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20 September 2018


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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.

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The spy who stayed out in the cold

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Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

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. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

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. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
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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. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

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!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

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.