Mar 29, 2010

Loss for Words

Mar 17, 2010

Surprise Fireworks Show Cancelled

The day was ruined for several Moscow maintenance workers by the discovery of a between 800 and 2000 unexploded WWII artillery shells in a cache beneath the road where they were planning to replace waterpipes. RIA Novosti reports that "between 200 and 300 unexploded aviation bombs, artillery shells and other ammunition is found in Moscow each year." Mad props to the worker that stopped jackhammering in time.

Sympathy for the Citroen

This is one of those stories that gets legs and won’t stop running.
Two weeks ago, the vice-president of Russian oil giant Lukoil was in his chauffeur-driven Mercedes when it crashed head-on into a Citroen killing the two women in that car. The police blamed the Citroen for the accident but [Russian hip-hop artist] Noize MC has his own version of events.

…and that version has now gone viral on YouTube, which is important since Ekho Moskvy has apparently been banned from playing the song.

But we're not.

Say what you will about the decline of Russian culture, but we're pretty sure Rimsky-Korsakov never thought to combine guerilla dissent with a hip-hop cover of the Rolling Stone's Sympathy for the Devil...and South Park?

Bulgakov is smiling from hell.

Medvedev: Russia Must Tap That Arctic Resource

AP MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia must defend its claims to mineral riches of the Arctic in increasing competition with other powers. which have a dubious basis in international law. But hey, Rock Hudson had a dubious claim to being a submarine captain. And that didn't seem to stop him.

Mar 16, 2010

Future Headline: AIDS Epidemic in Uzbekistan

According to CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, sex education is now illegal in Uzbekistan, evidenced by the fact, in September, Maxim Popov, was sentenced to seven years in prison apparently as punishment for his work to raise public awareness on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Why report on something that happened in September in March? Because it was just made public today.

In any case it looks like Uzbeks will have to learn sex ed the hardway. Unless of course they have access to HBO or Cinemax.

Mar 15, 2010

Face Value

An Imedi network report in Georgia yesterday broadcast the news that Russian tanks had invaded the capital and that Saakashvili was dead...What they didn't mention clearly enough was that this broadcast, complete with footage from the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict, was a simulation meant to imagine what would happen if Saakashvili was killed...

When the "War of the Worlds" series was first broadcast on radio on October 30, 1938, people panicked in the belief that Martians really were invading Earth. But people have learned since then not to accept things at face value right? Broadcast journalism has learned the importance of that fine print please do not panic button at the bottom of the screen right?

Apparently not..but I guess Imedi got high ratings that day

See the report here.

Mar 10, 2010

Happy Martenitsa!

What the hell is Martenitsa?

Mar 4, 2010

Armenian Genocide, the Sequel

Here we go again:

"The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, in a closer-than-expected vote of 23-22," moved to recognize Armenian Genocide.
Poor Ambassador Tan. We hope he didn't have plans to be in Washington for the Cherry Blossom Festival. He just got recalled to Ankara in protest.

Long Gone: Tsarist Russia

More haunting pictures from the archive of Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (c. 1915) and the Tsarist world in twilight.

Pinkhus Karlinskii stands by a ferry dock along the Mariinskii Canal system (now the Volga-Baltic Waterway). He was eighty-four years old when the photo was taken, having worked the canal for sixty-six years. (That's ten three years longer then the total life expetency of a Russian male living today.)

Ethnic Russian settlers in the South Caucasus. (Are the faces that different from Dorothea Lange's photos of American Okies during the Great Depression?)

A rail push-car near Lake Onega, Petrozavodsk. Prokudin-Gorskii is one of the figures on the car.

Mar 3, 2010

Comming Soon: Jersey Shore, Russian Edition

We kid you not.

According to the NYPost, producers claim their new reality show (tentitivly called Brighton Beach) will be “a cross between the Jersey Shore and Anna Karenina.”

A cross with Anna Karenina?

Unless this means that we can expect to see an orange Bolivian little person throw herself in front of a rush-hour A Train because Count Vronsky didn't like her hair extensions -- then we're not watching.

Have the producers even read Tolstoy?

Crossing Jersey Shore with Anna Karenina is like trying to cross Mein Kampf with Hello Kitty’s Nighttime Storybook Adventures. Then again, people would watch that too.

Mar 2, 2010

Serbia is Going After Alleged War Criminals…

…but only if they're Bosnian. Specifically, former Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic.

And yes, the UK’s permissive legal system (where anyone and everyone can be arrested as a war criminal) is involved.

No word yet if Serbia will also seek the arrest of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for aiding and abetting a war criminal when she served Ganic a cup of tea during their meeting in 2006. However, the legal department reminds us that providing material support and comfort to a war criminal could also be a punishable offiense.

Not on the list: exploiting international legal systems for domestic political gain.

Mar 1, 2010

Bureaucrats of the World Unite

Part of photographer Jan Banning’s series, Bureaucratics, featuring bureaucrats and their offices from around the world.




This Teddy Bear has Claws

This week Medvedev went Soviet on us. According to ESPN, Medvezhyonok has demanded that sports officials step down over the country's dismal performance at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Russia placed 11th for golds and sixth in the overall medal count. For shame. Medvedev said if those responsible for preparing the athletes don't resign, then the decision will be made for them. I think I'll keep track of the hockey coach's fate.

*Picture provided by Ellustrator.