Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 03:08:10
17 November 2018


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


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers

by Alice E.M. Underwood
The Finest of Fine Art

1. It’s a bird...it’s a plane...it’s Superputin! A new art exhibit centers around the Russian president in various heroic guises, some based in fact (Putin playing hockey, Putin cuddling his pets) and others in imagination (an armored Putin riding a bear, Putin as Father Frost). The goal, according to the gallery, is to showcase Putin’s popularity and the ways his public perceives him. Opened at Moscow’s UMAM Museum on the same day Putin announced his bid for a fourth presidential term – a pure coincidence, but if the incumbent succeeds in his bid, it’ll be more proof of his superpowers.

2. With the World Cup opening in Russia just months away, it’s high time to start collecting merchandise. But only official stuff: authorities are on the hunt for fakes and clamping down on counterfeit World Cup products. The World Cup mascot, Zabivaka the wolf, has been especially sneaky: last week 640 toy wolves were stopped trying to cross the border from China, and over 100,000 products illegally bearing the trademark image have been withdrawn from sale. Luckily for football fans aiming to get some merch in time for the New Year, an official fan store is now open in Moscow.

3. Obscenity, pornography, information on drugs or suicide, and anything falling under the broad label of “extremism” is off limits for Russian mass media. And if you're lucky, you can get PAID to read it. After all, someone’s got to go through all the bad stuff to weed it out, and that someone is GRCHTs, the state enterprise that pays people to scan the web for inappropriate material. GRCHTs has a hefty contract with Roskomnadzor and is even hunting for more employees to ensure that internet censorship is going a-okay. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

In Odder News
  • How does a leopard cub nurse if it’s separated from its mom? The Vladivostok Zoo knows: enlist a golden retriever as a wet nurse.
  • The U.S. has got one all-Russian radio station. It broadcasts from Portland, but not all expats like what it plays.
  • What did Kiev look like in 1966? Rainy and gray, grandiose and ordinary, all in one.

Quote of the Week

"Each artist depicted positive attributes of Vladimir Putin. Every artist loves him and respects him and supports him."
—Pro-Putin activist Yulia Dyuzheva on the Superputin exhibit, of which she was one of the organizers.

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.

Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas
Burger Bucks, Dyeing of Shame, and Flying Ballerinas

Burger King makes money (its own), broke taxi passengers turn green, and summertime snow. Plus, a ballerina with a backup plan, Borodino, and the Museum of Death. 

Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways
Fake Countries, Sausages, and Mystery Highways

How to be patriotic to a nonexistent country, get a proper education, and deal with a highway through your house. Plus buildings, bridges, and bratwursts to die for. 

Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters
Evil Clowns, Ballerinas, and Other Movie Monsters

Clown horror is horrid for clowns, a ballet scandal on the silver screen, and a pack of protesting porkers. 

Guns, Gents, and Stalin
Guns, Gents, and Stalin

Heroes who caused deaths, heroes who saved lives, questionable movie heroes, and the heroes who make art and cheese. Which is your favorite?

The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station
The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station

A record-breaking cake, a robot breaking (conceptions of) art, and a space station breaking international boundaries. Plus, flying cars and how to live on Mars.

Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia
Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia

The glorious deeds of a famous spy, the smaller deeds of everyday spies, and a whole new horizon for female fighter pilots.

Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland
Putin in Birthdayland and Alice in Wonderland

For Putin's birthday, a fake burger, a real burger, and a puppy. Plus, St. Petersburg rooftops, frogmen, and how to bathe in crude oil.  

Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.
Bread and Circuses. And Tetris.

Arcade cars, patriotic circuses, and administrative festivities. Also, some crazy murals, Moscow's transformation, and the secrets of Peter the Great.