Broken-Hearted Dog Stands Guard over Dead Mate’s Body for over a Week

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Even in the animal kingdom, the loss of a loved-one isn’t easy, and this grieving dog, on the outskirts of Filippovka, a village in Russia’s Perm region, is proof of that.

His mate had been by a car while trying to cross the road, over seven days ago, but he’s still standing guard over her body, hoping she will wake up. Eye-witnesses say the dog dragged his mate from the road right after she was hit and hasn’t left her side since. He kept trying to move her with his paws and keep her warm with his own body, and the story of his loyalty spread among the locals in just a few days. Children and even adults who passed by and heard his heartbreaking whines and howls, and saw him standing guard over her body often broke into tears. ”It’s very sad. He won’t let anyone near her and he keeps trying to warm her up with his own body”, a local said.

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Russian Pensioner Decorates Her House with 30,000 Plastic Bottle Caps

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Olga Kostina, a Russian pensioner from the Russian village of Kamarchaga, in the Siberian taiga, has decorated her simple wooden home with artistic patterns made from over 30,000 plastic bottle caps.

The Siberian taiga is one of the most beautiful natural ecosystems on Earth, but with a population density of just 3 people per square kilometer, it can be a very lonely place sometimes. But one woman living in the rural area at the edge of the taiga’s endless forests has found a very entertaining hobby to help pass the time when there’s simply no one around to talk to. Olga Kostina started collecting all kinds of plastic bottle caps from soda bottles and when she decided she had enough, she began using them to decorate the walls of her wooden house, in Kamarchaga village. The pixelated patterns that cover most of her home range from traditional macrame motifs to animals living in the neighboring forest. The Russian pensioner placed every single bottle cap by hand, using a hammer and nails to fix them in place, and used the macrame technique (hand woven and knit knots) to create the intricate mosaics. So far she has used over 30,000 plastic bottle caps and her home has become a local landmark of sorts. But she’s not planning on stopping until her house and adjacent structures are covered with colorful patterns.

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Guy Fakes His Own Death to Make Girlfriend See Life Would Be Empty without Him

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In what may very well be the worst wedding proposal in history, a Russian man hired a whole film crew to stage a deadly car crash and see if the woman he wanted to marry really loved him to death.

Most people already know, or at least think they know the person they want to marry truly loves them, before they pop the big question, but 30-year-old Alexey Bykov, from Omsk, Russia, wanted to make absolutely sure. Instead of taking the easy route, like making his girlfriend Irina take a lie detector test, he decided to fake his own gruesome death to see what her reaction would be. So the young Russian hired a movie director, stuntmen, make-up artists, and even a script writer to stage a car crash in which he lost his life. They made sure everything looked as realistic as possible, by using crashed cars, smoke, ambulances and carnage, so the poor girl didn’t for a minute think she was the victim of a very creepy prank.

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Spassky Cave Church – A Russian Wonder Carved in Stone

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On the banks of the Don River, in the picturesque Voronezh region of Russia lies one of the most fascinating tourist attractions this country has to offer  - the Spassky Cave Church. For hundreds of years, this place has been at the mercy of the elements, then it had to face communist persecution, yet it still stands as a bastion of Russian Christianity.

It’s believed the first caves were dug into the cretaceous mounts of Kostomarovo before the adoption of Christianity in Russia. Hermit monks would use these austere cell-like spaces to hide  from persecution, and it wasn’t until the 12th century that the first rock monastery was carved in the region. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact date the Spassky Cave Church appeared near the small Russian village of Kostomarovo, due to the lack of clear historical evidence, but it is now considered one of the most incredible monuments of ancient architecture in Russia. Dug into the cretaceous rocks known as “diva” in the Voronezh region, this unique holy place has a rugged exterior that hints at Byzantine influences, but its interior is much more polished, featuring straight walls, rounded arches and Orthodox decorations. It can accommodate 2,000 people and welcomes thousands of pilgrims from all over Russia, every year.

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Awesome Mosaic Is Made of Over 1 Million Coffee Beans

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Measuring nearly 30 square meters, The Awakening mosaic recently unveiled in Gorky Park, Moscow, set a new world record for the largest coffee bean mosaic.

It’s not very often that you get to see artworks as impressive as the one created by Russian artist Arkadi Kim. He and his team spent around two weeks working on the impressive mosaic, weighing the coffee beans, roasting them to achieve the desired color tones and placing them at just the right spot on the giant panel set up in Gorky Park. Believe it or not, this unique piece of art is made of 1 million coffee beans, weighing an impressive 180 kg (397 pounds). Entitled “The Awakening”, it shows the detailed visage of a girl and alluring coffee aroma making its way to her nose.

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Skywalking – Russia’s Thrilling but Dangerous Photo Craze

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Skywalking is the latest photography craze among Russian teens. The idea is to be able to find a really high building, climb to the very top and stand at its very edge, imagining you’re on the top of the world. Then, you take photographs from up there to post on the internet. The teens participating in this form of skywalking do so without any sort of safety equipment. Needless to say, they enjoy it very much.

19-year-old Marat Dupri is one such teenager who engages in skywalking. He risks his life quite casually, scaling sky-high buildings and capturing photographs of the world below. It was about 18 months ago that he purchased a camera and started to take pictures from his own roof. But soon, he was aiming for bigger and better ones. Accompanied by a friend, he scaled a 33-storey building to the very top going right to the very edge of the 120 m high structure. According to him, “It was such a thrill; we couldn’t wait to do it again.” And they didn’t. One of the shots shows the group of teenagers scaling one of Russia’s seven Soviet skyscrapers, using a ladder. In another one, his friend is perched at the side of a monument to Peter I, 215 m in the air. There are even photos from atop the Moscow tower, one of the highest buildings in Europe. Dupri and his friends say they’ve taken a lot of photos by sneaking past guards and getting access to structures illegally. He thinks the risks are definitely worth it to take such amazing pictures. “When I am on the roof I have a feeling that the whole world is at my feet. All my problems and troubles are left somewhere down. The height exilarates me. I am enjoying with my home town views. It gives me energy and fills with enthusiasm to make new and great shots,” he says.

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The Chalk Masterpieces of Rustam Valeev

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Rustam Valeev is a 20-year-old street artist from the city of Sterlitamak, Russia. Using simple pieces of white chalk, he is able to create incredibly detailed portraits right on the pavement of his home city.

Doodling with chalk was one of my favorite pastimes, as a kid. I remember I spent hours trying to draw simple things like people, butterflies, or animals, but my works never looked as good as what Rustam Valeev creates. In fact, the only other person I know who can create such realistic artworks is Paul Cadden, who renders photo-realistic masterpieces with graphite and chalk. But while Paul draws on paper, Rustam practices his skills on rough pavement. Although his street art hasn’t been featured by any important Western media outlets, his beautiful portraits have gone viral on some of the most popular sites in Russia.

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The God Squad – Russia’s Parachuting Priests

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Until now, only angels were able to drop in from the skies, but not anymore. Russian priests will be joining in pretty soon, complete with church and everything. No, they won’t be sprouting wings, they will be using parachutes to do their flying. Confused? I’m talking about an elite unit of priests that are currently being trained as a part of the Russian Army. Once the training is complete, they will be able to drop in along with their mobile churches, to hold services for Russian troops posted around the world. Their code name – The God Squad (of course).

More interesting than the parachuting priests themselves, are the mini hi-tech churches they are to carry with them. The self-assembled Russian orthodox churches will come with crucifixes, replica icons, bells and chalices. In short, everything that’s needed for the rituals performed as a part of their religion. An air conditioning unit, generator, refrigerator and mini-theatre will also accompany the priests. The chapel will be placed on the ground using an airborne platform, generally meant for carrying heavy military equipment. Once on the ground, the priests would get to work in assembling the entire church unit, before holding a service.

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The Secret Life of Ants, Shot by Andrey Pavlov

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We’ve seen insects used as art protagonists before. Mike Libby turns them into steampunk hybrids, and Ubyka creates armed insect cyborgs, but I haven’t seen anything like what Andrey Pavlov does with ants.  This is the touching story of a man who found comfort in studying and immortalizing hardworking ants performing their daily routines.

Andrey Pavlov wasn’t particularly interested in macro photography until seven years ago, when a spinal injury caused him to remain immobilized. That’s when he fell under the charm of these amazing earthlings called ants. He started reading books about them and their behavior, and became fascinated with the way the ant community cares for its weaker members – the children, the old, and the disabled. That’s when he realized they were creatures that commanded respect. This civilization that for the last 150 million years has mastered so many environmentally sustainable ways of surviving and evolving at the same time, really impressed him. So he made it a hobby to observe and take photos of these incredible insects.

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Russian Tattoo Artist Has His Pet Cat Tattooed

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Timur, a 24-year-old tattoo artist from Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, caused a lot of controversy after he posted photos and a video of him tattooing his pet cat, a hairless Sphynx, on the Internet.

Apparently, Timur wanted his beloved cat, Coco, to have a similar tattoo as the one he had done on his chest. So he just put the hairless feline to sleep for an hour and unleashed his artistic talent on her little chest. Proud of his crazy idea, he videotaped the whole process and took some photos of the finished artwork and posted them on his VKontakte (Russian Facebook) profile. As you can imagine, animal rights activists weren’t very impressed with his achievement, and began accusing Timur of animal cruelty. Although the young artist tattooed Coco under the supervision of a veterinarian, animal lovers claim the Sphynx was still abused for no reason because every time a cat is put under she loses about a year of her life, and because the healing process for the tattoo is very painful. Also, if any paint got into her blood she could get very sick, and even die.

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Purga Nightclub – Where Every Night Is New Year’s Eve

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The holiday season is a truly magical time around the world. New Year’s Eve, especially, is seen as a time of hope and new beginnings, a time to forget the old and embrace the new. Most people are in high spirits, celebrating the coming of the new year with much pomp and gusto. But what if you got to celebrate it every single night of the year? Would it still be as much fun? Apparently it would, going by the success of ‘Purga’ – a nightclub in St. Petersburg, Russia, where every night is New Year’s Eve.

Everything that’s needed for a typical Russian New Year’s Eve celebration is available at the club. The Russian national anthem, the new year’s speech of Vladimir Putin on TV, fun costumes, decorations, contests, dancing and singing. Professional actors work at the club as ‘bunnies’, who are basically there to entertain people and make sure they forget all their worries. Ever since Purga was started way back in 2002, it has been popular in town, with table reservations being made at least a week in advance.

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The Berezka Ensemble – Russia’s Floating Dance Group

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Trade secrets are common in many areas of life, but dancing? I wondered how it could be possible for a dancer to have a secret step, when their art is plain for all to see. Turns out there is a particular dancing group from Russia that has a secret technique – the floating step – that no one can really see.

The Berezka Ensemble was set up in 1948, by choreographer Nadezhda Nadezhdina. Since then, it has become a symbol of sorts, something that Russia has been identified with. Having traveled to over 80 countries for performances, the troupe has recently made the news for something other than their famous floating step. The dancers have covered over 47,000 dancing kilometers, through their signature step. That’s longer than the diameter of the Earth!

Photo © Berezkadance.ru ..

The Mind-Blowing Wood-Carved Paintings of Kronid Gogolev

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Kronid Gogolev is a master wood-carver who creates incredibly detailed artworks inspired by the rural and provincial life of Russia’s northern regions.

For our artist of the day we chose to showcase Russian veteran wood-carver Kronid Gogolev, a man’s whose intricate wooden paintings are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Using simple tools, he is able to turn rough pieces of wood into masterpiece depicting the way of life and the traditions of the Russian northern village, capturing its original beauty. Each of his creations has its own unique features and characteristics, but they all manage to capture the attention of the viewer, transporting him to the real-life picturesque settings of the north.

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Dargavs – Russia’s City of the Dead

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A place called the City of the Dead actually exists in Russia’s North Ossetia, hidden in one of the five mountain ridges that cross the region. Needless to say, several myths and legends shroud the place, with locals claiming that no one has ever come back alive. The ‘city’ hardly ever gets any tourists either, although this might be due to the difficulty of just getting there.

Reaching Dargavs, the City of the Dead, entails a three-hour journey through winding, narrow roads, and several hills. The foggy mountain weather certainly doesn’t help matters. Once there, you’ll find that the city  is in fact another hill covered with small white buildings. It is these very buildings that cause the place to get it’s name. The white house-like structures, countless in number, are stone crypts where locals buried their loved ones. The city itself is an ancient Ossetian cemetery. Each family of the area has a crypt, and the higher the structure, the greater the number of people buried in it. The oldest of the crypts dates back to the 16th century.

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Real-life Jessica Rabbit Has World’s Biggest Lips

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It’s strange and funny to see how far people would go to achieve the kind of appearance they deem perfect. Case in point is Kristina Rei, a 22-year old nail technician from St. Petersburg, Russia, who has an obsession with the size of her lips. An obsession, that has today, earned her the status of the woman with the biggest lips in the world.

It’s really not uncommon to find women these days resorting to the knife or syringe to enhance their beauty. But what Kristina has done goes beyond the definition of regular beauty enhancements. She has endured over 100 silicone injections on her lips, spending around £4,000 ($6,200) on them.

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