Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 16:33:03
15 November 2018


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


Thursday, September 06, 2018

A Walk on the Wild Side (of Russia)

by Irina Bukharin
Of bugs, lip synching police and a very cute kitten

1. As it turns out, Siberian transport police have got some fire moves to encourage you to get moving, too. They released a hot new track called “Three Lines of Fate” (how could it not be good?), a song that lauds the work of these policemen and encourages people to travel. In it, transport police of all types lip sync and dance to the music, albeit in a rather limited way. Still, even if Billboard doesn’t place this jam on its Top 100 list, “Three Lines of Fate” has won a place in our hearts.

 

2. When you’ve had one of those days (you know which ones we’re talking about), only a poop emoji will do. Well, maybe that’s only true if you’re a millennial. Anyway, Yandex Maps is conspiring to take this privilege away from users! Yandex Maps has a new feature in which users can label map locations using three emojis (and you can take this quiz to guess cities based on their emojis!). Given this power, internet trolls have quickly covered the map with poop emojis and other coded emojis that Yandex Maps finds offensive. What Yandex Maps giveth, Yandex Maps taketh away, and so the company is limiting which emojis one can use on its maps.

3. In a certain Russian city, people are slipping, cars are skidding out, and it’s getting hard to breathe. No, this isn’t due to a very early snow storm, or to a late one, or to toxic waste in the streets. In fact, the plague that’s been bugging Taganrog is exactly that: a plague of bugs. To be more specific, Chironomidae, a mosquito-like bug that, very thankfully, does not bite. These creatures are absolutely covering the city’s every available surface. The streets are slick with them, the air is heavy with them, and the people are covered in them. This mysterious swarm may be due to the unusually warm and sticky summer the area was subject to. Regardless, we think we’ll let Taganrog sort out this fly in their ointment before we schedule our next visit.

In Odder News:

Dasha the Cat

Photo: Vadim Kirilyuk

  • Cute as a wild kitten: scientists rescued a wild kitten and prepare her for life outside
  • A true fail: everyone has a life when a school’s ceremonial balloon, shaped like a 5, turns over into a two (in American parlance, hopes for an A get turned into an F)

  • Leaf through the amazing photos from a reenactment of the Battle of Borodino, the biggest military reenactment in Europe

Quote of the Week:

“In the middle of June she went outside for the first time, and immediately ran back inside, to her humans, because she got too scared.”

— Vadim Kirilyuk, one of the Dasha’s caretakers, offering up a very sweet and sad moment of the wild kitten’s life.

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.

Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections
Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections

This week brings you not just news, but also striking images of the latest discoveries in natural rock formations and mammoth hunting in Siberia. Also, election season. 

Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes
Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes

Election aftermath, polar bear attacks, why drivers are against Russia's version of Uber, and maybe even a state secret or two. 

Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy
Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy

Spy gadgets get culinary, Putin parks a tank, and a tyke takes on the wilderness. All that, and the spirit of adventure. 

Liquor machines and lullaby missiles
Liquor machines and lullaby missiles

Patriotic tectonic plates, the threat of airborne Internet, a possible return to the Gulag, and some problems without solutions.  

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around
Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

A disturbing attack on a renowned author, and a lighthearted nod to an unlikely TV hero. Plus Russian military expansion, raccoons' domestic expansion, and more unlikely art. 

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?
Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

It's a busy week for technology, what with a Mars lander, more secure Internet, electric cars (in unlikely places), and enough counterfeit money to fill an ATM.

How to name your baby (and not get arrested)
How to name your baby (and not get arrested)

Baby BOCh rVF 260602 may have to change his name. Plus, Russia's protest potential, the shrinking middle class, and dabbling with Shamanism. 

False history and forensic literature
False history and forensic literature

Fighting falsified Russian history, righting incorrect Bulgakovian history, and piecing together just what – and how unified – is the Russian nation.