Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 12:39:36
20 September 2018


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


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Giving Thanks

Since this week’s TWERF falls on Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to extend a special thank you to everyone in our “tribe” – all our readers, customers, suppliers, writers, photographers, illustrators, and supporters and fans of all stripes. A company like ours does not exist for 25+ years without the support of an avid tribe. So thank you for your continued support, encouragement, challenges, ideas and constructive criticisms. And best wishes for you and yours through the holiday season and into the new year.

Paul E. Richardson
Publisher

The Salt of the Earth

1. See Setomaa: The region of Setomaa straddles the Estonia-Russia border, and is home to a people with a unique culture. Polyphonic singing, Seto-specific royalty, a mix of pagan and Orthodox belief systems are just a few things that set apart the Setos, who blend ancient tradition with new customs to preserve their cultural identity.

nationalgeographic.com

2. Worth its salt? Don’t take it for granted when you flavor up your turkey. Salt is a thing of proverbs and history in Russia, having been a symbol of power, a source of taxation, and a namesake for towns from Solvychegodsk to Krasnousolsk. Find out how salt fits in tradition, superstition, and the kitchen in Russia.

3. Russian roots and branches: As illustrious folks as sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, co-founder of Google Sergey Brin, and film stars Woody Allen, Leonardo diCaprio, and Natalie Portman come from Russian stock. As for branches, plenty of famous figures from non-Russian background have studied the language, too – whether for a career, like politicians Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice, or just for fun, like Olympic fencer James Williams.

In Odder News

Cat on a hot tin T-34 tank? This innovation in feline fun looks exciting to climb on, but will it lead to kitty militarization?

bbc.com

Sakha, in northeast Russia, can boast the coldest temperatures recorded in the northern hemisphere. But people still live and follow traffic signals, even in the permanent frost.

themoscowtimes.com

Speaking of frost, this fall’s unusually cold conditions made soccer a whole different sport. But who knows? Maybe snow soccer will be the next big thing.

rbth.com

Quote of the Week

“Eat more salt, and your life will be merrier.”
—Russian proverb, which gives helpful life advice and proves the importance of salt in Russian culture.

Now eat up, and happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!
Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!

Which would you rather: be trapped in the Arctic or accused of treason? Okay, not a fun game. But a worthwhile read about the latest in Russian news. 

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all
Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid. 

A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo
A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo

Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.

Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories
Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories

Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.

Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles
Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles

Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips. 

Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats
Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats

Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.

Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin
Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin

Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.

Russians don't need principles. Just submarines
Russians don't need principles. Just submarines

The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.