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Thursday, October 20, 2016
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?
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
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.
Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).
Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies.
A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.