November 21, 2019

Ice, Ice, Baby Tigers

Ice, Ice, Baby Tigers
Baby tigers are the cutest image to come out of Russia this week, despite the unsettling circumstances. Amurtigercenter | Instagram

Quote of the Week

“This is a centuries-long dream of our people.” 

– The mayor of Yakutsk, the largest world city located in permafrost, about a new bridge over the Lena River. 


Father Frost, Mother tiger, and the freezing wrath of Mother Nature

1. A tigress did not earn her stripes as a mother. From a video published on Instagram by a conservation center, three tiger cubs appeared with no mother in sight. Specialists have been dispatched to the area to go around asking “Are You My Mother?” on behalf of the baby tigers. If they find mom’s tracks, the little ones are unthreatened, but if they don’t, the tigers are young enough to be very vulnerable without help. The entire species, actually, is vulnerable; there are only 500-600 Siberian Tigers in the wild, so the survival of these cubs could make a difference. Here’s hoping they catch the tiger mom by the trail. 

2. It’s Father Frost (Ded Moroz, aka Russian Santa) season in Russia. Here’s something to warm your heart: in their letters to Father Frost, Russian children most often ask for the health and happiness of their loved ones, according to his press service (yes, that exists). Ironically, though, the second most common request, a smartphone, could undermine the institution of writing letters in the first place… perhaps the future of Father Frost requests is cold calling? Meanwhile, Ded Moroz celebrated his birthday not only with his trusty sidekick Snegorochka, but also a hero from folk epics, Baba Yaga, and other fairytale figures. 

Ded Moroz birthday
Announcing the latest addition to the Russian Christmas (well, more like New Year’s) canon… a snow rabbit? / The Press Service of the Russian Father Frost | TASS

3. In February, 1959, ten young and experienced Soviet hikers died during a winter expedition, surrounded by very mysterious circumstances, like missing eyeballs and radiation on their clothes, leading to a variety of awkward explanations, from American spies to Yedi. The Russian government broke the 60-year-old ice and reopened this cold case, known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident, earlier this year. They were supposed to provide results in August, but the New York Times got there first, with groundbreaking new research on avalanches. Previously thought impossible, or at least unlikely, due to the relatively gentle slope of the mountain, creating the campsite might have triggered a delayed avalanche. Eyeballs and radiation can likely be explained by hungry critters and lanterns. If you still prefer Yedi-type explanations, though, the Times also published an original short story by Colin Dodds that was inspired by the incident.


In Odder News

  • A faucet factory in Tatarstan wants to make Russians thirsty. They recently released a video preview of their much-anticipated annual sexy calendar, with the goal of “not leaving a single viewer indifferent.” 
Russian factory sexy calendar
What does fishnet-factory erotica says about post-Soviet Russian aesthetics? / Youtube channel of the Naberezhnochelensky Faucet Factory | Rambler Novosti
  • The Night Wolves motorcycle club and All Worlds organization unfurled the globe-travelling world’s largest Russian flag in Antarctica. 
Russian flag in Antarctica
This achievement is sure to make Russia feel on top – erm, bottom – of the world. / All World Organization | RIA Novosti
  • One Moscovite’s message to the heavens – “Lord, help Russia” written in enormous letters in a field, – is visible not only from space, but also from your computer screen.
Lord Help Russia message visible from satellite on Yandex Maps
Two ways to achieve immortality: salvation, and being archived on Yandex Maps / Yandex Maps |


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