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Thursday, July 28, 2016
1. What could be better than a robotic Pushkin that tells jokes? Well, the real Pushkin reciting poetry. Still, the anthropomorphic cyborg poet made a splash at the Forum for Strategic Initiatives, a conference on long-term socio-economic development in Russia. President Vladimir Putin even paid a visit to meet Russia’s top entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to like Pushkin’s sense of humor – perhaps because it was in binary code.
2. Pokémon won’t Go away. That’s why Moscow City Hall will launch an augmented-reality app in which players can “catch” historical figures on the streets of Moscow. The effort aims to teach locals about their history as well as rival the Pokémon app, which has been downloaded by thousands of Russians. Keep your eyes peeled for Bulbasaurov, Tsarizard, and Pushkichu – that is, Lomonosov, Tsar Ivan the Terrible, and Pushkin.
3. Would you like some starch, soap, ammonia, or E. coli in your cheese? If so, Russian supermarkets might be the place for you. Food watchdogs Roskontrol and Roskachestvo report that dairy producers have been adding some questionable ingredients to milk, cheese, and other common products. Corruption in the market may be to blame, but maybe we should give chalk a chance as a tasty snack?
Quote of the Week
“This product cannot be called cheese.”
—The verdict on multiple products by Roscontrol, an organization that tests food products.
In Odder News
There are seven animals that only live in Russia, including the Putinorana – er, Putorana snow sheep.
This may look like two shabby buildings in strange perspective. But the one in front is a plain concrete barrier masquerading as a highrise in Tolyatti. Artsy, huh?
Just one more Pokémon thing: anonymous painters in Yekaterinburg redecorated a granite sphere as a Pokéball. And the authorities aren’t taking it down.
A special section during the Rio Olympics
Good news: the threat of a blanket ban on Russian athletes is no more. The International Olympic Committee has ruled that athletes with clean doping records can compete in Rio. As the Olympics approach, President Putin gave an inspiring speech to athletes – both those preparing to depart and those required to stay behind.
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.
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This week was full of wins for Russia: a famous photographer, everyone who watched Putin's call-in, and lawmakers making it harder to get foreign aid. So, a loss for Russians getting foreign aid.
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Victory Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the end of WWII, was celebrated this Monday. Here are the ups, downs, and nonsequiturs of the occasion.
Russia's physics-defying display at Eurovision. Bullying via dairy products. Plus some saucy presidential pecking – on the lips.
Politicians are people just like us. They get millions of Instagram responses for a lost pet and do folkdances in front of world leaders. Just a day in the life.
Sir Elton John's much-vaunted visit with Putin, Eurovision for kids, setting doors on fire, and other great performances – all in one little week.
The British are out to get Russian values and Russian naval vessels alike this week. Scroll down enough and there's also a cat pic.