Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 10:26:09
19 September 2018


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


Thursday, March 30, 2017

#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska

by The Editors

1. Yup, this is where we are now. The scandal surrounding the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 US election has now escalated to a pretty widespread if not trending Twitter hashtag #russiagate, and there is no shortage of conspiracy theories or trumped up charges (be it on the left or the right), or doomsday scenarios surrounding the scandal to keep one up at night (if the nuclear war threats don’t). But, as you might expect, there is also some pretty good humor and cartoonage (and more cartoonage). 

2. In the biggest anti-government demonstrations in five years, thousands of Russians across the country turned up last Sunday for spontaneous walkabouts, at the urging of opposition politician Alexei Navalny (seen above in a Twitter photo, on the metro with sneakers). It began in early March, when Navalny produced a video documenting corruption centered on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (who, as it happened, was on a ski holiday this Sunday). The video went viral, and on Sunday demonstrators chanted against corruption with duck, sneaker, and green dye symbols. Navalny was one of the hundreds arrested, and was sentenced to 15 days in prison for leading an unsanctioned protest. In not unrelated news, on Monday, truckers staged a nationwide antitax strike.

3. Exactly 150 years ago today (yup, it’s a sesquicentennial), in 1867, the US Congress approved the purchase of Alaska from Russia for $74 million. Nicknamed by opponents at the time as Seward’s Folly (after Secretary of State William Seward), it was a crucial move in stemming British expansion in the region. And, just as with France and the Louisiana Purchase a sesquicentennial before, Russia sought the deal largely because they knew they could not defend such a far-flung imperial outpost in the face American expansion. Alaska did not become a state until 1959. We have re-posted a piece from our online archive about how it all got started (when Russia discovered America in 1741, that is). A wide range of sesquicentennial events are planned in Alaska this year.


In Other News
  • A professor in Tomsk railed at activist students who took part in last weekend’s demos, calling them “freaks” and basically telling them to “get a job.” He seems to have forgotten all the jobless freaks carry movie cameras with them everywhere they go.
  • Meanwhile, when you weren't looking, on Kamchatka the Russian volcano Kambalny erupted for the first time since 1767. (photo above, The Siberian Times)
  • Need another story about Russia and President Trump? How about one about some Russian-Americans and Trump. Spoiler alert: they love him!

Quote of the Week

"On paper it is a wonderful country;
on ice it is what is generally called a big thing.”

—Alaska Purchase humbug and New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, a few weeks after the purchase.


RosKultLit
Does not compute...

The robots may be coming for our jobs, our cars, and our thermostats, but don't expect them to be replacing translators any time soon. We ran two difficult graphs of text through two leading online translation engines to see what we would get. It was not pretty, people. Or, put another way, only the translations by people were pretty...


Top photo: The Siberian Times

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.