The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
1. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov knows how spies operate: they dress up as women or in other silly costumes and try to eavesdrop on government officials. Some Internet users went on a quest to unearth these spies. Some were in chicken costumes. Some really were cross-dressed. Others were simply trying to embarrass Russia, disguising themselves as eating out of a dumpster or being drunk in public. James Bond only wishes.
2. On a day meant to celebrate snow, festivities were canceled because of too much snow. The island of Sakhalin had planned a World Snow Day festival with races and classes, but with wintry weather proving too much for the winter sports, the Sakhalin Sports Ministry postponed the events to a day when the thing they’re celebrating is a bit less abundant. After all, a surefire way to celebrate Snow Day is to stay out of it.
3. You know that artist who nailed his scrotum to Red Square, wrapped himself in barbed wire, sliced part of his ear off, and sewed his own mouth shut? He’s just made his most shocking move yet: applying for political asylum in France. Fines and short jail stints didn’t stop Pyotr Pavlensky before, but now he’s being accused of attempted rape – an accusation he sees as a move to silence his anti-Putin protests – and the heavy sentence is sending him out of the country. What plans he has for the Eiffel Tower remains to be seen.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“All of these years, the regime has trying to prove that I am a criminal or a madman - not an artist, but the destroyer of cultural values. The state machine has been able to execute this play successfully. But we will be careful, and life will show who has the last word.”
—Pyotr Pavlensky, a political artist famous for his extreme performances, on what he calls false accusations meant to get him out of the country.
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 Olympics are under way! With them, new moves in Turkish-Russian relations, a Putin-voiced documentary, and the dangerous force of Russiaphobia. Also cats.
This week in Russia saw a whole lot of beatdowns: on international corruption, candy stores, and even Buddha.
A church’s domes caving into the altar. A transgender couple finagles a wedding. A hospital patient shares a room with a corpse. Just another TWERF.
In The Weekly Russia File for March 31: some terrible chess puns, and how to stop traffic.
The opening of the Kremlin, the mysterious ways of the nooscope, Hare Krishnas, and why Michael Phelps decided to defect to the Russian Olympic team.
It's a tough week for transport in Russia, with a tractor parade, a smugglers' road, a bear on the loose, and an unwieldy matryoshka to top it all off.
Performance art turned into meaty meals and politicians turned criminals or corpses. Oh, and Vladimir Putin gets arrested.
Olympics featuring dead goats, world records with feta cheese, blood-red rivers, and how to set up your business in a pit of slime.