Thursday, October 12, 2017
1. Happy birthday, Mr. President. What better way to celebrate than a spicy, 1,952-gram, five-patty burger in honor of the birthday boy? Russian state TV broadcast a story that just such a burger was on offer at a New York City restaurant commemorating the president’s October 7th birthday. Unfortunately for the Putinburger, independent journalist Alexey Kovalev did some digging and learned that the story was a hoax cooked up by one of the restaurant’s waitresses. You’ll have to make a giant burger and dedicate it to your favorite politician on your own time.
2. Fake burgers weren’t the only thing the big day had in store for Mr. Putin. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gifted the president a duvet cover featuring the two hotshots shaking hands, and the president of Turkmenistan gave the canine-loving commander-in-chief a pedigree puppy. As far as gifts that everyday folks can enjoy, too, the luxury brand Caviar designed a new line of gold-plated iPhones in honor of the man of the day. And carnivores can rejoice: one cafe in Moscow actually did dedicate a “presidential burger” to Putin.
3. Alexa and Siri, meet Alice. Russian search giant Yandex has launched Alice (Alisa) as a virtual assistant who gives vocal help to users, providing directions, weather forecasts, shopping advice, and more. Yandex also touts her accuracy in spoken language recognition and ability to improvise, even telling jokes and carrying on casual conversations. And, inevitably, some users have already figured out how to get her to communicate in a more casual (read: less polite) way.
"In order to find this out, you just need to search ‘what does Putin eat’ online. I would like to note that he has a balanced diet with lots of vegetable food. Our burger has the best of what the Russian president likes."
—Timati, Russian hip hop star and owner of a fast food chain that did, in fact, serve a burger dedicated to Putin in honor of the president’s birthday.
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.
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.
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.
Or, whatever the Russian version of margaritas, mariachis, and misunderstood military history might involve.
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.
Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips.
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.
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.
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.