Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:08:42
19 November 2018


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


Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Big 100

by Alice E.M. Underwood
The Bolshevik Revolution, 100 Years On

November 7th marked the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, when the party that would rule for three-quarters of a century ousted the provisional government, seized major institutions with minimal bloodshed, and established the Soviet Government. Any hundred-year anniversary is at least worth its own text box.

  • 100 years later, what do Russians think about the Revolution? Some want to celebrate, but many don’t. Here’s why.
  • What did the Revolution look like, really? Take a peek – plus, click the image to see what historical sites look like today.
  • How did Soviet citizens celebrate? (Plus, try saying that ten times fast)
  • Into arguments? Read up on why the Kremlin’s not making the centennial a thing.

In Gassier News

1. There’s the environment, then there’s national security, and then there’s also how the higher-ups will judge you. Chelyabinsk is one of the most polluted cities in Russia, but it’s also hosting an international forum to be attended by President Vladimir Putin and other leaders. Environmental activists proposed roaming the streets wearing respirators and gas masks to call attention to the city’s pollution problem. But the mayor, citing security concerns, has banned their use during the president’s visit. Between breathing and behaving, it'll be a tough choice. 

2. In other gas-related news, this week a man poured gasoline on a monument to Boris Yeltsin and set it on fire. The arson attempt, outside Yekaterinburg’s Yeltsin Center Museum, was undertaken by a member of the Other Russia Party, affiliated with the National Bolsheviks (yeah, they're still hanging around). For folks like the perpetrator, the October Revolution of 1917 still outweighs Yeltsin’s 1990s democratic turnaround of post-Soviet Russia.

3. Want to make Russia’s state seal your Facebook photo? Now you can. Duma officials have proposed legalizing unofficial use of the state emblem, insofar as it’s not used for ridicule. The coat of arms is currently only permitted in administrative and other official capacities, but the new law would allow organizations and individuals to use the insignia for events, souvenirs, and other purpose. Officials hope this will help “popularize government symbols.” Who doesn’t love a reputation boost?

In Catter News
  • cat got stuck in a tree in Omsk. Residents were so worried they raised money to get a special truck to save the climbing kitty.

  • A man tried to illegally cross the Swedish border, allegedly to collect his cat. Problem is, the human had since 2015 been banned from entering the country – he only broke the law and returned, he said, because his cat doesn't like strangers...
  • One girl’s homework says that anything boys do, girls can do, too. The homework may be about laundry and cooking, but it’s also a boost to young girls.
Quote of the Week

“I think we should celebrate the anniversary, undoubtedly. There were pluses and minuses, of course, but we must celebrate it. The fact that there won’t be any large public events is fine, because likely there would have been violence.”
—Just one of a wide range of opinions on how to commemorate the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution.

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.