Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 23:32:03
18 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Baller Ballerinas, Flying Taxis, & Gardens in the Sky

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Metro, Millenium Falcon, and Moss-cow

1. Ballet and soccer aren’t the most obvious combination. It gets even weirder when a subway station gets involved. But during the Confederations Cup, the Kremlin Ballet company performed scenes from several famous ballets in the Novoslobodskaya metro station. 200 football fans and metro riders crowded onto the platform for the event, which was meant to showcase the beauty of Russian culture. As a side event during a football tournament, the contrast seems stark, but it’s proof that sports fans and ballet fans can find common ground in people with powerful feet. Check out the performance photo gallery.



2. Yandex Taxi can pick you up when you’re in a tight spot. But can it make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? In the ride app’s latest marketing campaign, special ads are aired during the broadcast of certain films. Whether it’s Star Wars’ Rey and Finn running from imperial fire or minions nabbing a car in Despicable Me, the gist is that there’s no better means of escape than a Yandex taxi. Yandex may claim to be the best search engine out there, but whether their taxis can actually outrun a TIE fighter has yet to be tested.

3. Moscow’s next architectural coup: planting grass and trees on city rooftops. These “green roofs” and the process of “vertical gardening” are being touted as awesome environmental advances that will improve air quality, prevent rain damage, and look cool. But the announcement comes in the midst of the controversial decision to level thousands of Khrushchev-era apartment buildings, potentially displacing 1.6 million Muscovites – and destroying 3 hectares of greenery. Are the green roofs a solution, or a distraction?  

In Odder News
  • A new residential area in Tambov will have 29 streets named for Russian writers. If you read Platonov on Tsvetaeva Lane, will you be punished?
  • Comedian Stephen Colbert paid a visit to Russia, and it was full of pickles, vodka, presidential campaign announcements, and intelligence officers.
  • Real rockstars don’t play hooky. A new sculpture of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, installed at Tomsk State University, makes it look like the Fab Four think freshmen year is the fabbest of all.

Quote of the Week

"I don’t know if you knew I was in Russia last week. You know who did know I was in Russia? Russian intelligence. Hardcore fans, evidently. Followed me everywhere."
—Stephen Colbert on his trip to Russia and the attention he got from Russian intelligence. Later, American intelligence joined the fun, too.  

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

The spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

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).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

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. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

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. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

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. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

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. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

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. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

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!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

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.