Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 15:49:00
25 September 2018


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


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Here, there, and to the courthouse

1. The Kremlin has given the Federal Security Service (the FSB) two weeks to decrypt the entire internet. In other words, they’re demanding encryption keys for all internet data as mandated under the newly adopted “anti-terrorist” laws. The laws limit information on the web, and they’re making the internet a much smaller place, what with political sites blocked for anti-Kremlin messages and a tech company withdrawing from Russia – likely just the first of many.

2. Russian tourists flock to Turkey, to be greeted by champagne and expectations of a big boost for Turkey’s tourist-starved economy. The influx of sightseeing Russians signals improved relations between Russia and Turkey, and comes on the heels of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s apology for the shooting down of a Russian warplane in November. With Presidents Putin and Erdogan planning to meet, it looks like they’ll let bygones be bygones.

3. In an endeavor not impacted by the new laws (at least, not yet), adventurer Fyodor Koniukhov has launched on a solo hot air balloon trip around the globe. His goal: to break the world record of circumnavigating Earth in 13 days. His balloon: reflective silver and emblazoned “Moscow” in bright red. It’s also the world’s largest, requiring a full night for 60 meters to fill up with helium. Either he makes it in 12 days, or he’s full of hot air.

kp.ru

Quote of the Week

“He’s an incredible adventurer. He’s what I call a responsible risk taker.”

—Dick Smith, fellow adventurer of Fyodor Koniukhov, on Koniukhov’s trip around the globe in history’s largest hot air balloon.

In Odder News

    • In case you didn’t get enough of St. Pete, here are nine of the city’s best beards. That’s right, beards. 
    themoscowtimes.com
    • Another group impacted by the strict new laws: Mormons
    • In honor of Fevronia’s Day, a region in north-western Russia refused to accept any divorce applications. What’s Fevronia’s Day, you ask? 

    RosKultLit
    Russian Cultural Literacy

        Fevronia’s Day is a little bit like Russian Valentine’s Day. You’ve got a celebration of romance and fidelity, a legend involving a talking snake, and corpses jumping between coffins. Come to think of it, there’s way more to it than Valentine’s Day. Find out what here.

        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.

         

        Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge
        Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge

        Trouble in the tombstone industry, booming blockchain, and mercenary music hits. Plus, cats at work and a use of paper you've never seen.  

        Slavic-Style Spooks
        Slavic-Style Spooks

        Halloween or Hallowon't? The holiday is more trick than treat in Russia, so dive into the details and creep yourself out with some frightful tales while you're at it. 

        The Big 100
        The Big 100

        This year marks the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here's what that looks like, plus gas, cats, and seals (state seals, that is).

        Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!
        Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!

        Ice Age lions thaw out, fairytale heroes meet social media, and foreign news needs a new passport. Plus, all about Russian art in less than 30 minutes. 

        Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars
        Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars

        Father Frost gets iced, a space shuttle gets wet, and cars get driven driverlessly. Plus, famous Russian buildings go on vacation, the Romanovs take TV, and Russian smilies)

        Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends
        Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends

        Putin announces he'll run for president, the Olympic Committee announces Russia can't compete, and some swans announce that they want a new house. 

        Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers
        Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers

        An art exhibit proves once and for all that Putin is a superhero. Plus, World Cup counterfeits, how Russian media monitoring works, and a leopard cub.

        Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat
        Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat

        What a Russian holiday looks like, the Romanovs go to The Gambia, and why secret police are extra special around the holidays. All that, and Russia's most popular cats.