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Thursday, May 19, 2016
Upside Down You're Turning Me
1. The last melodies have faded away, but debate rages on after Russia's Sergey Lazarev (above) took second place to Ukraine's Jamala at Eurovision Song Contest. The winning song focused on the deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 – earning it accusations of being too political for Eurovision. But let gravity do the talking: how could the guy who hovered upside-down mid-air not win?
2. It’s a bad day for journalism. RBC has been known as a relatively independent news outlet in an increasingly strict climate. Then came the resignation of three of its top editors – right on the tail of a few stories the Kremlin may have found a bit too independent. Presidential pressure? Or maybe all three just wanted a vacay?
3. Nothing like two male politicians caught smooching to raise a scandal – even if the smooch is a mural on the side of a barbecue restaurant. Like Lithuania’s new painting of an embrace between President Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. For a viral mural, it seems to say a lot about the two political personas and the blend of flattery and mistrust between them. But will they recreate it in real life?
Russian Cultural Literacy
The new mural of Putin and Trump locked in an embrace alludes to a Berlin Wall mural showing Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker in a similarly smoochy state. Compare for yourself:
The real question: why are the first two wearing matching suits, and the current couple in matching track suits?
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“We just wanted to show that Navalny, who lives off the Americans’ money, isn’t welcome here. That’s precisely why we threw milk at him. It wasn’t anything so bad. It wasn’t paint, or something that takes a long time to clean off.”
—Dmitry Slaboda, a member of the Cossack group that assaulted anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, on their dairy deliberate decision to shower him with milk.
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.
What’s out of this world? Russia’s performance in the World Cup, a Russian cargo ship, and showers in Samara!
Shed a tear for our last World Cup TWERF, in which we finally learn about the Romanovs and feel the wrath of nature.
It was a busy week in Russia: another round of pension protests, a pilgrimage for the Romanovs, and oh, the devil is working his magic.
Everybody receives a lift, from a stranded hiker, to the planet, to two boys who are actually doing just fine.
This is the crime-filled Russia you’ve always heard about, including a cat smuggling drugs and railroad theft.
This week gives us a plethora of emotions: shame in Samara, excitement in Tomsk, and a bit of both in Moscow.
Falling from a Russian sky near you: airplanes, bags of money, and well-timed lightning bolts!
Time got a little bit wibbly-wobbly and timey-wimey as Russia traveled to the future, to the past, and back to the present (and all in one week)!