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14 November 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. 

Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals
Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals

Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.

Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies
Risqué Ballet and Putin's Grannies

The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry. 

 

 

Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition
Royal(ish) Weddings and Toys for the Opposition

Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism. 

Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature
Parties with Putin and the Ruins of Literature

President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges. 

Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers
Paratroopers, Pig Manure, & Plant Killers

Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator. 

Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look
Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look

Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing. 

Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge
Zombies, a Swampy Lake, and a New Shirtless Challenge

A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.

Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics
Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics

Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.