The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, December 08, 2016
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
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.
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.