Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 10:47:12
17 November 2018


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


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Marching for women, quacking against corruption

1. On Wednesday, Russians marked International Women’s Day in a few distinct ways. On one end of the gender equality spectrum, feminist activists marched on the Kremlin, some getting arrested for their call for women’s rights. At the more traditional end, not only did millions of women get flowers as gifts; some even rented their own bouquets of 101 roses for Instagram-worthy snaps. Meanwhile, the Kremlin urged officials to “get creative,” spurring poetry, flash mobs, and virtual reality photo shoots.

2. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has declared that Russian-Chinese relations are at a “historic maximum.” But that doesn’t mean the nations are about to get cuddly with each other. Case in point: even with Chinese tourism to Russia booming, the Chinese Embassy in Moscow has released a video series informing tourists about Russian customs and behavior. It comes with warnings: don’t climb on monuments, don’t be noisy on the Metro, and for Pete’s sake, don’t hug children that don’t belong to you.

3. Of all the empowering protest slogans, “Quack, quack,” has not gone down in the history books. At least, not until now. With a new investigative report claiming that former President Dmitry Medvedev has enriched himself through corruption, protesters have taken to the streets in St. Petersburg. Based on the report that Medvedev’s luxury mansion is home to a duck pond, among other luxuries, demonstrators adopted the chant “Quack, quack! We’re against this tsar!” (In Russian, it rhymes.)

In Odder News

  • No, a statue of the Tsar Nicholas II didn’t weep on the centennial of his abdication. Or did it?
  • Fairy tales are no longer for kids: Beauty and the Beast will be released in Russia with an adults-only rating because it includes a gay character.
  • What does Russian jazz sound like? Read about the history, and take a listen for yourself.

Quote of the Week

"A woman for president"

"Our national idea: feminism"

"All power to the women"

"200 years of men in power. Out with them!"
—Just a few of the slogans on signs brandished by feminist activists who demonstrated at the Kremlin with calls for gender equality in government and beyond.

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.

Victory Day and cheeky chess pieces
Victory Day and cheeky chess pieces

Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor. 

Pop music, Pythons, and Kindergarten on the Run
Pop music, Pythons, and Kindergarten on the Run

An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons. 

Russian Youth, Then and Now
Russian Youth, Then and Now

We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden. 

Bananas, Ballerinas, and Bubble Bath
Bananas, Ballerinas, and Bubble Bath

Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament. 

Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots
Celebrating Russian Language Day with Poets, Filmmakers, Journalists, & Robots

Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four. 

The Wooly Mammoth of the Past Is the Hotel of the Future
The Wooly Mammoth of the Past Is the Hotel of the Future

Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.

Soccer, Sci-Fi, Snipers, and Tsoy
Soccer, Sci-Fi, Snipers, and Tsoy

Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy. 

Baller Ballerinas, Flying Taxis, & Gardens in the Sky
Baller Ballerinas, Flying Taxis, & Gardens in the Sky

Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.