Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 19:48:20
12 November 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.

Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism
Medical tourism, space tourism, imaginary tourism

A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?

Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy
Grab a Guinness for Orthodoxy

Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.

#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska
#Russiagate, Demos & Alaska

Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.

Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise
Cosmonautics Day and Fruit in Disguise

Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space. 

The bad, the sad, and the ice laser
The bad, the sad, and the ice laser

It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat. 

Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball
Counterfeit TP and Commuting By Ball

Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball. 

Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos
Floods of water, juice, and trendy ostrich photos

A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe. 

Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat
Vegans, Frogs, and the Grandmas of Mortal Kombat

Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.