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Thursday, March 02, 2017
Do androids dream of electric trains?
1. Long commute got you down? Metrosha the metro station robot is sure to give you a boost – and if you’re lucky, a wink. Maybe he’ll even transform his LED eyeballs into hearts. Those are just a few of Metrosha’s charms: he’s also got a touch-screen on his chest and the ability to answer simple questions, recognize names and faces, and take and print pictures. Introduced by the Moscow Metro to lift riders’ moods, Metrosha will grace stations around Moscow on holidays and special occasions.
2. At long last: Moscow is building a multi-billion-ruble dance complex for acrobatic rock & roll, and it’s going to be run by a Kremlin official with family ties to Russia's new National Guard – which some call Putin’s private army. Haven’t heard of acrobatic rock & roll? It’s only the favorite sport of Katerina Tikhonova, rumored to be President Vladimir Putin’s youngest daughter (though he’s notoriously silent about his family). Where Putin leads in politics, Tikhonova triumphs in cutting a rug.
3. On March 1, Russia celebrates World Cat Day. And you know what that means: a whole day of looking at cat memes and not having to feel guilty about it. The Moscow Cat Museum unofficially heralded March 1 as Cat Day in 2004, and Russians have celebrated their feline friends on that day ever since. Other countries celebrate Cat Day on August 8, the date chosen by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other animal rights groups. Whichever day you prefer, any excuse to click through cat pics.
In Odder News
Russia may have a law criminalizing so-called “gay propaganda,” but it still has a vibrant – if underground – LGBT community, including drag queen performers like Mona Pepperoni, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, and the Birds of Paradise drag collective. For some it’s immoral; for other it’s a mode of expression. But as a political statement and a counter-culture art form, it’s a self-labeled “freak party” worth reading about.
Quote of the Week
“It’s easier for people to be hidden and not stick their necks out. It’s self-defense.”
—Grigory Zaritovsky, aka drag performer “Mona Pepperoni,” on drag as an aesthetic practice most performers prefer to keep separate from political activism.
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.