Morality, the Moon, and Meds
1. American Idol. The Apprentice. Ramzan Kadyrov’s version of The Apprentice. And now, the competition to become Russia’s first cosmonauts on the moon. Roscosmos, Russia’s state-owned space agency, has announced a recruitment drive for wannabe cosmonauts to join Russia’s first manned Moon landing in 2031. Candidates will be evaluated based on technical, physical, and psychological ability to win the honor of representing Russia’s next big step in space. Unfortunately, they’re not actually making it a reality TV show.
2. With May’s Eurovision Song Contest around the corner, scandal’s already a-brewing. Russia’s nomination of Yulia Samoilova, a singer who happens to be in a wheelchair, is seen by some as a Russian bid to take the moral high ground by spotlighting the disabled. A timely tactic, too, with Kiev – which is hosting this year’s event – threatening to ban Samoilova from Ukraine because she performed in Russia-annexed Crimea. Ukrainian Security Services call it a provocation, but in the Kremlin’s view, “everyone has been to Crimea.”
3. Forget architecture, history, nature and art: more tourists are now visiting Russia to get pregnant or have bad teeth pulled. Thanks to lower costs and fewer restrictions, medical tourism is on the rise in Russia, especially from countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States. With instances as varied as Chinese tour groups dropping by the dentist between museums and Iranians getting experimental cancer treatment, there’s even talk of instituting a medical visa. Whether you love Fabergé eggs or just want to get your varicose veins treated, it’s yet another reason to visit Russia.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
"There is no one who hasn't been to Crimea."
—Dmitri Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, on the claim by Ukrainian politicians that Yulia Samoilova, Russia’s Eurovision pick, shouldn’t be allowed into Ukraine because of a visit to Crimea.
Cover image: themoscowtimes.com
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