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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
Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).
Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies.
A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth.
A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness.
Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself.
Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times.
A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!
International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.