February 21, 2019

Black Snow, Brown Bears, and Sore Losers

Black Snow, Brown Bears, and Sore Losers
Unfortunately, writing “white” in the snow does not make it so. olegga48

Throwback Thursday

Michael Romanov. / RBTH

On this day 506 years ago, this mild-looking fellow became Russia’s first Romanov tsar.




Life’s Good When You’re a Bear…But Not Ilya Ber

1. All’s fair in love, war, and Russian game shows. One “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” contestant took “phoning a friend” a bit too literally. According to show host Ilya Ber, last November veteran contestant Alexander Drouz called him and offered to split the winnings if Ber gave him the answers ahead of time. For his part, Drouz claims that it was actually Ber who bribed him, but he just “played along” to “find out how far this person would go.” The producers, meanwhile, have banned both Drouz and Ber from participating again. What’s the game show term for when everyone loses?

2. Black as snow? Siberia’s white winter landscapes are turning black. This is a problem not just for fans of snow, but also for people concerned about air quality. That’s right: local residents are pointing to coal plants emitting huge billows of smoke into the air, which aren’t just ruining the snow, but also making it hard to breathe. On the bright side, it turns out black snow can make great art. One creative citizen, for example, decided to write “white” into the black snow. Maybe this situation isn’t so black-and-white after all.

Bear hugging man
Mansur’s guardian really knows the meaning of a bear hug. / Andrei Ivanov

3. The bear necessities. Three years ago, vintage plane restorers in Tver found a lonely orphan cub wandering around on their territory. A local aerodrome took the bear under its wing (pun intended), and now the bear (named Mansur) is healthy and strong — he’s even best friends with a husky. But, as it turns out, bears (just like the rest of us) cost money to keep happy. To help them bear the cost of caring for “Air Bear,” Mansur’s guardian has created a crowdfunding campaign and a Youtube livestream where you can watch Mansur chill for eleven hours straight. We personally hope their campaign bears fruit!

Blog spotlight

In the summer of 1922, Ruth Epperson Kennell, a children’s librarian, left New York City for the far reaches of Siberia. She travelled with her husband Frank and 132 other ‘pioneers’ who were eager to establish industrial and agricultural communes to aid the ‘new Russia’. Read more in Julia Mickenberg’s January 30 article on Russian Life.

In odder news:


Quote of the Week

“I can talk with him [Viktor Sydnev, co-contestant] so that, you know, also, well you know, whatever you call it.”

— Alexander Drouz to Ilya Ber, allegedly while bribing Ber for answers on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

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