Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 21:01:02
18 November 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.

Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals
Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals

Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies
Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies

The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry. 

 

 

Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition
Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition

Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism. 

Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature
Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature

President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges. 

Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers
Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers

Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator. 

Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look
Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look

Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing. 

Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge
Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge

A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.

Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics
Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics

Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.