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Thursday, January 11, 2018
1. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Despacito may have been nominated for the song of the year Grammy, it may have sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks, and it may have garnered four billion YouTube views (thanks, Bieb). But you know a song's really made it when it gets covered by a Pavel, Vasily and Kirill’s folk band from Novosibirsk. You’re welcome.
Need more. Ok, fine. Here is also a hilarious parody of the song (subtitled, and also from Nizhny) that is, well, a bit NSFW.
2. New Year’s is a special time in Russia – so special, in fact, that they celebrate it twice! The second time being January 14, aka Vasilyev’s Day. [English]. And, given that 2018 is the year of the dog, what better way to bark in the New Year than with a wag of the tail from cute puppies? Brought to you by the Russian Ministry of Defense, who is raising these service dogs (for entirely peaceful purposes we hope).
3. Whether celebrating New Year’s the first or second time, you need to go out and get yourself a really nice, pricey bottle of vodka. No, no, wait, you have to pay for it! Which apparently was not the plan of a thief who stole a $1.3 million dollar bottle (yeah, you read that right) under the watchful eye of a Danish bar’s CTV camera. He walks into the storage room at night and walks right to the most expensive bottle. As if, you know, he knew his way around. (Just saying.)
4. What's "yat" got to do with it? Exactly 100 years ago on January 1, 1918, the Bolsheviks took the orthographic reforms set in place by the Provisional Government and made the ironclad rule of the land. The goal? To show that they were making demonstrable changes. And quickly. Russian | English Well, letters are one thing, language another. Noted Russian translator of the Harry Potter novels, Natalia Mavlevich offers some fascinating thoughts on her profession, not least of which is this: “I became convinced that in the Russian language there are infinitely more synonyms for grief, misfortune, sorrow, grief, misfortune, wretchedness and much less for happiness, joy, fun, jubilation.” Russian | English
The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats.
This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha.
A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.
In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.
The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team.
It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.
Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested.
Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.