Why These Russian Activists Are Painting Their Faces Green


Open many medicine cabinets in Russia, and you’ll likely find a little glass bottle containing an emerald green antiseptic liquid. Called zelyonka, or “Brilliant Green,” it’s used to treat scrapes, cuts, and sores. In recent years, the ointment has become a tool of political warfare: Supporters of President Vladimir Putin reportedly use the indelible salve to publicly attack—and disgrace—leaders of Russia’s opposition party by splashing it on their faces. But as The Moscow Times reports, activists have recently begun donning the green masks as a sign of support for the shamed.

Recent national headlines in Russia have been dominated by a spate of zelyonka attacks. For example, Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny was reportedly assaulted with the liquid several times (the most recent attack resulted in hospitalization, after Brilliant Green seeped into his right eye). Meanwhile, former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov was splashed with zelyonka at a march for assassinated politician Boris Nemtsov. And on April 26, two journalists were pelted with zelyonka.

The dye found in zelyonka is difficult to wash off, so these figures are typically stuck with green faces for days in the wake of an assault. According to members of the opposition party, after an attack occurs, media reports typically focus on the salacious details, and paint those doused in green as feeble and defenseless victims. They argue that these types of attacks—and the articles chronicling them—are intended to weaken morale and undermine their political message.

“It becomes unimportant what Navalny spoke about,” Navalny’s campaign manager, Leonid Volkov, wrote on Facebook, according to The Moscow Times. “What matters for clicks is that he was ‘pelted with eggs.’”

Some victims have managed to find humor in the situation, to show their enemies that the dye didn't debase their dignity: “I will be opening a headquarters in Barnaul as if I am from the film The Mask! Cool. Even my teeth are green!” Navalny tweeted after the Barnaul attack, according to The New York Times.

And, with their creative efforts, activists are also trying to make sure green skin loses its stigma: In March, after Navalny was assaulted with zelyonka in the Siberian city of Barnaul, supporters painted themselves green and posted pictures online. And when Kasyanov was attacked at the march in Nemtsov, protestors chanted: “You won’t pour zelyonka over us!”

[h/t The Moscow Times]

Peppa Pig Used Sexist Language in a 2009 Episode, According to the London Fire Brigade

Entertainment One
Entertainment One

Peppa Pig is wildly popular in the UK and around the world, but not all the attention the British show has received has been positive. Episodes have been banned for teaching kids not to be afraid of spiders in Australia and promoting so-called "gangster attitudes" in China. Now, the London Fire Brigade is accusing the cartoon of being sexist, People reports.

The Peppa Pig episode that ignited the controversy—"The Fire Engine," which first aired in May 2009—features Peppa's mom joining the local fire station. In the clip below, she's shown dressed as a firefighter, but the London Fire Brigade didn't see this as a win for female representation. Because she's referred to as a "fireman"—and because the gender-specific term is used throughout the episode—the department wrote on Twitter that Peppa Pig could discourage young girls from wanting to become firefighters.

"We've not been firemen for 30 years," the London Fire Brigade tweeted. "You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters."

But not everyone on Twitter agreed. Because the episode features an all-woman fire department, some users said Peppa Pig successfully combats gender stereotypes, even if it fails to use gender-neutral language.

Not all Peppa Pig controversies have gotten this heated. Early this year, news spread about something called the Peppa Effect, which happens when kids develop slight British accents after watching hours of the show. But instead of writing hate mail to the creators, many parents were delighted by the phenomenon.

[h/t People]

A Nubian Goat Named Lincoln Was Just Sworn in as the Mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont

iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia
iStock.com/Evgeniia Khmelnitskaia

Lincoln the goat may not be housebroken, but she had no problem winning the race for mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. The new mayor was officially sworn in on Tuesday, March 12, and before signing the oath of office with her hoof print, she marked the occasion by defecating on the town hall floor, the Boston Globe reports.

Prior to getting into politics, Lincoln the droopy-eared Nubian goat lived a simple life. A local family looking for a way to maintain the unruly vegetation on their property had purchased her two years ago when she was 1 year old. At age 3, Lincoln transitioned from munching grass full-time to running for public office.

Though Lincoln's win is impressive, her election didn't involve beating any human candidates. Town Manager Joseph Gunter came up with the idea to hold an election for honorary pet mayor of Fair Haven as way to raise money for a new playground. For a $5 fee, local kids were allowed to nominate the pet of their choice to be town mayor. Lincoln bested more than a dozen candidates, including a gerbil named Crystal and a pacifier-sucking dog named Stella, for the position.

The stunt didn't raise much money—the town came away with just $100 for the playground—but it did earn Fair Haven international attention. In order to go down in history as world's longest-serving animal mayor, Lincoln has to stick around for a while; Stubbs the cat was mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 years.

[h/t Boston Globe]