The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, June 02, 2016
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?
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.
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
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.
Adults want kids to vote, kids want Leonardo DiCaprio to soak himself, and Leo wants fewer video games on TV.
Nukes get names, a truck becomes a camera, and an old church gets a fresh look.
World Cup picks, elections, and fraudulent activity all point to the same lesson this week: make your choices wisely.
TWERF takes on the political this week, bringing you news of the election and the weird things that accompanied it.
Grudinin shaves the ‘stache, the other election results are in, and New Zealand struggles to offend Russia.
In honor of April Fool’s Day, we present you with jokes, mishaps, and fun times all around.
Stories about chocolate and fish: not an appetizing pairing, but a good selection for this week’s TWERF.
Learn about the animal spies among us, get tips on how to survive nuclear war, and watch a world record get broken.