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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.
Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor.
An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons.
We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden.
Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament.
Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four.
Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.
Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy.
Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.