Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 19:26:21
20 September 2018


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


Thursday, January 19, 2017

The spy who stayed out in the cold

by Alice E.M. Underwood

TGI Spyday

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.

twitter.com

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

greatdane.photography
  • The Trans-Siberian Railway? Child’s play. The first direct train from Yiwu, China has made it all the way to London. 12,000 miles: that’s a raily big deal.
  • A true animal lover doesn’t leave wild boars trapped in an ice hole to freeze: he helps them get out. Even if they threaten to nab a bite of him in the process.

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.

Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards
Births: Modern Russia, baby LSDUZ, and lots of leopards

Russia Day marks the birth of the post-Soviet Russian nation. This week saw some other births too, from literal leopard cubs to figurative names and games. 

Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events
Scandals, lies, sci-fi, and other sporting events

Fictional sportscasters, the all-too-real Olympic ban, and the possible reality of teleportation in Russia's future. And don't forget about mind control.

What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion
What Brexit means for Russian economic and territorial expansion

Britain has voted to leave the European Union. Does that mean a boom for Russia? Or is that title a ploy to get you to read about how Russians go about sunbathing?

Get undressed and read the news till you sweat
Get undressed and read the news till you sweat

Presidential speeches urge disrobing, but it's not what you think. All while laws get passed, politicians play judo, and – wait, is that Leonardo diCaprio?

Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon
Ballooning of strict laws, and ballooning of a hot air balloon

Adventure takes many forms. There's regular travel, round-the-world travel, and navigating the Russian legal system. Also beards. 

Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great
Ivan the Terrible and Pokémon the Great

Pokémon goes to Russia – and so do memories of fallen tsars, athletes, street cleaners, and of course, a kitty cat.

That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.
That's not cheese. It's a cyborg.

A joke-telling Pushkin robot, an unimpressed Putin, and cheese that's as virtual a reality as Pokémon. 

Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison
Fake elections, real Cossacks, and how to do yoga in prison

Why some Russians would rather vote for a fictional candidate, the importance of a Cossack education, and some artsy graffiti along the way.