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]
English Russia presents Lord of the Rings character illustrations from the USSR. [more inside]
The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon 'An extraordinary literary "whodunnit" over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain's leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.'
The saying "We have been put on Earth to make Kafka come true" has been well known since Soviet times.
At least 35 dead in attacks on the Moscow subway. "Yuri Syomin, the head of the Moscow prosecutor's office, said the attacks had almost certainly been carried out by suicide bombers who boarded the metro at the height of the rush hour." Speculation is rampant as to the source of the attacks, with Ingushetia, Chechnya or Agastarn.
Russia's Wooden Churches - A century after celebrated Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin called for preservation of Russia's decaying wooden churches, architectural photographer Richard Davies revisits the churches to document and raise awareness of these gorgeous historic architectural treasures. [more inside]
"The great Trans Siberian Railway, the pride of Russia, goes across two continents, 12 regions and 87 cities. The joint project of Google and the Russian Railways lets you take a trip along the famous route and see Baikal, Khekhtsirsky range, Barguzin mountains, Yenisei river and many other picturesque places of Russia without leaving your house." [more inside]
Tango With Cows is an exhibition by the Getty Museum of the book art of the Russian avant-garde from 1910 to 1917, which included a performance of sound poetry, all captured on video, both of Futurist poems, other historical sound poems, and contemporary works. Among performers are Christian Bök and Steve McCaffery. The exhibition takes its name from the book of ferro-concrete poems, one of 21 books can be downloaded as PDFs, most are by Alexei Kruchenykh but there are also works by Roman Jakobson, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk, Andrei Kravtsov, Vasily Kamensky and Velimir Khlebnikov. These were all Futurists. [more inside]
SS-N-22 Sunburn is the NATO designation for a Russian-made anti-ship missile that the US Navy (it seems) currently has no defense against. [more inside]
Selections from a handmade military discharge scrap book and comic made by a USSR army recruit, 1984-1986.
Andrey Vinogradov has got the Russian hurdy gurdy you want. . 4,091 views. 2,635 views. 853 views. 5 views.
As a result of epic fraud, lawyer Sergey Magnitsky was falsely imprisoned and died in jail. An incredible story of doing business in a corrupt country.
House of Happiness - photos by Rena Effendi of women in the Ferghana Valley, part of central Asia's ancient Silk Route now known as "the heroin highway" - "a geographical and cultural mishmash where three countries and many ethnicities cluster." More about the photos. (Some photos NSFW) [more inside]
Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union? Eleven. That's Ridiculous. It's not even funny.
During the last week, a senior detective in Novorossiysk, Russia named Alexei Dymovsky had a viral hit on YouTube with a series of videos (in Russian: 1, 2. With English subtitles: 1) complaining about working conditions, accusing officers of corruption, and claiming that he and other police were ordered to stage crimes in order to put innocent people in jail. Dymovsky was promptly fired, but the Russian government has since admitted that parts of the police have been turned into criminal businesses. More here and here.
The strength of post-Soviet math stems from decades of lonely productivity. Russian math.
The Kalinin K-7 was a giant flying fortress that might have redefined aerial combat in the 1930s. The hugely expensive and trouble-prone prototype was scrapped by Stalin and its designer was later executed. Here are some renderings of the planes that might have been, with spacious lounges, battleship-sized cannons, and the ability to defend us from UFOs.
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.
Welcome to the charming world of Vissarion: the Siberian, vegan, reincarnation of Christ, who also happens to be a Polygamist. When he lost his job as a traffic cop in 1991, Sergei Torop changed his name to Vissarion and began spreading his message about how to attain moral perfection, drive out negative energy, and survive the coming Apocalypse. Today the Community of Vassarion in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia numbers around 10,000, while a further 50,000 follow his teachings in the world beyond. [more inside]
Soyuz rocket rolls to launch pad. A fine photoset of an otherwise routine Russian rocket rollout. I can tell that photographer Bill Ingalls loves rockets. His favs.
September 22, 1939: In the Polish city of Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, in Belarus), "a monumental military parade took place.... What is unusual is that the parade was held not by the Polish army, but by the soviet Red Army and the Nazi German Wehrmacht – together." The excellent blog Poemas del río Wang (which usually features gorgeous illustrations from books) provides historical context, many photos, posters, and cartoons, even a five-minute official German newsreel (the parade takes up the first half). The event itself is a historical footnote, but in Russia, with the "cult of the victory of Soviet people and of the Soviet state in WWII," the very idea of it was anathema and it was denied until last year. [more inside]
Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations." [more inside]
Russian strategic nuclear forces - an online watchdog of the movements of Russia's nuclear forces. [more inside]
Suvorov’s argument is simple. Stalin cleverly lured Hitler into war by offering to divide Poland. This act, Stalin knew, would prompt Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Stalin expected to pick up the pieces. - Eric Margolis [more inside]
For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming. Arctic Shortcut Beckons Shippers as Ice Thaws.
It took spontaneously crowd-sourced translators less than 24 hrs to make an article on the FSB's (former KGB) alleged implication in the Moscow 1999 apartment blasts accessible in Russian. Before, distribution of the issue of GQ in Russia had been banned by the editor himself. The topic (although the allegations are anything else than new) became an instant top in the russian blogosphere today (dynamic listing, will change with time)
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
Kommunalka - communal apartments - were begun by the Bolsheviks in Russia at the end of the Russian Revolution to address overcrowding in cities - and also to punish the bourgeoisie who had previously lived in comfort. Kommunalka were an enduring social experiment, where multiple families were assigned by the state to live together in close quarters with no expectation of privacy. It was not uncommon for tenants to spy on each other. Though communism ended in Russia almost two decades ago, Kommunalka still exist today.
From 1864 to 1904, the Russian Empire tried to quelch the nationalism of Lithuanians by ordering all Lithuanian texts to be printed with Cyrillic characters instead of in the Latin-derived Lithuanian or Polish alphabets. But they didn't count on the Knygnešiai - the Booksmugglers. [more inside]
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.
70s/80s Soviet album covers. Until today, I had no idea Soviet hair metal existed. Prepare for keytars, mall hair and proof that 80s cheese was not solely a product of degenerate kepitalist decadence.
"Exactly one hundred years ago a Russian photographer, began a remarkable project. With the blessing - and funding - of the Tsar, Nicholas II, he embarked on an extraordinary journey to capture the essence of Russia in full color photographs." [more inside]
Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, has launched his 557-foot yacht, Eclipse.
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.
Between 1885 and 1917, Peter Carl Fabergé and his assistants created 105 jeweled eggs, only 69 of which survive. They are regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler's art. The Rothschild egg is the most expensive timepiece ever sold at auction.
"You are setting an example for all society and you continue the tradition of parental service which has been customary in our country for centuries," so quoth Russian President Medvedev upon presenting the Order of Parental Glory to eight families. The medals are part of a campaign to encourage Russians to reproduce to offset the steep anticipated population decline in that country. [more inside]
Anna Skladmann's Little Adults. Photographs of the children of the ultra-rich in Russia.
The global financial crisis has severely affected the Russian economy. The unstable situation in the country has contributed to a growing rift between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. As increasing numbers of Russians become disillusioned with Putin's promise of comfort and security in exchange for authoritarianism, Medvedev has shown some willingness to take the country in a more liberal direction. Some analysts, however, remain unconvinced.
In September of 2008, two Austrians traveled 13,000km by rail from Vienna to Pyongyang - without asking permission and going through the official Koran travel agency. [more inside]
A German researcher accidentally jabbed her finger with a hypodermic loaded with the deadly Ebola virus. 48 hours later, she was injected with an untested, experimental vaccine, developed by an international team of virologists and biologists. Though she may never have been infected, she was certainly in danger; in 2004, a similar incident caused the death of a Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons lab.
Twilight Of The Autocrats: Will the global economic downturn usher in a new era of democracy, or will things only get worse? [first link via]
Movie posters carry the movie in one still image. But they're also a great overview of trends, both artistic and popular. Modern major film posters are common enough, and if you're looking for some discussion of modern posters, Movie Poster Addict might be your scene. But dig deeper and you come across quality versions of foreign films, such as Mexican posters (deep link to a section of Pulp Morgue) or hand painted posters from Russia, India and Pakistan, even the US. MeFi's own flapjax at midnite shared a collection of recent finds from the 1960s and '70s on in this Flickr set. [flapjax at midnite's collection via mefi projects] Some-what pre-vious-ly on Me-ta-Filter. And not from MetaFilter, but from our favorite list site: 20 baffling foreign movie posters.