In the days leading up to the kitsch-tacular 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, we predicted a possible upset from Buranovskiye Babushki, the lovable troupe of Russian grannies (literally, their name translates to "Grannies from Buranovo") from a tiny village in the rural Udmurt Republic. The enthusiastic performance of their joyous bilingual relaying of a family reunion, "Party For Everybody," complete with a prop stove and one singer pulling fresh-baked cookies out of the tray (we kid you not), was extremely popular with the voters, but combined with the international juries, the group finished second to Loreen’s unstoppable Europop anthem, "Euphoria."
So what became of the grannies? Luckily for us, the New York Times is ON IT! and traveled to Buranovo to see how the newfound success of the group, whose eldest member is 86, has impacted their lives back home. And what they’ve found is pretty amazing: since the song went viral with more than nine million views on YouTube and the grannies an international sensation, their Internet fame has translated to some seriously important reforms for Buranovo, situated in an agrarian area left economically depressed following the end of the oil boom. The local government has come in and is building a water pipeline, building roads and streetlights and even helping the local school obtain Internet access. And per the grannies’ initial goal, they were able to gain support to rebuild the historic Church of the Trinity, a longtime community cornerstone closed during Stalin’s reign and demolished to make room for oil drilling. For all the discourse over what "Internet fame" means in today’s world, it’s refreshing, if not heartwarming, to see a viral video success story that is so much more.