Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 11:30:17
17 November 2018


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


Thursday, June 14, 2018

The World Cup Whirlwind Begins

by Irina Bukharin
Mustaches of Hope Spring Eternal

1. Today, June 14, marks the first day of the 2018 World Cup, which Russia is hosting (if you didn’t know that, please let us help you out from under the rock that you’ve been living under). The festivities begin with a match between Saudi Arabia and Russia, but, unfortunately for Team Russia and its fans, Russia is now the lowest ranked team in the tournament. However, television personality Ivan Urgant has a bold plan to rescue Russia’s chances in the World Cup: grow a mustache (or, at the very least, paste one on). This large-scale campaign, called Mustaches of Hope, draws inspiration from the mustachioed Russian coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, and it has already garnered a wide array of adherents from fans of all ages, genders, and even species. Will Team Russia really benefit from the proliferation of handlebars and goatees? We mustache you to wait and see.

Photo: валерия кристовкая

2. A schoolteacher in Omsk, Viktoria Popova, made a splash after a modelling agency posted photos of her in a bathing suit in a pinup style, and she was fired from her job. However, every splash has an opposite and equal counter-splash (that’s Newton’s third law of splashes for you), and dozens of teachers across the country posted photos of themselves in bathing suits with the hashtag “teachers are humans too” (#учителятожелюди) As a result, school administrators offered Popova her job back. Maybe things will actually go as swimmingly as the first pictures indicated!

3. Here’s a little ray of sunshine to brighten everyone’s day. “Does the Sun Have an Off-Switch?” is the title of a book produced by a group of Russians who are transitioning to life after prison. The book, an anthology that engages with an excerpt of Plato’s “Republic,” is the result of a creative writing workshop called “Freedom Words.” The workshop was led by an American University of Chicago student who engaged participants with readings, discussions, and writing exercises. The workshop generated healing and growth for those who participated (not to mention a deep dive into Plato!).

In Odder News:

Photo: Meduza

  • For sale: a “life in Krasnoyarsk.” One man is auctioning off his whole life (which, if you’re curious, includes an apartment, a dacha, two cars, and even a cafe)

  • One German is driving to Russia for the World Cup in a tractor with a small house attached, which travels at the quick clip of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) per hour: it should only take him 10 days!

  • June 12 was Russia Day, which was celebrated in style across the country

  • A picture of a missing Russian creepily follows you. In Russia, the poster reads you!

Quote of the Week:

“Everything is against him now: expectations, the weather, the laws of physics, the anatomy of certain footballers and just plain-old logic.”

— Ivan Urgant, referring to Stanislav Cherchesov and Russia’s chances of succeeding in the 2018 World Cup

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.