Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 07:58:47
25 September 2018


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


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Pokémon, Go Away

1. Russia is a fascinating place, full of beauty and history. Would it be even better if you could snag a Jigglypuff on your tour of the Kremlin? According to the government, keep your eyes on the tour guide. Hunt for Pokémons in the wrong places and you could even land in jail. Still, maybe that’s not the worst that could happen, given that Pokémon “reeks of Satanism.”

themoscowtimes.com

2. Is a statue honoring Ivan IV a terrible plan? The tsar, better known as Ivan the Terrible, founded Oryol as a fortress to defend Russia’s southern border in 1566. As the city celebrates its 450th birthday, there’s plenty of debate about whether the founding father should be celebrated, too – specifically, in bronze. Residents are campaigning against the monument to one of history’s cruelest leaders, but the governor says the statue’s going up, picketers be darned.  

3. Feeling dopey? Investigations have revealed exactly how Russia’s positive doping samples performed disappearing acts in past Olympics. Here’s a hint: it involved swapping out dope-laced urine, cutting holes in walls, tampering with tamper-proof bottles, adding a pinch of salt, and other super-spy tactics. Performance-enhancing drugs don’t exactly fit the Olympics model, but the Games won’t feel quite complete if the International Olympic Committee rules to ban Russia from competing.

In Odder News

spbdnevnik.ru
  • You’d think a huge thunderstorm would make street cleaning irrelevant. Not for one street cleaner who dumped water on a flooding street.
  • Russia’s intelligence service raided Russia’s top police force to dig up connections to organized crime. Huh?

Quote of the Week

"People should be dragged out of this virtual world, it reeks of Satanism. There are so many interesting things to do and people are just wasting their lives." 

—Cossack Leader Andrei Polyakov on Pokémon Go. Polyakov has plenty more to say – about Pokémon and otherwise – in The Spine of Russia, an epic journey down Russia's backbone in which Polyakov is one of 43 people Russian Life correspondents met, interviewed, and photographed. Get your book today

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.

Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism
Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism

A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?

Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy
Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy

Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.

#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska
#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska

Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.

Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise
Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise

Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space. 

The bad, the sad, and the ice laser
The bad, the sad, and the ice laser

It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat. 

Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball
Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball

Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball. 

Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos
Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos

A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe. 

Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat
Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat

Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.