TIME russia

Hundreds of Russian Women Are Posting Selfies With Wrinkled Faces

Bride, Chechen Kheda Goilabiyeva, and fiancé, Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, second right, stand in a wedding registry office in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, Russia
AP Bride, Chechen Kheda Goilabiyeva, and fiancé, Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, second right, stand in a wedding registry office in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, Russia, on May 16, 2015.

In protest of an official's remarks defending a 17-year-old girl's arranged marriage

Hundreds of Russian women are posting selfies with wrinkled faces in protest of an official who defended a 17-year-old girl’s arranged marriage to a 47-year-old man.

The Instagram campaign began Saturday after Russia’s children’s rights minister Pavel Astakhov defended the marriage, saying “there are places where women have wrinkles at age 27 and they look 50 by our standards,” BBC reports.

“Let’s not be prudish,” Astakhov said. “Emancipation and sexual maturity happen earlier in the Caucasus.”

The bride, Kheda Goilabiyeva, and her fiancé, police officer Nazhud Guchigov, were married in in Chechnya two weeks ago. The wedding drew controversy because the minimum age for marriage under Russian law is 18, though in Chechnya the age is 16. The bride has said she married Guchigov willfully.

“This hashtag is about the oppression of women. Women’s rights are violated in Russia, especially in Chechnya,” one female activist told BBC.


TIME A Year In Space

Singer Sarah Brightman Is Not Going to Space (for Now)

Sarah Brightman during training in Star City Russia
Roscosmos Sarah Brightman during training in Star City, Russia

After just a few months of training, Brightman has dropped out

Singer Sarah Brightman announced Wednesday that she is postponing her trip to space.

Her $52 million, 10-day trip aboard the International Space Station will be pushed back due to personal family reasons, according to a statement posted to her Facebook page. She had stopped training on April 22, two people familiar with her training schedule tell TIME.

“Since 2012, Sarah has shared her story of a lifelong dream to fly to space. Her international fame as the world’s best-selling soprano has enabled her message to circle the globe, inspiring others to pursue their own dreams,” said Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Chairman of Space Adventures, Ltd in the statement. “We’ve seen firsthand her dedication to every aspect of her spaceflight training and to date, has passed all of her training and medical tests. We applaud her determination and we’ll continue to support her as she pursues a future spaceflight opportunity.”

Whether what’s being described as a postponement is actually a cancellation is impossible to know right now. Brightman did not even begin her training until Jan. 19, according to Roscosmos, which would have given her less than eight months at best to get ready for a Sept. 1 launch. That’s significantly less time than professional astronauts need to become mission-ready—even without the loss of the last two weeks. It will be up to Roscosmos and Space Adventures to determine if, given all this, they will ever consider it prudent to allow Brightman to fly.

American astronaut Scott Kelly, who is currently in the midst of a yearlong mission aboard the space station, told TIME he was looking forward to Brightman coming aboard.

—With reporting by Jonathan D. Woods / Houston

TIME russia

Kerry’s Russia Meetings Produce Little Evidence of Progress in Ukraine Crisis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) stands with with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during talks as U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft looks in Sochi, Russia, on May 12, 2015.
Sasha Mordovets—Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) stands with with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during talks as U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft looks in Sochi, Russia, on May 12, 2015.

Rhetoric signaled there would be few breakthroughs if any

(SOCHI, Russia) — Despite a cordial atmosphere, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s meetings Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister produced little evidence of progress in easing tensions on Ukraine, Syria and other issues dividing the two powers.

On his first trip to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began, Kerry held more than four hours of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a hotel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi before seeing Putin at his presidential residence in the city. Putin is in Sochi meeting with Russian defense officials for a week.

Three hours into the Kerry-Putin meeting, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Kerry and Lavrov had a “long and sincere conversation on a broad range of issues.”

But the statement echoed the defiant tone of earlier ministry comments that blamed Washington for strains in relations and said Moscow would not back down on matters critical to its national interests.

“Sergey Lavrov noted that we aren’t to blame for the current crisis in relations with Washington,” the statement said. “Russia is ready for constructive cooperation with Washington both on bilateral issues and on global arena, where our countries bear special responsibility for the global security and stability. However, cooperation is only possible on an honest and equal basis, without attempts at diktat and enforcement.”

The statement added that additional sanctions pressure on Russia would result only in continued deadlock because “Russia will not be forced to compromise on its national interests and its principled stance on the issues it considers as key for itself.”

Both Washington and Moscow insist that all sides to the Ukraine crisis comply with an increasingly fragile ceasefire agreement but differ widely as to who violated it.

Kerry had planned to test Putin’s willingness to press pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine to comply with the ceasefire.

Kerry was also seeking to gauge the status of Russia’s support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose forces have been losing ground to rebels, and urge Moscow to support a political transition that could end that war. On that issue, the Russian statement said only that it is “necessary to continue efforts to launch a full-fledged political dialogue between official Damascus and the opposition.”

In addition, Kerry was to make the case to Putin that Russia should not proceed with its planned transfer of an advanced air defense system to Iran. The Russian statement was silent on that.

Relations between Washington and Moscow have plummeted to post-Cold War lows amid the disagreements over Ukraine and Syria.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Sochi on Tuesday that Russia welcomed Kerry’s visit but stressed that “Russia never initiated the freeze in relations and we are always open for displays of political will for a broader dialogue.”

The rhetoric signaled there would be few breakthroughs if any. Nevertheless, both sides stressed the importance of trying to work through some of the rancor that buried President Barack Obama’s first-term effort to “reset” ties with Moscow.

Kerry began his short visit to Sochi by laying a wreath at a World War II memorial with Lavrov, with whom Kerry has had a warm personal relationship.

Lavrov presented Kerry at a working lunch with tomatoes and potatoes that were “distant” descendants of two Idaho potatoes that Kerry gave him last year, a spokeswoman for Lavrov said. For his part, Kerry “presented the Russian side with a list of quotations from the Russian media that in his view don’t reflect the real potential of broad Russian-American relations, which he is convinced need to be improved,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page. U.S. officials said Kerry had given a leather writing portfolio.

Improving ties, however, hinges largely on violence decreasing in Ukraine.

The Western-backed government in Kiev continues to be embroiled in a sporadic conflict with separatist forces despite a ceasefire agreement sealed in mid-February. Russia was a party to that deal.

Western nations say Russia supports the separatists with arms and manpower, and even directs some battlefield operations — all claims Moscow denies. In return, the Russians bristle at Washington’s provision to Ukraine of military assistance in the form of hardware and training.

TIME Innovation

What’s Behind the Russia-China Cyber Deal

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Should we be worried about the new Internet security pact between China and Russia?

By Cyrus Farivar in Ars Technica

2. Here’s a roadmap for building an innovation ecosystem in Africa.

By Jean Claude Bastos de Morais in IT News Africa

3. What if junk food actually kills off the bacteria that keeps us healthy?

By Luke Heighton in the Telegraph

4. We’re about to lose the best way to measure how well we educate poor kids.

By Jill Barshay in the Hechinger Report

5. Want to end the War on Drugs? Don’t talk to Washington. Lobby your local police department.

By Ben Collins in the Daily Beast

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME diplomacy

John Kerry and Vladimir Putin to Hold Talks in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 10, 2015.
Alexander Aksakov—Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 10, 2015.

It will be his first trip to Russia since the start of the Ukraine crisis

(WASHINGTON) — The State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Russia this week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It will be his first trip to Russia since the start of the Ukraine crisis, which has badly damaged relations between Moscow and the west, and only his second since taking office.

The State Department said Kerry will meet Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday.

After his brief stop in Russia, Kerry will travel to Turkey for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers and return to Washington for a summit of Gulf Arab leaders that President Barack Obama is hosting at Camp David.

Kerry last visited Russia in May 2013.

TIME Holidays

V-E Day Was Last Week. Here’s Why Some Countries Celebrate Today Instead

Victory day, World War II, USSR, 1945. Artist: Anon
Heritage Images—Getty Images A woman celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany with members of the victorious Soviet Red Army in 1945. Found in the collection of the Moscow Photo Museum.

Victory Day in Russia and its neighbors is celebrated on May 11 this year

It took years of fighting to drive the German forces to surrender in World War II, and it took days to make that surrender official. As TIME reported in early May of 1945, a German official and the Associated Press both announced that the surrender had been signed on May 7, but for some reason the story was not yet confirmed by Allied officials:

Downing Street was mum; the White House was coy and confused. Best guess was that Joe Stalin had held up the joint announcement either because: 1) his Ukrainian armies still faced a small segment of determined Nazis in Moravia, or 2) he was not yet ready to set off Russia‘s victory celebration. Finally, from London, came word that the official announcement would come the following day. Thus, for the history books, May 8, 1945, became V-E day.

When that day came, Winston Churchill stepped to a microphone in London. His rolling periods swept across the world by short wave. With deep emotion he said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead. . . . Advance, Britain! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!”

From Moscow, for some unexplained reason, there was no immediate announcement.

Now, 70 years after that surrender, Moscow’s silence is no mystery.

As the New York Times explained that week, Stalin was unhappy that the surrender on May 7 had taken place at Reims rather than in Berlin, where Russian forces were in control. In fact, Stalin had only sent a lower-ranking general to witness the surrender in Reims, rather than sending a major representative of his power. So, though the May 7 surrender—which took effect on May 8, the date of V-E Day—was cause for celebration across the Allied world, Stalin wanted the news to wait until the surrender was officially ratified in the German capital; his stubbornness on that point was (accurately) seen by many as a hint of conflict to come between the former allies.

The official Berlin surrender took place late at night on May 8, the day after the Reims surrender; its text declared that it was signed just after midnight the following day, May 9. Besides, it had already been May 9 in Moscow for a few hours—and, accordingly, while American and European media might have celebrated the 70th anniversary of victory last Friday, Russia and many other former Soviet nations celebrated Victory Day on Saturday, with “Victory Day Observed” for a three-day weekend on Monday.

TIME russia

Massive Russian Military Parade Marks 70th Anniversary of Victory Over Nazis

Russian soldiers march during the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Red Square in Moscow
Alexander Zemlianichenko—AP Russian soldiers march during the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Red Square in Moscow, on May 9, 2015.

President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at the U.S. in his speech

(MOSCOW)—Russia showed off new machines of war, including a highly sophisticated tank, on Saturday in the annual Victory Day military parade through Red Square that marks the surrender of Nazi Germany and the Red Army’s key role in the defeat.

The Armata tank drew a round of strong applause as it rumbled through the square, part of a long convoy that ranged from the World War II era to the most modern. Also on view for the first time at the parade was a lumbering RS-24 Yars ICBM launcher along with several new, smaller vehicles.

Victory Day is Russia’s most important secular holiday, both commemorating the Soviet Union’s huge suffering in the war and highlighting Russia’s portrayal of itself as a force for peace and security. This year’s parade, on the 70th anniversary of the surrender, was the biggest military parade since the Soviet Union’s collapse.

In his speech to the assembled troops and veterans, President Vladimir Putin said that the carnage of the war underlined the importance of international cooperation, but “in the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world.” That phrase is often used by Russia to criticize the United States’ purported aim to dominate world affairs.

Later Saturday, an estimated 300,000 people walked through central Moscow to Red Square, holding portraits of relatives who fought in the war. Putin joined them near Red Square, with a photo of his naval veteran father.

The observances were shadowed by the near-complete absence of European leaders from the ceremony. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to come to Moscow on Sunday, a visit that will include recognition of the Red Army’s sacrifices.

The cold shoulder that European leaders turned toward Victory Day underlines the tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis. As Western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine continue to bite, Russia has increasingly appeared to pivot away from Europe and focus more on developing relations with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the most prominent world leader to attend the Victory Day parade and Putin took special note in his speech of China’s role in the war, saying that like the Soviet Union “it lost many, many millions of people.”

An air of grievance mixes with the annual commemoration of the Nazi defeat, with Russians frequently complaining that the West undervalues the Red Army’s role and even tries to “rewrite history.”

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who met with Putin after the parade, echoed that strain. “No one can deny the role that Russia, the Soviet Union, played in the fight with Nazism and history will never forget,” he said.

For veterans of the war, in which the USSR is estimated to have lost 26 million people including 8 million soldiers, the parade was an intensely emotional experience.

“When we fought, we had a couple of automatic pistols and a rifle — now look at all the amazing military equipment we’ve got,” said 92-year-old Valentina Schulgina, who fought in the Battle of Stalingrad that is regarded by some as the bloodiest battle in history.

In all, about 200 pieces of military hardware and 16,500 troops took part in the parade, which concluded with a flyover of military aircraft. One group of warplanes flew in a tight formation depicting the number “70.”

The Armata tank that was one of the highlights of the parade is regarded by some military analysts as surpassing Western tanks. It is the first to have an internal armored capsule surrounding its three-man crew and a remotely controlled turret with an automatic loading system.

Other prominent figures at the parade included Alexander Zaldostanov, the leather-clad leader of the nationalist motorcycle club Night Wolves, with whom Putin has ridden.

“There are three things to say after the parade today: The enemy will be destroyed; victory will be ours; Russia forward,” said Zaldostanov, known as The Surgeon.

TIME Ukraine

On Patrol With One of Russia’s Most Wanted in the Battle for Ukraine

TIME embedded with the Dudaev Battalion led by commander Adam Osmaev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges

Last year, the people of Ukraine realized that they had, in effect, no army to defend them. Their military had been too depleted by corruption and mismanagement to mount a defense when Russia sent troops to seize the region of Crimea in February 2014. Through the following spring, armed forces mostly stood by as Russia went on to fuel a separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s eastern regions, seizing effective control of more territory and large portions of the border with Ukraine. The so-called “volunteer battalions”—poorly trained but highly motivated militias—arose to fill the holes in Ukraine’s defenses.

Over the past year, dozens of these paramilitary groups have appeared on Ukraine’s battlefields, often bearing the brunt of the fighting against Russian-backed separatist forces. They consist of anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand troops, and their more successful commanders often enjoy the status of national celebrities. But their place in the military hierarchy of Ukraine tends to be murky. Though they get much of their heavy weaponry from government stockpiles, they mostly operate in a legal grey zone, closer to guerrillas than national guards.

Earlier this year, TIME embedded with one of the more controversial of these groups—the Dudaev Battalion—which has been carrying out reconnaissance and sabotage behind enemy lines since the war began. About half of its troops are from foreign countries, meaning that, legally, they do not have the right to serve in Ukraine’s armed forces. But their commander Adam Osmaev, who is wanted in Russia on terrorism charges, now wants to merge his force with Ukraine’s defense ministry or national police—a move that would give him access to more weapons, he says, as well as a chance to get some Western military aid.

TIME protest

Workers Rally on May Day Across the World

A masked protestor runs away from tear gas during a May Day rally at Okmeydani in Istanbul on May 1, 2015.
Yasin Akgul—AFP/Getty Images A masked protestor runs away from tear gas during a May Day rally at Okmeydani in Istanbul on May 1, 2015.

May 1 regularly sees clashes between police and militant groups in some cities

(HAVANA) — Left-wing groups, governments and trade unions were staging rallies around the world Friday to mark International Workers Day.

Most events were peaceful protests for workers’ rights and world peace. But May 1 regularly sees clashes between police and militant groups in some cities.

International Workers Day originates in the United States. American unions first called for the introduction of an eight-hour working day in the second half of the 19th century. A general strike was declared to press these demands, starting May 1, 1886. The idea spread to other countries and since then workers around the world have held protests on May 1 every year, although the U.S. celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

Here’s a look at some of the May Day events around the world:


Police and May Day demonstrators clashed in Istanbul as crowds determined to defy a government ban tried to march to the city’s iconic Taksim Square.

Security forces pushed back demonstrators using water cannons and tear gas. Protesters retaliated by throwing stones and hurling firecrackers at police.

Authorities have blocked the square that is symbolic as the center of protests in which 34 people were killed in 1977.

Turkish newswires say that 10,000 police officers were stationed around the square Friday.

The demonstrations are the first large-scale protests since the government passed a security bill this year giving police expanded powers to crack down on protesters.



Thousands of people converged on Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution for the traditional May Day march, led this year by President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. After attending Cuba’s celebration, Maduro was to fly back to Caracas to attend the May Day observances in his own country.

The parade featured a group of doctors who were sent to Africa to help in the fight against Ebola. Marchers waved little red, white and blue Cuban flags as well as posters with photos of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Additional marches were held in major cities around the island, including Santiago and Holguin in the east.



Thousands of people marched in the capital Seoul on Friday for a third week to protest government labor policies and the handling of a ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people a year ago.

Demonstrators occupied several downtown streets and sporadically clashed with police officers. Protesters tried to move buses used to block their progress. Police responded by spraying tear gas. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

South Korean labor groups have been denouncing a series of government policies they believe will reduce wages, job security and retirement benefits for state employees.



More than 10,000 workers and activists marched in Manila and burned an effigy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to protest low wages and a law allowing employers to hire laborers for less than six months to avoid giving benefits received by regular workers.

Workers in metropolitan Manila now receive 481 pesos ($10.80) in daily minimum wage after a 15 peso ($0.34) increase in March.

Although it is the highest rate in the country, it is still “a far cry from being decent,” says Lito Ustarez, vice chairman of the left-wing May One Movement.



In financially struggling Greece, an estimated 13,000 people took part in three separate May Day marches in Athens, carrying banners and shouting anti-austerity slogans. Minor clashes broke out at the end of the peaceful marches, when a handful of hooded youths threw a petrol bomb at riot police. No injuries or arrests were reported.

Earlier, ministers from the governing radical left Syriza party joined protesters gathering for the marches, including Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis — who was mobbed by media and admirers — and the ministers of labor and energy.



Police in Berlin say the traditional ‘Walpurgis Night’ protest marking the eve of May 1 was calmer than previous years.

Several thousand people took part in anti-capitalist street parties in the north of the city. Fireworks and stones were thrown at police, injuring one officer. Fifteen people were detained. Elsewhere in the German capital revelers partied “extremely peacefully,” police noted on Friday morning.

At noon, Green Party activists unveiled a statue at Alexanderplatz in central Berlin of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, considered heroes by many on the left for leaking secret U.S. intelligence and military documents. The statue, called “Anything to say,” depicts the three standing on chairs and is scheduled to go on tour around the world, according to the website http://www.anythingtosay.com/.

In the central German city of Weimar far-right extremists attacked a union event. Police said 15 people were injured and 29 were arrested.



In Moscow, tens of thousands of workers braved chilly rain to march across Red Square. Instead of the red flags with the Communist hammer and sickle used in Soviet times, they waved the blue flags of the dominant Kremlin party and the Russian tricolor.

Despite an economic crisis that is squeezing the working class, there was little if any criticism of President Vladimir Putin or his government.

The Communist Party later held a separate march under the slogan “against fascism and in support of Donbass,” with participants calling for greater support for the separatists fighting the Ukrainian army in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.



In Milan, police released water from hydrants against hundreds of demonstrators, many of them scrawling graffiti on walls or holding smoky flares during a march in the city, where the Italian premier and other VIPs were inaugurating Expo, a world’s fair that runs for six months.

An hour into the march, protesters set at least one parked car on fire, smashed store windows, tossed bottles and chopped up pavement.

Italian labor confederation leaders held their main rally in a Sicilian town, Pozzallo, where thousands of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia have arrived in recent weeks after being rescued at sea from smugglers boats. Hoping to settle for the most part in northern Europe, the migrants are fleeing poverty as well as persecution or violent conflicts in their homelands.



Around 10,000 protesters gathered under sunny skies in Madrid to take part in a May Day march under a banner saying “This is not the way to come out of the financial crisis.”

Spain’s economy is slowly emerging from the double-dip recession it hit at the end of 2013, but the country is still saddled with a staggering 23.8 percent unemployment rate.

“There should be many more of us here,” said demonstrator Leandro Pulido Arroyo, 60. “There are six million people unemployed in Spain, and many others who are semi-unemployed, who although they may be working don’t earn enough to pay for decent food.”



Rallies in Warsaw were muted this year after Poland’s weakened left wing opposition held no May Day parade.

Only a few hundred supporters of the Democratic Left Alliance, or SLD, and of its ally, the All-Poland Trade Union, gathered for a downtown rally Friday to demand more jobs and job security.



President Dilma Rousseff skipped her traditional televised May Day address, instead releasing a brief video calling attention to gains for workers under her leadership.

In the video, Rousseff says the minimum wage grew nearly 15 percent above the rate of inflation from 2010-2014. Her office said the choice to roll out several short videos via social media Friday was aimed at reaching a younger public.

TIME Music

A Russian Politician Thinks U2’s Album Cover Is ‘Gay Propaganda’

Songs of Innocence cover

Songs of Innocence is apparently not that innocent

Bono-hating iTunes users weren’t the only ones who were mad when U2’s Songs of Innocence album suddenly descended from the Cloud last September. Now add Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov to the list.

According to The Guardian, the member of Russia’s conservative LDPR party has asked his country’s attorney general to investigate Apple, which gave away the band’s latest album to more than 500 million iTunes customers, for distributing “gay propaganda” to the youths of Russia.

The offending material isn’t the music, however, but the album cover—and not the sparse, all-white one that came with the iTunes version, but the one that was released with the physical edition of the record. The image by Glen Luchford depicts U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. hugging the waist of 18-year-old son and, according to the band, shows “how holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else’s.” But because neither father nor son are wearing shirts in the image—and, okay, because fathers and sons don’t usually embrace like that—Starovoitov thinks the cover promotes gay sex instead.

If convicted, the report adds—one pro-Kremlin paper even quotes a lawyer who says he’s prepared to sue on behalf of his own son—Apple could have to shut down in Russia for up to 90 days or pay up to some $20,000 in fines. So let’s hope U2 doesn’t get stuck in a lawsuit it can’t get out of.

[The Guardian]

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