Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 12:29:06
19 September 2018


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


Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Plagues of Russia: the Risen Dead, Bees, and Floods

by Irina Bukharin

This week President Trump and President Putin met in Helsinki. If you’ve missed the hype, or rather, missed the news for the hype, check out this summary on what was actually accomplished.

Romanovs for Real

1. The story of the Romanovs, from the glamour to the execution, to the mystery of the missing children, has captivated the world for a century. This week, Russian investigators confirmed the authenticity of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family members, a day before the 100th anniversary of their murder in July 1918. Although the deaths of all family members were well-proven by 2007, suspicion lived on when the Russian Orthodox Church continued to question the authenticity of the remains. While this final proof may put some ghosts to rest, it’s hard to imagine that the Romanovs, and their story, won’t always be with Russia in spirit.

Public Domain

2. This week a few Russian policemen were angrily told to buzz off. By a swarm of bees, appropriately enough. A truck carrying several beehives collided with another vehicle in the Krasnodar region, releasing a very angry (and dangerous) cloud of stinging bees. Police were unable to approach the accident scene for an hour due to the angry horde (of bees). Although they did this in order to avoid the painful suicide blow of the bees, waiting must have stung, too.

@krddtp

3. The heavens opened in Volgograd… and so did the stadium. Volgograd was hit with heavy rains this weekend as the World Cup finished up in Moscow. These storms brought a deluge of water and dirt through the Volgograd Arena, Volgograd’s World Cup stadium, causing significant damage. Volgograd Arena, which was finished in 2018, cost R16.3 billion to build. This event makes the phrase “cry me a river” take on a whole new meaning…

In Odder News:
  • You can’t stand under my umbrella, ella, ella: Putin got the only umbrella while Macron and Grabar-Kitarović, president of Croatia, got soaked during the World Cup trophy presentation

  • New (old) heights of fashion: the Russian kokoshnik, a traditional headdress, is back in style

  • Culture war and peace: after a more harmonious World Cup than expected, Russians reflect on the surprising changes it may have wrought on their society

Quote of the Week:

“In Mother Russia, only Putin gets an umbrella”

— Katy Tur of NBC muses about Putin’s umbrella (and Macron and Grabar-Kitarović’s lack of one)

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.

Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections
Siberia's natural wonders meet the Duma elections

This week brings you not just news, but also striking images of the latest discoveries in natural rock formations and mammoth hunting in Siberia. Also, election season. 

Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes
Bears, boycotts, and busting rhymes

Election aftermath, polar bear attacks, why drivers are against Russia's version of Uber, and maybe even a state secret or two. 

Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy
Tanker, toddler, marketer, spy

Spy gadgets get culinary, Putin parks a tank, and a tyke takes on the wilderness. All that, and the spirit of adventure. 

Liquor machines and lullaby missiles
Liquor machines and lullaby missiles

Patriotic tectonic plates, the threat of airborne Internet, a possible return to the Gulag, and some problems without solutions.  

Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around
Solzhenitsyn, Alf, and raccoons all around

A disturbing attack on a renowned author, and a lighthearted nod to an unlikely TV hero. Plus Russian military expansion, raccoons' domestic expansion, and more unlikely art. 

Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?
Can a Martian invasion fix Russia-Europe relations?

It's a busy week for technology, what with a Mars lander, more secure Internet, electric cars (in unlikely places), and enough counterfeit money to fill an ATM.

How to name your baby (and not get arrested)
How to name your baby (and not get arrested)

Baby BOCh rVF 260602 may have to change his name. Plus, Russia's protest potential, the shrinking middle class, and dabbling with Shamanism. 

False history and forensic literature
False history and forensic literature

Fighting falsified Russian history, righting incorrect Bulgakovian history, and piecing together just what – and how unified – is the Russian nation.