Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 03:27:16
20 September 2018


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


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Skyfalls, Sinking Feelings, and Smitings

by Irina Bukharin
Superheroes Save the Day (or ruin it)

1. A plane in Russia made an emergency landing after one of its engines caught on fire. The Red Wings plane had just taken off from Ufa on its way to Sochi when the engine caught fire, and the plane landed shortly thereafter. All of the 202 passengers were evacuated by means of an emergency slide, and no injuries have been reported. Although this incident ended well, it recalls more lethal plane crashes, such as the deadly crash in Moscow this February, which led to broader questions about the safety of Russian aviation. If this incident in particular tells us anything though, it’s that we should pay a bit more attention when the flight attendants review safety procedures: who knows when we’ll get to go down one of those slides!

Airplane on fire

Photo: Dmitriy Antonov

2. Everyone knows what it feels like to lose a their phone, their keys, or a few bills. One unlucky Russian pensioner felt this shattered feeling a million times over this week when he left one million rubles ($14,718) on a trolleybus. Luckily for him, the pain didn’t last too long. The trolleybus conductor notified the police, who identified the now distraught man and returned all of his money to him. Even more luckily for him, these police officers had some financial sense and helped him deposit his money into a bank in order to prevent further mishap.

3. If all the governors of Russia were secretly superheroes, Viktor Tomenko, governor of the Altai region, would be Thor. Or maybe he actually is Thor? In a meeting this week Tomenko chewed out Dmitry Feldman, mayor of Rubtsovsk, for misspending funding meant for flood relief. However, Thor’s hammer only really came down when the mayor was driving home and a bolt of lightning hit his car. The mayor and his driver were unscathed, though the car needs repair (because of course Thor—ahem, the governor—was just trying to give him a scare, not hurt him). How’s that for a good smiting?

In Odder News:
  • A mysterious hairy creature (item? carcass?) washed up on the beach in eastern Russia
  • Russia made the biggest jump of any team in the FIFA world rankings, thanks to its surprisingly good World Cup performance

  • A Russian Church blessed cats and the photos are priceless

Quote of the Day:

“Suddenly, I’m not that keen about flying”

— One passenger aboard the Russian Red Wings plane, speaking as the plane circled with one of its engines on fire

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.