The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
1. Monday was Russia Day, the nationwide celebration of state sovereignty featuring parades, events, and, well, protests. Moscow’s festivities included a historical reenactment festival, complete with Soviet troops, Vikings, and archaic torture devices for family fun. Meanwhile, anti-corruption activists gathered across the country in protests organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny – himself detained before arriving at the protest. By varying accounts, dozens or hundreds of people were arrested by riot police. Whether they had a worse day than the Viking whose ship got trampled is hard to say.
2. When you hear the words “mammoth hotel,” you might just think “really big.” But in a proposed development on the coast of Lake Baikal, a hotel will be built in the shape of a wooly mammoth skull. According to officials in the Republic of Buryatia, the “ethnic and historical flavor” of the structure will attract more tourists and boost investment in the region. Nature lovers who know the unique beauty of Baikal might disagree. Still, chances are you haven’t been to many hotel conferences hosted inside the enormous skull of an extinct animal.
3. “Cryptocurrency can’t buy me love” just isn’t as catchy as The Beatles’ original tune about money. It may not buy love, but cryptocurrency – digital, encrypted forms of currency that exist outside of “normal” economies – can do more than you’d think. One farmer created such a currency called the kolion, which has helped him fund his farm. At first, this was a legal risk, but in an about-face in late April, Russia announced that it will legalize and regulate cryptocurrencies. With their apparent growing role in the Russian economy, it doesn’t look like cryptocurrencies will buy the farm anytime soon.
"This is the same kind of tool as a tractor. Only it is a hundred times more powerful and more efficient."
—Mikhail Shlyapnikov, a farmer who has invented a new cryptocurrency called the kolion, on the increasing value and popularity of his currency.
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.