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Thursday, September 22, 2016
The voter who came in from the cold
1. Electoral fraud? Bad weather? Or do Russians just not care about letting their political voice be heard? Theories explaining the results of last week’s Duma elections abound. Whether or not you can blame a cold spell for the low turnout (only 35.18% of Moscow’s registered voters turned up) or attribute United Russia’s big win to cheating, the question now is what the outcome will mean for the future of Russian politics.
2. An occupational hazard of being a meteorologist: having your weather station staked out by polar bears. Five scientists on an Arctic island found themselves surrounded by 10 adult bears and four cubs for two weeks, until a supply ship that happened to be in the neighborhood delivered flares, sirens, firearms, and dogs to ward off the bears. On the bright side, at least it gave them something to talk about that wasn't the weather.
3. Moscow’s answer to Uber might be taking cabbies for a ride. In response to Yandex.Taxi’s new low rates, drivers announced a three-day boycott of the mobile app. The drivers’ statement claims that the new minimum fare of 99 rubles ($1.50) will leave them “penniless.” A rally on the street where Yandex is located was broken up earlier this week, so they’re hoping the app boycott will fare better at driving change.
In Odder News
Russian Cultural Literacy
Biggie Malenkii? Dvapac? Eminemov? Russian rap started out a niche musical genre, but it has developed along a trajectory totally different from its Western counterpart. Read up on Russia’s top rappers, and maybe even learn a rhyme or two.
Quote of the Week
“The bears usually go to other islands, but this year they didn’t. The ice receded quickly and the bears didn’t have time to swim to other islands...There’s no food on [Troynoy] island, so they came up to the station.”
—Yelena Novikova, spokeswoman of the Sevgidromet monitoring network, on the polar bear stakeout outside a weather station owned by Sevgidromet.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.