November 28, 2019

Dumbledovich and the Chamber of Bovine Distractions


Dumbledovich and the Chamber of Bovine Distractions
No, you didn’t forget your morning coffee. @NeSobyanin

Quote of the Week

“Be careful, and don’t run into sanctions turbulence!”

— Dumbledore, if he were a Russian banker

Of Ghostly Gates and Synthetic Summers

1. Last week, at a Moscow investment forum, VTB Bank chairman Andrei Kostin staged a lavish skit that combined two of everyone’s favorite things: Harry Potter and money. In the skit, “Andrei Dumbledovich,” played by Kostin, summons three bright young people to save the planet from the evil dollar — sorry, “Dollar-de-Mort.” Harry marvels at the dollar’s resilience: “I remember when he was little and only cost six rubles” (one dollar now costs 64 rubles, it has not been at 6 to the dollar since 1998). Nevertheless, Dumbledovich urges on his disciples: “We’ll give it a good fight!” If only fixing the economy were as easy as saying “Sanctionum Leviosa!”

Dumbledovich and his gang
Or even “Expecto Putinum!” / RBC

2. Ever felt like the weather was so depressing, you had to hide in virtual reality to feel better? Turns out cows feel that way too. A farm near Moscow has developed a VR headset that farmers can put on their cows during notoriously gray Russian winters. The VR headset, which is designed specifically for cow vision, projects bucolic images of green fields and sunny skies in the hopes that cows feel more relaxed and produce more milk. No cows could be reached for comment, but we’re guessing they’re over the moon about their cool new moovies (pun creds to @hannahmakes on Twitter).

Cow VR
Holy cow, it’s summer again! / Moscow Region Ministry of Agriculture and Food

3. In Cherepovets, a set of gates materialized in the middle of a path. It sounds like a spooky sighting one month too late for Halloween, but actually, there’s nothing paranormal about it. A local clinic (to which the gate leads) wanted to build a fence with gates, but there were delays in building the fence, so only the gates were finished. Locals with a sense of humor planted signs around the gates reading “Warning: Mines!!!” Hilariously, the guard came every day to lock and unlock the gates. The clinic took down the gates a few days later, but it promises that the gates and fence will soon be installed in a less joke-worthy manner.

Spooky gates
Portals to another world? / @ura_ru

In Odder News

  • A new metro network called “Oriole” (a kind of bird) opened in Moscow. The card readers didn’t work, and the trains were so bad even Putin looked depressed, but hey, at least the metro workers dressed up as orioles.
Sad Putin
Even the orioles couldn't cheer him up. / @rprose
  • British travel blogger Jonny Tickle called Chelyabinsk “the worst city in Russia.” An offended news site ran a poll to prove him wrong… only for everyone to agree with him.
  • Blast from the past: In 2014, a journalist visited Moscow’s obscure Brain Institute, which reportedly houses the brains of Lenin, Stalin, Mayakovsky, and more. Read about what she found inside.

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.

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