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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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Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.
Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space.
It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat.
Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball.
A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe.
Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.