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No Joke: Russian Online Store Auctions Off 21-Year-Old Man to Recover Debt

After failing to deliver on the contract he had signed with Russian online gift store Pich Shop, a 21-year-old entrepreneur agreed to be auctioned off to the highest bidder and marry a complete stranger for at least one year, in order to avoid being sued.

A week ago, a strange listing showed up on PichShop.ru – a young man named Aleksandr Kramarenko available for marriage, with a 1 year warranty. The “product” was listed as “in stock” and featured a detailed description – including age, height, weight, zodiac sign and interests – and photos (both dressed and topless). The listing mentioned that Aleksandr was going to be auctioned off to be married to the highest bidder, and invited women no older than 35 to bid for the chance to become his wife for at least one year. The minimum bid was set at 10,000 rubles.

This all sounds a bit too corny to be true, and, to be fair, such pranks are not exactly uncommon around the holidays. Some of them are actually pretty elaborate and end up attracting a lot of media attention, which translates into free publicity for companies, but this particular story seems legit.

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Shop & Pray – Church Opens in Russian Shopping Center

The MEGA shopping center in Krasnoyarsk has become the first in Russia, and probably the world, to have its very own church, where busy shoppers can drop by and pray, take confession or simply get in touch with their spiritual side.

It all started in spring of this year, when the shopping center management reached out to Archpriest Georgy Kozgov, asking for “the spiritual nourishment of security guards and visitors.” To make his job easier, they even offered him a room within the shopping center where he would regularly perform Confession and Communion, or have spiritual conversations with guards and shoppers. But as more and more people learned about the Father Kozgov and asked to see him, it soon became clear that the small room he had been operating out of was just too small for the huge demand of spiritual guidance.

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Russian Politician Sacked for Recording Workout Video in Funeral Parlor

A regional Russian official was recently expelled from the ruling United Russia political party for recording a bizarre workout video at the workplace – a creepy funeral parlor – and posting it on her Instagram account. You can say that she gives the phrase ‘dying to lose weight’ a whole new meaning.

Anastasia Myakina was head of United Russia’s faction in the Shelekhovo District Assembly in the Irkutsk Region, as well as the manager of a state-owned local funeral parlor. Until recently, she was considered a successful business woman in her home town, but then she made the grave mistake (pun intended) of recording a short workout video at the workplace. In the bizarre footage, which has gone viral online, she can be seen smiling as she squats in front of the camera, with tombstones, funeral caskets and wooden crosses in the background.

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Russian Officials Use Photoshop to Fake City Cleanup, Again

Russian authorities in the city of St. Petersburg recently came under fire after it was discovered that they had used digital editing software like Adobe Photoshop to fake the cleanup of a local lamp post.

Last week, a resident of St. Petersburg submitted a request on the local government official website asking that a lamp post covered with obscene advertising stickers be cleaned. This Tuesday, an employ of the St. Petersburg administration responded to the complaint, letting the person know that the job had been done, even posting a photo of the cleaned up lamp post as proof. It had apparently been scrubbed of advertising materials, but after taking a closer look, a number of users noticed that the infrastructure element depicted in the photo didn’t look quite right.

Zooming into the picture, it was revealed that the lamp post in question had been given the “spray can” treatment to create a two-tone speckled grey effect over the stickers. And as if the shoddy digital cleanup wasn’t obvious enough, someone even noticed a bizarre “blob” of white digital spray paint suspended in mid air by the right of the infrastructure element.

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Russian City Repairs Local Infrastructure with the Help of Photoshop

Officials in the Primorski district of Saint Petersburg, in Russia, apparently decided it would be cheaper to hire a good graphic designer to touch up some photos of damaged infrastructure than actually fixing it.

According to a news story that went viral on Russian social media a few days ago, the local administration of Primorski district recently reported the completion of repairs on a pedestrian walkway, and even posted photos of the pristine-looking footpath on its official website, as proof. The photos look legit to the untrained eye, but they quickly drew the attention of locals who knew for a fact that the walkway was still in a poor state and no repairs had been conducted on it for years. They took some photos of the actual footpath and uploaded them on social media, accusing local authorities of trying to deceive the public.

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Divorced Wealthy Couple Split Their Three-Storey Mansion with Brick Wall

A divorced Russian couple recently made headlines after they split their expensive mansion in half with a brick wall, which left the ex-wife unable to access the upper floors on her half because the stairway is on her former partner’s side.

After their divorce, Margareta Tsvitnenko, 45, and her former spouse, Sergei, were ordered to split the three-storey property in half. They have been in several legal battles since they decided to break up, in 2010, and the woman claims that Sergei has tried to force her and their 12-year-old disabled son out of the house several times, by disabling the heating system during winter time. But recently, he came up with a new, more effective way of causing her trouble. After the court approved his request to separate his side of the mansion with a wall, he quickly brought in a team of workers who bricked up all connecting doors and other access areas including the only staircase to the upper floors.

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Four-Year-Old Russian Girl Speaks Seven Different Languages, Stuns the World

At first glance, Bella Devyatkina, from Moscow, Russia, is your typical carefree, playful four-year-old, but ask her a question in Russian, English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese or Arabic, and you will be shocked by her articulate response.

Bella made headlines in Russia a few days ago, when she appeared on a TV talent show, where she spoke seven different languages without a prominent accent, stunning both the judges and millions of viewers. Since then, a YouTube video of her performance went viral online, transforming the four-year-old polyglot into on overnight internet celebrity. She has since been invited to appear on a variety of television programs where moderators and other guests conversed with her in several of the seven languages she is fluent in, and she always understood their questions and answered accordingly.

So how does a four-year-old girl learn so many languages in such a short period of time, when most people spend years struggling to become fluent in just one foreign language. Bella’s mother, Yulia, said that she and her father started teaching her English when she was just two years old, and after noticing her interest in the language and the ease with which she picked up everything, they decided to gradually adding more languages to her schedule. They hired native tutors for each new language, and by the time she was three and a half years old, she was already speaking two languages. She mastered two more, in the next six months.

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Rich Chinese Bachelors Are Touring Siberia in Search of Beautiful Brides

Faced with a shortage of eligible women back home, China’s successful businessmen are apparently turning their attention to Russia. They are apparently paying thousands of dollars to go on ‘wife tours’ in Siberia, hoping to find the brides of their dreams.

Elena Suvorova, head of a marriage agency in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city, organized the first ‘wife tour’ for six Chinese bachelors last year. The event was apparently a success, with some of the men actually starting relationships with a few of the 25 girls invited to compete for their affection. So this year, Suvorova’s agency, OSD Center, held another wife tour for five Chinese men, aged 25 to 46, who came all the way from Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, in search for a suitable life partner.

“For them, a Russian woman is like a present,” Elena told the Siberian Times. “Men want to get married, and are committed for serious relationships.”

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Russian Driver Turns Dented Car Door into an Artistic Map

True to the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, a Russian driver turned a badly dented car door into a beautiful map of the Altai mountains.

The details of the accident are unclear, but by the looks of things, the artistically-gifted driver got a bit to close to a parked BMW SUV and dented one of the car doors pretty badly. According to Slavorum, Russia doesn’t have mandatory car insurance, so in most cases, drivers have to pay for repairs themselves. But instead of getting a fresh paint job, our man went for a much cooler alternative – turning the car car door into an artistic map of the Altai Mountains. As you can see in the photos below, the dent actually blend into the artwork perfectly, either enhancing the shading effect of the mountains or acting as lines in the map.

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Russian Woman Spends 4 Months Trying to Revive Husband with Holy Water

Unable to cope with the death of her husband, a Russian woman reportedly spent at least four months trying to bring him back t life with the help of holy water and prayer.

The unnamed 76-year-old retired therapist from the central district of Volgograd stunned police investigators when she said she didn’t report the death of her 87-year-old husband because she believed she could revive him by sprinkling holy water on his body and reading prayers.

The woman’s bizarre secret was revealed on August 12, when she accidentally flooded the apartment below, and a neighbor forced his way into her home to turn off the water. He found the almost completely mummified of her husband laying on the living-room couch and immediately notified the police. Forensic pathologists determined that the man had been dead for four to six months, but found no traces of violence on his body and concluded he had died of natural causes.

Russian doctor tries to revive her husband with holy water

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German Family Flees Homeland “Dictatorship”, Seeks Asylum in Russia

Germany is widely regarded as one of the most democratic countries in the world, but for Carola Griesbach and her family it is nothing more that a dictatorship that they just had to escape from. So they hopped in their Volkswagen van and drove 1,400 miles to Moscow’s red Square where they are now asking for political asylum.

51-year-old Carola, her husband Andre, their two daughters – Julia and Dominique – and four grandchildren arrived in Moscow on New Year’s Eve in 2015, hoping to start a new life. They have since been living in a small motel in a forest on the outskirts of the Russian capital, as they wait for their asylum request to be accepted by the Government. Only that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, as authorities consider Germany a “safe” country, so the Griesbachs’ request is unfounded.

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Shoyna – The Russian Village Fighting a Losing Battle against Sand

Shoyna, a small Russian village located on the edge of the arctic circle is often referred to as the world’s northernmost desert. The sand covers everything as far as the eye can see and the few people living here never dare shut their front doors at night, for fear of being buried alive by the ever-shifting dunes. But it wasn’t always like this…

Shoyna was settled in the 1930’s by fishermen drawn to the coast of the White Sea by the abundance of fish in the area. In just two decades, it had grown into a bustling fishing port with a population of around 1,500 people and a fleet of roughly seventy fishing boats. However, it wasn’t long before excessive trawling decimated the fish colonies and the fishery collapsed. The dozens of vessels lining the shore stopped coming and many of the families that had thrived in Shoyna slowly moved away. Today, the official number of inhabitants is 375, most of whom survive on unemployment benefits and pensions. Hunting is also a way to make ends meet, thanks to the large number of barnacle and Brent geese that use Shoyna as a stopover on their migration course, but the most lucrative job in the village is definitely that of bulldozer driver, as everyone needs their house dug up from the sand at one point.

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Russian Man Almost Blinds Himself for Fear of Cyber-Surveillance

A man from the Russian city of Perm recently made national headlines for cutting his own eyes in search of micro surveillance equipment and posting a video of the gruesome procedure online.

Alem Kulakhmedov’s story sounds like the topic of a modern cyber-surveillance thriller. A few months ago, he started experiencing bizarre symptoms like eye pains, stomach sickness and extreme tiredness. Alem says he went to see a doctor, but he couldn’t find anything that would explain his symptoms. This gave him some peace of mind and for a while, he managed to ignore his problems, but only until they started getting worse. The man recently told REN TV that he began losing consciousness for more than a day at a time. Whenever he woke up, he would find multiple scars on his body that looked like healing cuts.

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Russian Gas Station Offers Free Tank of Gas to People in Swimsuits and High Heels

A gas station in Russia’s Oblast region has been making headlines this week for organizing an unusual promotion – a free tank of gas to anyone who showed up dressed only in women’s swimsuit and high heels.

The ingenious publicity stunt took place on July 21st, in the south-western city of Samara, and only lasted three hours. Anyone looking to get a free tank of gas was invited to show up at the gas station wearing skimpy underwear and high heels. The rules were pretty simple – wear the appropriate attire, fill up the tank yourself, and go to the front desk to tell the station attendant the pump number and fuel type. Abide by this terms and you get a full tank absolutely free.

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Russian Bank Offers Pokemon Go Free Insurance

A Russian bank has found the perfect way to leverage the popularity of Pokemon Go to promote its products. Sberbank is offering Russian players free Pokemon Go insurance, promising to compensate players with up to 50,000 rubles (about $800) in case of gaming-related accidents.

Playing Pokemon Go can be a very fun experience, but as you’ve probably already heard on the news, the addictive game can also cause serious accidents. Ever since the game’s release, people have been crashing into police cars, tumbling down stairs, getting shot and someone has even fallen off a cliff in their effort to catch the best Pokemon. These rare, but troubling occurrences have inspired Russian bank Sberbank to develop a product aimed exclusively at Pokemon Go players – free insurance that only covers injuries sustained while playing the popular mobile app.

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