Arts, Culture & Media

Hello, Putin! A flying bear that swept the Internet

Updated:

Flying bear.jpg

Khabarovsk's reported new airport logo.

A flying bear has swept across the Russian Internet from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, which is right on the border with China. The image is supposedly the new logo for the airport there.

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RuNet, as Russia's online world is called, immediately seized upon the ... interesting image. The bear, of course, has been Russia's unofficial national avatar since time immemorial. But as Khabarovsk's new airport logo — assuming it's real — strives to take the lumbering mascot to new heights, its absurdity has been irresistible. 

The site Weird Russia has compiled several other iterations. As it notes, the logo only came to light in publicity materials related to an upcoming sports competition in Khabarovsk: The 2015 Bandy World Championship, which starts Feb. 1st, featuring teams from as far as Somalia, Latvia, and Mongolia (actually, Mongolia's capital is a 1300 miles from Khabarovsk, not far at all by standards of Russia's Far East).

Bandy, the New York Times tells us, is a sport that predates hockey by 200 years. In Khabarovsk, at least, the sport's logo features a bear on a sled.

Bandy World

Or something. Not really sure what's going on with *that* bear either. As for the airport's ostensible logo, it's now nowhere to be found on the championship's site. The site Regional News of Russia [RU] notes drily that in 2013, local authorities offered a tender of 800-thousand rubles (about $23,000 at the time) for a new airport logo design, but "after a while this order disappeared from the public procurement site." Airport authorities have refused to comment deny that this is their new logo. But, the whole online conversation is being driven by RuNet for now.