Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 02:40:14
19 November 2018


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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia

by Alice E.M. Underwood
Big Spies, Little Spies, and Pilots

1. The spy who went out into the cold: British double agent Kim Philby, who defected to Russia in 1963, is getting a new set of honors in his adopted country. A new portrait hangs in the Russian state art gallery, and an anticipated exhibit displays both personal belongings, like a favorite armchair, and many of the secret documents he passed to the Soviets while working in British intelligence. Honoring Philby’s loyalty to Moscow may be a handy way to boost the KGB’s legacy, but however you feel about spies, the spy gadgets make for a great display.  

2. Philby needed a special briefcase to smuggle MI6 documents, but parents today just need a new monitoring service to do the dirty work. The company SocialDataHub has launched such a service, which analyzes kids’ public data on social media and notifies parents if their child seems interested in drugs, weapons, sex, crime, or “radical ideas.” As a bonus, they’ll profile children’s interests and suggest suitable universities and majors. It’s not every service that can offer monitoring and college counseling in one.

3. The sky’s the limit – or it was until this week for Russian girls dreaming of becoming pilots. For the first time in post-Soviet Russia, the Air Force is opening its ranks to young women. Sixteen of them took their army oaths at the Krasnodar Aviation School, starting the path toward becoming military pilots. The Ministry of Defense decided to extend its pilot training program to women after receiving letters from girls across Russia explaining their long-held dreams of the sky and desire to fly for their country.

In Odder News
  • What’s it like to be a female manager in a mostly male industrial factory? Watch and find out.
  • A good day for fidgety fingers: consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has ruled that fidget spinners pose no psychological risk to kids wanting to get their spin on.
  • Wisconsin is known for its cheese, Switzerland for its watches, and Dagestan for its wrestlers

Quote of the Week

"For me it doesn’t matter with whom I’m working, man or woman,because it depends on the professional level of the people and their willingness just to hit the target we put together."
—Marina Potoker, managing director of the construction materials company Rockwool Russia, on being a female leader in a male-dominated industry.

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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.