The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
1. Roads? Where Russia’s going, it doesn’t need roads! This week the Russian company Kalashnikov (yes, that Kalashnikov) revealed a new car that looked like it was from Back to the Future. In other words, decidedly old-school. However, the boxy little cruiser is actually decidedly futuristic: it’s a fully electric car designed to compete with Tesla. While some doubt (and others mock) Kalashnikov’s claim that it will be able to compete with Tesla, this new car demonstrates Russian interest in an electric future. Doc Brown has some wise words to say on this point (if you ever made it to the third movie): “your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”
Photo: Kalashnikov Media
2. If you’re an avid reader of TWERF,* you’ll have noticed a recurring theme of interesting things found in Siberian caves. Well, the caverns are at it again: scientists found the remains of an ancient human hybrid in Siberia’s Altai Mountains. So what does that actually mean? Scientists found a 90,000 year old female who was half Neanderthal and half Denisovan (another ancient group of humans). Lovingly named “Denny,” this hybrid is the first instance scientists have found of someone who had parents belonging to distinct human groups. The discovery points to a wide range of human diversity that once existed on this Earth, and it has us excited for whatever the next great Siberian cave discovery will bring.
* If you’re not an avid reader of TWERF, what are you doing with yourself?
Photo: Bence Viola/Max Planck
3. When beauty is the beast: this week Dagestan held a beauty contest for a very specific demographic… its sheep. The event was in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, known as Kurban Bayram in the Russian- and Turkic-speaking world. The sheep were judged based on their physical qualities and the creativity of their owners in adorning them. While the fate of the winner, one Princess Aisha, is unknown, we’re sure that, in the moment, she was just baa-sking in the limelight.
Will Russia’s Snickers alternative still satisfy? A Russian military vendor is about to help people find out
Covering up those rock-hard abs: a university in Novosibirsk put some clothing on nude statues in anticipation of a visit from Russian orthodox priests
Read about the fascinating Soviet past of a surprising bloom: the sunflower
“We’d almost caught these people in the act.”
— Paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo, on finding the product of a Neanderthal-Denisovan intimate experience
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.
Victory Day meant full streets but empty skies. A hollow chess piece hides more than its next move. And a day in the life of an Arctic doctor.
An anti-politics pop song, the drive against Hollywood, and education for deer herders. Plus, Putin, pianos, and pythons.
We celebrate the anniversary of the Pioneers, explore Russia’s Generation Z, and for fun, admire a baby bear helping out in the garden.
Blackface and bananas raise racist concerns ahead of soccer match, a linguist links Siberian Ket and Navajo languages, and video bloggers bring bubbles and pets to parliament.
Celebrate the wealth of Russian culture with Pushkin's birthday, Russian Language Day, Sokurov's film award, Russian museums, and, um, Megyn Kelly's weird interview with Putin. Well, at least those first four.
Mammoth skulls, ancient lizards, intangible money, train-jumping, and the great knights of Slavic history. Russia Day really does bring out the best.
Russia hosts the Confederations Cup, Strugatsky sci-fi gets a reboot (or just gets booted), and we honor the memories of WWII's female snipers and of the rock legend Viktor Tsoy.
Celebrate soccer with metro-station ballet, explore the galaxy with Yandex, and take a stroll through Moscow's rooftop gardens. Plus the Beatles, Stephen Colbert, and 29 Russian writers.