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.”
Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.
The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry.
Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism.
President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges.
Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator.
Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing.
A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.
Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.