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18 November 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.

Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals
Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals

Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies
Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies

The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry. 

 

 

Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition
Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition

Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism. 

Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature
Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature

President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges. 

Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers
Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers

Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator. 

Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look
Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look

Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing. 

Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge
Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge

A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.

Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics
Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics

Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.