October 03, 2019

Beer, Balloons, and (GMO) Babies

Beer, Balloons, and (GMO) Babies
Expect more of this in the next recession. Annen Stuckart via Flickr

Quote of the Week

“You have a silver tongue.”

— Elon Musk, in response to a slickly produced invitation video to a business forum

The Elon (and Economy) Strikes Again

1. Trying to predict the next recession in Russia? One researcher suggests tracking illegal homebrews. “With an increase in economic difficulties, the population tries moving from expensive legal alcohol to cheaper self-production or black market alcohol,” explained researcher Alexei Zubets. The observation was simple, but it launched a vigorous debate. One economist argued that actually, homebrewing is an expensive hippie hobby, so it’s the other way around. A news site accused Zubets of furthering “institutional Russophobia.” Zubets ended up walking back his observation as a joke. (Maybe you had to be drunk to get it?)

2. Russians have long been enamored with Elon Musk, but he hasn’t always returned the favor. Earlier this year, after months of what everyone thought was banter, Musk threatened the head of Roscosmos with a rap battle. Still, some Krasnodar entrepreneurs made a plan to win him over. The entrepreneurs bought a billboard near SpaceX and displayed a QR code that linked to this video. Three minutes long, the video features an ode to Elon Musk (including a Musk balloon) and invites him to their annual forum. Sadly, Musk responded ambiguously, but if it’s any comfort, he did so in fluent Russian.

The most slickly produced love letter ever made. / Форум Дело за малым

3. Since a Chinese scientist announced the birth of genetically modified twins last June, scientists have been debating how to regulate human genetic modification. But while most debate in public, some Russian scientists took the debate to endocrinologist Maria Vorontsova. Vorontsova is no ordinary doctor — she’s rumored to be Putin’s daughter. Reports have it that she’ll convey their opinions to Putin, who will make the final decision. Vorontsova didn’t commit to either side, but if Putin agrees to greenlight genetic modification, it could be the first step to literally remaking Russia in his image.

In Odder News

  • A Russian Arctic explorer serenaded walruses with an accordion song.

Appropriately, the song was from the movie “My Sweet and Tender Beast.” / ParaWorldAerial
  • The latest Moscow art trend: Covering up parts of metro station names to create new (funnier) words.
Kotelniki becomes Kotiki (cats). / Pikcher via Vkontakte
  • Last week, Russian Instagram saw the rise of a hashtag, #СоМнойВсеТак, to talk about body positivity. Read some Instagrammers’ reflections on beauty standards and personal growth.

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.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567