Our Comrade the Electron.
Maciej Cegłowski (previously
) delivered a talk at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand on theremin inventor Lev Termen (previously
), futurism, the Dutch Golden Age, and the modern surveillance state.
Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soviet Sniper
"Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a Soviet sniper
credited with 309 kills
—and an advocate for women's rights. On a U.S. tour in 1942, she found a friend in the first lady." [more inside]
From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site
for 456 nuclear devices. The test site
was known as "The Polygon
." Testing was stopped in 1989
, but the long term effects remained
. [more inside]
If you truly would like to hear this story, first of all you will probably want to find out where I was born, how I spent my stupid childhood, what my parents did before my birth—in a word, all that David Copperfield rot. But truthfully speaking, I don’t have any urge to delve into that. "If Holden Caulfield Spoke Russian" (SLNYer)
was the Popular Mechanics of the Soviet Union. The magazine, whose name means Technology for the Youth, had illustrations of everything from space stations
, computerized farming
, transport of the future
, friendly robots
, to more abstract images
. If you don't want to hunt through the archive
, Mythbuster's Tested website has a gallery of 201 great images
from the magazine.
Black Soviet Icon's Lonely American Sojourn: For decades Jim Patterson was arguably the most famous black man in the Soviet Union, a debonair homegrown poet whose childhood role in an iconic film cemented his celebrity and who later roamed the vast country reading his work to adoring audiences.
These days Patterson, whose African-American father emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1932, is convalescing in a threadbare subsidized apartment in downtown Washington, where he has led a reclusive life plagued by illness and depression since his Russian mother died more than a decade ago.
Khrushchev Tours America
- His shoe banging incident
at the UN and the the Kitchen Debates with Nixon
are well known but less attention has been given to the time Nikita Khrushchev went to Hollywood
. He met Marilyn Monroe and other film luminaries but he was denied a trip to Disneyland (previously)
. [more inside]
The history of the Russian-Chechen conflict spans two centuries. Images of Chechen enemies were mentioned even in a lullaby by Lermontov that put children to sleep in the 19th century.
War correspondents Robert Parsons, Sofie Shehab, Petra Prohazkova and Andrey Babitsky tell about the war they saw with their own eyes in Nino Kirtadze’s film “The Chechen Lullaby”. [more inside]
The Feynman Files.
For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public
. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
Человек с киноаппаратом
("Man with a Movie Camera") is a classic experimental documentary film that was released in 1929. Directed by pioneer Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov
, this classic, silent documentary film has no story and no actors, and is actually three documentaries in one. Ostensibly it documents 24 hours of life in a single city in the Soviet Union. But it is also a documentary of the filming of that documentary and a depiction of an audience watching that documentary and their responses. "We see the cameraman and the editing of the film, but what we don't see is any of the film itself." [more inside]
"In short, the world without the Soviet Union has not become safer, more just or more stable.
Instead of a new world order—that is, enough global governance to prevent international affairs from becoming dangerously unpredictable—we have had global turmoil, a world drifting in uncharted waters." -- Mikhail Gorbachev writes about the world after the Cold War in The Nation
Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume
. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference
that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana
became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring
that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again
return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin
. Mrs. Peters passed away
from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
"It begins with a freshly showered person riding naked for hours on a clean, washed horse inside a two-meter-high 'forest' of marijuana.
Afterwards, the human body and that of the horse are covered with a thick layer of resin mixed with sweat. This produces a substance that is usually dark brown in color, which is then thoroughly scraped off the human and horse's bodies." The Chu (sometimes Chui or Chuy) valley produced much of the marijuana available in the Soviet Union, and continues its unique harvest to this day. Via The World
on PRI (audio link
). [more inside]
are tragedies of war that are not always directly associated with combat. Systems failures at sea are often mysterious, with evidence and remains disappearing to all but the deepest diving vehicles. This was no different in the Cold War, with non-combat losses from the US
and the Soviet Fleets
. In that era of nuclear secrets, both those of nuclear-powered submarines
and nuclear weapons
, learning about the enemy's technology was paramount. Such an opportunity came to the US with the sinking of K-129
, a Golf Class II Soviet submarine
that went down with 98 men on board. The recovery took over six year, involved the possible payback of Howard Hughes, a videotaped formal sea burial
that was eventually copied and given to then-President Boris Yeltsin, and decades of CIA secrecy. [more inside]
Selections from a handmade military discharge scrap book and comic
made by a USSR army recruit, 1984-1986.
is a blog containing commentaries on everyday life in the former Soviet Union. The liberal use of family and other amateur photos provides unusual insight into the daily experience of Soviet life. Topics range from 1940s homemade double-exposure photography
to USSR - the birthplace of feminism. via
I'm not a fan of front-page posts that don't describe their link, but I seriously have no idea what this is.
It's Russian. It's from the '60s. Now that I've watched it, I feel my life is complete, yet I somehow simultaneously want my eight minutes back (you've been warned). SLYT.
Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child
. An excellent collection of vintage
, public health
, and infographics
posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations
Animatsiya in English
is weblog (warning: livejournal) with a narrow focus: tracking the production of Russian animated
feature films. Russian animation has a long history
with output both abstract and obstructed; from the early influence of the Russian avant-garde
and the work of small groups of enthusiasts
, through Stalin-era Socialist realism
and a style known as Éclair
that was marked by the use of extensive rotoscoping
, to the 1960's and beyond
when surreal and politically charged
(and unfortunately, in this case, anti-Semitic) as well as unconventionally structured, emotionally fueled
films found release. Fortunately, when Pilot Studio
—the Soviet Union's first private animation studio—decided to relegate parts of that history to the dumpsters out back
, the people were ready to sift through the mess
. [more inside]
More subprime collateral damage. Iceland's now getting a $5B bailout
from Russia. What does Russia want in return
? Access to shipping lanes? The old US base? via
Some books you might want to read about the US and recent political developments
in the world. [more inside]
- a Japanese airman in World War II, was captured and sent to a prison camp in the Ukraine. He tells his story with drawings.
Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy?
Washington Post's Fred Hyatt attempts to refute the conventional wisdom that Putin was responsible for Russia's turnaround from the economic instability of the "disastrous" 90s by offering a thorough counter argument to prove that Putin's effect on the economy was just the reverse. [more inside]
"Trotsky lived on after Stalin, and to some extent is still alive today, not because young people want the world he wanted: a phantasm that not even he could define. What they want is to be him
Some photo galleries
(and youtube video
) of Buran
, the USSR's space shuttle program
) from the 1980's, long since abandoned
. Bonus: A comparison between
Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More
on Buran from russianspaceweb.com
, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran
, (and their photos
), frozen in time a decade ago.
Uptick in Cold War-like rhetoric making you a little nostalgic for the era of parachute pants and Members Only jackets?
A cabal of Russki comrades at some pinko university have been going around collecting and resurrecting disused Soviet-era arcade games
, which became instantly obsolete with the collapse of communism.
, Duck Hunt
, Pole Position
We begin bombing in five minutes.
Russia on Tuesday test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile
The points to note are:-
It could penetrate any defense system, the statement did not specify how many warheads the missile can carry, it's either a decoy or something that has been developed in complete secrecy.
Yanka (Янка) Dyagileva (1966-1991)
was one of the foremost members of the former USSR's magnitizdat
circuit. Albeit overshadowed in time by the likes of Vysotsky
, she (along with longtime collaborators Grazhdanskaya Oborona
[Civil Defence]) played a mixture of folk and punk: raw, unrelenting and angry. Sadly, the greatest memorial to her on the web is entirely in Russian
, but offers interest to even those that do not speak the language: her complete discography
is available for download, a bevy of photographs
providing an inside look into the late 80's underground music scene in the USSR (...and the penalties for participating in it
), and some tablatures
if you ever just want to play along
. She's even got a Myspace
In 1982, ten-year old Samantha Smith
wrote a letter
to Yuri Andropov asking whether there was going to be a nuclear war. Andropov responded
, and Samantha accepted his invitation to stay at a Russian
pioneer camp with Soviet children. Tragically, within the following two years both the young Samantha
and Secretary Andropov passed away
Diary of a Collapsing Superpower
- "Seventeen years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, and two years later the Soviet Union broke apart. More than 1,400 minutes published earlier this month in Russia from meetings that took place behind the closed doors of the Politburo in Moscow read like a thriller from the highest levels of the Kremlin. They reveal Mikhail Gorbachev as a party chief who had to fight bitterly for his reforms and ultimately lost his battle. But in doing so, he changed the course of history and helped bring an end to the Cold War."
Gallery of over 1400 posters from the Soviet era.
Riding the rails in Russia
And I thought my guitar took up some space on the bus...
You may owe your life to this man
If it weren't for Stanislav Petrov
, many or even most of us reading this might be dead now - or never born, for the teens among us. At least according to this article
, and the other links above.