August 24, 2017

Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics


Rap battles, Moscow's move, and mixing dating and politics
A Match Made In...The Voting Booth?

1. Flowers, dinner, a movie, and the democratic process – now that’s romance. In a bid to boost turnout for September’s gubernatorial elections, the dating site Mamba has launched a special version of the app called “Together at the Elections.” Mamba is Russia’s most popular dating site, and the Kremlin is said to have enlisted it specifically to encourage voter turnout this fall – and if it’s successful, possibly for next year’s presidential elections, too. You know what they say: from the ballot box straight to the altar.

2. Moscow’s had its day in the sun. And now, go east, young folks, go east! That’s the idea of politician Yuri Krupnov, who has proposed relocating Russia’s capital to the other side of the Urals. The goal is to make the capital more accessible, help the government maintain sovereignty over distant regions, and halt “hypercentralization,” which has led to a fifth of the Russian population dwelling in Moscow. Still, the likelihood of the move is slim, with most officials either ridiculing the proposal or suggesting economic reform rather than redrawing the map.

3. Next time you join (or re-post) a rap battle, make sure it’s rated PG. The state supervisory service Roskomnadzor fined six media networks and warned 26 more for posting a video of a rap battle that included obscene language. The rappers involved in the battle were Oxxxymiron and Gnoynoy, whose performance gathered 7 million hits within hours after being posted. Here’s a bit about the history of rap battles and why they’re appealing to Russian youth culture.

In Odder News

  • 320 years ago, Peter the Great set off for Europe. He brought back potatoes, sunflowers, the modern calendar, and a burning hatred of beards.
  • Show your melons: the city of Kamyshin is hosting a watermelon festival to feature a costume parade, carving contest, and performances.
Quote of the Week

"With all due respect to Yuri Vasilievich, there’s no point in wasting time debating fake ideas...We could debate the question ‘is there life on Mars’ with the same degree of success.”
—Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin responding to Yuri Krupnov’s “de-Moscowization” proposal. He also compared the idea to Soviet-era deportations. In other words, the move is a no-go.

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Marooned in Moscow

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This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
The Latchkey Murders

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Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
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Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
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