The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Vote for Yogi Cossacks
1. With parliamentary elections around the corner, some Russians would rather cast their vote for a party that doesn’t actually exist. A Levada Center pollon voting preferences found that the fictional “Youth Party” has a leg up on a few small, but legally registered parties. Extant or otherwise, they don’t stand a chance against United Russia’s 57% support rate. But with only 46% of people polled planning to vote, maybe truth is stranger than fiction.
2. Cossacks may evoke images of fur hats, military prowess, and knee-destroying dance moves, but for the Krasnodar region, they’re not only history: they’re also the future. Governor of Kuban Veniamin Kontratyev argued that Cossack education is key for the region’s youth. Cossack trainees will learn to protect the rule of law, provide aid in emergencies, fight drug trafficking, and, of course, foster a deeper love for the motherland.
3. The quick fix for corrupt politicians is a hearty round of sun salutations. At least, after a former superstar of law enforcement was arrested on bribery charges, yoga helped put some Om into his incarceration. Denis Nikandrov, former deputy head of Moscow’s Investigative Committee, was jailed on bribery charges as part of an effort to “cleanse the ranks” of corruption – and his cellmate has given him an even deeper cleanse. Nothing like a downward dog to chase away the greedies.
A spectial section during the Rio Olympics
With the Olympics set to start on Friday, the Russian team has shrunk from 387 to 270 (and counting. But even with so many athletes banned for doping allegations, Russia is still predicted to finish fourth in the final medal count. Sadly, that still excludes weightlifters, track-and-fielders, and more. At least they had last week’s “Alternative Olympics” to show their mettle – even if it won’t get them a medal.
In Odder News
If graffiti is going to happen anyway, why not make a festival for it? That’s what Omsk decided to do, with multiple installations springing up throughout the industrial city.
Graffiti gone wrong: isn’t turning a granite sphere into a Pokéball enough? Not for the rascals who turned Yekaterinburg’s sanctioned Pokémon trap into a Stalinist eyeball.
Before there was graffiti, there was feeding roosters on the steps of your dacha. That’s country life in the early 1900s for you.
Quote of the Week
“Most people in Russia think about Russia, and everyone else steals.”
—Fazil Iskander, the Soviet writer compared to Mark Twain, in a story depicting a dialogue between a Russian (or thinker about Russia) and an American. Iskander is full of such words of wisdom, and we've gathered them in honor of his memory, as he passed away this week.
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.
A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?
Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.
Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.
Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space.
It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat.
Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball.
A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe.
Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.