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Moscow shop hides banned foods from police using fake ad

An Italian delicatessen in Moscow has found an ingenious way to advertise its remaining stock of cheeses whose import into Russia is now banned: a street-level billboard that can be seen by anyone but the police. When a policeman passes by, and is detected with the help of a hidden camera, the billboard switches from saying “Forbidden Italian delicacies” to “Best Matryoshki in Moscow”. 

The billboard is located near the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and reactions to it have been recorded in a video with over 95,000 views on Youtube, which makes Don Giulio Salumeria’s cheeses less of a secret, and more of a viral stunt. The marketing campaign was, in fact, devised by Krasnogorsk-based advertising agency The 23. 

Don Giulio Salumeria was one of several shops to suffer from the food ban, which saw the import of meats and cheeses from the European Union halted by Russia as a reaction to western sanctions over Ukraine. 

Photographs of Siberia’s female prisoners to be exhibited in Moscow

  • Photographs of Siberia’s female prisoners to be exhibited in Moscow

    Image: Meduza

  • Photographs of Siberia’s female prisoners to be exhibited in Moscow

    Image: Meduza

  • Photographs of Siberia’s female prisoners to be exhibited in Moscow

    Image: Meduza

An exhibition of portraits of female prisoners in Siberia by photographer Elena Anasova will open at Moscow’s Elektrozavod at the end of this month. Anasova spent several months in Siberia in 2014 meeting incarcerated women, whom she photographed with their dearest possessions — a bible, a plant or a needle and thread. 

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21 May 2015

Peter Greenaway plans new film about Russia’s Volga region

British film director Peter Greenaway is set to make a film about Russia’s Volga region based on the travel writing of 19th Century French author Alexandre Dumas, the film's producers announced today. Focussing on the “multinational, multi-confessional and polyethnic nature of the region,” the film, which is scheduled to start filming in 2016, will also overview Russia’s past and present “as a country located on the border between Europe and Asia”. 

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21 May 2015

Serbia, Russia and Estonia among Eurovision favourites after first semi-final

  • Serbia, Russia and Estonia among Eurovision favourites after first semi-final

    Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov onstage in Vienna last night

  • Serbia, Russia and Estonia among Eurovision favourites after first semi-final

    The Estonian (l) and Russian (r) contestants

Serbia has emerged as an unlikely candidate to win the Eurovision Song Contest after the first semi-final took place in Vienna last night, while Russia and Estonia remain among the favourites.

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20 May 2015

Russian media watchdog threatens Google, Facebook and Twitter for defying censorship laws

The head of Russia's media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of committing “lawless actions” by defying media laws. In letters addressed to the companies' senior executives, Alexander Zharov threatened to fine and ban the three social networks if they continue to ignore Moscow’s demands to delete “extremist” content, Izvestia reported.

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Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker International Prize

Image: Valuska Gábor

Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai has won the Man Booker International Prize.  The 61-year-old, who has previously won the Vilenica Prize and Soros Foundation Prize, collected his £60,000 award at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last night. He is the first European winner of the Man Booker International, which is awarded to a living author every two years on the basis of an entire literary career, since the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadaré took the inaugural prize in 2005. 

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19 May 2015

Controversial director Timofei Kulyabin announces first production since Tannhäuser scandal

Image: Tatyana Lomakina

Russian theatre and opera director Timofei Kulyabin, responsible for the controversial production of Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, is to premiere Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters at the The Real Festival in Yekaterinburg this autumn. The play, which is said “to be filled with erotic scenes and profanity” and has been given an 18 rating, will then travel to Novosibirsk’s “Red Torch” theatre, where Kulyabin was appointed as director-in-chief before the Tannhäuser scandal broke out.

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Google celebrates 80th anniversary of Moscow metro with special Doodle

Google has celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Moscow metro today with a special doodle in the style of old posters depicting a mustachioed train driver driving the metro. To commemorate the occasion, a parade of old series trains could be observed from 5:30am on the ring line of the metro, and will go ahead again tomorrow.

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Ukrainian artists at Venice biennale accuse culture minister of misconduct in open letter

  • Ukrainian artists at Venice biennale accuse culture minister of misconduct in open letter

    Photo: Sergey Illin and PinchukArtCentre

  • Ukrainian artists at Venice biennale accuse culture minister of misconduct in open letter

    Difficulties of Profanation (2015) by Nikita Kadan for the Ukrainian Pavilion. Photo: Sergey Illin and PinchukArtCentre

  • Ukrainian artists at Venice biennale accuse culture minister of misconduct in open letter

    “Please don’t take my picture! Or they’ll shoot me tomorrow.” (2014-2015) by Yevgenia Belorusets for the Yevgenia Belorusets. Photo: Sergey Illin and PinchukArtCentre

Ukrainian artists at this year's Venice Art Biennale wrote an open letter to Ukrainian Minister of Culture Vyacheslav Kirilenko criticising him for the disorganisation of Ukraine's national pavilion and his failure to allocate government funds appropriately. In the letter, the signatories, who include artists Anna Zvyagintseva, Sergey Zhadan and Open Group, slam the ministry for its “inability to fulfil proper commitments and responsibilities of projects which it undertakes, and ultimately its failure to develop cultural policies”. 

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Andrey Zvyagintsev named jury president at Shanghai Film Festival

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev has been named the jury president of next month’s Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). The director, whose latest film Leviathan won awards at Cannes, the Golden Globes and the Oscars last year, was selected as jury president “on account of the acclaim Leviathan has received”, the SIFF website reads. 

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