Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 21:07:32
21 September 2018


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


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Russians in the Dark, One Way or Another

by Irina Bukharin
Back in my day… we got more money!

1. Out with the new and in with the old is becoming a phrase a whole swath of Russians are supporting. The Russian government recently announced that it will raise the age at which Russians can receive their pension, and the State Duma approved the bill on Thursday. Over the next 15 years, the age at which men qualify for their pension will rise from 60 to 65, and for women it will rise from 55 to 63. This sparked protests, both when the bill was announced, and when it was passed. To sum things up (by mixing animal products): these protesters are no spring chickens, but they want to keep bringing home the bacon.

2. Was it a sign from God? Or a sign from the devil? These would have been reasonable questions to ask in the far northeast of Russia this week, when the sun disappeared into a deep, physical darkness for three hours. The devil was probably the better bet, as one of the more reasonable explanations is that the darkness was caused by smoke and ash from wildfires in Siberia (which have brought smoke all the way to New England!). However, officials have not yet been able to identify the cause of the event, and, of course, alternate theories abound: UFOs, military tests, and so forth. TWERF’s not one to spread conspiracies, but we don’t think it would be a bad idea to invest in some anti-devilry protective measures right about now.

Dark day

The Siberian Times

3. Russians rose early to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Romanovs’ execution. And it came just one day after investigators finally confirmed their DNA testing of the Romanov remains. Early meant 2:45 am (for those dedicated to begin at the same minute of the Romanov execution), at which time a 22-kilometer pilgrimage began. 100,000 pilgrims took part, indicating the continuing pull of the Romanov story and the growing popularity of Tsar Nicholas II.

In Odder News:

New old bones

Alexei Akimov

  • She was just big-boned! Scientists found massive elephant-like bones that are half a million years old

  • If you want the bigliest burgers in Russia, check out the Krasnoyarsk restaurant Trump Burger

  • Last week we highlighted Russian adults reflecting on the World Cup, but this time, it’s the kids’ turn (and it’s pretty darn cute)

Quote of the Week:

“So many people from so many different countries came here and spoke so many different languages. And I just think that was so nice.”

—  Igor Chudaikin reflects on the 2016 World Cup

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.

Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections
Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections

This week brings you not just news, but also striking images of the latest discoveries in natural rock formations and mammoth hunting in Siberia. Also, election season. 

Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes
Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes

Election aftermath, polar bear attacks, why drivers are against Russia's version of Uber, and maybe even a state secret or two. 

Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy
Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy

Spy gadgets get culinary, Putin parks a tank, and a tyke takes on the wilderness. All that, and the spirit of adventure. 

Liquor machines and lullaby missiles
Liquor machines and lullaby missiles

Patriotic tectonic plates, the threat of airborne Internet, a possible return to the Gulag, and some problems without solutions.  

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around
Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

A disturbing attack on a renowned author, and a lighthearted nod to an unlikely TV hero. Plus Russian military expansion, raccoons' domestic expansion, and more unlikely art. 

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?
Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

It's a busy week for technology, what with a Mars lander, more secure Internet, electric cars (in unlikely places), and enough counterfeit money to fill an ATM.

How to name your baby (and not get arrested)
How to name your baby (and not get arrested)

Baby BOCh rVF 260602 may have to change his name. Plus, Russia's protest potential, the shrinking middle class, and dabbling with Shamanism. 

False history and forensic literature
False history and forensic literature

Fighting falsified Russian history, righting incorrect Bulgakovian history, and piecing together just what – and how unified – is the Russian nation.