The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
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.
The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats.
This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha.
A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.
In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.
The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team.
It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.
Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested.
Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.