The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Controversy, Castro, Cat Videos
1. Two Russian figure skaters are getting heat for a Holocaust-themed ice performance. Their act is based on Life is Beautiful, a movie about surviving a concentration camp by making it a game, but many saw the ice dance as a bit too gamey. It’d be nice to divorce art from politics, but the fact that one of the skaters is married to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t curtail the critiques. Is their dance a mockery of tragedy, or a call to remember the horrors of the past so that they can never happen again? Watch now to decide for yourself:
2. Cuban Leader Fidel Castro is as controversial dead as he was alive. Most Kremlin officials expressed praise, recognition, or sympathy, President Putin calling Castro “a symbol of a whole era.” Opposition figures, on the other hand, focused on the struggling Cuba he left behind. A communist to the end, Castro had his ups and downs with the Soviet Union in its time, but remains a symbol of revolution in Russia and elsewhere.
3. Streaming cat videos could have been a thing of the past. But Russia’s much-rumored lawsuit against YouTube has turned out to be a no-go. The last few days saw a frenzy over a proposed law to limit foreign ownership of companies providing audio-visual services to a daily audience of over 100,000 (a.k.a., what YouTube does). But government officials have confirmed that the restrictions will not apply to YouTube. Celebration is in order: cue up the baby animal videos.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“We should be thankful for anything being made about resistance during the Holocaust and about spirit, whether it’s a book, a film, a dance, or whatever.”
—Alla Gerber, the founder of Moscow’s Holocaust Center Foundation, on the backlash to a Holocaust-themed ice-skating routine.
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.
Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor.
An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons.
We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden.
Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament.
Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four.
Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.
Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy.
Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.