Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 21:53:30
21 November 2018


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


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Slavic-Style Spooks

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Trick or Travesty

Russia’s got a bone to pick with Halloween. Since it falls on the eve of All Saints’ Day, the celebration’s focus on candy and costumes rankles some Russian Orthodox believers. Still, some young folks dress up and celebrate for fun. Many Russians either ignore the holiday, considering it a Western sort of spook, while others decry the candy binge it often entails for tender-toothed youngsters. Wherever you fall, here are some scary and spooky stories to give you a shiver.

In Haunter News

1. Think twice before you don that tiger skin or mount a mammoth tusk for your costume: endangered species face internet trafficking as well as illegal hunting. Luckily, officials have barred over 1000 such websites.

2. Is a severed pig’s head engraved with a pentagram a Halloween costume gone wrong or the start of a barnyard horror movie? Since it was left on the door of a supporter of anti-corruption activist and presidential hopeful Alexey Navalny, there’s a slight chance it’s also a political statement.

3. Hallowon’t? If you change your mind and want a Russian-themed costume, here are ideas for DIY creations to represent Russia in your wicked wardrobe.

Quote of the Week 

"Despite being widely known, Halloween has failed to be absorbed into Russia’s (culture) – only three percent of those familiar with Halloween plan to celebrate it."
—A survey by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center on Russians’ attention to Halloween this year.

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.

The spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.