The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
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.”
The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats.
This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha.
A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.
In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.
The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team.
It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.
Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested.
Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.