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24 April 2018


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pop music, Pythons, and Kindergarten on the Run

by Alice E.M. Underwood
From Hollywood to the tundra

1. A new pop song berates underachieving youths who participate in political protests. Or does it mock teachers who try to dissuade their students from getting involved in politics? The song “Baby Boy” by Alisa Vox, formerly a singer in the rock group Leningrad, appears to criticize Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption movement. A source close to Vox alleges that the Kremlin paid the singer to create a song with an anti-opposition message, though Vox denies that the song is political in intent.

2. Hollywood movies are too fast and too furious, and Russian counterparts are struggling to catch them if they can. To counter the trend of American films outperforming domestic productions at the box office, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has recommended bumping ticket prices for foreign movies. Citing protectionism in the car industry as a comparison, Medinsky urged the State Duma to consider taxing foreign films, renewing an argument he’s made several times before.

3. When you live a nomadic life herding deer in the Russian tundra, the education system looks a bit different than what stationary folks are used to. Unless they happen to have a visiting anthropologist to experiment with on-the-move kindergarten classes, children start school when they’re old enough to be sent to boarding school in the nearest settlement. Otherwise, following the deer's grazing patterns takes precedence over lessons. These are just a few of the findings of anthropologists researching life in the Russian tundra.

In Odder News
  • To drive from Scotland to Russia, it takes 53 days, 9,898 miles, and countless photographs. Here are a few of them.
  • The natural way to bide time while waiting for bilateral talks with another world leader? Play the piano. That’s what President Vladimir Putin did while waiting for Chinese President Xi Jinping, at least.
  • A few things you’ll find in a Russian trash can: empty sour cream containers, vodka bottles, and the occasional python.
Quote of the Week

"Freedom, money, girls — you’ll get it all, even power.
So, kid, stay out of politics, and give your brain a shower."
—Translation of Alisa Vox's new song "Baby Boy," allegedly an anthem against Russia's opposition movement. 

Cover photo: somewhere between Scotland and Russia, bbc.com

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