Thursday, March 24, 2016
1. A church’s domes caving into the altar. A once-fuming factory overgrown with greenery. The kinds of bridges you see collapsing in action movies. These are some of the stunning, but saddening sights to be found across Russia, where budget cuts, battles, and plain old emigration have led to ancient churches in disrepair,abandoned cities, and Soviet murals propagandizing the future to empty towns.
2. A transgender couple finagled their way into a legal wedding in Moscow by using their pre-transition passports. That means the paperwork says the partner who now lives as a man is the wife (and vice versa). But after all the legal hoops to tying the knot the couple sees it as a victory, even with the switcheroo. It is a country whose religious leader calls some human rights “heresy,” after all.
3. Speaking of heresy, Moscow’s ARTPLAY Design Center is getting flak for displaying artwork that may or may not be “morally unacceptable.” Ads for their new Hieronymus Bosch exhibit were dismantled without warning, all because city officials can’t handle artistic anal play featuring a bouquet of flowers.
Russian Cultural Literacy
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…no wait, wrong Star Wars. On March 23, 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, better known as the Star Wars program. And cinema hasn’t been the same since.
“[The Church] must operate within the limits of the Constitution and the laws…Because that's how a secular state works, where not everybody is a believer, and not every believer is an Orthodox Christian, but everyone is a citizen."
— Petersburg lawmaker Boris Vishnevsky, on Patriarch Kirill’s statements that some human rights are “heresy.”
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.