Bizarre Photos from Mother Russia

Ah, Russia. Love it or hate it, the former Soviet Union is a vast place full of strange sights and fascinating people. Beyond your typical Russian antics involving bears and vodka, there are a lot of everyday incidents in the Motherland that are pretty funny and bizarre, like a Barbie doll covered in breakfast foods, or people performing questionable acts during bad weather conditions.

Mother Russia? More like mother of every awkward and hilarious photo on the Internet!

When it snowed over 10 feet last night, but you still need to be at work by 9

no.context.russia / Instagram

Oof. It looks like someone has quite a lot of digging ahead of them. To make matters worse, the vehicle that’s buried is actually a Russian ambulance, so hopefully other emergency vehicles were available in the area, as this one won’t be fully operational anytime soon.

This is probably the fanciest KFC location we’ve ever seen

moscow.tourguide / Instagram

Located in the Russian city of Petrozavodsk, this KFC is undoubtedly is a showstopper. We’re glad that this beautiful piece of architecture is being preserved by way of a new tenant. However, in our opinion, a former grand building serving as the home of a fried chicken restaurant is still a bit of an odd choice.

A trip to Russia apparently involves time travel

petrophotos / Instagram

You may have seen city carriage ride tours in other places like Central Park in New York, but probably none like these. Not to be outdone, apparently some Russian carriage rides are pretty elaborate. There’s no doubt that this luxurious and ornate ride makes for some excellent sightseeing in style, but when your driver stops next to an old beater at a light, it’s going to get a bit awkward.

School assemblies just don’t get more awkward than this

weirdrussia / Instagram

We can’t tell if these are just really nice private school uniforms, or some kind of Russian military school attire (why else would the students be wearing medals?), but there are so many unanswered questions here. Why do all of these kids look so uncomfortable? Are their school auditorium chairs really that fancy, or are they on a field trip to the ballet, and the performance is terrible?

Swan Lake, but in a sketchy back alley

quadrat137 / Reddit

As one of Russia’s most famous ballets, it makes sense that the country wants to capitalize on Swan Lake in every way possible. Unfortunately, though this is an inventive way to repurpose and recycle old car tires, these swans are far more creepy than commemorative.

One movie remake we definitely need to see: Stalin as The Terminator

weirdrussia / Instagram

This poster, located in Balakhna, quotes the movie’s famous line “I’ll be back” and then also states as a point of Russian pride, “75 years since the Great Victory.” By the great victory, they’re referring to the defeat of Germany in Worl War II. It sure is a pretty interesting way to show one’s patriotism, but then again, we Americans get strangely passionate from time to time as well.

This “sneaky” sculpture isn’t fooling anyone

weirdrussia / Instagram

According to the original caption of this photo, this suspicious-looking statue is supposedly just a silly sculpture outside of a humble business in St. Petersburg. However tongue-in-cheek a piece of art it may be, we just don’t believe that the camera isn’t 100% recording at all times. Better to be paranoid than oblivious, we think.

Someone took “business causal” a little too causally

@Russia_NC / Twitter

Before we ask the obvious question (what in the world inspired this person to wear a pigeon mask in public???), can we just acknowledge for a second that minus the pigeon mask, this person is actually dressed pretty fashionably? The fitted, tan trenchcoat. The creamy white slacks. The simple briefcase. The confident stride. This Russian commuter of mystery might be a bit eccentric, but they certainly pull it off well while looking absolutely fabulous.

Pothole Pooltime

weirdrussia / Instagram

There is not enough chlorine in the world that could convince us to take a dip in this roadside watering hole, which by the looks of it, is definitely up there on the list of the world’s biggest potholes. To be fair, not all Russian roads are this bad, and usually, the ones in urban areas are pretty well-kept. However, clearly in the countryside, the standards are a bit more relaxed, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Forget about Canadian Mounties. Russian cops ride unicorns!

@Russia_NC / Twitter

Whatever the reason for this horse being all decked out in fancy, fairytale regalia, it’s an absolutely amazing sight to behold. The only thing that could improve this image is if the rider was a little more cheery, or perhaps went along with the cosplay a bit more by wearing a cape or crown.

A hideously tacky room that shouldn’t exist, but does

no.context.russia / Instagram

Nothing’s quite as funny and cringe-worthy as a clever, clichéd parody. However, this over-the-top bedroom is just too bad to be good. Hopefully, it belongs to a cheap hotel instead of a real-life Russian household. That much tapestry print should never exist all in one room. Ever.

When you can’t find a date to the mall, bring a snark!

@Russia_NC / Twitter

Who knew there was such a simple solution to a decades-old dilemma? If you and your friends don’t have significant others to take to places like the mall, the movie theater, or even the roller skating rink, then get yourself a giant shark plushie. Honestly, these snarks look like they’re the perfect companions for good times and cuddles.

Accidental camouflage: gardening edition

no.context.russia / Instagram

Russian or not, winter can be a bleak and dreary, colorless time for many, which is probably why this woman owns such a colorful winter coat in the first place. The coat is definitely working hard to keep some of that summer spirit alive and well throughout the winter months, though unfortunately for the wearer, it’s just a tacky look overall.

Behold, the world’s most depressing choo choo train

no.context.russia / Instagram

Who knows if this crumbling, train-themed playground was ever not creepy (and who in their right mind builds a playset out of shin-scraping concrete???). In its current state, we hope all Russian children know to avoid this play place at all costs. Just looking at it makes us want to go get a tetanus shot.

Someone didn’t get that memo about the dress code

@Russia_NC / Twitter

While indeed, California does know how to party, a T-shirt and camouflage pants probably aren’t the best attire to wear when visiting with a Russian Orthodox Bishop. While you can already see the regret and awkwardness etched on the boy’s face, the best part of this image has to be the bishop’s determined, straightforward gaze. It’s almost as if he read the boy’s T-shirt and is staring sternly straight ahead to keep from hanging his head in disappointment.

Comrade, are you aware you have a creepy mannequin head peaking out of your bag?

no.context.russia / Instagram

What it looks like: A rubber man screaming because he has no arms or legs, and has to be carried around in a reusable shopping bag.

What it actually is: A man traveling with his CPR dummy on a train. Unfortunately, with the dummy’s face being so expressive (and that expression is one of extreme terror!), it’s a bit of an awkward ride for the train’s fellow passengers.

Having a bad day? This guy recommends lying down in the rain!

@Russia_NC / Twitter

People, if you actually try this, please please PLEASE don’t lie down in the street. The sidewalk or your backyard is much safer. But we digress. Just what on earth was this man going through that made him say, “screw it, what I really need right now is to lie down in a downpour???”

Lenin wants to play Hide ‘n Seek

wierdrussia / Instagram

If statues could talk, this one would probably say, “Pssst! Hey comrade, you want to start a revolution?”

Always say no to drugs, kids, and also to starting a violent revolution and overthrowing the government. Unless you want your country to become communist. It’s your call.

Apparently hypermasculine taxis exist

weirdrussia / Instagram

All macho-macho jokes aside, how would seeing this decal on a taxi ever be a good selling point for potential riders? Well, maybe it would be hilarious to a bunch of buddies needing a cab after a long night of partying, but to everyone else, there’s nothing wrong with using airbags, and having them doesn’t make you any less of a man. It makes you SAFE.

But Mom, it was my turn!!!

no.context.russia / Instagram

Aww, is there anything sweeter than seeing local law enforcement and military personnel engaging in some neighborhood fun? We love the playfulness of this pair of Russian officers, though we can’t help but chuckle at the young boy staring impatiently off camera. Clearly, he can’t wait until it’s his turn on the swings.

Fiery and fabulous, aka the only way to be

no.context.russia / Instagram

Flamethrowers have always been amazing, but throw in a couple of beautiful, badass Russian women (wearing some lovely traditional dresses), and you have a pretty fantastic experience. It’s also potentially a dangerous experience, so just be sure to stay clear of the path of the flames.

“Snow circles,” aka Russia’s version of crop circles

weirdrussia / Instagram

If you have to push your kid around in a stroller all the time, you might as well have some fun with it, right? Which is probably why this Russian mother decided to amuse herself by drawing crop circles in the snow. The activity probably kept the mom nice and toasty, but we hope her kiddo was also warm and bundled up while Mama was getting creative.

Russian’s edgy new scarf trend

weirdrussia / Instagram

At a quick glance, there isn’t anything amiss in this photo. However, upon a second look, you realize that that’s no normal scarf around this man’s neck. Either someone has a really dark sense of humor, or there’s a bizarre and morbid noose fashion trend going on in Russia right now.

This is absolutely the best windshield wiper of all time

RabbleRouser57 / Reddit

Move over funny bumper stickers! Silly windshield stickers are the next big trend in automotive humor. Most of the time, you don’t see Putin smiling in many publicity photos, but this grin, paired with a friendly wave to fellow motorists in morning Moscow traffic, is sure to put a smile on several Russian commuters’ faces.

A Genius Makeshift Freezer

no.context.russia / Instagram

We’re not sure if either 1. the power in this Russian home went out, and this was an attempt to keep all the fridge food from spoiling, or 2. there just wasn’t enough room in the fridge, and the owners improvised by storing the overflow in this snowbank. Either way, it’s genius.

When you make a face so silly, they put it on a book cover

weirdrussia / Instagram

We have no idea if this random Russian guy (who, guessing by his clothes, is actually a doctor) inspired the cover of the book he’s reading, or if by random chance he found the book somewhere and happens to be really good at replicating faces. Either way, it’s weird and wonderful, and we love it.

Wanna come see me breakdance on the subway during rush hour???

weirdrussia / Instagram

What better place to practice your breakdance and Ra Ra Rasputin moves than on the subway? Probably a lot of places actually, like a dance studio, or a public park. But hey, at least you get a good-sized audience. Odds are you won’t get tips, though, unless the audience is paying you to stop dancing.

This lion statue has seen some things

no.context.russia / Instagram

This poor, poor king of the savanna has definitely seen some better days. We’re not sure what he saw that made him react with such terror, but we can only imagine what caused the look of lingering trauma in his eyes. As to the sign he’s holding, we’re guessing it says something along the lines of “help me,” “get me outta here,” or “please put me out of my misery.”

Russian Lady Liberty needs a Xanax, stat!

moscow.tourguide / Instagram

In case you didn’t know, other than the most famous Statue of Liberty located in New York City, there are about 100 different versions around the world, including the one pictured here in Moscow. Unfortunately for Lady Liberty, this particular design makes her look like she’s having one hell of a week, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon.

Paddle boarding: the best way to see Russia

no.context.russia / Instagram

Usually, when we think of uncommon forms of Russian transport, dog sledding and reindeer riding come to mind. But apparently, if the weather conditions are just right (or perhaps really, really wrong), people like these ladies pictured in Omsk can use a paddleboard to get from point A to point B. How convenient!

Cat for President of Russia

no.context.russia / Instagram

We don’t speak Russian, let alone read it, but if we had to guess what this poster says, it’s most likely along the lines of “vote for my cat for president” or possibly “look at how amazing Fluffy looks in a military uniform.” We’re biased because this cat is one hundred percent adorable, but Mr. Whiskers can count on our vote!

That’s One Way To Have A Picnic


Given the ground she’s lying on, we would suggest sitting on top of the blanket instead of covering up with it — but then again, it can get pretty cold in Russia. Who are we to judge when she looks like she’s enjoying herself? To each their own.

Either way, we love this quilt of many colors! It’s probably handmade by this girl’s babushka, who definitely scolded her later for not wearing shoes outside.

Meanwhile in Siberia…

no.context.russia / Instagram

Nothing like frostbite to ruin an appetite. Want to book a trip to Siberia? Us neither, and this picture is 99 percent of the reason why! The Arctic Circle isn’t somewhere we want to travel to any time soon, especially with a record low temperature of negative 89.9 degrees Fahrenheit recorded in 1933.

Just a random giant face on the side of an old building

beshakc / Instagram

Is it art, or an advertisement? Perhaps it was once a sign for a beauty store? We have no idea, but in its present state, this giant, expressionless grey face is kind of terrifying. You definitely don’t want to walk along a street at night and find this giant face staring blankly into your soul.

Prom, sponsored by Adidas

RabbleRouser57 / Reddit

There are Russian tracksuits, and then there’s this guy in THE tracksuit. Truth be told, maybe this guy isn’t going to prom, and instead he’s attending a wedding or perhaps even a business meeting. Whatever his reason for this strange combination of sportswear and formal attire, it’s just not a great look (though a solid black tie might have been a better choice).

This mural is definitely trying to convince everyone they’re not in The Matrix, and failing miserably

weirdrussia / Instagram

Probably, the street artist’s intent with this piece was to remind people to unplug, unwind, and interact with the real world around them. Unfortunately, the artwork (located in Yekaterinburg) gives off more creepy, technology-taking-over-the-world vibes. “Everything is fine. Nothing to see here.” That’s exactly what the machines want you to think!

In Russia, even the carbs are buff!

no.context.russia / Instagram

Um, is there any world in which this buff, bread roll bear curling hotdogs looks appetizing? We don’t think so, but maybe, just maybe if this intimidating treat (photographed in a St. Petersburg bakery) was missing those soulless googly eyes or the soggy-looking hotdogs, it might actually be tasty. But in its current state, we’ll pass on Arnold Schwarzen-bear.

Out for a drive on a snowy Sunday


You know those guys who walk around in the winter wearing nothing but a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals? Behold the Russian equivalent, which is driving around town in your convertible with the top down during a blizzard. Maybe they thought visibly would be better without the roof? Unfortunately, that interior’s probably ruined and definitely freezing.

Mattel’s newest toy from Russia: Pancake Barbie

moscow.tourguide / Instagram

This is perhaps not the best look Barbie has modeled over the years, but it’s certainly a tasty one! This photo was captured at a Russian cafe during the Russian holiday Maslenitsa. Also known as Pancake Week, Maslenitsa celebrates the end of winter and the start of spring, and usually takes place between February and March. Delicious and festive!

Instead of children on milk cartons, it’s children on sausages

r3vcls / Flickr

In all honestly, we don’t read Russian, so these sausages could be raising awareness on missing children, but they could just as easily be advertising meat. Either way, it’s pretty weird, and honestly, if you weren’t paying attention, it kind of looks like this deli is selling sausages made of children. Yikes!

Russian baking looks kind of terrifying

vladoraslyakova / Instagram

If we were to caption this photo, our description would probably say something like, “Russian girl mixes gloopy dough by hand and stares ominously into the camera.” While unintentionally creepy, whatever this woman is making (a dough with olives or raisins in it maybe???), it doesn’t look very appetizing. And what’s perhaps more concerning is that the look in the baker’s eyes could definitely chill one’s soul with a single glance.

Don’t have a sandbox? A pile of bricks will work!

weirdrussia / Instagram

It’s true when they say kids can entertain themselves with practically anything, like these two youngsters playing in a pile of bricks in Lipetsk.

Sandbox. Pile of bricks. Same difference.

Tree Hugger

no.context.russia / Instagram

If this image was cropped a little higher up, you’d have a seemingly normal photo of a woman in a blue dress hugging a tree. But the picture isn’t cropped and we’re so glad, as we get to see this strong, silly Russian woman hilariously holding up a fallen tree. We already know she has a great sense of humor, though we really, really hope she put this on her dating profile.

Living (and sunbathing) on the edge

@Russia_NC / Twitter

Um, while we get this woman wanting to soak up some sun (Russia is in the Arctic Circle after all), we can’t help but notice her sunbathing spot is a bit…precarious, to say the least. If you’re going to have a makeshift balcony, you should at least attempt to build a railing to fence yourself in.

Apparently strollers are the new Russian shopping cart

no.context.russia / Instagram

Um, excuse us Ma’am, but you do know that instead of carrying your son everywhere, you can push him around in that stroller, right? And vice versa, you can use a shopping bag to carry that liter of soda around? (At least we hope it’s soda???)

New furniture trend alert: seats that look like canned goods

@Russia_NC / Twitter

Ok, so these are kind of clever and funny in a kitschy sort of way, but when you think long enough about it, sitting on a tin of sardines or anchovies just doesn’t sound right. Sitting on a can of caviar doesn’t sound that much better, though perhaps it’s slightly classier?

Getting fancy for a bowl of ramen

vladaroslyakova / Instagram

Apparently, ramen and Russian models go together like Russian models and ramen. But should they?

Look, we get it, models need to eat too, and this lovely Russian lass is pictured here in a beautiful and relatively authentic outfit (minus the rhinestones and ill-fitting, cartooney white gloves). However, when combined with a cheap bowl of noodles, the overall look just looks weird. Does your brain hurt looking at these two very different things combined into one image? Ours does.

Knock knockkkk!!!

no.context.russia / Instagram

Oh goodness. Nothing like having a teeny, tiny, afternoon heart attack when you see a nine-foot-tall polar bear knocking on your window! You pull back the curtain, and instead of your neighbor Vlad wanting to borrow a cup of sugar, it’s a polar bear wanting whatever you’re willing to give it to get it to leave. Fish? Money? The keys to your car? Negotiate with polar bears at your own risk.

Take Me Awayyyy

@Russia_NC / Twitter

This picture has all the drama of a renaissance painting and we love it. But in all seriousness, how can you not giggle just a little bit at this woman’s calm attitude when she’s being taken away by the Russian police? What did she do? Why are four guards needed to haul her away? Where can we get that hooded scarf and sunglasses?

Just a normal day at the office

Alex Nazarov

Ever feel like you’re literally sinking on the job? This guy gets you. Nothing quite says “I’m feeling burnt out” or “I need this weekend to last three weeks” more than this random Russian guy up to his elbows in pond scum. Thank you, pond scum guy, for visualizing every exhausted employee’s feelings of boredom and despair.

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