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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
Russia Day marks the birth of the post-Soviet Russian nation. This week saw some other births too, from literal leopard cubs to figurative names and games.
Fictional sportscasters, the all-too-real Olympic ban, and the possible reality of teleportation in Russia's future. And don't forget about mind control.
Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Does that mean a boom for Russia? Or is that title a ploy to get you to read about how Russians go about sunbathing?
Presidential speeches urge disrobing, but it's not what you think. All while laws get passed, politicians play judo, and – wait, is that Leonardo diCaprio?
Adventure takes many forms. There's regular travel, round-the-world travel, and navigating the Russian legal system. Also beards.
Pokémon goes to Russia – and so do memories of fallen tsars, athletes, street cleaners, and of course, a kitty cat.
A joke-telling Pushkin robot, an unimpressed Putin, and cheese that's as virtual a reality as Pokémon.
Why some Russians would rather vote for a fictional candidate, the importance of a Cossack education, and some artsy graffiti along the way.