Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:27:56
23 September 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.

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.