The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Thursday, May 04, 2017
Sub-Zero, Rambo, and Vegans
1. Ethno-pop music, elderly Russian women, and shoot-em-up video games may be an unlikely mix. But the Buranovskiye Babushki, second-place winners of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, make the miraculous come true in their latest musical project, a commercial for Mortal Kombat. The Babushki watched scenes from the film to prep for their mash-up. Their verdict: Russian folklore heroes could do it better.
2. May Day parades traditionally feature labor unions and interest groups ranging from communists to supporters of United Russia to nationalists. Some groups get rowdy, but it’s not always the ones you’d expect: at this past Monday’s parade, among the leftist activists detained were also 19 vegans. It may have been the “Animals aren’t food” poster that got the police involved, but their unfurling of a rainbow flag was the more likely provocation.
3. A Russian frog smuggler quit his taxi-driving job in Moscow to capture poisonous frogs in Colombia. Then, he was kidnapped by an armed insurgent group. Then, he made a daring escape by grabbing a gun, firing on his captors, and fleeing into the forest, “like Rambo.” He’s still at large in the Colombian jungle. It’s one of those fact-is-stranger-than-fiction tales..
In Odder News
Quote of the Week
“I knew that there was a video game. For the longest time, I didn’t understand what children meant when they screamed, ‘Back-back-forward-forward-X!’ I thought, ‘Isn’t that how a crab moves?’ It turns out to be a deadly blow.”
—One of the singers of Buranovskiye Babushki on the phenomenon of Mortal Kombat. She now not only knows about the video game, but also about the movie, having just recorded a commercial for the Russian broadcast of the film.
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.
A Moon landing is on the horizon. Eurovision, with its typical set of scandals, is on an even closer horizon. And on your way, why not stop by Red Square for some dental work?
Does Russian St. Patrick's Day have leprechauns? After you ponder that, there's a reindeer herder fighting big oil, humans-turned-Twitter bots, and a mysterious murder.
Continuing scandal, new demonstrations, a sesquicentenial and a linguistic smackdown. Just another week here at TWERF.
Investigations: the state of Russian cosmonautics, what happens to prohibited fruit, and when mourners aren't really mourning. Plus, sneaking pickles into space.
It's been a rough week in Russia, with the metro bombing in St. Petersburg, the disappearance of gay men, and the death of Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Luckily, lasers are kinda neat.
Some folks form an Arctic military base or withdraw from mayoral elections. Others counterfeit toilet paper and roll through traffic in a giant ball.
A juice flood. A mud flood. A human rights drought. And for good measure, portraits with wild animals and haircuts with an axe.
Pop-star grandmas advertise action films, May Day doesn't go great for vegans, and a Russian frog smuggler's story gets even more unlikely.