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Thursday, July 13, 2017
1. The rumor mill is doing pirouettes after a new ballet about Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (who? Find out) was canceled three days before opening at the Bolshoi Ballet. The official line is that the ballet “isn’t ready,” so it’s been postponed to next year. Director Kirill Serebrennikov and the ballet’s performers claim otherwise, some citing pressure from on high due to depictions of Nureyev’s homosexuality, which could violate Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. It wouldn’t be ballet without a touch of scandal.
2. Russia’s answer to Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and at least 50 journalists, Anton Nosik died on Saturday of a heart attack at 51. The Internet media pioneer, entrepreneur, and blogger known as the “godfather of Russian media,” Nosik founded several of Russia’s largest news sites, including Gazeta.ru, Lenta.ru, and Newsru.com. Though he made controversial statements about Syria and against the government’s crackdowns on internet freedoms, he was respected across much of Russian society. Journalists, opposition activists, and politicians alike paid their respects at his funeral on Tuesday.
3. Social Justice. Putin’s Troops. Crazy grannies. Whatever you call them, this group of elderly folks is a force to be reckoned with. Whether it’s raiding Alexei Navalny’s presidential campaign office in Krasnodar, posting pro-Kremlin video blogs, or making a senior-friendly anti-opposition rap video, these pro-Putinist senior citizens have a message and they’re making it viral. A new report finds the former politician behind the “grannies” and traces the path from Social Justice, his official organization, to today’s grantastic stunts.
“Even our clash with Navalny wasn’t sanctioned by anyone. It turns out to have been a real breakthrough, judging by how much everyone liked it. But we decide what to do on our own. We never ask anyone.”
—Marat Dinayev, founder of the charity “Social Justice” and the force behind the “granny activism” that targeted Alexei Navalny, on the independent nature of his organization's work.
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For our final TWERF of 2017, we look back and re-share some of our favorite stories from 2017. They may not be the most note-worthy or news-worthy stories, but we felt they were the most fun.
Let's go to Nizhny Novgorod to hear a Russian rendition of the song of the year. And then, lets meet some puppies and a vodka thief.
Darkness descends on Moscow, a cry for help ascends to the sky, and a foreign agent stays exactly where it is. Also huskies and ancient teeth.
Join Earth's first non-Earthbound nation, get an art lesson with a side of Molotov cocktail, and learn about lusty leopards.
Russians practice their rights: heated debate, voting in North Korea, and not getting any more survey calls.
Punxsutawney Phil ordered six more weeks of winter for the States, but the weather is getting much weirder in Russia: record-breaking snow and locusts, to start with.
A Russian national tragedy is softened by stories of a skating grandmother and small children in the snow.
Traditional celebrations like Maslenitsa are accompanied by new ones, like Chinese New Year. The party never stops!