Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 19:34:48
19 November 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.

Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge
Rocks, Raps, and Cats in Charge

Trouble in the tombstone industry, booming blockchain, and mercenary music hits. Plus, cats at work and a use of paper you've never seen.  

Slavic-Style Spooks
Slavic-Style Spooks

Halloween or Hallowon't? The holiday is more trick than treat in Russia, so dive into the details and creep yourself out with some frightful tales while you're at it. 

The Big 100
The Big 100

This year marks the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution. Here's what that looks like, plus gas, cats, and seals (state seals, that is).

Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!
Lions and Lawyers and Baba Yaga, Oh My!

Ice Age lions thaw out, fairytale heroes meet social media, and foreign news needs a new passport. Plus, all about Russian art in less than 30 minutes. 

Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars
Santa Claus, Space Aliens, & Robot Cars

Father Frost gets iced, a space shuttle gets wet, and cars get driven driverlessly. Plus, famous Russian buildings go on vacation, the Romanovs take TV, and Russian smilies)

Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends
Presidents, Olympians, and Feathered Friends

Putin announces he'll run for president, the Olympic Committee announces Russia can't compete, and some swans announce that they want a new house. 

Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers
Superputin, Sly Wolves, & Censorship Stalkers

An art exhibit proves once and for all that Putin is a superhero. Plus, World Cup counterfeits, how Russian media monitoring works, and a leopard cub.

Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat
Romanov Holiday and Russia's Best Cat

What a Russian holiday looks like, the Romanovs go to The Gambia, and why secret police are extra special around the holidays. All that, and Russia's most popular cats.