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Thursday, February 02, 2017
Things that don't quite belong
1. Many folks dream of traveling the globe. Apparently, so do polar bears. This bear-faced tourist has been from Tonga to Thailand, Ethiopia to Ecuador, but it’s his permanent habitat on Instagram that helped him taste the honey of fame. The man behind the mask is Elnar Mansurov, a Perm resident who has gained attention as a travel expert – and not just for his unconventional facewear, but also for his tips about traveling with bearly any money. If a bear can do it, anything’s pawsible.
2. A genre of teaching is born: the rap lecture. A history teacher at the Higher School of Economics gave a lecture titled "The external and internal policies of the Moscow State from the reign of Ivan the Great to the Time of Troubles," and he did it in rhyme and on beat. (Well, mostly). On the one hand, don’t make bets with students lightly. On the other, what better way to learn about 15th-century Russia? Find the full 40 minutes here. Jay-Z better watch out.
3. A new creature – part elephant, part seal, part blob from another planet – has made its way into Russian hearts and memes. Christened Zhdun, the creature was originally a sculpture meant to represent people waiting at the doctor’s office. But the little guy (or girl) has since taken off in social media, appearing in classical art, Kremlin press conferences, casinos, and scenes from history. Next thing you know, it’ll be Zhdun for president.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
"I decided to invest in the experiences, because that is the hardest form of currency."
—Eldar Mansurov, otherwise known as Misha the bear-tourist, on his decision to spend his money on travel. Of his decision to wear a bear head while doing it, there’s no news just yet.
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.