Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 17:01:34
18 September 2018


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


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Fun Things in Unexpected Places

1. Tetris in cars. Getting falling geometric shapes to settle into place was already fun, but it’s a whole new level when you put it in a vehicle. The Russian van company GAZelle has installed the beloved arcade game on the dashboard of some of the vans produced this year. You might only find it by accident: the steps to initiate include the right indicator, the left indicator, flicking the lights, and more. To prevent accidents, game mode only works when the car is parked.

2. Patriotic films at the circus. Send in the clowns, and then make them sing the national anthem? Not quite. The Omsk Circus has already started to use its venue to screen patriotic films for school children, and the ringmaster – er, head – of the Ministry of Culture supports the idea of spreading the practice. The main goal would be better acquainting students with Russian history. If a clown or an animal act shows up for a performance after the film, all the more reason to love Russia.

3. Freedom in jail. Or at least, amnesty from prosecution for specific crimes. Russia’s Human Rights Council has proposed an amnesty for misdemeanor offenses like traffic violations and incorrectly registered immigrants. The amnesty would also apply to mothers, some pensioners, and veterans. And as an added bonus, unpaid fines would be written off. Administrative amnesty may be less grand than a parade or a festival, but as far as celebrating anniversaries goes, for many it’ll be just as welcome.

In Odder News
  • Is graffiti a scourge on urban spaces? Or a way for art to blossom? Krasnodar’s commissioned street art stakes a claim for the latter.

  • Construction has transformed a lot of Moscow in recent years. Observe the befores and afters.
  • Peter the Great was tall, liked ships, and founded St. Petersburg. But there’s more to him than that. Including these three lurking mysteries.

Quote of the Week

“The game, in which geometric figures move around the screen, allows you to quickly and with maximum accuracy check both the operation of the processor and the functionality of the display.”
—The press service of GAZelle, assuring consumers that the installation of Tetris on dashboards is to check functionality, rather than a driving hazard.

Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections
Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections

This week brings you not just news, but also striking images of the latest discoveries in natural rock formations and mammoth hunting in Siberia. Also, election season. 

Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes
Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes

Election aftermath, polar bear attacks, why drivers are against Russia's version of Uber, and maybe even a state secret or two. 

Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy
Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy

Spy gadgets get culinary, Putin parks a tank, and a tyke takes on the wilderness. All that, and the spirit of adventure. 

Liquor machines and lullaby missiles
Liquor machines and lullaby missiles

Patriotic tectonic plates, the threat of airborne Internet, a possible return to the Gulag, and some problems without solutions.  

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around
Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

A disturbing attack on a renowned author, and a lighthearted nod to an unlikely TV hero. Plus Russian military expansion, raccoons' domestic expansion, and more unlikely art. 

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?
Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

It's a busy week for technology, what with a Mars lander, more secure Internet, electric cars (in unlikely places), and enough counterfeit money to fill an ATM.

How to name your baby (and not get arrested)
How to name your baby (and not get arrested)

Baby BOCh rVF 260602 may have to change his name. Plus, Russia's protest potential, the shrinking middle class, and dabbling with Shamanism. 

False history and forensic literature
False history and forensic literature

Fighting falsified Russian history, righting incorrect Bulgakovian history, and piecing together just what – and how unified – is the Russian nation.