Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 18:43:12
21 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Cartoons, reality TV, and other art forms

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Of Cereal and Censorship

1. If a little girl and a bear can live in a forest together, who’s to say they can’t dominate the tech world, too? An episode of the cartoon Masha and the Bear has topped 1.8 billion views to become the sixth most watched video in YouTube’s history. That means more people want to see the toddling Masha try to dispose of an overflowing pot of cereal in innovative and occasionally explosive ways than want to watch Adele sing “Hello.” Not bad. To boost the number, watch here.

2. Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov is perhaps the only government leader to star in a reality TV show and be hospitalized for a boxing injury in the same week. The show was a competition for a spot in Kadyrov’s administration. The German-born, U.S.-educated winner might seem like a strange choice in a mainly Muslim region, but some say the show aimed to showcase Kadyrov’s leadership and Chechnya’s tourism potential rather than reach its citizens. As for the injury, thanks to Chechnya’s doctors, he’s on the mend.

3. Putin met with representatives from Russia’s art community and reassured them of the government’s belief in artistic and creative freedom. At least, that was the first part; he also said that it’s the artist’s job to “take responsibility” not to create insulting or provocative works. Does finding the fine line mean compromising creativity, or is it the best way to avoid bigger problems?

In Odder News

    rbth.com
    • Ever wonder how to catch a spy? Read the blow-by-blow of how a Russian operative on Wall Street was identified, followed, and arrested.
    • Is MMA (mixed martial arts) as dangerous as it sounds? Sure, it landed Ramzan Kadyrov in the hospital, but he also set up his own sons to fight. Get in on the debate.

    Quote of the Week

    “[The show is] a gift to a man who has everything.”
    —A TV critic on Komanda ("Team"), the reality TV show in which participants compete for the post of "strategic development advisor" in Ramzan Kadyrov's administration. Typical challenges include boxing, firing crossbows, and cooking shashlyk.

    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.