Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:20:53
20 September 2018


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


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Performances of the Week

1. Okay, he didn’t grace the Kremlin proper. But when President Putin’s long-awaited chat with Sir Elton John about LGBT rights was Sacrificed to the presidential schedule, it was still big news. After the singer got a prank call claiming to be Putin last year, the real president gave him a ring and promised a chat between Rocket Men. The Kremlin couldn’t squeeze him in this time, but don’t start singing Don’t Go Breaking My Heart just yet: Putin promises a rain check next time The Elton is Back.

2. The Eurovision Song Contest may be ancient history (well, two weeks back), but it lives on in hearts across Russia. Especially at a high school in Surgut, where students staged a lower-budget, but otherwise identical version of Sergei Lazarev’s pyrotechnically powerful performance. Was it an attempt to wow city officials visiting the school for a day, or a bid to be Russia’s pick for next year’s contest?

meduza.io

3. St. Petersburg’s Toponymy Commission has voted to dub an unnamed bridge the Kadyrov Crossing in honor of Chechnya’s former leader (that’s the current leader’s daddy). Some protests have popped up: first, because Kadyrov had no notable relationship with St. Petersburg’s history. Second, because of the Kadyrov clan’s “notorious” reputation. And third, because Commission members were allegedly pressured into the vote. But eventually it’ll all be water under the bridge.

RosKultLit
Russian Cultural Literacy

Elton John’s agenda to talk with the Russian president himself may sound like a tall order for a Tiny Dancer. But Sir Elton’s Russian roots go back to 1979, when he became the first Western rock star to perform in the Soviet Union. That’s why Elton John has a long, beloved legacy in Russia – whether or not he gets a meeting with the president out of the deal.

In Odder News 

  • A vegan’s worst nightmare: a crowd bearing bacon. A meat attack in Tbilisi targeted vegan cafe-goers, and possibly a broader counterculture, too.
  • What could be a better concert venue than a Ukrainian iron and steelworks factory? Especially if the hit number is the Game of Thrones theme song.
  • Yet another racist marketing campaign featuring Obama. This time a Kazan car wash promises to “wash out all the black.” Yikes.

Quote of the Week

“It is more poetic and less dangerous”

—Cecilia Hendrikx, a creator of a new app featuring photos of rainbows (a symbol commonly associated with LGBT identity), on making political commentary without going to extreme measures like nailing body parts to the ground. Incidentally, performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky (famous for nailing his body parts to the ground as political commentary) has been nominated for the Russian Security Service (FSB) Prize for Literature and the Arts. This time, the “artwork” was setting the door of the FSB on fire. 

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. 

Olympians, Titans, and cats dressed up as sailors
Olympians, Titans, and cats dressed up as sailors

The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats. 

A kick in the face of public taste
A kick in the face of public taste

This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha. 

Architecture and unexquisite corpses
Architecture and unexquisite corpses

A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.

Chess, Traffic and Briefcases
Chess, Traffic and Briefcases

In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.

Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ
Michael Phelps, Russia's swimming champ

The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team. 

Tractors, smugglers, and the matryoshka from hell
Tractors, smugglers, and the matryoshka from hell

It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.

Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats
Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats

Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested. 

Nomads, salad stampedes, and serious swamp business
Nomads, salad stampedes, and serious swamp business

Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.