The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Okay, so there is no Russian Cinco de Mayo. That is, there’s a May 5, but without the margaritas and mariachi.
In Sync with Cinco
1. Russians may not celebrate Cinco de Mayo or its dorkier space sister May 4th ("May the Fourth be with you"), but they’ve got those beat with May Day. This year’s festivities saw some controversy when a group of LGBT activists was arrested and prevented from marching in the St. Petersburg parade – though Neo-Nazis with a sign declaring “For the Unity of Slavs and the White Race!” marched without interruption.
2. Eternal flames can burn out: flames painted on cardboard last forever. At least, unless they face water damage, graffiti, or, you know, real flames. But that hasn’t stopped Pereslavskoe, a village near Kaliningrad, from keeping up cartoon flames year-round and firing up the actual monument only on national holidays. Maybe the goofy painting will fire up patriotic officials to extend local gas lines all the way to the monument.
3. Any Russian citizen is now eligible to receive a free hectare of land in the Far East region of Khabarovsk. That land can be used for farming, construction, and business – as long as the new residents don’t mind the almost complete lack of infrastructure. At least they’ll get an unobstructed view of forest as far as the eye can see (unobstructed aside from by other trees, at least).
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
"Yes, they call me Grandma. But in competition we are all equals."
—Oksana Chusovitina, who is breaking records by competing in her 7th Olympic Games this summer. She first competed for the Soviet Union.
Russian Cultural Literacy
In Mexico, May 5th marks an 1863 victory over the French. In Russia, it’s the day Fyodor Dostoyevsky was arrested for counter-revolutionary activities and sentenced to death in 1849. If not for that sentence (cancelled at the last minute) and his four years in Siberia, we may never have seen the author we know and love today.
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.