This newsletter from the Russian streaming service Amediateka showed up in my inbox a few minutes ago.
What is Amediateka? What does it have to do with HBO?
Russian streamer Amediateka has struck an exclusive deal that allows it to offer all series from WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, in addition to library content from the US studio.
The agreement, which is effective immediately, hands Amediateka shows including the reboot of cult TV series Gossip Girl, Steven Soderbergh’s film No Sudden Move, sci-fi series Raised By Wolves, Israeli war drama Valley Of Tears and teenage drama Genera+ion.
HBO Max hit The Flight Attendant is also available, along with Sex And The City sequel And Just Like That…, with shows accessible on the streamer in Russia and the CIS.
Animal Kingdom, 11.22.63 and Person Of Interest are among library series available, along with documentaries including 15 Minutes Of Shame, Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests and docuseries Generation Hustle and the upcoming One Perfect Shot.
Tatyana Kalita, CEO of Amediateka parent Amedia TV, said the deal would provide “resonant and highly sought-after” shows to its audiences, adding that the streamer had enjoyed “stunning success” with the recent special episode Friends: The Reunion, which Amediateka exclusively released in Russia and CIS in May.
But didn’t HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia stop doing business in Russia this spring to protest Russia’s brutal unprovoked invasion of Ukraine?
Major media companies continue to join the exodus from Russia, with Discovery and WarnerMedia making announcements on Wednesday about halting all programming in the country.
WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, previously paused the release of “The Batman” in Russia, citing the “humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”
As of Wednesday the company is now “pausing all new business in Russia,” CEO Jason Kilar said in an internal memo. “This includes ceasing broadcast of our channels, halting all new content licensing with Russian entities, and pausing our planned theatrical and games releases.”
WarnerMedia had been broadcasting CNN and Cartoon Network in the country. CNN said on Tuesday that the network is not shutting down its Moscow bureau, “but we have ceased reporting from there until we have assessed the impact of this new law.” The law makes it a crime to disseminate what Russian authorities consider to be “fake” information about the invasion of Ukraine.
Discovery, which has 15 channels in the country, said Wednesday that the channels are going dark as well. “Discovery has decided to suspend the broadcast of all its channels and services in Russia,” the company said.
Discovery and WarnerMedia are preparing to merge this spring.
The statements are part of a much broader corporate shunning of Russia that has escalated in the two weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
Amediateka is currently offering a 12-month subscription to its streaming service at the bargain basement price of 2,499 rubles — or 41 dollars and some change. That’s for an entire year. In the US, WarnerMedia is currently offering a yearly, prepaid subscription to HBO Max for $69.99 with ads or $104.99 with no ads. ||| TRR
The tables covered in beer Showbiz whines, minute detail (2) Hand on the shoulder in Leicester Square (3) It’s vaudeville pub back room dusty pictures of White frocked girls and music teachers The beds too clean Water’s poisonous for the system (4)
And you know in your brain Leave the capitol! (5) Exit this Roman Shell! (6) Then you know you must leave the capitol
Straight home, straight home, straight home One room, one room (7)
A Petersburg developer asked not to use the name “Mir” (“Peace”) in advertising its [new] residential complex. The company decided to refrain from using the word, which had “taken on additional meanings.”
RBI’s official website still identifies the residential complex as “Mir,” and this is the case on some other real estate resources as well. And yet, for example, one of the largest industry websites, TsIAN, already refers to it as the residential complex “On Mirgorodskaya, 1.”
Our source at the company told Rotunda that the advertising campaign for the complex had not yet been launched. And that was why they asked their partners — i.e., real estate agencies — “to refrain from directly advertising the sites before the official start of sales.”
Officially, RBI had only the following to say about the meanings implied by the word “Mir”: “As for the word itself, ‘MIR’ in this case refers to the location of the house, as well as to the World of Art [Mir iskusstva] art group.”
Source: Rotunda, 8 August 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
MIR Club House is a world for connoisseurs of beauty in the very heart of St. Petersburg, a striking house featuring original, artistic architecture.
Compositionally, the complex consists of two buildings: a building of varying heights (six, seven, eight and nine floors) containing 243 apartments, and a small six-story building containing 20 apartments. They are united by a street-facing arch and form a closed courtyard.
The apartments offer picturesque views of Feodorovsky Cathedral, the famous “Kremlin wall of Petersburg,” the historical center, and the new business-class quarter.
Finlandization 3.0, apparently, involves joining NATO to keep the Russian imperialists at bay while simultaneously issuing as many Schengen visas as possible to Russian shopping tourists, who are totally clueless, of course, as they make their triumphant return to the hypermarkets of Lappeenranta, the setting of the hit Nordic noir series Bordertown. Its on-the-spectrum protagonist can barely keep his head above the bloodbath routinely unleashed in the town, which in real life is utterly peaceful and lovely. What is not lovely is the utter cynicism of Lappeenranta’s political and commercial elite, who are, strangely, much more like their fictional counterparts than the real town is like its lush but murderous onscreen double. ||| TRR
Russian shopping tourists are now coming by the busload to a border town in Finland, waiting weeks to make the trip: “It’s about time”
The effects of the border’s [re]opening are already visible in Lappeenranta. The number of Russians is nowhere near the record years, but they seem to have purchasing power.
A Sovavto bus from Russia turns in front of the Lappeenranta bus station.
There’s a full load of people exiting the vehicle. One of them is Andrei Kolomytsev of Petersburg. For him, a trip to Finland is a dream come true after a long wait.
“Two and a half years of waiting. It’s about time, ” he sighs.
Last Friday, Russia lifted travel restrictions that it had imposed in response to the coronavirus outbreak last Friday.
Kolomytsev had been one of the first to arrive in Finland in his own car. However, his trip was halted at the Russian border in the morning, because Russia unexpectedly opened the border only at 1 p.m. Kolomytsev had already turned around and headed back home.
Now he’s happy to step off the bus.
“I’ll go to a cafe, and buy cheese and other high-quality food. I’ll have a look around after a long time,” Kolomytsev outlines his plans.
He also plans to visit a local car dealership specializing in Volvos to ask about maintenance prices. This is because it is now difficult to get car spare parts in Russia due to Western sanctions. As a result, car maintenance has also become more expensive.
Buses full Buses to Finland from Petersburg are now fully booked. For example, the Ecolines booking portal has no tickets available from Petersburg to Lappeenranta until August 16.
Another bus company, Sovavto, has no seats available until July 26.
The return of Russian shopping tourists to the shops is already visible in Lappeenranta. There are clearly more Russian cars with long plates on the streets and in parking lots.
The number of Russian customers has also increased, for example, at Lappeenranta’s branches of [Finnish hypermarket chains] Citymarket and Prisma.
“The number of Russians has increased since Friday. While it used to be a matter of lone customers, now we are talking about numbers in the dozens,” says Antti Punkkinen, Prisma’s director in Lappeenranta.
Ari Piiroinen, the storekeeper at Lappeenranta’s Citymarket, has a similar message.
“The number of Russians has increased steadily since the weekend, ” he says.
But there is still a long way to go to return to the state of affairs before the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is absolutely not possible to talk about numbers like they were in 2019 or earlier,” Punkkinen says.
He stresses that it has only been a few days since the border opened, so it is still too early to draw conclusions about the future number of Russians.
They’re not visible everywhere However, the increase in Russian shopping tourists is not visible everywhere in Lappeenranta.
For example, the opening of the border has not been felt in terms of shoppers at the IsoKristiina shopping center in the downtown.
“I haven’t noticed any significant change. The number of shoppers is about the same,” says Matti Sinkko, IsoKristiina’s manager.
They’re buying what they used to, and they seem to have money According Antti Punkkinen at Prisma, the contents of the Russian shopping basket appear to have remained more or less unchanged.
“They’re mainly buying foods: cheese, coffee, and baby foods, as well as certain detergents. As far as home and speciality goods are concerned, Russians have been interested in clothes during these few days,” Punkkinen says.
The contents of the shopping bags of Vladimir Vapilov of Petersburg, strolling the aisles at Prisma, seem to bear out Punkkinen’s words.
“I bought jeans and sneakers and cheese and chocolate,” he says.
According to Punkkinen, the Russians also seem to have enough money.
“The Russians seem ready to buy,” he says.
Source: Kalle Schönberg, Yle, 21 July 2022. Thanks to Tiina Pasanen for the link. Translated, from the Finnish, by the Russian Reader, who wonders why the residents of Bordertown were not out in droves picketing Russian shoppers.
“Our everything: a huge selection of goods from Russia! Even more goods from Russia – look! [1.] Zarina hoodie, 1,689 rubles [approx. 21 euros]. [2.] Vasilisa Botanika bedding set, 1,571 rubles. [3.] Tech Team Comfort urban scooter, 3,990 rubles.” Source: Ozon email advertising circular, 2 May 2022. Ozon is a major Russian online retailer and is sometimes referred to as “the Amazon of Russia.” When I still lived in Russia, I regularly ordered books from them. In the first weeks of the war, they were pushing the imported western goods they still had in stock. ||| TRR
Skimping on bags and paper, problems with electric cars, and the rise in price of coffee beans
Skimping on little things. Retailers and catering are reducing the use of certain types of packaging, containers, and consumables. Some things you have to give up against your will.
Tired of waiting for guests. The travel industry wants to get a tax exemption from Petersburg city hall, an extension of cashback, and a new version of Booking.com.
Russians charge slowly but drive fast. Sanctions have blocked the way to Russia for foreign electric cars, but import substitution is already being readied.
Pecking like a bird. Petersburg coffee roasters have faced logistical problems. Green coffee beans have risen in price by 15-50%, which has already affected retail prices.
They keep well. In the current situation, warehouses remain the most stable segment of the commercial real estate market, experts argue.
Have a good day!
Source: Delovoi Peterburg, daily email newsletter to subscribers, 7 April 2022. Photo by Sergei Yermokhin for Delovoi Petersburg. Translated by the Russian Reader
Queen’s hits as played by a symphony orchestra
Show must go on? [sic in English] We agree! Great news for everyone who has dreamed of going to a concert by the legendary Queen. On April 21, the group’s international hits will be performed at Tinkoff Arena by the IP Orchestra under the direction of the brilliant Igor Ponomarenko.
Queen is one of the greatest bands in history: their cultural legacy has changed the world of music forever.
The supremely rich acoustic palette of a symphony orchestra, new arrangements of classic Queen compositions, the wild drive of the musicians on stage, and the charming voice of the soloists — all this is part of the patented “Queen Show. Show Must go on” [sic in English].
The IP Orchestra has long established itself as a brand not only in Russia, but also in the countries of the near and far abroad. The band has toured on five continents, performed at the world’s best venues, and has thousands of admiring viewers and loyal listeners.
To attend this event, you will need a QR code showing that you have been fully vaccinated or have had the disease, or a certificate showing that you have had a full course of a vaccine, or a document confirming that you have been granted a medical exemption from vaccination along with a negative PCR test for participants and guests over eighteen years of age.
Source: Bileter.ru. Translated by the Russian Reader
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control, all parts of J. K. Rowling’s famous saga about the boy wizard will be unavailable on LitRes in three days. Only now can you buy them in time with a 25% discount! It is important that every book remains in your personal library forever.
To activate the discount, follow this link or enter ACCIO on the promo code page. The offer is valid until April 8.
Source: LitRes email newsletter for customers, 6 April 2022. Image, above, captured on this page on their website. Translated by the Russian Reader
On the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day [February 23], the demand for electronics (game consoles, laptops, tablets) has grown — they are among the most coveted gifts. Ozon said that in mid-February, unit sales of consoles and accessories had increased 2.2 times year-on-year. “Retro consoles have been an unexpected trend in the video game consoles category — they have been the best-selling products. Dendy Junior and Sega Genesis will be nostalgic February 23rd gifts for Petersburg residents,” the retailer’s press service added.
Wildberries has also seen a run on electronics. But electric razors (demand for them increased by 153% in the first half of February) and hair and beard clippers (up by 48%) have been their most popular items.
M.Video-Eldorado told us that headphones and portable acoustics have been trending. In addition, the new digital reality dictates its own rules: gifts that cannot be touched with your hands are becoming more and more desirable. High demand this year has been shown by digital content such as subscriptions to services (videos, books, etc.). Sales of digital codes for games had more than doubled by February 2021 [sic].
Sales on Avito of laptops and smartphones have also increased by 15% and 9%, respectively. You can buy devices for an average of 22,380 rubles and 17,920 rubles [approx. 249 and 199 euros]. Some female Petersburgers decided to make their task as easy as possible and present men not with a specific gift, but with a gift certificate. The Avito press service said that users spend an average of 4,700 rubles [approx. 52 euros] on them.
Retailers can also make money in February on sales of children’s goods. Radio-controlled toys have become more than twice as popular on Ozon. Wildberries noted that parents purchase toy weapons, cars, airplanes and helicopters, as well as various prefabricated models for their little defenders.
Whether he’s going to the army or on a fishing trip
Goods for hunting and fishing — that’s what female customers have paid attention to this holiday. However, even this involves electronic gadgets. “The list of [our] popular items includes an echo sounder and a case for it, a monocular telescope, powerful binoculars, and a set of walkie-talkies,” Ozon’s press service says.
“In the household and garden goods category, sauna accessories (for example, a hat embroidered with the phrase ‘February 23’) and goods for cooking kebabs and barbecue (a set of skewers with lacquered beech handles in a tight protective cover has been among the top sellers) have been purchased the most,” [reports Ozon]. It’s funny that in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region this year one of the most popular February 23rd gifts will be a set for making homemade liqueurs.
Wildberries’ female shoppers have been no less creative in choosing gifts. They decided that army dry rations are an inexpensive and original option, orders of which have increased by 344% year-on-year. These are gift sets designed to look like a real soldier’s rations. Jumbo-sized dry rations featuring canned food and snacks cost about 1,5000 to 2,000 rubles [approx. 17 to 22 euros].
And yet the popularity of socks and men’s skin care products remains unshakable. In the first half of February, Wildberries saws the number of orders for socks in St. Petersburg increase by 113%, and shaving kits by 150%, while orders for cosmetic care kits rose by 750%, deodorants, by 46%, and colognes, by 157%. The demand for men’s lotions has increased by 100%, while the popularity of shower gels has soared almost ninefold compared to January. Ties (up 95%), belts (up 153%), and wallets (up 144%) are also among popular traditional gifts.
Corporate customers of online stores this year bought sweets for the holidays. According to SberMarket’s b2b department, companies have most often ordered gift sets of Merci candy, coffee and tea in gift packages, and Old Spice, Palmolive, and Gillette skin care sets for employees for Defender of the Fatherland Day this year.
Protests by Berlin-based artists over the curator of “Diversity United,” a traveling exhibition with ties to right-wing politicians, have led some prominent participants in the show to drop out.
The controversy over the show is related to protests surrounding the Kunsthalle Berlin, a new, temporary museum at the abandoned Tempelhof airport. Calling the Kunsthalle Berlin a “cynical, neoliberal machine,” Berlin-based artists took issue with the space’s founder, the curator Walter Smerling, who organized “Diversity United” in its initial showing at the airport. According to Candice Breitz, an artist who has been among those leading a movement known as Boycott Kunsthalle Berlin, at least 9 of the 90 participants have pulled out the show, which is now at the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
Artists associated with Boycott Kunsthalle Berlin claimed that the organizers of “Diversity United” failed to appropriately compensate many of the participating artists, and that the show had traveled to Russia with the explicit approval of President Vladimir Putin. The show, which aspires to showcase how the “artistic face of Europe is complex, diverse and permanently in flux,” was first staged in 2021 at the Tempelhof airport and is slated to travel to Paris after appearing in Moscow.
According to Breitz, Yael Bartana, Mona Hatoum, Aleksandra Domanović, Katja Novitskova, Ahmet Öğüt, Agnieszka Polska, Martina Vacheva, Dan Perjovschi, and Constant Dullaart are among those who have withdrawn—and there are others who have pulled out or intend to do so, but don’t want to go public, according to Breitz. Additional, artist caner teker is declining a prize for emerging artists being given out by a Bonn-based foundation run by Smerling.
“The artists who’ve thus far withdrawn from ‘Diversity United’ have tended to first formally communicate their intentions to the curatorial team behind the exhibition before reaching out to vocal members of the boycott group (#BoycottKunsthalleBerlin), to give us permission to share their decisions with a broader public,” Breitz said in an interview. “We’ve taken great care to ensure that we have their blessing before going public with their names.”
The Boycott Kunsthalle Berlin movement aims to highlight Smerling’s connections to right-wing politicians. “Diversity United” received support from former German officials like Armin Laschet and Gerhard Schröder. A key funder of the show, entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, has been implicated in both the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. The political connections of the show and artists’ dashed hopes of making use of the Tempelhof airport for themselves spurred some to act.
In an email to ARTnews, Smerling wrote, “I have no understanding for the boycott. Boycotting is not a solution, for anyone. The solution is to find common ways. There must be opportunities for private, public and cooperative exhibitions. Incidentally, I find it highly disrespectful and undignified when artists want to prevent other artists from being seen.”
Smerling also defended the show’s connections with Putin, even as tensions increase in Russia due to the situation in the Ukraine. “The claim of ‘Diversity United’ is to build bridges with art, open the possibility for dialogue, where everything else fails,” Smerling wrote. “Maybe that is why the foreign ministry and the president of the federal republic of Germany support this exhibition, fully aware of its patrons.”
Smerling received 1 million euros in funds from the German Foreign Federal Office to organize the “Diversity United” show, which is more than the National Gallery in Berlin has within its annual acquisition fund. While the show was organized around the theme of diversity, all of the 10 curators of the show and all of the financial backers were white. “There was significant frustration around ‘Diversity United’ when it was installed in Berlin, but the constellation of power behind the exhibition made it very intimidating for people to speak out,” Breitz said.
Smerling had been given access to two hangars in the Tempelhof Airport rent-free. And while there had initially been claims that Smerling had to find private funding to cover the Kunsthalle Berlin’s operating costs, which can run to as much as 100,000 euros a month due to the lack of infrastructure and the old age of the building, it turned out that the government had agreed to cover half the costs, according to the German publication Monopol. (These funds had come out of a pool of money for buildings and real estate, not one for public museums.) Christoph Gröner, a real estate developer who Breitz alleges is responsible for hundreds of evictions over the years, footed the other half of the bill for the running costs of Kunsthalle Berlin.
Asked about the show’s funding, Smerling argued that these facts don’t represent the full picture, saying, “Each art exhibition costs us far more than just the operating costs for the halls and, depending on the number of visitors, also more than the operating subsidy we receive. This is all our risk.”
Smerling has said he welcomes a “dialogue” with the artists, but Breitz believes this overture came too late. “Until a couple of weeks before it opened, nobody had even heard that we would be getting a ‘Kunsthalle Berlin,’ including our top museum directors and curators at public institutions. That is absolutely unacceptable. The purpose of a boycott is to seek to alter a situation that is unacceptable.”
Source: Shanti Escalante-De Mattei, “Amid Kunsthalle Berlin Protests, Artists Withdraw from Controversial ‘Diversity United’ Exhibition,” ARTnews, February 9, 2022
I once gave an interview about the situation in Zhanaozen to Gulzhan Yergaliyeva for the website Guljan.org. After the interview was published, the local police inspector came to see me. He said that the deputy head of the regional police department had arrived from Aktau and really wanted to talk to me. I said I would meet him. I went to the meeting, and this police chief demanded that I send all the strikers home and stop the strike. “You’re an activist!” he told me. I told him that it was impossible: no one would go along with me, and I personally wouldn’t agree to stop the strike. That was the end of it. As soon as I arrived home from this meeting, as soon as I got out of the car and went into the landing of my building, two guys ran after me and began to beat me. They knocked me to the floor and started kicking me. When I mixed it up with them, one of them took out a traumatic pistol and shot me twice in the head. That’s when I lost consciousness. It turns out that on the exact same day exactly the same attack was carried out on Orken and Asan, journalists from Radio Azattyk. They were also shot with traumatic pistols and beaten with bats.
The murder of Zhaksylyk Turbayev, who was a trade union leader at Munai Field Service, ratcheted things up. He said that the workers at his company would support the strike and the people on the square. After he made this statement, he was killed in a trailer at his workplace.
How was he killed?
He was beaten to death with rebar rods in a trailer. The entire trailer was covered in blood.
Has this crime been solved?
No, it hasn’t been solved.
After Zhaksylyk Turbayev’s murder, literally the next month, Zhansaule Karabalayeva was murdered. She was 18 years old. The oil workers saw it as a murder meant to intimidate them, because Zhansaule’s father was among the trade unionists who constantly were here on the Alan.
How was Zhansaule killed, and where was she found?
She was raped and murdered. She was taken to the steppe. She was killed not far from a border post, some kind of military installation outside of town. She was killed and her body was dumped about 300 to 400 meters from this place.
Another incident that inflamed things happened to a woman named Aizhan, who was a staff member of the strike committee. The police broke into her house during her lunch break and forced everyone to lie face down on the floor. Everyone who was at home was thrown on the floor. Aizhan’s 10-year-old son stood up in front of the police and shielded his mother. This boy was punched in the head by a police captain. The child suffered a moderate head injury, a concussion.
A lot of two items related to privatization in Russia, 1992-1993
1. Zvezda: The People’s Newspaper of the Kama Region (Perm), no. 182 (November 11, 1992). 4 pages, illustrated. Complete copy in good condition. “This concerns all of us: privatization in Russia,” an appeal by Anatoly Chubais, appears on page 3.
2. Privatization in your pocket. A brief guide for participants of check auctions, or what to do with a privatization check and how to do it (Novosibirsk, 1993). Brochure, 32 pages, illustrated, 10 × 13.2 cm. Publisher’s cover, good condition.
Privatization in Russia [was] the process of transferring state property of the Russian Federation (formerly the RSFSR) to private ownership. It was implemented in Russia in the early 1990s (after the collapse of the USSR). Privatization is usually associated with the names of E.T. Gaidar and A.B. Chubais, who were involved in privatizing industrial enterprises in the 1990s. The outcome of privatization has often been harshly criticized, in particular, due to the emergence of severe economic stratification among the Russian populace.
Leader of World Proletariat with Female Gate Attendant Reflected in Security Mirror, SUV, and New Year’s Tree. December 18, 2016, 11 Lomanaya Street, St. Petersburg
Monument to V.I. Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (pseudonym – Lenin) (1870-1924) was a Russian and Soviet world-class politician and statesman, revolutionary, founder of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (Bolsheviks), and one of the organizers and leaders of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. The monument was erected on the 87th anniversary of Lenin’s birth on the premises of the former Proletarian Victory shoe factory. Unveiled on April 22 , 1957. Cast from a model by the sculptor P.I. Bondarenko.
Source: 2gis.ru. Photo and translation by the Russian Reader
• • • • •
In Petrograd, “cryptic” messages like this one (spray painted on the fence of the now-defunct Krupskaya Confectionery Factory) are giving the sex ads stenciled everywhere on the pavements and walls a stiff run for their money. Basically, if you want to get whacked out of your mind on “bath salts” and then have sex with a prostitute, this town is the place for you. And it visually reminds you of that fact a thousand times a day, every which way you look. But don’t dream of holding a spontaneous political protest: then the law will come down hard on you. But gnarly, highly addictive drugs and prostitution (amidst an HIV epidemic) it can live with. ||| TRR, December 18, 2015
An important public service message from the kleptocratic post-fascist hybrid regime: Make your family strong, not your liquor! “In Russia, 16% of families break up due to alcoholism.” Uff da! ||| TRR, December 18, 2015
Post-Soviet “ethnic diversity” gone bad. Four “folk singers” from god knows what republic or “little people of the north” lip-synching a folk song at the New Year’s bazaar on Pioneer Square in Petrograd. ||| TRR, December 18, 2015