Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 22:49:29
21 September 2018


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Extinct Creatures and Fairytale Creatures

1. Quit lion around! Easier said than done for a cave lion cub that has been lying encased in permafrost since the Ice Age. The cub, whose remains were discovered in the permanently frozen ground of Yakutia in Russia’s far northeast, belongs to a species of cave lions now extinct. The remains are in relatively good condition, so there’s talk of trying to clone the cub – though of course, debates about resurrecting extinct animals is a matter of hot debate. This particular cave cat may have been lyin’ in ice for 10,000 years or more.

2. How well do you know your Slavic folk heroes? Well enough to get by if you were magically transported to a fairytale alternate universe? That’s the task before the 21st-century hero of the new film The Last Bogatyr. The movie is a team effort by Disney and the Russian company Yellow, Black, and White, and it’s one of Russia’s top box office hits of the year. Consider yourself warned: if you’re dying for a selfie with Baba Yaga or Koshchei the Deathless, make sure you watch your back. (And brush up on who they are here).

3. In a rough day for non-Russian journalism, Russian lawmakers have voted unanimously to make foreign media outlets report on their activities and submit to financial inspections. The move is a response to the United States’ application of the label of “foreign agent” to the Kremlin-backed news source RT. The U.S. calls it safeguarding against propaganda; the Russian government calls it an attack on Russian media abroad, and this latest law is a retaliation against the United States that will make it harder for foreign media like Radio Liberty and CNN to operate in Russia. Where's a folk hero to save the day when you need one?

In Odder News
  • Want to hone your Russian art knowledge? How about the whole 20th century in 25 minutes? Arzamas can help you with that.
  • Dachas are a distinctly Russian phenomenon. Find out why weekend trips to dig up veggies in the countryside are more than meet the eye.
  • Whoopsy-daisy: the Russian Defense Ministry accidentally showed video game footage and said it was the U.S. helping terrorists. It could happen to anyone, right?
Quote of the Week

“I wouldn’t exaggerate the significance of this error...Mistakes happen and it’s no big deal if they’re corrected in a timely manner.”
—Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on the accidental use of video game footage as proof of U.S. forces supporting terrorists in the Middle East.

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.

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