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 Three of them have already been replaced by “young technocrats” – perhaps appointed to solve managerial problems, or perhaps representing the “new guard” as the Kremlin gears up for presidential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.
Burger King makes money (its own), broke taxi passengers turn green, and summertime snow. Plus, a ballerina with a backup plan, Borodino, and the Museum of Death.
How to be patriotic to a nonexistent country, get a proper education, and deal with a highway through your house. Plus buildings, bridges, and bratwursts to die for.
Clown horror is horrid for clowns, a ballet scandal on the silver screen, and a pack of protesting porkers.
Heroes who caused deaths, heroes who saved lives, questionable movie heroes, and the heroes who make art and cheese. Which is your favorite?
A record-breaking cake, a robot breaking (conceptions of) art, and a space station breaking international boundaries. Plus, flying cars and how to live on Mars.
The glorious deeds of a famous spy, the smaller deeds of everyday spies, and a whole new horizon for female fighter pilots.
For Putin's birthday, a fake burger, a real burger, and a puppy. Plus, St. Petersburg rooftops, frogmen, and how to bathe in crude oil.
Arcade cars, patriotic circuses, and administrative festivities. Also, some crazy murals, Moscow's transformation, and the secrets of Peter the Great.