The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
A special section during the Rio Olympics
In the biggest turn of the Olympics, Michael Phelps now swims for Russia!
Okay, no. Still, despite the Blagoveshchensk banner featuring Phelps’s new and improved swimming cap, Russia has yet to snag a swimming medal – though the medal count of 41 (and counting) now covers a tight silver in women’s wrestling, a medal in every color for gymnast Aliya Mustafina, and a particularly violent boxing match. With three days left in the Olympics, can Russia maintain its fourth-place ranking in the medal count?
New Decrees and Nooscopes
1. You visit the Kremlin, you get the onion domes, the tsars’ bodily remains, and more golden artifacts than you can shake a Fabergé egg at. But there’s plenty more that’s been off-limits for centuries, and a new decree is now opening up more such public spaces in the Kremlin. President Putin approved a list of new routes and spots to visit, including an archaeological dig, an old cathedral, and possibly a new museum. Not a bad way to spend a vacation.
2. Anton Vaino says he can use a “nooscope” to measure unseen things that impact the economy, and most folks can’t make heads or tails of it. So why is he replacing one of Putin’s top dudes? After Sergei Ivanov, head of the presidential administration, was unexpectedly replaced by Vaino, the bureaucrat’s academic past has been unearthed, nooscope and all. Maybe it will help explain the spate of replacements hitting Putin’s old guard.
3. The governor of Novosibirsk has signed a law prohibiting migrants from working in 16 professions. If you were planning on moving to Novosibirsk to become a teacher, taxi driver, or accountant, you’re out of luck. No hunting and breeding of wild animals either, and believe it or not, no work as an interpreter. The authorities describe the decision as a move to “ensure national security” as well as increase employment opportunities for Russian citizens. We can only hope Novosibirsk doesn’t run out of interpreters for wild animals.
Quote of the Week
“The market is a manifestation of life. The brightest manifestations of life occur in its condensation: in certain points, certain lines, certain spatial-temporal formations.”
—The intro to “The Capitalization of the Future,” an article on economic theory (sort of) by Anton Vaino, the Kremlin’s new chief of staff.
In Odder News
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.
The Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats.
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A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.
In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.
The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team.
It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.
Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested.
Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.