The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
A special section during the Rio Olympics
The Games are over, and as predicted, Russia kept fourth place in the medal count, rounding out with a total of 56 medals: 19 gold, 18 silver, and 19 bronze. Though the Russian team shrunk by about one-third after the doping accusations, the Games were attended by 280 Russian athletes – 107 of whom became medalists – and one matryoshka from hell. Yes, you read that right.
1. The only thing worse than getting stuck in a giant matryoshka: getting stuck in an airport because of a giant matryoshka. Russia’s Olympic team was delayed in Rio for hours due to “congestion”: specifically, the team’s gigantic nesting doll – re-named “the matryoshka from hell” – getting caught in the door of the plane. Couldn’t they just un-nest the dolls to get all the pieces on board?
2. Illegal smugglers will do anything to make a buck. Including – invest in improving local infrastructure? In this case, gangs of smugglers repaired a gravel road along the Belarussian border to ease their transport of sanctioned goods across the border. The “expertly repaired” road now has officials on the lookout for the repair workers – but whether it’s to punish them or give them a new job remains uncertain.
3. A convoy of tractors was on a roll toward Moscow until a police blockade stopped them in their tracks. Farmers from Kuban’ had started the roll to get national officials to address local corruption and attacks on their land. The tractor march, a rare example of public dissent outside of major cities, was stalled many times before being suspended altogether. Maybe next time they’ll hire the smugglers’ roadbuilders to pave them a new path.
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
A matryoshka doll from the Russian House got stuck in the airport doors :))) nobody understands what to do with it)))."
—Dmitry Simonov, who is deputy editor of the Sport-Express newspaper, tweeting on the Russian Olympic team’s ill-fated nesting doll.
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.
Tractors for Putin, toxic waste for Kaliningrad, and Reagan and Gorbachev for their modern-day counterparts. Also sweet wine, state secrets, and salt.
The scandal around the Bolshoi's latest ballet, remembering an Internet icon, and pro-Putin pensioners, with a dash of PhotoShop of daredevilry.
Getting flak for getting hitched, how fidget spinners foster political dissidence, and a new set of wheels around Russia. Plus dandy pigeons and the best totalitarian tourism.
President Putin visits human rights activists and curious kids, and a famous author falls to pieces. Plus Ivan the Terrible, a terrible auction purchase, and 10 fantastic bridges.
Pranksters solve energy security with pig manure, paratroopers get rowdy, and presidential grants yield surprise winners. Plus, Russia's deadliest plants and getting stuck in an elevator.
Beachgoers bathe in potable sludge, Russians weigh in on replacements for sanctioned food, and the Kremlin revamps funerals. Plus, Putin goes fishing.
A not-quite lake makes a splash, zombies on public transit, and problems memorializing history's tragedies. But on the bright side, shirtless men and hippos.
Elections are the new dinner and a movie. Plus, Moscow's heading east, rap battles get a bad rap, and pickles and melons galore.