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20 January 2018


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Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Best of 2017

by Alice E.M. Underwood

For our final TWERF of 2017, we look back and re-share some of our favorite stories from 2017. They may not be the most note-worthy or news-worthy stories, but we felt they were the most fun.

Because that is what TWERF is about: looking at the "lighter-side" of all things Russian (Lord knows the darker side has been well covered by others this year), to capture some of the odder, lesser-known bits of news seeping out of matyushka-Rus. We like to think that we've built something of an iconoclastic corner on offbeatedness (yes, we realize that is not a word). We may trip over the line sometimes into dark or un-PC humor, and we're sorry if we offend. We are trying our best to behave ourselves. Really.

TWERF's Three Favorite Stories of 2017

1. When you hear the words “mammoth hotel,” you might just think “really big.” But in a proposed development on the coast of Lake Baikal, a hotel will be built in the shape of a wooly mammoth skull. According to officials in the Republic of Buryatia, the “ethnic and historical flavor” of the structure will attract more tourists and boost investment in the region. Nature lovers who know the unique beauty of Baikal might disagree. Still, chances are you haven’t been to many hotel conferences hosted inside the enormous skull of an extinct animal.

2. Let them eat cheesecake—all 40,000 of them! Some cities' founding days mean fireworks and looking back at history. In Stavropol, it meant a 4.2-ton dessertIn honor of its 240th anniversary, Stavropol played host to the baking and consuming of the world’s largest cheesecake. The 2.3-meter confection earnedits spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, and thousands of Stavropol residents lined up to get a taste.

3. Many folks dream of traveling the globe. Apparently, so do polar bears. This bear-faced tourist has been from Tonga to Thailand, Ethiopia to Ecuador, but it’s his permanent habitat on Instagram that helped him taste the honey of fame. The man behind the mask is Elnar Mansurov, a Perm resident who has gained attention as a travel expert – and not just for his unconventional facewear, but also for his tipsabout traveling with bearly any money. If a bear can do it, anything’s pawsible.

Five Most Popular TWERFs of 2017

Here's what readers liked best this past year. Click on over, give them a read and see if you agree.

  1. Russia Youth Then and Now (May 25)
  2. The Biggest Cheesecake, The Artsiest Robot, and The Spaciest Station (September 28)
  3. Spying for Russia and Flying for Russia (October 5)
  4. Eating, Drinking, and Putin's New Look (August 10)
  5. Toxic Waste, Putin Farms, & Crazy Seals (July 6)