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“You called us, Pu, and we came!”

Last Sunday, Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin was shown shedding tears on TV as he was elected to be Russia's president for the next six years amidst a wave of protests. Meanwhile, despite a vast network of web cameras installed at polling stations to prevent vote fraud and independent exit polls showing more than 50% support for Putin, his opponents have decried the elections as a sham, as reports of falsifications, ballot stuffing and 'carousel voting' abound. What will his third term be like, though? in Prospect Magazine, Rachel Polonsky takes an in-depth look at the anti-Putin mood in Russian cities and what it means for his system of power. [more inside]
posted by daniel_charms on Mar 7, 2012 - 26 comments

The War In Chechnya: Diary of a Killer

They screamed and shouted, begging us not to kill them because they had family and kids back home. So what? As if, by contrast, we’d come from an orphanage into this s***hole. We executed them all. Diary of the war in Chechnya. (via) [more inside]
posted by Telf on Mar 3, 2012 - 44 comments

With him, it will be safe

"You’ll be happy with him. He’ll protect you like a stone wall." First time, only for <3. [more inside]
posted by Mister Fabulous on Feb 28, 2012 - 31 comments

horse_ebooks' creator revealed

the previously discussed horse_ebooks twitter spambot/oracle creator has been tracked down by gawker
posted by Pants! on Feb 23, 2012 - 37 comments

Master of Miniature Guns

"What we are talking about here are models that reproduce real guns in details. These are acting mechanisms and real copies of guns decreased 4-4.5 times. They could fire if real bullets were used."
posted by Slap*Happy on Feb 18, 2012 - 12 comments

Kuang Grade Mark Eleven

He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings "loaner" devices, which he erases before he leaves the US and wipes clean the minute he returns . In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery , for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, "Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop." - Travel precautions in the age of digital espionage.
posted by Artw on Feb 13, 2012 - 125 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

Face the thing that should not be

In the coldest spot on the earth’s coldest continent, Russian scientists have reached a freshwater lake the size of Lake Ontario after spending a decade drilling through more than two miles of solid ice. Maybe the mountains of madness are underground. Lovecraft would loved to have seen this.
posted by Hickeystudio on Feb 8, 2012 - 76 comments

SoftPanorama, a vast resource with a Russian edge

SoftPanorama / SoftPanorama Switchboard, created by Nikolai Bezroukov, is one of those vast, practical resources with a fun side too. There is the excellent and very useful Classification of Corporate Psychopaths | Coping with the toxic stress in IT environment | Surviving a Bad Performance Review | Information Overload: How Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime | Science, PseudoScience and Society. But then there is the fun side of the site too: Russian Music Oldies on YouTube | economic crisis humor | Songs from Famous Russian Cartoons on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Feb 5, 2012 - 5 comments

Responsibility to protect?

"I saw bodies of women and children lying on roads, beheaded." At least 260 people were killed last night in a government assault on Homs, the epicenter of the Syrian uprising. This came right before a key UN vote to support the Arab League's plan to have President Bashar al-Assad hand over power to the vice president and hold early elections for a national unity government, which failed this morning with 13 in favor and a double veto by China and Russia. [more inside]
posted by lullaby on Feb 4, 2012 - 252 comments

Doll 'protesters' present small problem for Russian police

Lego figurines, Kinder surprises and other toys played the role of 'demonstrators'. Police in Siberian city ask prosecutors to investigate legality of protest involving display of toy figures holding miniature placards. "Political opposition forces are using new technologies to carry out public events – using toys with placards at mini-protests," Andrei Mulintsev, the city's deputy police chief, said at a press conference this week, according to local media. "In our opinion, this is still an unsanctioned public event." [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 26, 2012 - 24 comments

Strong Like Bear

The Truck They Couldn't Drown Watch agog as this Rasputin of Russian trucks conspicuously fails to give up the ghost crossing a Siberian river.
posted by ironjelly on Jan 21, 2012 - 67 comments

So a Girl Sneaks Into a Russian Military Rocket Factory...

Lana Sator sneaked into a Russian military rocket factory, found no guards, and started taking pictures. Some of them are pretty amazing. [source]
posted by quin on Jan 5, 2012 - 75 comments

The Inconsequential Spy

The Big Russian Life of Anna Chapman
posted by vidur on Jan 4, 2012 - 10 comments

Russian shellacing

Russian Records is an online archive of thousands of 78s issued in Russia, or with Russian themes. Just the labels are a visual feast but there's audio as well. Don't miss the whistlers with orchestral backing.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 1, 2012 - 11 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

"For the show’s editor, the genre is a new Russian art form, celebrating real-life proletarian characters."

Mother of all TV shows: [Financial Times] Russia’s latest hit, ‘Mother in Law’, makes ‘Big Brother’ look like ‘Sesame Street’.
posted by Fizz on Dec 27, 2011 - 17 comments

Другой Челси История из Донецка!

The other Chelsea. A story from Donetsk [1:28:06].
posted by - on Dec 15, 2011 - 5 comments

Letter from Moscow

David Remnick: How far can the resistance to Vladimir Putin go? (SLNewYorker)
posted by beisny on Dec 12, 2011 - 34 comments

In Plutocratic Russia, Kremlin Tweets You

There were thousands of Russians protesting the widespread ballot stuffing discovered during the elections last sunday. Russian police arrested hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square, including Alexei Navalny. Protestors raised awareness using Twitter hashtags like #триумфальная (Triumfalnaya), but pro-Kremlin spammers were prepared to drown them out using 2000 automated twitterbots they'd created earlier this year. (related, recently)
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 10, 2011 - 27 comments

New worlds of wonderful sound

"Far From Moscow is a resource designed to promote, catalog, and consider new music from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, together with the Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)." Posts are frequent and extensive and stuffed full of fantastic songs. They also offer a dozen free sampler albums; I'm listening to and loving Apples and the more ambient Forest. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 5, 2011 - 13 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

Horowitz in Moscow

In 1986,[Vladimir] Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Nov 25, 2011 - 13 comments

Putin v Russia

Vladimir Putin booed live on Russian TV. Taking a rare evening off from propping up Bashar Assad and threatening to station missiles on EU borders, past and future President - and current Prime Minister - Vladimir Putin relaxed at a mixed martial arts fight last Sunday night at Moscow's Olimpisky Arena. When he stepped into the ring after the bout to address the crowd however, his reception was as hostile as the fight had been. The muzzled Russian media have either ignored the incident or claimed the booing was directed at Jeff "The Snowman" Monson, but thousands of comments on the American's facebook wall tell a different story. [more inside]
posted by joannemullen on Nov 24, 2011 - 29 comments

Space fail?

Yesterday, Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years launched sucessfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It ran into serious problems almost immediately. In jeopardy are a sample return mission from the Martian satellite Phobos, The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE), and China's Yinghuo-1 Mars orbiter.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2011 - 40 comments

Journey ends

Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
posted by baueri on Nov 4, 2011 - 26 comments

17 Hours of Russian Animation

MISSING: One elephant. Striped. Big. Polite and good-natured. Loves cod liver oil. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Nov 2, 2011 - 30 comments

Hanover Historical Texts Project

Hanover Historical Texts Project is a collection of primary source texts from ancient times to the modern era in English translation. There is a great number of interesting texts, for instance accounts of Zeno, he of the paradoxes, the diary of Lady Sarashina, a lady-in-waiting in Heian era Japan, a letter from Count Stephen of Blois and Chartres, a crusader writing to his wife, Arthur Young's travels in France before and during the Revolution, a report by the American ambassador in St. Petersburg on March 20th, 1917, immediately after the February Revolution, and finally Petrarch's letter about his graphomania. That last one is from what is perhaps my favorite part of the website, a trove of Petrarch's Familiar Letters. But there's much more in the Hanover Historical Texts Projects besides what I've mentioned.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 24, 2011 - 6 comments

The literature of the Siege of Leningrad

I am not going to try now to open the eyes of the world to the Leningrad Blockade. What I will write about here is less ambitious and somewhat more promising: the literature of the siege. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 12, 2011 - 7 comments

Inside the Russian Short Wave Enigma

UVB-76 is a Russian short wave station that has enthralled and mystified enthusiasts for decades.
posted by reenum on Oct 4, 2011 - 59 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

Move Your Kids to Russia and Toss Them Into School

Move Your Kids to Russia and Toss Them Into School Clifford Levy and Julie Dressner moved their 3 kids from Park Slope to Russia. Instead of putting their kids in an international school, they decided to let the kids learn Russian in a Russian school. [more inside]
posted by k8t on Sep 17, 2011 - 42 comments

The Most Interesting Man In The World… Is Russian

He rides with biker gangs! He shoots whales with a crossbow! He does piano recitals for charity! He bends frying pans with his bare hands! It's Vladimir Putin, Action Man. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 13, 2011 - 92 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

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

Russia's Arctic 'sea grab'

Russia is expected within months to claim to the United Nations its right to annex about 380,000 square miles of the Arctic.
posted by - on Aug 14, 2011 - 45 comments

A Grand Adventure

When Richard Feynman was a young boy his father told him of the remote land of Tannu Tuva, igniting an obsession that would remain with him for the rest of his life. The Last Journey of a Genius chronicles Feynman’s attempts to get to the country at the geographic center of Asia, all stymied by the Iron Curtain, although he did correspond with some of its citizens and was a fan of its distinctive music and stamps. A visa for Tuva finally arrived days after his death.
Most would suggest that the story ends there, but not so: Feynman’s friend Ralph Leighton eventually made it, and formed the Friends of Tuva; later, Feyman’s daughter Michelle made the trip her father planned but never completed, an emotional journey recorded by the Russian service of the BBC [MP3]. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Aug 14, 2011 - 20 comments

Saint Petersburg's New Holland Island

Closed to the public for more than 300 years, St. Petersburg's New Holland Island is about to get a major makeover. The 410M USD redevelopment project, managed by none other than the power couple Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, aims to transform Russia's first military port into a residential and commercial area while preserving the island's historic warehouses. Take a look at New Holland Island.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Aug 3, 2011 - 3 comments

The Chessboard Killer

Russia had never seen anything quite like the prolific serial killer Alexander Pichushkin, for whom “life without killing is like life without food.” In the end, the Maniac was what his mother and Suprunenko say he was: ordinary. He didn’t have strong opinions. He lacked preferences or ideas about other people, God, art, beauty. He could talk about these things, and did, but these were simply words in the service of killing; they were bits of theater; they were nothing. [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty on Jul 29, 2011 - 38 comments

Russian neo-indie-disco from Pompeya

Pompeya is a band that is hard to describe, especially if you go by their videos and sound. For example, if you started with Power (Simple Symmetry & Lipelis Remix), you might think it's an act from the the late eighties, complete with break dancing and dated fashions. If you first came across the Barbarella Chisinau Teaser, you might imagine that they're something from the early 1990s, or a new band goofing with vintage video. And then they drop Power II, which could be some kids playing neo-disco akin to the US band VHS or Beta (wiki). But wait! Check out Cheenese (NSFW moment of nudity 2:58 to 3:05), and you think they might be professional musicians with a sharp-looking video. In fact, Pompeya is a mix of various things: they're four young Russian guys who play indie-disco. [more details after the break] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 17, 2011 - 22 comments

Fear the Future

Metro 2033: Multimedia Online Fiction. Cruel but beautiful Russian shooter Metro 2033 and its upcoming sequel, Metro: Last Light are arguably two of the most polished games to come out of a country better known for the buggy, idiosyncratic work of GSC Game World and Ice-Pick Lodge. Less well-known is the games' source material, a self-published, soundtrack-backed online novel of the same name (warning: Russian).
posted by Tubalcain on Jul 12, 2011 - 18 comments

Orda Cave Awareness Project

Russian divers working for the Orda Cave Awareness Project have revealed stunning images of the world's longest underwater cave.
posted by bwg on Jul 12, 2011 - 38 comments

Tragedy on Volga

100 Dead, Many Children, in Boat Sinking in Russia [more inside]
posted by mooselini on Jul 11, 2011 - 21 comments

Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong

This is a very insightful piece that shows the Soviet collapse from a completely different angle than one would expect.
posted by Vibrissae on Jun 25, 2011 - 88 comments

Where there's a will, there's a way...

A heroin substitute called "Krokodil" is having destructive effects on Russia's active user population. [more inside]
posted by rodmandirect on Jun 22, 2011 - 108 comments

Russian Video from Russia

Russian Video from Russia does what it says, providing a variety of videos from Russia, presented in English or with English subtitles, and brief descriptions of the videos. You can check out videos as they're posted, or sort through by categories (including customs, musical video, science and technology, and movie for the weekend). This last category ranges from Russian Sherlock Holmes movies to a traditional New Year romantic comedy, a documentary on Yuri Gagarin to a classic Russian children's tale of Old Hottabych, an old genie freed in modern times.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 16, 2011 - 8 comments

Wedding Photos

Some Russian wedding photos. One or two of them might have been photoshopped. Related video, featuring the white birch, which is Russia's national tree.
posted by Greg Nog on Jun 14, 2011 - 55 comments

"We are under more of a moral obligation to try very very very hard to develop compassion and mercy and empathy."

‘A Frightening Time in America’: An Interview With David Foster Wallace
posted by timshel on Jun 13, 2011 - 50 comments

Udmurt Grannies

Buranovskie Babushki is a charming group of grannies from the village of Buranovo in Udmurtia, Russia who came one place away from being the national entry to last year's Eurovision with their crowd-pleasing folk number. Since then, they've been covering a few western classics in their native language. Here's a few: Yesterday; Venus; and Let it Be.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 12, 2011 - 16 comments

Sex and the Single Bat Leveyha

"God is totally down with sexpionage, at least according to the Zomet Institute, an organization dedicated to interpreting Jewish law for modern living" -- on the Mossad's precursor to Russia’s femme fatale spy Anna Chapman.
posted by maud on May 13, 2011 - 26 comments

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