February 11, 2022

Battle of the Zoo Mascots


Battle of the Zoo Mascots
The Jungle Book's King Louie real life edition Pexels, Pixabay

https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-forest-trees-animal-52530/

Who would’ve thought that choosing a zoo mascot would be so controversial? The Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia earlier announced that, for 2022, its new mascot would be chosen by a public vote. What began as a fun opportunity for the public to get involved quickly became embroiled in scandal, after Sergei Boyko chose to show his support for the orangutan Batu.

Sergei Boyko, an exiled city deputy, broadcast his support for the orangutan on YouTube, urging other influencers and bloggers such as Ilya Varlamov to get behind the movement. Despite the assumption that the orangutan would not be a good candidate, given its supposed unappealing appearance compared to other mammals, votes surged for Batu.

It is not clear why Boyko and others chose Batu, but he soon came to represent Russia’s opposition. So of course the mayor’s office stepped in to quash the orangutan’s support by mysterious means.

Soon enough, a polar bear cub named Shilka took the lead in voting. Then the white snow leopard Sayan won by a long shot, earning 25,000 votes in just one-day. These votes were found to be fraudulent, however, as they poured in over just four hours, despite the website having only 1,851 visitors.

When the dust settled on the mascot vote rigging, the zoo ended its competition, saying they will pick a mascot themselves, and that they are upset to see the animals being used in such a manner.

Many Batu supporters expressed outrage that the competition was ended by fiat, and that Batu was not crowned mascot. A perhaps fitting symbol of the current political opposition.

You Might Also Like

The Amazing Life of Moscow's Gator
  • May 27, 2020

The Amazing Life of Moscow's Gator

Saturn, a Mississippi alligator, saw Hitler and survived the Battle of Berlin. A tribute to the Moscow Zoo's greatest reptile.
Tiger Toes Get Chilly, Too
  • January 21, 2022

Tiger Toes Get Chilly, Too

An endangered Amur tiger cub undergoes surgery after falling victim to Russia's harsh winters. 
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
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.  
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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.

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