Thursday, January 18, 2018
1. If you’re not a fan of sweat or sunburns, Moscow in December is the place for you. Russia’s capital got a whopping six minutes of sunlight through the entire month of December. Sure, the yearly average of 18 hours isn’t much better, but the December of 2017 was not just particularly dismal; it was the darkest month in the city’s history, according to data from Russia’s meteorological center. When Russians complain about being kept in the dark, it’s not just about secrets they’re not finding out.
2. Farming for salvation? A field in Moscow’s Mitino district is home to a giant, carved message that can be seen in space. The letters carved into the field say “Lord, help Russia.” A previous message spelled “Putin, help Skhodnya,” referring to a valley slated for a construction project. The message to the lord was apparently carved in 2016, but was recently discovered and propelled to popularity by social media. God and aliens may not be listening, but social networks always are.
3. How about an independent poll with your election? No can do. The Levada Center, Russia’s top independent pollster, was labeled a foreign agent in 2016, but is only facing the music now: foreign agents are banned from playing a part in elections, so Levada cannot publish survey results at least until the election. Meanwhile, the state-controlled polling agency VTsIOM is picking up the sociological slack: for starters, it claims that 73.8% of Russians polled will vote for Putin.
“Last December was the darkest month in the history of weather observations.”
—A report from the weather portal Meteonovosti putting December’s six minutes of sunlight in context.
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.
Which would you rather: be trapped in the Arctic or accused of treason? Okay, not a fun game. But a worthwhile read about the latest in Russian news.
This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid.
Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.
Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.
Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips.
Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.
Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.
The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.