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.
Some people see spies everywhere. Other people just see dumpsters, birds, snow, dogs, boars, or artists seeking political asylum. (That's at least 4 separate stories).
Adapting to life in Russia? Comic books. Craving cuteness? Piglets getting saved from a fire. Not Russian enough for you? Ice swimming. And for good measure, zombies.
A polar bear travels the world, a historian serves up the Rhyme of Troubles, the Kremlin gets a new alien, and Presidents Putin and Trump get along by the skin of their teeth.
A Buddhist monastery in the mountains fights one millionaire, and Kiribati's islands welcome another one. There's also exorcism, the Facebook of 1917, and general happiness.
Convicts carve up the Kremlin, an assassin wins a prize, and governors drop like flies. Actually, that all sounds a lot worse than what happened. Find out for yourself.
Exactly 100 years ago, on February 23, 1917, the Russian Revolution began. And once you've learned about that, there's space, WWII reenactments, and a portal back to medieval times.
A friendly robot graces the metro and a politically charged (and financed) dance studio gets footloose thanks to the youngest Putin. Also, happy World Cat Day!
International Women's Day was celebrated by marches, flowers, and flash mobs. In other news, Russia and China are BFFs, and Prime Minister Medvedev likes ducks.