Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 00:12:36
13 November 2018


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


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Cold, Snowy Nature vs. Cold Hard Cash

1. Buddhists dwelling at a mountaintop monastery in the Urals are defending their snowy sanctuary from Evraz, a mining company owned by oligarch Roman Abramovich. Residents of the Mount Kachkanar monastery have ignored requests to move, and authorities are scheduled to raze the area on March 1, 2017. Some locals think the mining company will boost the region’s economy, while others don’t love the idea of scrapping a Buddha statue in the name of cash.

rferl.org

2. What’s weirder: reinstating the Romanov dynasty after 100 years, or doing it on a tiny, sinking island in the Pacific? No need to choose, because Russian millionaire Anton Bakov is hoping to revive the empire on three of Kiribati’s uninhabited islands. His goal: an alternative, monarchist Russia that doubles as tourist spot and boosts Kiribati’s economy by millions. One Pacific development specialist called the proposal “very strange” and “scary,” but hey – if you’re reviving a monarchy, why not do it in the sun?

3. For Orthodox Christians who are feeling down, exorcisms are available in Stanovoi Kolodez, a village 300 km south of Moscow. The exorcist is Vladimir Gusev, formerly lead singer of a rock band, also titled The Exorcist. Since then, Gusev founded a rehab center for people suffering from addiction, occult practices, and other impurities, and he welcomes pilgrims who come to have their demons purged. And he delivers: satisfied exorcism customers report massive life improvement, from selling houses to weight loss to finally shaking their ancestral demons.

In Odder News

  • It’s almost Valentine’s Day. That may not be as Hallmark-y in Russia as it is in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean people don’t go out of their way with creative displays of affection.
englishrussia.com
  • Queen Elizabeth II’s reign spans 65 years and 11 Russian rulers. Here are the photos to prove it.
  • It’s official: Russians were 1% happier in 2016 than 2015. That may not sound like much, but the statistics get more joyous from there.

Quote of the Week 

"There's a peace here that I just never find in normal life."
—Yulia Gasheva, a resident at the monastery in the Ural Mountains, on the importance of the Buddhist sanctuary on the mountaintop.

Blog Spotlight

A new media project titled “1917: Free History” has letters, newspapers, and other historical records to let readers track the days leading up to the 1917 Revolution exactly 100 years after it took place. Interested in a historical figure? The social media format lets you make friends and comment on their timelines. The site is in Russian, but it’s worth checking out.

project1917.ru

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.

Olympians, Titans, and cats dressed up as sailors
Olympians, Titans, and cats dressed up as sailors

The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats. 

A kick in the face of public taste
A kick in the face of public taste

This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha. 

Architecture and unexquisite corpses
Architecture and unexquisite corpses

A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.

Chess, Traffic and Briefcases
Chess, Traffic and Briefcases

In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.

Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ
Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ

The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team. 

Tractors, smugglers, and the matryoshka from hell
Tractors, smugglers, and the matryoshka from hell

It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.

Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats
Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats

Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested. 

Nomads, salad stampedes, and serious swamp business
Nomads, salad stampedes, and serious swamp business

Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.