April 05, 2018

April Fool's Day, Russia Style!


April Fool's Day, Russia Style!

The world is reeling from diplomatic expulsions and counter-expulsions. But we figure the big media outlets have that topic covered. So, as usual, we aim our focus at the real news everyone else is missing…

Joke's on You, Joke's on Me

1. The (Russian) Empire Strikes Back! Russia’s Foreign Ministry took part in April Fool’s Day shenanigans by proposing a new politically-pointed voicemail message (this was last year, but, sadly, it still applies this year). In both Russian and English (skip to 0:28 for English), the message asks you to select a number to be directed to a particular Russian service. What services do they provide? A Russian diplomat calling your political opponent, hacking, or election interference: take your pick! And don’t forget, this call may be recorded.

 

2. Some like it cold, some like it hot, and some like it both at the same time. About 15 people cut off a large chunk of ice and sailed it down the River Don for a day, using the sheet to have a picnic, heat a bath, gather round a fire, and even wakeboard. Eventually the ice breaks apart, but the partiers simply move all their things to one side and continue with fireside music. Talk about going with the floe.

 

3. If at first you don’t succeed, try to fly, fly again. This week the Russian Postal Service tested a drone as part of its effort to integrate drones into its vast distribution network. The drone, which was supposed to travel nine miles, made it less than 100 meters before abruptly veering and crashing into a house. The postal service has vowed to continue with this project, but it’s fair to say: this drone didn’t pass with flying colors.

 
In Odder News:
  •  

  • A giant inflatable matryoshka doll bounced across a parking lot, almost knocking someone out (thankfully, the smaller ones didn’t get out!)

  • UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson displayed an impressive knowledge of Dostoyevsky (and Star Wars!) while dissing Russia

  • Post-apocalyptic prank: Russians “invent” a police dream car, replete with zombie-proof technology

 
Quote of the Week:

“To request election interference, press three and wait until the next election campaign.”

—The Russian Foreign Ministry’s prank voicemail message

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.

Tags: dostoyevsky
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Steppe / Степь

Steppe / Степь

This is the work that made Chekhov, launching his career as a writer and playwright of national and international renown. Retranslated and updated, this new bilingual edition is a super way to improve your Russian.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Russia Rules

Russia Rules

From the shores of the White Sea to Moscow and the Northern Caucasus, Russian Rules is a high-speed thriller based on actual events, terrifying possibilities, and some really stupid decisions.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955