Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 11:21:54
17 November 2018

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

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?


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

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. 

The spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.