An Apple a Day Keeps Putin Away
Ola Cichowlas returns to the Polish orchards her grandmother grew up in to find out how apple growers are handling Russia’s boycott of this year’s harvest:
Traces of the Volga Germans
Echoes of a deported people can still be heard on the banks of the Volga - if you listen carefully:
Sabantuy: 1000-Year-Old Family Fun Day
This Tatar festival with pre-Islamic roots marking the summer solstice in central Russia’s Volga region has towel wrestling, pillow fights and tickle-monsters.
The Ants of Medyka
The Ukrainian Army has been sending young soldiers into combat without body armor or even helmets at times. Enter the ‘ants’—Ukrainian volunteers who walk army surplus goods over the Polish border, one bag at a time.
Made it through the gauntlet, and into the Maracana media center. Fans have crashed through the walls here twice before during this World Cup, but for now the Wall is holding. Time for a quick overpriced bite, and then up up up to the high tribune to watch #Belgium #Russia #worldcup
Dining in the Soviet Style
In central Moscow, a famous and slightly foreboding institution is finding new life under restaurateur Alexei Zimin, where he is reviving classics of Russian and Soviet cuisine.
Amazing what Photoshop can do. On the left, he’s part of Russia’s roughneck OMON security service. On the right, he’s clearly guilty of “spreading information about non-traditional sexual behavior”, something that has just been outlawed by the slatheringly homophobic Russian government (and yes, this is a new picture but a very old Photoshop trick for people who don’t like OMON)
[Russia’s imperial double-headed eagle: church and state on the same predator. Tattoo by aethersb]
In closing statements largely ignored in Russia and overly praised overseas (“an instant classic,” says David Remnick, who has a history of hyperventilation about Russian dissidents), the three agitpunks of Pussy Riot each gave their own cri du tribunal.
The least windy of the statements came from Yekaterina Samutsevich, who described Pussy Riot’s “complicated punk adventure in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior” in simple terms: the Russian Orthodox Church shouldn’t be in bed with the Kremlin.
There is a certain faddishness to the fury in the west about the two-year sentences handed down on August 17 (Joshua Foust called it “worst sort of slacktivism”). But long after Alicia Silverstone stops sending Putin letters urging access to vegan food for the prisoners, the core question will still stand: why does the Orthodox Church allow itself to be an instrument of political power in Putin’s Russia?
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