and Turkey, and comes on the heels of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s apology for the shooting down of a Russian warplane in November. With Presidents Putin and Erdogan planning to meet, it looks like they’ll let bygones be bygones.

3. In an endeavor not impacted by the new laws (at least, not yet), adventurer Fyodor Koniukhov has launched on a solo hot air balloon trip around the globe. His goal: to break the world record of circumnavigating Earth in 13 days. His balloon: reflective silver and emblazoned “Moscow” in bright red. It’s also the world’s largest, requiring a full night for 60 meters to fill up with helium. Either he makes it in 12 days, or he’s full of hot air.


Quote of the Week

“He’s an incredible adventurer. He’s what I call a responsible risk taker.”

—Dick Smith, fellow adventurer of Fyodor Koniukhov, on Koniukhov’s trip around the globe in history’s largest hot air balloon.

In Odder News

    • In case you didn’t get enough of St. Pete, here are nine of the city’s best beards. That’s right, beards. 
    • Another group impacted by the strict new laws: Mormons
    • In honor of Fevronia’s Day, a region in north-western Russia refused to accept any divorce applications. What’s Fevronia’s Day, you ask? 

    Russian Cultural Literacy

        Fevronia’s Day is a little bit like Russian Valentine’s Day. You’ve got a celebration of romance and fidelity, a legend involving a talking snake, and corpses jumping between coffins. Come to think of it, there’s way more to it than Valentine’s Day. Find out what here.

        Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.


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