Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 15:40:26
19 September 2018


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


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Culture, Counterculture, Cuba

1. An effigy of the anti-communist author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was hung – or rather, hanged – on the gate of Moscow’s Gulag Museum. In a letter pinned to the effigy, a group called the Revolutionary Communist Youth Union claimed responsibility, calling Solzhenitsyn a “traitor” who “shamelessly lied about the Gulag.” The museum’s director seeks punishment for those responsible, as the act is not merely hooliganism, but represents a violent vein of historical revisionism.

2. In a gentler approach to culture, thanks to the group 2D Among Us, famous pop culture characters are popping up in everyday Russian settings. A lightsaber battle blazes in Rostov-on-Don; Jon Snow walks through Russian snow; the batmobile is parked at a dacha; Forrest Gump sits by a Lenin statue; Harry, Ron, and Hermione huddle outside a Soviet apartment block. And don't forget Alf on the Metro.

rferl.org

3. Cuban Missile Crisis, Take 2? That’s the fear, as the Russian military is considering reopening bases in Cuba and Vietnam. The Cuba base could put the Russian military as close as 144 km from U.S. soil – perhaps too close for comfort, given deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations in recent months. However, with Vietnam in fine financial shape and Cuba and the U.S. becoming buddies again, the task may be easier said than done.

In Odder News

Raccoon enthusiasts and pet owners (yes, of raccoons) attend a raccoon festival in St. Petersburg. You can bet your boots you're not seeing any coonskin caps at that party.

themoscowtimes.com

Is something wrong with those trees? No, something is right with that art. Take a peek at Gorky Park’s latest sculptures, a series of land art meant to augment the natural landscape.

themoscowtimes.com

How do you translate a word like “shlakoblokun'"? Quick answer: you don’t. You just enjoy the portmanteau of “cinder block” and “bass” and get on with your life.

meduza.io

Quote of the Week

“Often, fictional, drawn, or photographed images can inspire someone else’s fantasies to the point that they don’t want to look at reality anymore."
—Administrators of 2D Among US, a group that superimposes pop culture characters into scenes of urban life.

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.

A new direction for US-Russia relations?
A new direction for US-Russia relations?

The news in the U.S. is news for Russia, too. Here's how Russians are thinking about a Trump presidency – and it involves cats and burgers, as well as political ponderings. 

Clowns, corruption, and overdue library books
Clowns, corruption, and overdue library books

A group of humanitarian clowns is set to conquer sadness in Russia. Whether they can also combat corruption, questionable legal cases, and adorable baby foxes is another matter.

Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats
Giving thanks: Russian beauty, culture, and cats

We thank our readers for another year of living, loving, and learning about Russian life. With some extra pictures and cultural exploration to keep you grateful.

Art and politics on thin ice
Art and politics on thin ice

Should ice dancing with a Holocaust theme be totally taboo, or can it be done with respect? That and Fidel Castro, Siberian cats, and a few fish puns. 

Cartoons, reality TV, and other art forms
Cartoons, reality TV, and other art forms

Masha and the Bear tops the charts, Ramzan Kadyrov picks Chechnya's next top admin, and the arts in general are a big bowl of kasha. 

Of mutts and men
Of mutts and men

With puppies and provinces on the line, Russia-Japan relations are a bit ruff. Plus bobsledding bedlam, diplomatic dirt, and more holiday dogs. 

We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)
We Fish You A Merry Christmas (and Hanukkah)

Just in time for the holidays, Russians unearth (unsea?) some fish that look out of this world. Plus, anticipating the New Year, the U.S. view on Russia, and political jokes. 

Exercise! Frozen bikes, illegal yoga, and sturdy stolen statues
Exercise! Frozen bikes, illegal yoga, sturdy stolen statues

The year's coldest ride, hottest statue, most scandalous yoga teacher, and best way to learn the names of all of Russia's federal subjects. And it's just the first TWERF of the year.