Support The Moscow Times!

The 5 Craziest, Weirdest Stories in Russia in 2019

A Siberian shaman's cross-country voyage to cast Putin out of power and a cow that was given an anxiety-reducing virtual reality experience were just some of the offbeat headlines that stole the show this year., / MT

Russia is no stranger to all things strange and unusual. It seems as though every week, there’s a new story about bears running amok or babushki filming their own rap videos.

But the weirdness is part of what makes this country so endearing. Here’s a look back at the five most offbeat stories that grabbed our attention this year:

A Siberian Shaman's cross-country trek to cast Putin out of power

A shaman from Russia’s republic of Yakutia embarked on an 8,000-kilometer journey to Moscow by foot with aims to “expel” President Vladimir Putin, who he viewed as a “demon,” out of power. In September he was detained and flown back to his home city on suspicion of extremism. Though the shaman was declared insane by psychiatrists, he restarted his trip to exorcise Putin this month, only to be arrested a second time.


A Russian iPhone user sues Apple for turning him gay

"Don't judge without trying."

A Russian man sued Apple for more than $15,000 in damages after his iPhone allegedly drove him to homosexuality. He says it all started when he received 69 GayCoins on a cryptocurrency payment app on his phone. The unknown sender was said to have included an English-language message that Razumilov interpreted as “don’t judge without trying,” and subsequently entered into a same-sex relationship that he says ruined his life.

										 					Igor Ivanko / Moskva News Agency
Igor Ivanko / Moskva News Agency

Russian cows fitted with virtual-reality headsets

Moscow region farmers fitted their dairy cows with virtual-reality headsets that played serene scenes of grassy fields in an effort to calm their anxiety. The farmers said they would evaluate the headsets' effetcts on milk production. The Moscow region agriculture administration also said that local manufacturers play classical music “whose soothing effect has a positive effect on milk flow.”


Russian priests cure ‘drunkenness and fornication’ by dumping holy water from above

Curing drunkenness and fornication is easy: Just get two religious icons, 70 liters of holy water and an airplane. That’s what Russian Orthodox priests in the city of Tver did to save residents from these sins, flying in an airplane to douse the city in holy water from 300 meters above the ground.

										 					Vesti Tver / Youtube
Vesti Tver / Youtube

A drug-smuggling cat's adventures

It was the perfect crime. A Russian cat believed to have been used as part of a drug-smuggling operation foiled authorities’ attempts to prosecute the human suspects after it escaped from captivity. In court, prosecutors said they had managed to find the missing cat, but it turned out to be a very close lookalike.

										 					Dmitry Sotnikov, overhearnmsk / Vkontakte
Dmitry Sotnikov, overhearnmsk / Vkontakte

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more