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Veto bunnies

Who uses their veto in the UN Security Council the most, and what for?
posted by tavegyl on Jul 31, 2014 - 16 comments

Richard Nixon and Donald Kendall: Pepsi in Russia and South America

It has been said in half-jest that Pepsi was the official soda of the Cold War. Vice President Richard Nixon shared a Pepsi with Soviet Russia's Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, at the opening of the "American National Exhibition" in Moscow on July 24, 1959, after the famous "Kitchen Debate" (CBS newscast on Archive.org; transcript with two photos from the day). But how was it that Pepsi was the only Western soda-pop available there that day? Look to Donald Kendall, a long-time pal of Richard Nixon, who starting out in 1947 selling fountain syrup in New York, and rose through the ranks to be President of Pepsi Cola International by 1957. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 11, 2014 - 13 comments

Technology concentrates power.

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.
posted by Cash4Lead on Feb 26, 2014 - 14 comments

"Felled by your gun, felled by your gun ...."

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 12, 2014 - 31 comments

one of the fastest decimations of an animal population in world history

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 13, 2013 - 41 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

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]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

Over the Abyss in Rye

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)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 16, 2013 - 15 comments

Soviet Futurism

Tekhnika Molodezhi 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.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 15, 2013 - 24 comments

James Lloydovich Patterson

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.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 1, 2013 - 16 comments

When Nikita met Marilyn

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]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 19, 2013 - 16 comments

The mines were frozen so they did not explode, while we walked for several kilometres along the [mine] fields.

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]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 6, 2012 - 7 comments

The FBI has a "Do Not Contact" List?

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.
posted by zarq on Jun 6, 2012 - 43 comments

RIP Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль

Eduard Anatolyevich Khil, aka Mr. Trololo, has died at the age of 77. [more inside]
posted by alexoscar on Jun 4, 2012 - 50 comments

"Pure Cinema"

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]
posted by zarq on Feb 13, 2012 - 26 comments

Gorbachev on the New World Order

"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.
posted by empath on Dec 29, 2011 - 26 comments

"You can’t regret your fate, although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter."

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]
posted by zarq on Nov 28, 2011 - 39 comments

The USSR's War and Peace

An 8 hour radio dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is being broadcast by the BBC. Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star. [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Sep 19, 2011 - 9 comments

*Inhales* hmmm, needs more horse...

"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]
posted by codacorolla on Sep 9, 2011 - 64 comments

A Bottomless Silo

The Rusty Technoporn Of Nuclear Russia - The Base Of Human Exterminators , The Place That Stalkers Would Love To Visit, from English Russia via Warren Ellis
posted by Artw on May 3, 2011 - 35 comments

they simply forgot about it

How a handful of geeks on Usenet defied the USSR. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 14, 2011 - 39 comments

Turnip Strength Tester

A trip to The Museum of Soviet Arcade Games. (Previously) [more inside]
posted by griphus on Sep 9, 2010 - 23 comments

4625 kHz

UVB-76 has sent a new message.
posted by Artw on Aug 24, 2010 - 121 comments

Journey to the Bottom of the (Cold War) Sea and Back

Submarine causalities 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]
posted by filthy light thief on May 27, 2010 - 41 comments

Russian Lord of the Rings

English Russia presents Lord of the Rings character illustrations from the USSR. [more inside]
posted by gman on May 27, 2010 - 47 comments

A Russian army recruit's scrap book

Selections from a handmade military discharge scrap book and comic made by a USSR army recruit, 1984-1986.
posted by Rumple on Jan 22, 2010 - 5 comments

Comrade Draper, we have a new account from Acme Caviar.

Mad Men: Soviet Style. Beautiful advertising posters from the USSR.
posted by grumblebee on Nov 4, 2009 - 54 comments

1989, revolution in Eastern Europe

The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 27, 2009 - 20 comments

Everyday life in the USSR

Real USSR 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 queueing to USSR - the birthplace of feminism. via
posted by Rumple on Aug 5, 2009 - 23 comments

WTF? Trippy music video from the USSR.

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.
posted by grumblebee on Jun 28, 2009 - 66 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

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 soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

Another Russian animation post?!

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]
posted by defenestration on Nov 16, 2008 - 6 comments

Well there goes Reykjavik

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
posted by blahblah on Oct 7, 2008 - 48 comments

Has the US peaked and is in decline?

Some books you might want to read about the US and recent political developments in the world. [more inside]
posted by yoyo_nyc on Aug 8, 2008 - 18 comments

Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия

Comrades! Glory once again in the display of Soviet Russian military might at the revitalized May Day Victory Day Parade!
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 11, 2008 - 52 comments

Lemon Ades You?

Soviet Lemonade Labels
posted by interrobang on Apr 17, 2008 - 15 comments

The Notes of a Japanese prisoner in the USSR

Kiuchi Nobuo - a Japanese airman in World War II, was captured and sent to a prison camp in the Ukraine. He tells his story with drawings.
posted by tellurian on Feb 5, 2008 - 23 comments

Did Vladimir Putin really turn around Russia's economy?

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]
posted by gregb1007 on Jan 18, 2008 - 26 comments

Тхундербирдс являются дороге!

Russian cold war bombers - The Tu 95 Bear and Tu 160 Blackjack, based in central Russia, which resumed long range patrols in August.
posted by Artw on Dec 23, 2007 - 52 comments

Trotsky's Appeal

"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."
posted by Firas on Nov 11, 2007 - 75 comments

Space: 1989

Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) 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.
posted by dersins on Sep 13, 2007 - 25 comments

Soviet era arcade games resurrected

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. Sea Wolf, Duck Hunt, Pole Position, Dogfight!
We begin bombing in five minutes.
posted by planetkyoto on Jun 7, 2007 - 28 comments

return of the soviet union - the empire strikes back

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.
posted by chrisranjana.com on May 29, 2007 - 54 comments

Russia in photos: 1941-1945

Russia in photos: 1941-1945.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on May 11, 2007 - 32 comments

All aboard for thermonuclear war

Russian Missile Train !
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 18, 2007 - 22 comments

The punk from Novobrisk

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 profile.
posted by griphus on Feb 22, 2007 - 23 comments

Samantha Smith

In 1982, ten-year old Samantha Smith from Maine 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. (wmv)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 23, 2006 - 23 comments

The Kremlin minutes

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."
posted by Gyan on Nov 28, 2006 - 32 comments

USSR Posters

USSR Posters. Gallery of over 1400 posters from the Soviet era.
posted by plep on Sep 28, 2006 - 44 comments

Pictures of subway riders in Moscow

Riding the rails in Russia And I thought my guitar took up some space on the bus...
posted by persona non grata on Aug 30, 2006 - 17 comments

One of the world's greatest unsung heroes?

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.
posted by ramakrishna on Sep 5, 2004 - 34 comments

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