Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 04:08:46
15 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

Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism
Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism

A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?

Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy
Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy

Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.

#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska
#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska

Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.

Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise
Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise

Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space. 

The bad, the sad, and the ice laser
The bad, the sad, and the ice laser

It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat. 

Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball
Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball

Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball. 

Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos
Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos

A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe. 

Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat
Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat

Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.