Thursday, September 01, 2016
Life, death, and burgers
1. Would you like that burger medium rare or with a side of scrotum? Burger King will be cooking up specialty burgers in tribute to Pyotr Pavlensky’s performance art, which includes stunts like nailing his scrotum to Red Square and sewing his mouth shut. Burger King’s ploy to keep up with pop culture will include burgers wrapped in edible barbed wire, sewn shut, or with a plastic spear nailing an egg to the meat patty. Burger King publicity calls it a drive to “bring culture to the masses.”
2. Uzbek President Islam Kamirov is dead, miraculously recovered, in grave condition, or maybe just on vacation? Speculative as the rumors around the leader’s health may be, speculations around what new leadership in Central Asia would mean for Russia are wilder still. Since Kamirov has been in power since 1989, the economic and political stability of the region – not to mention the Uzbek military, migrant worker flows, and the repressive state system – could be as tenuous as the rumors around Kamirov’s health.
3. Deputy Chairman of the Parnas Party Ilya Yashin has presented a report on crime within United Russia, Russia’s leading political party. Re-dubbing Putin’s party the “Criminal Russia” Party, his report describes a “social elevator for crime,” linking governors and top officials in United Russia to organized crime, corruption, bribery, money laundering, and murder. With State Duma elections in two weeks, opposition leaders hope that corruption concerns will help sway disillusioned voters.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“The death of any tyrant is not disclosed to the society because the power is afraid of unrest, afraid that the society will act in the absence of a ruler...You can announce the death of a leader only when you have the next one."
—Valery Solovey, a history professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, on the rumored death of Uzbek President Islam Kamirov.
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.
Which would you rather: be trapped in the Arctic or accused of treason? Okay, not a fun game. But a worthwhile read about the latest in Russian news.
This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid.
Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.
Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.
Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips.
Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.
Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.
The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.