Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 20:13:10
24 September 2018


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


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Go With the Floe

1. One group of commandos is just the tip of the iceberg. Literally: a team of Chechen special forces and a Russian TV crew are stranded on an Arctic ice floe. The commandos were scheduled to lecture on survival at the North Pole, but looks like they’ll be giving a live demonstration instead.

2. Don’t drink and deride – especially when your target is a tiger. In a tragic accident, two drunk 13-year-old girls broke into Barnaul’s zoo and attempted to provoke the tiger. And succeeded too well, since it grabbed one of them and gnawed her leg. After a bout of surgeries, the girl will be back on her feet. Though she probably won’t stick them through a tiger cage again.

3. A Rossiya 1 report has accused opposition leader Alexei Navalny of cooperating with the CIA, and also the MI6. But critics have their doubts about the evidence: the audio doesn’t match Navalny’s voice, timestamps jump between years, and worst of all, there are grammar mistakes. Navalny says he’ll be filing a defamation suit, calling the report “pure fantasy.”

In Odder News

  • Russian billionaire Yuri Milner plans to spend $100 million to send tiny spaceships to another star system. Yuri Gagarin better watch his back.
  • The latest in Ukraine’s decommunization phenomenon: one village’s October Square is renamed for Andy Warhol. Who knew he had Ukrainian roots?
  • Parliament Deputy Speaker suggests creating a department for streamlining propaganda efforts. If you ask Navalny, there already is one.

Quote of the Week

    —A Twitter user suspicious of the documents claiming Alexei Navalny’s association with American and British intelligence, calling attention to the report's not-so-stellar grammar.

    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. 

    Image credit: "Gagarin's Breakfast," by Alexei Akindov (2006); Tweet via rferl.org

    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.