The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
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.
Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.
The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry.
Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism.
President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges.
Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator.
Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing.
A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.
Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.