1. “On the sixth of May we announce a subbotnik [Saturday community service day] to collect human remains on the river bank,” read a sign in a village of 400 in Perm region. The area along the river was a mass grave – or, in the kinder Russian phrasing, a brothers’ grave – for victims of the Civil War (1918-1922). Erosion has caused many of the bones to become unearthed. Every spring for the past ten years residents have volunteered to gather them for reburial.
2. Speaking of dead soldiers, ten Great Fatherland War heroes will forever rest not only in peace, but with honor. The graves of air force officers, including the female division nicknamed the “Night Witches,” were declared objects of cultural heritage of regional significance. The Night Witches played a key role in battles to free Sevastopol, Minsk and Warsaw, just to name a few. One of the other memorialized graves belongs to Vitaliy Popkov, whose life is depicted in the Soviet movie Only Old Men Are Going to Battle. You can pay your respects to all of them at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.
3. A Russian psychologist proposed that a new term, “the carry-on bag syndrome,” can help victims understand and move past the tragedy of the airplane that caught on fire at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport this week. Many Russian outlets blamed passengers that grabbed bags on their way out of the plane for slowing down the evacuation, e.g. Komsomolskaya Pravda’s Facebook post: “Are things more valuable than people?” Emergency psychology specialist Olga Makarova explained that, when under extreme stress, people automatically act in accordance with their habits. She also said the media’s reaction has been akin to blaming the survivors of a tragedy.
“Can they really do that? State honors are placed on that ribbon, it is a symbol of victory, and they put it on vodka and pasta.”
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