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To rescue its online reputation, therefore, Russia needs a collection of You Tube-era Dostoevskys and Gogols, native Russians who can keep in all the trademark crazy that westerners love, but inject it with homegrown genius and rational, intellectual brilliance.We’ll still get the Slavic kicks we crave, and there’ll still be all sorts of imperialist issues at play, but at least the Russian component will be acknowledged as something more than an affinity for the inexplicable.

In fact, their last gasp may have been the now moribund “In Soviet Russia…” meme originated by Seventies comic Yakov Smirnov.

You know it: “In America you can always find a party; in Soviet Russia the party can always find you” etc repeated ad infinitum.

It is no coincidence, then, that in the past few years Russia has become a rich hunting ground for easily consumable visual content (This special relationship took on an official character when market leader Buzzfeed chose the Guardian’s Russia correspondent Miriam Elder as its new foreign editor).

The Russian-language internet has all the characteristics necessary to be the perfect fail-farm for those in search of a photo-fix: it is huge and active (with 70m users in 2011, it’s Europe’s biggest internet market) and, in contrast to inaccessible behemoths China and India, the dweebs and doofuses starring in Russian photobombs and facepalms don’t look so very different from English-language users. A quick look at the comments below these articles seems to suggest that Russia is returning to its traditional position in global culture, after the long aberration of the twentieth century.

“To drinke drunke is an ordinary matter with them every day in the weeke. The whole countrie overfloweth with all sinne of that kinde.

And no marveile, as having no lawe to restraine whoredomes, adulteries, and like uncleannesse of life.” One thing has changed, however: with the introduction of new homophobic legislation, there are now plenty of laws against alleged “uncleannesse”.The Australian Government has notified the Government of Russia about its concern over this matter BUT there is little the Australian Government can do to assist citizens who fall victim to the individuals and agencies behind these schemes.A middle-aged woman lies on a rug, propped provocatively on one elbow; spread out next to her is a gigantic catfish. Or rather, to the internet’s version of Russian dating sites.It’s not a completely false portrait and some things are just not going to change.While we can hope against hope for political change, we know for sure that portly provincial princesses will continue to pose in front of rugs in leopard-print lingerie; that skinny nerds will always think that nunchakus will make them irresistible; that Russians will still be lousy drivers. And probably soon (how can one not believe in his own lucky star?!

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