Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 17:17:17
23 September 2018


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


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Ice, Ice, Baby

1. In the northernmost Arctic, an enormous Russian flag disrupts the expanse of snow. Is it a frozen mirage? Nope: it’s Russia’s newest and northernmost military complex, Arctic Shamrock, of which you can take a 3D tour here. Russia’s Arctic military presence aims at keeping tabs on other countries’ military activity and maintaining control of the region’s resources and the Northern Sea Route. And, on top of bolstering Russia’s Arctic presence, there will be ping pong.

rbth.com

2. How do you have an election when there are no candidates? That’s the question the Siberian city of Omsk is dealing with after all candidates withdrew from its mayoral election. To be fair, “all” was two, since Omsk’s electoral process involves the Commission for Mayoral Election selecting two candidates out of sixteen for a final round. After the selected candidates withdrew, the City Council declared the election invalid, and, for the first time, will be in charge of appointing a mayor for the city.

3. Counterfeit money wasn’t made by the mint. Counterfeit cheese gives a whiff of palm oil. But counterfeit toilet paper opens a whole new line of questions. In this case, however, the renegade rolls were manufactured in a facility in the Chelyabinsk region and sold under the label of a well known-brand, The discovery of the forged paper products was part of a wide sweep to discover and suppress the illegal production and dissemination of goods sold with false branding.

In Odder News

One way to beat traffic: roll through the streets in a giant inflatable ball (it's called a zorb). Yes, there’s a video.

rbth.com

Art of the Soviet avant-garde, smuggled to Uzbekistan on trains and trucks, is now part of a massive exhibit in Moscow. Get a sneak peak.

themoscowtimes.com

How do Russians celebrate Easter? With giant eggs, cakes and candies, religious services, and much more.

themoscowtimes.com

Controversy of the Week

Hold your breath (and your sequined outfit) – Russia will not be participating in Eurovision this year. After Ukrainian authorities effectively banned Russia’s contestant, Julia Samoilova, from participating, based on her having traveled to Crimea, Russia’s Channel One announced that it will not broadcast this year’s contest. The decision brings a layer of politics to a competition that’s usually about special effects and outrageous costumes.

Quote of the Week

    “One of the criticisms that Eurovision always gets is that it’s just kitsch and doesn’t mean anything. If you restrict that space further and take a harder line on what counts as political, you chip away more and more at the things that popular music can actually be about."
    —Catherine Baker, a historian who has written academic work about Eurovision, on the damaging impact of the increasingly political focus of the contest.

    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.

    Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge
    Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge

    Trouble in the tombstone industry, booming blockchain, and mercenary music hits. Plus, cats at work and a use of paper you've never seen.  

    Slavic-Style Spooks
    Slavic-Style Spooks

    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. 

    The Big 100
    The Big 100

    This year marks the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here's what that looks like, plus gas, cats, and seals (state seals, that is).

    Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!
    Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!

    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. 

    Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars
    Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars

    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)

    Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends
    Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends

    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. 

    Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers
    Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers

    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.

    Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat
    Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat

    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.