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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 news in the U.S. is news for Russia, too. Here's how Russians are thinking about a Trump presidency – and it involves cats and burgers, as well as political ponderings.
A group of humanitarian clowns is set to conquer sadness in Russia. Whether they can also combat corruption, questionable legal cases, and adorable baby foxes is another matter.
We thank our readers for another year of living, loving, and learning about Russian life. With some extra pictures and cultural exploration to keep you grateful.
Should ice dancing with a Holocaust theme be totally taboo, or can it be done with respect? That and Fidel Castro, Siberian cats, and a few fish puns.
Masha and the Bear tops the charts, Ramzan Kadyrov picks Chechnya's next top admin, and the arts in general are a big bowl of kasha.
With puppies and provinces on the line, Russia-Japan relations are a bit ruff. Plus bobsledding bedlam, diplomatic dirt, and more holiday dogs.
Just in time for the holidays, Russians unearth (unsea?) some fish that look out of this world. Plus, anticipating the New Year, the U.S. view on Russia, and political jokes.
The year's coldest ride, hottest statue, most scandalous yoga teacher, and best way to learn the names of all of Russia's federal subjects. And it's just the first TWERF of the year.