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Thursday, October 13, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.