Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:31:36
13 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Proliferation of Playful (and Political) Pranks

by Irina Bukharin
Comical Capers and Entertaining Escapades

1. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and one man’s poison is another man’s… cooking oil? That’s right, one intrepid Russian entrepreneur is now selling “Novichok” sunflower oil, referencing the nerve agent allegedly used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The bottle cheekily sports the old KGB logo and has the tagline “Products for a long life.” This is pure Russian ingenuity for you: not sp-oil-ing a good opportunity, no matter what form it comes in!

 

2. Google Maps will take you to the best watering hole in Novosibirsk. Literally. Until this week, a large pothole in Novosibirsk was listed as a tourist attraction on Google Maps. It had over 75 reviews, several humorous comments, and a five-star rating. The famous pit even has its own Twitter account! Unfortunately, the pothole was removed from Google Maps after it gained internet fame. Now if the pothole got filled, that would truly be a hole-in-one.

Pothole

Photo: Dmitriy Mishin 

 

3. This week in Russia, planes are flying overhead and falling from the sky. Paper planes, that is. Activists are throwing paper planes from buildings in order to protest the recent crackdown against the messaging app Telegram, which has a paper plane in its logo. These activists aren’t just winging it: the founder of Telegram called for people to toss paper planes en masse out of their windows this Sunday. A member of the band Pussy Riot joined in the fun, throwing paper planes outside Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters (and earning herself 100 hours of community service). Though the effectiveness of this form of protest is yet to be seen, its fun factor is as plane as day.

 
In Odder News:

 

  • A babe on skis: one woman takes her baby with her as she cross-country skis

  • And she lived to tail the tale: one cat’s 150 kilometer hitchhiking experience

  • There’s a new, non-political test for government leaders-in-training: cliff jumping

 

Quote of the Week:

“A lovely, magical place! On its shore it's so romantic to meet the sunrise or watch the sun leaving the horizon, looking at the floating ducks and swans, in the company of your beloved girl and a bottle of collection wine. I recommend every guest of the city visit it!”

—One review of Novosibirsk’s very large pothole.

Want more where this comes from? Give your inbox the gift of TWERF, our Thursday newsletter on the quirkiest, obscurest, and Russianest of Russian happenings of the week.

The spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

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).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

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. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

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. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

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. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

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. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

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. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

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!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

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.