Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 16:25:42
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.

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.