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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats

by Alice E.M. Underwood

In the Mews

Huffington Post (and no, that's not the Kadyrov kitty)

1. A missing cat usually means fliers on telephone polls and a modest reward. But when Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s prize pet went missing, the powers of Instagram were unleashed after comedian John Oliver encouraged the world to help #FindKadyrovsCat. Kadyrov isn’t pussyfooting around, and responded to Oliver’s disdain of pets and Putin alike. This is one catfight where the claws come out (even if they’re social media claws).

2. The rock group Leningrad's latest song is earning them mixed reviews – with legal repercussions. “In Petersburg, Drink” (which is punnier in Russian: “V Pitere – Pit’”) has the St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office suspecting the song ofpromoting drunkenness. But the Head of the Committee for Tourism thought it wasn’t so bad. One official’s profanity and alcoholism is another official’s influx of tourist money.

3. International diplomacy summits: political posturing, conflicting agendas, and... busting a move? Last weekend’s ASEAN Summit in Sochi covered ongoing partnerships between Southeast Asian leaders as well as expanding economic cooperation with Russia. But that all faded into the background when Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova performed the Kalinka, a traditional Russian folk dance. Tip to diplomats: Why cut a deal when you can cut a rug?

RT

RosKultLit (Russian Cultural Literacy)
The music for the Kalinka was written by composer and folklorist Ivan Larionov in 1860. The hopping, squatting, and high-kicking were already part and parcel of Russian dance, and the two together – well, take a look for yourself.

In Odder News 

  • A poet tore down a poster of Stalin taped to a metro wall – and was arrested.
  • New education efforts are underway to help migrant children in Russia. Of course, those efforts are meant to foster a “Russian worldview” in those children. Probably means lots of Kalinka.
  • On the bright – even sparkling – side, miners in Western Yakutia have unearthed a 207.29-carat diamond. That’s a lot of carats.

Quote of the Week

"For the good of the Chechen people and stability in the whole region, we have to find this ******'s cat."

—Comedian John Oliver in a segment on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s missing cat

Cover image: Huffington Post

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