Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:17:41
17 November 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.

Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge
Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge

Trouble in the tombstone industry, booming blockchain, and mercenary music hits. Plus, cats at work and a use of paper you've never seen.  

Slavic-Style Spooks
Slavic-Style Spooks

Halloween or Hallowon't? The holiday is more trick than treat in Russia, so dive into the details and creep yourself out with some frightful tales while you're at it. 

The Big 100
The Big 100

This year marks the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here's what that looks like, plus gas, cats, and seals (state seals, that is).

Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!
Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!

Ice Age lions thaw out, fairytale heroes meet social media, and foreign news needs a new passport. Plus, all about Russian art in less than 30 minutes. 

Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars
Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars

Father Frost gets iced, a space shuttle gets wet, and cars get driven driverlessly. Plus, famous Russian buildings go on vacation, the Romanovs take TV, and Russian smilies)

Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends
Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends

Putin announces he'll run for president, the Olympic Committee announces Russia can't compete, and some swans announce that they want a new house. 

Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers
Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers

An art exhibit proves once and for all that Putin is a superhero. Plus, World Cup counterfeits, how Russian media monitoring works, and a leopard cub.

Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat
Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat

What a Russian holiday looks like, the Romanovs go to The Gambia, and why secret police are extra special around the holidays. All that, and Russia's most popular cats.