Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 17:54:10
22 September 2018


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


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

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

Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas
Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas

Burger King makes money (its own), broke taxi passengers turn green, and summertime snow. Plus, a ballerina with a backup plan, Borodino, and the Museum of Death. 

Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways
Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways

How to be patriotic to a nonexistent country, get a proper education, and deal with a highway through your house. Plus buildings, bridges, and bratwursts to die for. 

Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters
Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters

Clown horror is horrid for clowns, a ballet scandal on the silver screen, and a pack of protesting porkers. 

Guns, Gents, and Stalin
Guns, Gents, and Stalin

Heroes who caused deaths, heroes who saved lives, questionable movie heroes, and the heroes who make art and cheese. Which is your favorite?

The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station
The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station

A record-breaking cake, a robot breaking (conceptions of) art, and a space station breaking international boundaries. Plus, flying cars and how to live on Mars.

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia
Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia

The glorious deeds of a famous spy, the smaller deeds of everyday spies, and a whole new horizon for female fighter pilots.

Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland
Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland

For Putin's birthday, a fake burger, a real burger, and a puppy. Plus, St. Petersburg rooftops, frogmen, and how to bathe in crude oil.  

Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.
Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.

Arcade cars, patriotic circuses, and administrative festivities. Also, some crazy murals, Moscow's transformation, and the secrets of Peter the Great.