The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
1. If you’re craving a refreshing summer beverage, how about a nice, cool glass of black sludge from a broken drainage pipe? When an underground drain started pouring a stinky substance onto Sochi’s Chkalovsky Beach, most sunbathers didn’t automatically think “drinking water.” After a city spokesperson revealed that that’s exactly what it was (although in untreated form), some Internet tricksters offered city officials a sip. “Potable” is all relative, it turns out.
2. Turkish tomatoes and French cheese are all but a distant memory. A poll by the Romir research company shows that two-thirds of Russians have gotten used to the domestic substitutes for most foods that are no longer imported. Though a few have noted lower-quality meat and dairy products, most Russians polled haven’t observed significant changes in food quality in the past year – a shift from 2015, when the initial ban on some foreign food imports caused some upset stomachs.
3. Death is complicated enough. To ease the burden, the Kremlin is amending legislation to increase access to funeral services and simplify the paperwork for burials. Varying costs for the same services, and the presence of “gray agents” who charge 10-15 times higher rates, have led to the market being described as “chaos.” The goal is to extend the quality and accessibility of services offered in Moscow into the regions and to make the process “civilized and comfortable” – at least, as much as such an event can ever be.
“He couldn't catch it for some time...but got his own way in the end.”
—The President's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Putin’s underwater hunt for a single pike, which allegedly lasted two hours.
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.
Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor.
An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons.
We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden.
Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament.
Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four.
Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.
Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy.
Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.