Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:16:58
17 November 2018


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


Thursday, March 29, 2018

New Zealand, Nuke Names, and New 'dos

by Irina Bukharin

We have no words. This week’s tragic mall fire in Kemerovo killed over 60 children and adults. We know all Weekly Russia File readers share in our feelings of grief and empathy for their families and loved ones.


Round Two of Election News

1. This man’s as good as his mustache. Or at least, as good as his mustache was. In an update to one of last week’s stories, Communist Party Presidential candidate Pavel Grudinin made good on his word and shaved his mustache. Prior to the election, he had promised blogger Yuri Dud that he would shave his mustache if he got less than 15% of the vote. As the shaving gods would have it, poor Pavel only got 11.7%. Grudinin hemmed and hawed for a while on whether he would carry out the deed (inspiring a mobile game in which you yourself could shave Grudinin’s moustache), but he finally realized he needed to make good on his campaign promise. His upper lip may be shaven, but at least it’s stiff!

 

2. Russia’s most important election of the year has concluded! No, not the presidential election. This week Russia announced the winners of the nuclear missile system naming contest. The winning names were “Burevestnik” for the cruise missile, “Peresvet” for the laser, and “Poseidon” for the underwater drone. Burevestnik is a Russian name for a bird but literally translates to “the announcer of a storm,” Peresvet was a medieval Russian monk warrior, and hopefully Poseidon is self-explanatory.

3. I spy… no spies. New Zealand got itself into a bit of a pickle this week when it tried to expel Russian spies in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent that was residing in the UK. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find any. The Prime Minister of New Zealand said she wasn’t surprised that New Zealand is not Russia’s top spy destination, given the lack of Russian interests in the island nation. But what with New Zealand’s stunning scenery, that seems like a failure on the part of the FSB.

In Odder News:

Photo: evgeny__volkov

  • Russia (along with much of Eastern Europe) said “hello yellow” as an African dust storm reached its southern regions, imbuing the landscape with a lemony tint

  • If there can be treehuggers, there can be television tower huggers: citizens of Yekaterinburg held a “Hug the Tower” rally in an attempt to stop the demolition of an aging, half-finished TV tower

  • A slam dunk for Yekaterinburg: American point guard and WNBA retiree Jamierra Faulkner just joined their basketball team (she got citizenship, too!)

Quote of the Week:

“We don't have Russian undeclared intelligence officers here. If we did, we would expel them.”

—Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern

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 spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.