Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 21:19:26
21 September 2018


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


Thursday, July 28, 2016

That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Pokénushkin Evolves

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.

rbth.com

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?

meduza.io

Just one more Pokémon thing: anonymous painters in Yekaterinburg redecorated a granite sphere as a Pokéball. And the authorities aren’t taking it down.

meduza.io

Olympian Update
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.

Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards
Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards

Russia Day marks the birth of the post-Soviet Russian nation. This week saw some other births too, from literal leopard cubs to figurative names and games. 

Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events
Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events

Fictional sportscasters, the all-too-real Olympic ban, and the possible reality of teleportation in Russia's future. And don't forget about mind control.

What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion
What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion

Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Does that mean a boom for Russia? Or is that title a ploy to get you to read about how Russians go about sunbathing?

Get undressed and read the news till you sweat
Get undressed and read the news till you sweat

Presidential speeches urge disrobing, but it's not what you think. All while laws get passed, politicians play judo, and – wait, is that Leonardo diCaprio?

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon
Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Adventure takes many forms. There's regular travel, round-the-world travel, and navigating the Russian legal system. Also beards. 

Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great
Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great

Pokémon goes to Russia – and so do memories of fallen tsars, athletes, street cleaners, and of course, a kitty cat.

That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.
That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.

A joke-telling Pushkin robot, an unimpressed Putin, and cheese that's as virtual a reality as Pokémon. 

Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison
Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison

Why some Russians would rather vote for a fictional candidate, the importance of a Cossack education, and some artsy graffiti along the way.