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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Reindeers, retweets, and rocketmen

1. It’s not every guardian of a holy lake that has to battle with oil excavators. But Sergei Kechimov, a Khanty reindeer herder and shaman entrusted with protecting Lake Imlor, has spoken out against extraction companies that he says are damaging the ecosystem and his community’s indigenous way of life. The United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is paying a visit to Imlor to assess the situation, but the oil companies – already having attempted to discredit Kechimov – will fight any attempt to staunch the flow of black gold.

theguardian.com

2. The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom is encouraging its followers to gain and share knowledge about the Russian Embassy – or in other words, become Twitter bots. By joining Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s Russian diplomatic online club, members’ accounts will automatically retweet one of Yakovenko’s tweets each week. The “Tweetsquad” has under 500 members, with fully automated bots outnumbering the semi-automated retweeters who have joined the squad.

3. There’s no harsher contrast to a life dreaming of the stars than a tragic demise in a prison cell bathroom. This was the fate of Vladimir Yevdokimov, former executive director of the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, who was being held in pre-trial detention after being arrested on charges of embezzlement in December. A murder investigation has begun, with some suspecting a contract killing ordered by other space industry officials implicated in corruption charges, who feared Yevdokimov might be used as a witness against them.  

In Odder News

  • St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated in Russia on March 30, rather than March 17. But don’t look for leprechauns: Russian Orthodoxy is making it a festival all their own.
rbth.com
  • Bad news for shoes: with economic woes continuing, annual Russian shoe purchases are at 2.5 pairs per person. Perhaps a St. Patty’s Guinness is in higher demand.
  • In a bid to evaluate airline quality, Aeroflot plans to hire “secret passengers.” Presumably, it’s the evaluations that will be secret, unless the passengers are planning on stowing away.

Quote of the Week

"A pint of Guinness has only 198 kilocalories, which is less than orange juice or skim milk. You will understand why I am saying this and how this is related to the decision the Holy Synod made today after a short break.”
—Alexander Volkov, Patriarch Kirill's press secretary Alexander Volkov, in a Facebook post raffling off a cartload of Guinness in preparation for Russia’s St. Patrick’s Day.

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