September 01, 2016

Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats

Corruption, Kalashnikovs, and cultured meats

Life, death, and burgers

1. Would you like that burger medium rare or with a side of scrotum? Burger King will be cooking up specialty burgers in tribute to Pyotr Pavlensky’s performance art, which includes stunts like nailing his scrotum to Red Square and sewing his mouth shut. Burger King’s ploy to keep up with pop culture will include burgers wrapped in edible barbed wire, sewn shut, or with a plastic spear nailing an egg to the meat patty. Burger King publicity calls it a drive to “bring culture to the masses.”

2. Uzbek President Islam Kamirov is dead, miraculously recovered, in grave condition, or maybe just on vacation? Speculative as the rumors around the leader’s health may be, speculations around what new leadership in Central Asia would mean for Russia are wilder still. Since Kamirov has been in power since 1989, the economic and political stability of the region – not to mention the Uzbek military, migrant worker flows, and the repressive state system – could be as tenuous as the rumors around Kamirov’s health.

3. Deputy Chairman of the Parnas Party Ilya Yashin has presented a report on crime within United Russia, Russia’s leading political party. Re-dubbing Putin’s party the “Criminal Russia” Party, his report describes a “social elevator for crime,” linking governors and top officials in United Russia to organized crime, corruption, bribery, money laundering, and murder. With State Duma elections in two weeks, opposition leaders hope that corruption concerns will help sway disillusioned voters.

In Odder News

Quote of the Week

“The death of any tyrant is not disclosed to the society because the power is afraid of unrest, afraid that the society will act in the absence of a ruler...You can announce the death of a leader only when you have the next one."
—Valery Solovey, a history professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, on the rumored death of Uzbek President Islam Kamirov. 

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