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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.
Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.
The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry.
Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism.
President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges.
Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator.
Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing.
A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.
Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.