The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
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.
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 Three of them have already been replaced by “young technocrats” – perhaps appointed to solve managerial problems, or perhaps representing the “new guard” as the Kremlin gears up for presidential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
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.
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.