October 13, 2016

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

Culture, Counterculture, Cuba

1. An effigy of the anti-communist author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was hung – or rather, hanged – on the gate of Moscow’s Gulag Museum. In a letter pinned to the effigy, a group called the Revolutionary Communist Youth Union claimed responsibility, calling Solzhenitsyn a “traitor” who “shamelessly lied about the Gulag.” The museum’s director seeks punishment for those responsible, as the act is not merely hooliganism, but represents a violent vein of historical revisionism.

2. In a gentler approach to culture, thanks to the group 2D Among Us, famous pop culture characters are popping up in everyday Russian settings. A lightsaber battle blazes in Rostov-on-Don; Jon Snow walks through Russian snow; the batmobile is parked at a dacha; Forrest Gump sits by a Lenin statue; Harry, Ron, and Hermione huddle outside a Soviet apartment block. And don't forget Alf on the Metro.


3. Cuban Missile Crisis, Take 2? That’s the fear, as the Russian military is considering reopening bases in Cuba and Vietnam. The Cuba base could put the Russian military as close as 144 km from U.S. soil – perhaps too close for comfort, given deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations in recent months. However, with Vietnam in fine financial shape and Cuba and the U.S. becoming buddies again, the task may be easier said than done.

In Odder News

Raccoon enthusiasts and pet owners (yes, of raccoons) attend a raccoon festival in St. Petersburg. You can bet your boots you're not seeing any coonskin caps at that party.


Is something wrong with those trees? No, something is right with that art. Take a peek at Gorky Park’s latest sculptures, a series of land art meant to augment the natural landscape.


How do you translate a word like “shlakoblokun'"? Quick answer: you don’t. You just enjoy the portmanteau of “cinder block” and “bass” and get on with your life.


Quote of the Week

“Often, fictional, drawn, or photographed images can inspire someone else’s fantasies to the point that they don’t want to look at reality anymore."
—Administrators of 2D Among US, a group that superimposes pop culture characters into scenes of urban life.

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