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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.
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.