Staunton, April 26 – One of the challenges of trying to cover what is happening in Russia is that it is a country where things that don’t happen often do – or at least are reported to have occurred – forcing one to try to establish whether they are true or the latest example of Russian “fake” news.
Today brings an especially rich harvest of Russian stories that are too wonderful not to be true – and in fact they are. Here are the seven best:
· United Russia Gives Blind Special Picture of Putin. The ruling United Russia Party has come up with a tactile picture of Putin that it is supplying to the country’s organization of the blind so that even the sightless can know what their leader is like (facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10215012528641629&set=a.1157904022745.24923.1082074855&type=3&theater).
· New Russian Vodka Brand has Same Name as Poison Used Against Skripal. Russians can now drink a vodka which bears the same name as the nerve agent that Russian operatives used against the Skripals in the United Kingdom. With luck, those who consume it won’t suffer the same consequences (facebook.com/dimitar.bechev.1/posts/10160400232180392).
· Those Fighting the Russian Opposition May Soon Outnumber It. In a survey of the increasing plethora of organizations the Kremlin has set up to fight the opposition, US-based Russian journalist Kseniya Kirillova concludes that “the number of those fighting the opposition in rusisa will soon exceed the number of opposition figures” (svoboda.org/a/29188787.html).
· Officials Thrilled Share of Russians Now Forced to Economize has Fallen from 70 to 64 Percent. Although two-thirds of all Russians say that the economic crisis has forced them to economize, Russian officials seem thrilled by a slight decline over the past year, to the horror of some commentators who say the government is ignoring the big picture (forum-msk.org/material/news/14581750.html).
· Russian Embassy Gets It Wrong: Nizhny Novgorod isn’t Novgorod Veliky. The Russian embassy in Lisbon has put out a booklet about the upcoming World Cup competition in which they illustrate the page for Nizhny Novgorod with a picture of Novgorod Veliky, an entirely different city and one where there won’t be any football matches (versia.ru/v-broshyure-k-chm-2018-nizhnij-novogorod-pereputali-s-velikim-novgorodom).
· At Fork in the Road, Russians Must Choose: To Marx or to Engels. A wonderful survey of unusual place names in the Russian Federation offers the dilemma Russians on one road face: When they come to a crossing, they have to decide to go to Marx or to Engels, two municipalities that aren’t in the same direction (zen.yandex.ru/media/id/5a68d95f79885ef28b4cdaab/russkii-iumor-na-dorogah-ili-suscestvuet-li-ukazatel-v-muhosransk-5adc94c15f496711cd611f5c).
· Russia ‘Catches up and Surpasses America’ -- by Organizing First Doll Bordello. An enterprising Russian is opening the first bordello with dolls rather than prostitutes, something that not only allows him to stay within the law and claim that he is offering a public service to help save families and help men who have troubles with real women but also to suggest that in this area, Russia has definitely “surpassed” America and can take pride in that. He says that he plans to open a chain of these facilities across Russia (dw.com/ru/виктор-ерофеев-секс-куклы-во-время-чумы/a-43523643, newsland.com/community/5206/content/rossiia-obognala-ameriku/6315496 and ura.news/articles/1036274680).