The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Clowning around for good or money
1. Insane Clown Posse? Try Humanitarian Clown Posse. For the next two weeks, a clowning troupe led by the doctor-clown Patch Adams will pile into their tiny car to visit orphanages, hospitals, veterans’ homes, and homeless shelters in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Their goal: to bring smiles to sad and lonely folks around Russia. After all, laughter and hope can transcend any language barrier. The power of a good balloon animal must not be underestimated.
2. Even economic hotshots have to count their pennies. Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia’s top economic official, has been arrested for bribery. He allegedly accepted $2 million for approving a massive acquisition by the oil giant Rosneft. Even with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stating that no official “has immunity if they commit criminal offenses,” some see the arrest as edging out the top echelon of Putin’s government.
3. Usually it’s librarians who do the shushing. But in a current investigation, Natalia Sharina, former director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, has been charged with “inciting ethnic hatred.” She says putting books on the shelf is not promoting hate speech. But the prosecutors say that the books’ contents classify as extremism. She’s also been charged with embezzlement, but given her line of work, maybe someone just had a lot of late fees.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“It’s important that so many friendly people are coming here from countries that are supposedly not so friendly. They help change our mentality.”
—Maria Eliseyeva, founder of the charity organization Maria’s Children, on clowns’ unique ability to create connections across difference through laughter.
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.
Trouble in the tombstone industry, booming blockchain, and mercenary music hits. Plus, cats at work and a use of paper you've never seen.
Halloween or Hallowon't? The holiday is more trick than treat in Russia, so dive into the details and creep yourself out with some frightful tales while you're at it.
This year marks the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here's what that looks like, plus gas, cats, and seals (state seals, that is).
Ice Age lions thaw out, fairytale heroes meet social media, and foreign news needs a new passport. Plus, all about Russian art in less than 30 minutes.
Father Frost gets iced, a space shuttle gets wet, and cars get driven driverlessly. Plus, famous Russian buildings go on vacation, the Romanovs take TV, and Russian smilies)
Putin announces he'll run for president, the Olympic Committee announces Russia can't compete, and some swans announce that they want a new house.
An art exhibit proves once and for all that Putin is a superhero. Plus, World Cup counterfeits, how Russian media monitoring works, and a leopard cub.
What a Russian holiday looks like, the Romanovs go to The Gambia, and why secret police are extra special around the holidays. All that, and Russia's most popular cats.