November 14, 2019

Baggage Bros, Covert Crimea, and Brezhnev's Crimes

Baggage Bros, Covert Crimea, and Brezhnev's Crimes
Revenge is a dish best served by a cat. Mikhail Galin

Quote of the Week

“Certain comrades of mine forbid me to quote Elon Musk, so I’m going to quote Stalin.”

— Yuri Urlichich, First Deputy Director of Roscosmos, giving a speech at a conference

Cat’s in the Cradle, Crimean Boogaloo

1. “Bros should be around bros, not in the luggage.” This was the quote that inspired frequent flier Mikhail Galin to resort to extreme measures to save his cat, Viktor. Mikhail wanted to bring Viktor onboard an Aeroflot flight, but air staff said Viktor was too heavy to ride in the cabin and would have to ride in the luggage compartment. So Mikhail performed a daring swap. He went home and used his miles to redeem a business class ticket for the next day. Meanwhile, he sought via Facebook and found a cat-double for Victor and had him weighed at the airport screening… then swapped back in Viktor for the flight. Unfortunately, Mikhail paid a heavy price for his heist: he was found out and his frequent flying account was cancelled. Clearly, no sacrifice is too great for a man to make for his cat.

"I/we stand for Fat Cat"
All of the RuNet is rooting for Mikhail and Viktor. / @leonidragozin via Twitter

2. One driver in the city of Astrakhan noticed an odd road sign. On a bridge leading to Crimea Street, someone had put up a prominent red sign reading “Crimea Bridge.” Evidently feeling like spending his weekend by the Black Sea, the driver drove up to the bridge and crossed it, joking, “Look, we’re going to Crimea.” No one is really sure who put the sign up. Perhaps it was a patriot for whom distance made the heart grow fonder for Crimea’s recent “reunification” (Astrakhan is 600 miles from Crimea). Or maybe it was a prankster underlining that there was no need to annex other people’s territory: the real Crimea was within us all along.

Crimea Bridge in Astrakhan
Crimea's just around the corner. / Astrakhan Online

3. You may never be able to collect all of Leonid Brezhnev’s medals. But today, for a paltry 1.5 million rubles ($25,000), you can buy the only driving ticket he ever received. Of course, it’s not a real ticket — the Minister of the Interior gave it to Brezhnev as a joke. But Brezhnev did have a real driver’s license that permitted its holder to drive “all categories of vehicles.” Both the license and his fake ticket are being auctioned off today. (It’s unlikely to stagnate at the block.)

In Odder News

  • New Zealanders are accusing Russia of interfering in their election — that is, their election for bird of the year.
  • Thousands of miles from Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, surfers in Kamchatka are making waves among Russians who love the tide.
Surfing in Kamchatka
Surf's up in Siberia. / BBC
  • What are your favorite Russian cities to visit? One poll asked travellers to reveal their rankings. Check it out and see how they stack up against yours.

Thanks to David Edwards for a story idea!

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