Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:17:16
24 September 2018


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


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Exercise! Frozen bikes, illegal yoga, and sturdy stolen statues

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Sport can be hazardous to your health

1. Dreaming of a bike Christmas: what better way to celebrate -27 degrees (-17 F) temperatures than a brisk bike ride through the capital? That’s what about 500 bicyclists did in Moscow on Sunday. They had two goals: first, prove that bicycles are workable transportation all year long. Second: not get hypothermia. At least false beards, fur coats, and heated handlebars could help out with the latter.

bicycling.com

2. How much do you love your honey pie? Enough to swipe a statue from a public park for a New Year’s present? That was one Moscow man’s idea of a gift for his girlfriend, but he was caught red-handed while trying to make away with a gilded statue from Sokolniki Park. The statue – which depicts a “Chief Accountant Fairy” (you know, one of those) – cost about 3 million rubles. Any chief accountant would bewail its disappearance, so it’s lucky a good fairy ensured its return.

3. Do a downward dog...all the way to the jailhouse. A yoga teacher is on trial for suspected illegal missionary work after a lecture on yogic philosophy. The man who filed a complaint against the yogi is a Russian Orthodox activist whose wife left him to join a cult – presumably linked to yoga. The trial is controversial, with the yogi claiming his lecture was purely academic and one of the police officers involved doubting his own signature on the police report. Sounds like everyone involved needs a good meditate.

In Odder News

  • What did 2017 look like in 1967? National Geographic shows you exactly how the Soviet past imagined the future.
  • Russia’s got plenty of nature, but there’s plenty left unexplored. Take a peek at some new natural wonders.
  • Learning the names of Russia’s oblasts? Now you can do it through song, at last! Really, that’s a line in it. With 85 federal subjects of Russia, it only gets better.

Quote of the Week

“In a sense, we can say that yoga merges with religion. And in fact it’s been that way since the beginning, because the root of ‘yoga,’ which means ‘connection,’ carries the same meaning as the Latin words ‘religare’ or ‘religion,’ that is, a person who goes the way of yoga communicates with God.”
—The words that allegedly triggered the police to arrest Dmitry Ugai while he was giving a lecture on the history and philosophy of yoga.

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.

Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards
Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards

Russia Day marks the birth of the post-Soviet Russian nation. This week saw some other births too, from literal leopard cubs to figurative names and games. 

Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events
Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events

Fictional sportscasters, the all-too-real Olympic ban, and the possible reality of teleportation in Russia's future. And don't forget about mind control.

What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion
What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion

Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Does that mean a boom for Russia? Or is that title a ploy to get you to read about how Russians go about sunbathing?

Get undressed and read the news till you sweat
Get undressed and read the news till you sweat

Presidential speeches urge disrobing, but it's not what you think. All while laws get passed, politicians play judo, and – wait, is that Leonardo diCaprio?

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon
Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Adventure takes many forms. There's regular travel, round-the-world travel, and navigating the Russian legal system. Also beards. 

Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great
Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great

Pokémon goes to Russia – and so do memories of fallen tsars, athletes, street cleaners, and of course, a kitty cat.

That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.
That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.

A joke-telling Pushkin robot, an unimpressed Putin, and cheese that's as virtual a reality as Pokémon. 

Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison
Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison

Why some Russians would rather vote for a fictional candidate, the importance of a Cossack education, and some artsy graffiti along the way.