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War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
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Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
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More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
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Feature Story January 14, 2008
Winter Fashion Guide: Shapka Shopping
By Yakov Borisovich Levandovsky Browse author

I came back from vacation this week and found myself urgently in need of a warm winter shapka. I lost my last one after I gave it to some guy in exchange for a bottle of farewell Putinka vodka. To get a new hat, I headed down to Cherkizovsky Rynok this past weekend for some serious shapka shopping. Known simply as "cherkizon" among more seasoned rynok shoppers, this outdoor bazaar is truly a shopping wonderland. Cherkizon might just contain the single largest selection of shapkas crammed into one place on planet Earth.

Shipping containers converted into market stalls are stacked two high and span an area the size of four football fields. You can say that Cherkizon is more than just a bazaar; it's a veritable shopping oblast, a place where you can buy everything a modern Russian requires: furniture, underwear, three-piece suits, jackets, and elegant ladies' dresses and shoes. There's also a car dealership in case you're in the market for a used Zhiguli. The selection is great, and the prices can't be beat. Fresh air shopping under the open sky—now that's something!

The real surprise when you visit Cherkizovsky Rynok is that the entire place is packed full of dark-skinned foreigners. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov failed in his attempt to kick migrant workers from the Caucasus and Central Asia out of Moscow's outdoor markets. Some get angry at him for this, but I am an educated consumer and know that this is one of the reasons for Cherkizon's rock-bottom prices. Compare the prices here to those of Western-style shopping centers springing up all around Moscow: Do you think you can get a baby seal fur baseball cap (with custom-made ear-warmer extensions made from felt) for a measly 1,200 rubles at Evropeskii Mall? I don't think so. The only way to beat this price is to go out an club the baby seal yourself. Trust me, I know! With no price tags, you can haggle to your wallet's content.

On to shopping. A Russian man's shapka is his most important winter accessory; it is a projection of his identity. Is he a rough-and-tough, fur kepka-tableka type? An ushanka-wearing dacha enthusiast? Or a solidny man in a formal fur bowler hat projecting an air of stability, wealth, and class?

For me, it's never an easy choice. My shapka has to be multi-functional, that's a given. The shapka has to be formal enough to wear during my elektrichka commute, but stylish enough for my favorite pelmeni cafe. It needs to be warm enough to keep my head cozy as I enjoy a few after-work vodka nips with my coworkers outside a metro station, but not so warm as to make me sweat while I ride a marshrutka. (I should add that the shapka I choose should also be snug-fitting so as not to fall off my head in those rare instances when I pass out on a snowbank on my way home.)

So join me as I head to the rynok for some shapka shopping. Watch, learn, and live.

A shapka for every taste: this muzhik looks at himself and says, "I like."

The Ivan Chonkin shapka gets a Putin-era fashion-injection that says, "Whatever it is you're thinking, don't blame me, it's not my responsibility."

Nature calls: 20 years after Levine emigrates, his roots call him home.

Warm up with a wig: Yasha experiences Caucasian sexual harassment.

This rascally racoon's pelt makes a man out of Borisovich.

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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