Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 05:42:05
21 November 2018


  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chess, Traffic and Briefcases

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Once upawn a time

1. The movement “StopKham” (“Stop Rude Folks,” more or less) has been liquidated by the Moscow City Court. The movement acted up against drivers who broke road laws – for example, putting a snarky sticker on the car of Olympic gymnast Alexei Nemov for a bad parking job in February. Group organizers say they’ll fight the ruling for their right to pester parkers and drivers who bend the rules.
  
2. Forget little green men: knights and bishops will wage the real battle over Crimea. Chess grandmaster Sergei Karjakin is on the rookout for the world chess champion title, which he’ll face off for against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen. Pawnder this: Karjakin was born in Crimea, but now plays for Russia, and in case you wanted to check (mate), he supports the annexation of Crimea and thinks Putin is king. Or rather queen, to keep up the metaphor.
 
3. US Secretary of State John Kerry visits President Putin, and everyone is disappointed. That briefcase looked like it at least had some matryoshki in it (like he bought on his last trip), or money for diplomatic bargaining (is that a joke or a request, Mr. P?). As much as everyone wants better US-Russia relations, boring old peace documents were a bit of a letdown.

 


Quote of the Week

"Today, when I saw you coming down from the plane and carrying your effects, I got a little upset. On the one hand, it is very democratic; on the other, I think: things are really bad in the U.S., there is no one even to help the secretary of state carry his briefcase.”
—President Vladimir Putin quipping about
the contents of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s mysterious briefcase.

 


In Odder News

  • This TV host has fashion fixes for every need. This week: how to dress for a plane crash. But will it pass muster in Milan?

  • What if Russia’s national symbol weren’t a bear, but a shaggy rhino? New Siberian rhino research evokes images of a bear crossed with a unicorn.
  • Ukraine bans all Russian films made after 2013 because they “threaten national security.” Good thing Star Wars isn’t Russian.
Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards
Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards

Russia Day marks the birth of the post-Soviet Russian nation. This week saw some other births too, from literal leopard cubs to figurative names and games. 

Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events
Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events

Fictional sportscasters, the all-too-real Olympic ban, and the possible reality of teleportation in Russia's future. And don't forget about mind control.

What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion
What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion

Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Does that mean a boom for Russia? Or is that title a ploy to get you to read about how Russians go about sunbathing?

Get undressed and read the news till you sweat
Get undressed and read the news till you sweat

Presidential speeches urge disrobing, but it's not what you think. All while laws get passed, politicians play judo, and – wait, is that Leonardo diCaprio?

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon
Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Adventure takes many forms. There's regular travel, round-the-world travel, and navigating the Russian legal system. Also beards. 

Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great
Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great

Pokémon goes to Russia – and so do memories of fallen tsars, athletes, street cleaners, and of course, a kitty cat.

That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.
That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.

A joke-telling Pushkin robot, an unimpressed Putin, and cheese that's as virtual a reality as Pokémon. 

Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison
Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison

Why some Russians would rather vote for a fictional candidate, the importance of a Cossack education, and some artsy graffiti along the way.