July 13, 2017

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies
Ballerinas, Entrepreneurs, and Pensioners

1. The rumor mill is doing pirouettes after a new ballet about Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (who? Find out) was canceled three days before opening at the Bolshoi Ballet. The official line is that the ballet “isn’t ready,” so it’s been postponed to next year. Director Kirill Serebrennikov and the ballet’s performers claim otherwise, some citing pressure from on high due to depictions of Nureyev’s homosexuality, which could violate Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. It wouldn’t be ballet without a touch of scandal.

2. Russia’s answer to Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and at least 50 journalists, Anton Nosik died on Saturday of a heart attack at 51. The Internet media pioneer, entrepreneur, and blogger known as the “godfather of Russian media,” Nosik founded several of Russia’s largest news sites, including Gazeta.ru, Lenta.ru, and Newsru.com. Though he made controversial statements about Syria and against the government’s crackdowns on internet freedoms, he was respected across much of Russian society. Journalists, opposition activists, and politicians alike paid their respects at his funeral on Tuesday.

3. Social Justice. Putin’s Troops. Crazy grannies. Whatever you call them, this group of elderly folks is a force to be reckoned with. Whether it’s raiding Alexei Navalny’s presidential campaign office in Krasnodar, posting pro-Kremlin video blogs, or making a senior-friendly anti-opposition rap video, these pro-Putinist senior citizens have a message and they’re making it viral. A new report finds the former politician behind the “grannies” and traces the path from Social Justice, his official organization, to today’s grantastic stunts.     

In Odder News
  • Last week's G20 summit was all over the news. So was this picture of President Putin surrounded by a gaggle of world leaders – along with parodies of the already fake picture.

  • Winter is coming to a metro station near you. Next week, a to-be-announced Moscow Metro station will screen the premier of the new season of Game of Thrones. There will be White Walkers.

Quote of the Week

“Even our clash with Navalny wasn’t sanctioned by anyone. It turns out to have been a real breakthrough, judging by how much everyone liked it. But we decide what to do on our own. We never ask anyone.”
—Marat Dinayev, founder of the charity “Social Justice” and the force behind the “granny activism” that targeted Alexei Navalny, on the independent nature of his organization's work.

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