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.
A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?
Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.
Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.
Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space.
It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat.
Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball.
A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe.
Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.