The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Like Pigs to the Water
1. Over 100 pigs narrowly avoided becoming bacon when firefighters saved them from a burning barn. In a perverse distortion of the story of three little pigs, the building that caught fire was made of brick, and although a wolf couldn’t huff and puff it down, fire could. But most of the pigs still lived happily ever after, carried out in groups by grinning firefighters. Safe from being cooked, the pigs were moved to a nearby sty, and the firefighters hailed as heroes who saved the bacon.
2. A controversial brochure uses fairy tale figures to help immigrants adapt to life in Russia. Cartoons of snow maidens, knights reborn as police officers, and folk heroine Vasilisa Premudraya offer advice on “rules of conduct in Moscow.” The 100-page brochure is causing a stir not just because of its portrayal of migrants, who look notably different from the ethnic Russians depicted as folk heroes, but also because it cost 7.3 million rubles ($122,957) to make. For such an expensive comic book, you’d think Batman would at least make a cameo.
3. What better way to have an epiphany than jumping into a freezing lake? Ice swimming – often in a cross-shaped hole – is how thousands of Russian Orthodox believers celebrate the Epiphany on January 20. Immersed in the festivities, President Vladimir Putin had to sit out (or swim out) that day’s inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the decision was based on the holiday, rather than politics – though he reiterated that U.S.-Russian relations have a long way to go. If they’re playing hard to get, they should invite the new administration for a dip in a frozen lake.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
"Foreign citizens come to Moscow, and we believe they are also fantastic heroes, and they are welcomed by fantastic heroes from Russia."
—Alexander Kalinin, director of Support for Moscow's Working Migrants, on the new brochure with colorful, folktale-inspired cartoons designed to help migrants integrate into Russian culture.
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.
This week brings you not just news, but also striking images of the latest discoveries in natural rock formations and mammoth hunting in Siberia. Also, election season.
Election aftermath, polar bear attacks, why drivers are against Russia's version of Uber, and maybe even a state secret or two.
Spy gadgets get culinary, Putin parks a tank, and a tyke takes on the wilderness. All that, and the spirit of adventure.
Patriotic tectonic plates, the threat of airborne Internet, a possible return to the Gulag, and some problems without solutions.
A disturbing attack on a renowned author, and a lighthearted nod to an unlikely TV hero. Plus Russian military expansion, raccoons' domestic expansion, and more unlikely art.
It's a busy week for technology, what with a Mars lander, more secure Internet, electric cars (in unlikely places), and enough counterfeit money to fill an ATM.
Baby BOCh rVF 260602 may have to change his name. Plus, Russia's protest potential, the shrinking middle class, and dabbling with Shamanism.
Fighting falsified Russian history, righting incorrect Bulgakovian history, and piecing together just what – and how unified – is the Russian nation.