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21 September 2018


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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Kremlin on Ice

by Alice E.M. Underwood

Convicts and murderers and technocrats, oh my!

1. Why bother with jailhouse rock when ice is so much easier to carve? That’s the idea in Komi, which holds an annual snow sculpture competition for convicts. If you take a stroll through the region’s federal penitentiaries, you’ll see tigers, cannons, fairytale characters, soldiers, and polar bears. An SUV won first prize, but female convicts who created Moscow landmarks in honor of the city’s 870th birthday snagged second-place prize for putting the Kremlin on ice. Working with only snow, water, paint, and creativity, the convicts definitely earned their stripes.

rbth.com

2. The World Press Photo Contest has announced the year’s best photos. Per usual, Russian entries claimed several top awards. But the prize of Photo of the Year was claimed by a murder, with the shot capturing the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey deemed the most powerful image of the world’s most prestigious photojournalism contest. The decision was controversial, with some judges arguing that rewarding the image could encourage other would-be killers to publicly stage their violence.

3. In a gubernatorial game of dominoes, five governors (and counting) have submitted their resignations, months in advance of September elections. Three of them have already been replaced by “young technocrats” – perhaps appointed to solve managerial problems, or perhaps representing the “new guard” as the Kremlin gears up for presidential elections in 2018. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says it’s just "a routine rotation process." With all those explanations, dominoes sounds like the likeliest option.

In Odder News

  • White-collar clerk by day, white-collar adventurer by later in the day. For Pavel Makarov, a suit is the dress code for office work and extreme sports alike.
themoscowtimes.com
  • When you call an ambulance and a hearse shows up, is that a problem with you or the medical profession? (Hint: the medical profession. Regional prosecutors are looking into it.)
  • Gotta love a heroic dog: this one kept a toddler warm for two days after the kid was left on a porch in sub-zero temperatures in the Altai region.

Audio Spotlight

Netflix’s favorite Russian inmate meets one of Russia’s favorite creator of twisted fairy tales and fiction. In a new audiobook project, Kate Mulgrew (pictured as Red Reznikov in Orange is the New Black) will be the voice of Liudmila Petrushevskaya’s memoir, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel. With Mulgrew’s prestigious audio history and tenure as a starship captain and Petrushevskaya’s literary excellence, it’s bound to be a great – if weird – collaboration.

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.

The spy who stayed out in the cold
The spy who stayed out in the cold

Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).

Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice
Bacon, comics, and fairy tales on ice

Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies. 

Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob
Blogging Bears, Ivan the Terrible Rapper, and a Blob

A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth. 

Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics
Buddha in a blizzard, tsar in the tropics

A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness. 

The Kremlin on Ice
The Kremlin on Ice

Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself. 

100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away...
100 Years Ago, In a Monarchy Far, Far Away

Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times. 

Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll
Cats, droids, and acrobatic rock & roll

A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!

Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs
Say no to discrimination, ducks, and hugs

International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.