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21 October 2018


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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Photos, Finances, and Your Friend Mr. Putin

A boat of Syrian refugees, and one of the photos that clinched this year's Pulitzer Prize.

1. Russian photographer Sergei Ponomarev has snapped his way to the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for news photography. Along with his New York Times colleagues, Ponomarev is celebrated “for photographs that captured the resolve of refugees, the perils of their journeys, and the struggle of host countries to take them in.”

2. Russia’s law on foreign agents may be getting increasingly draconian. The latest: any money donated from abroad may fall under that sinister “international funding” umbrella. That could mean farewell to funding for orphans, the disabled, hospitals, victims of natural disasters, Russian refugees, and a whole slew of charities – not just the NGOs engaging in “political” activity originally covered in the law.

3. Russians wait all year for President Vladimir Putin’s “Direct Line” call-in show, when he answers questions from the public. Of the 2.5 million questions submitted, Putin addressed issues such as street potholes, Turkey, breakfast cereal, the Panama Papers, and more. His gentler tone with citizens was apparent – perhaps an attempt to keep his party invulnerable with elections on the horizon.

Quote of the Week 
“The more teeth you have, the more you like kasha.”

—President Vladimir Putin responding to a nine-year-old girl’s question about his breakfast habits. According to the president, kasha tastes better the older you get: he has a bowl every morning.

In Odder News 

  • Photo album bonus: a tiny factory town is an unusual breeding spot for street art. Be like the guy in the painting, and take a peek.
proof.nationalgeographic.com
  • Save the killers! Killer whales, that is. After an eight-hour rescue mission, four orcas escaped an ice trap in the Sea of Okhotsk. Free Willy is finally free.
  • Moscow’s subway will install cameras to scan all passengers’ faces in the next year. We love you, Big Brother. (Oh, and thanks for scouting out possible wrongdoers.)

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. 

Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!
Icebergs and tigers and starships, oh my!

Which would you rather: be trapped in the Arctic or accused of treason? Okay, not a fun game. But a worthwhile read about the latest in Russian news. 

Prizes, spies, and kasha for all
Prizes, spies, and kasha for all

This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid. 

A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo
A Very Russki Cinco de Mayo

Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.

Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories
Baby bears, cats in debt, and other fuzzy victories

Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.

Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles
Catchy beats and milk-soaked scuffles

Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips. 

Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats
Dancing diplomats and dictators' cats

Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.

Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin
Elton John Crocodile Rocks the Kremlin

Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.

Russians don't need principles. Just submarines
Russians don't need principles. Just submarines

The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.