July/August 2018 Current Moscow Time: 16:00:39
16 July 2018


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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Tip-Top Technologies

1. In a collaboration between Europe and Russia unmatched on Earth, an unmanned probe attempted to land on the surface of Mars...and disappeared from all sensors. The Russian space agency Roscosmos launched the probe, while the European Space Agency was responsible for the spacecraft itself. Signals stopped reaching Earth at the precise moment of scheduled landing on Mars. Diplomatic debacle, or meddling Martians?

themoscowtimes.com

2. What do you do with 1 million fake rubles? Stuff the counterfeit notes into an ATM and hope the bank doesn’t notice. Unfortunately for Moscow’s most recent counterfeiters, Sberbank recently started a system for monitoring fake bills in response to rising rates of counterfeiting. Thanks to the system, the bank came away from the ATM shenanigan with zero losses. If you’re iffy about your stack of 5000-ruble bills, just try the local ATM and see what happens.

3. Russia’s Ministry of Defense is working to make the web a bit less world-wide.Aiming to prevent spying and external takeovers, it’s deployed a military Internet– a network for army eyes only. Fun fact: Soviet scientists tried to develop the ultimate secret network as early as the 1960s. Then, they called it “The All-State Automated System for the Gathering and Processing of Information for the Accounting, Planning and Governance of the National Economy, USSR.” Catchy, huh?

In Odder News

  • Charging stations for electric cars have been installed in Moscow – however, in a no parking zone. So, where’s the catch?
  • One way to deal with government pay cuts: have a government made up of only a governor and six deputy ministers. Now that’s thrifty.
  • Jesus Christ may be the messiah, but he is not a superstar – at least, according to an Orthodox group that protested the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar in Omsk.

Blog Spotlight

Of the some 100,000 people seeking refugee status in Russia, many go to Svetlana Gannushkina’s Civic Assistance Committee in Moscow to seek help. Barriers to achieving that status are many, however, meaning that only 770 people of thousands are actually recognized as refugees. Read up on Gannushkina’s organization and what it’s like to be a refugee without refugee status in Russia.

Quote of the Week 

“When I say this number at conferences, I’m always afraid translators will get confused and add ‘thousand’ to it [....] It is difficult to wrap one’s head around the fact that there are just 770 official refugees living in Russia.”
—Svetlana Gannushkina, Chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, on the difficulty of helping refugees in Russia. Gannushkina was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize, but says the prize would have taken time away from her work.

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.

Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!
Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!

Which would you rather: be trapped in the Arctic or accused of treason? Okay, not a fun game. But a worthwhile read about the latest in Russian news. 

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all
Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid. 

A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo
A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo

Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.

Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories
Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories

Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.

Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles
Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles

Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips. 

Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats
Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats

Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.

Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin
Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin

Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.

Russians don't need principles. Just submarines
Russians don't need principles. Just submarines

The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.