Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 15:17:50
19 November 2018


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


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hot and Cold: Spies, Armageddon, and Skiing Half-Naked

by Irina Bukharin
Bovines, Bikinis, and Bomb Shelters

1. There’s a new secret weapon in the world of espionage: cows. At least, the Russian government thought there was. One Russian farmer was accused of espionage for ordering GPS tracking devices. This turned out to be a cock and bull story, so to speak, as he actually needed the GPS devices for keeping track of cows that strayed from the herd. The Russian government has apologized for the mistake, and the farmer has accepted the apology. Good thing the Russian government is sticking to some measure of a-cow-ntability.

2. The end is nigh, and it’s time to stock up on water. That’s the message from some Russian journalists, who are urging viewers to prepare for a nuclear apocalypse in reaction to new tensions between the United States and Russia. What’s on the grocery list? Fewer sweets and more water, advises one journalist. Say what you will about nuclear war, but it sounds like it will help enforce a healthy diet.

Photo: Россия 24

3. The world has seen a new record broken and is experiencing a new dawn of human accomplishment. What record? This week, Russians set the new record for the most people skiing downhill while wearing a bathing suit: 1,525. The record-breaking event was part of an annual Siberian snow festival, Grelka Fest. Grelka Fest also hosted a concert, skijumping into a pool, and a festival of colors celebration. The Russian aptitude for fun in the very cold sun seems to know no bounds.

Photo: KrekLife

In Odder News:
  • Russia’s turning up the heat: Moscow experienced its hottest April 16th in 70 years when temperatures reached 20°C (68° F)

  • Everyone deserves a fresh start for spring! Check out these great photos of monuments getting a good spring cleaning.

  • A pretty kopek: the most expensive single room in Moscow is a whopping $225,000

Quote of the Week:

“Sweet tooths will have a hard time: Chocolate, candy, and condensed milk will have to be left in your past life.”

—A dire warning from a Vesti-24 news anchor

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.

Victory Day and cheeky chess pieces
Victory Day and cheeky chess pieces

Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor. 

Pop music, Pythons, and Kindergarten on the Run
Pop music, Pythons, and Kindergarten on the Run

An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons. 

Russian Youth, Then and Now
Russian Youth, Then and Now

We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden. 

Bananas, Ballerinas, and Bubble Bath
Bananas, Ballerinas, and Bubble Bath

Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament. 

Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots
Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots

Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four. 

The Wooly Mammoth of the Past Is the Hotel of the Future
The Wooly Mammoth of the Past Is the Hotel of the Future

Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.

Soccer, Sci-Fi, Snipers, and Tsoy
Soccer, Sci-Fi, Snipers, and Tsoy

Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy. 

Baller Ballerinas, Flying Taxis, & Gardens in the Sky
Baller Ballerinas, Flying Taxis, & Gardens in the Sky

Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.