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.”
Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).
Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies.
A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth.
A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness.
Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself.
Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times.
A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!
International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.