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Moon Dream

Dan Roam reminisces about walking into a Russian bookstore in 1993 and picking up a one-of-a-kind item...
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 23, 2012 - 23 comments

 

Diamonds may be forever. Their apparent scarcity isn't.

The Russian Institute of Geology and Mineralogy announced an allegedly previously undisclosed 60-mile-wide field of "trillions of carats" of impact diamonds caused by a metor strike into graphite rock in Siberia. The media is reporting that this has been known about since the 70s but undisclosed, but this is misleading. As detailed by Vishnevsky [academic summary PDF], for example, the presence of large amounts of impact diamonds within the impactites was very well known; it is perhaps better to say that the market-distorting sheer yield of the field (around an order of magnitude of increase over known reserves) had not previously been discussed. The diamonds produced by such high temperatures and pressures are around twice as tough as normal diamonds, and the extreme hardness and compartively cheap availibility is likely to hugely widen the usage of industrial diamonds even setting aside the gemstone issues. This does however put the 2011 sale of the Oppenheimer family 40 per cent stake in De Beers in an interesting light, especially as the field at once offers the prospect of huge diamond stones whilst devaluing De Beers' existing stockpile hugely.
posted by jaduncan on Sep 17, 2012 - 50 comments

"A continuous slaughter which could be of no avail either to the French or the Russians."

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, in which Napoleon's armies met Russian troops 75 miles east of Moscow on 7 September 1812. The huge battle, involving quarter of a million troops, was the strongest stand the Imperial Russian Army made against Napoleon's forces, and it resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Although the Russian army withdrew, the French tactical victory in the Battle of Borodino was a Pyrrhic one, and Napoleon ultimately left Russia in defeat. The battle was reenacted at Borodino last weekend, as is done annually. A cultural symbol of Russian national courage, the Battle of Borodino has been famously commemorated in Russian literature, music, art, and poetry. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 7, 2012 - 26 comments

Pazhitnov Home for Wayward Cubs

When baby bears are orphaned in Russia, it's up to the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Dr. Valentin Pazhitnov to raise them to maturity while realizing they must not become too comfortable with humans. Observe as the cubs discover their natural instincts and dine al fresco and, well, eat some more. Have fun, little guys!
posted by griphus on Aug 27, 2012 - 10 comments

Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg

It is proposed that a memorial to Steve Jobs be erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The entries are in and you can vote for your favourite online. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 26, 2012 - 59 comments

Exit wound in a foreign nation.

Ramamba Haru Mamburu! Inhabiting a world somewhere between the desperate raunchy excesses of early Devo (NSFW), the playfully morbid obsessions of TMBG, and the puerile falsettos of Sparks, the Russian novelty/comedy/geek rockers Nogu Svelo! (English site) have been contributing earworms to Russian pop culture for, oh, some twenty years now. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Aug 26, 2012 - 4 comments

Perry Anderson's essays about modern states in The London Review of Books

Perry Anderson's book length three part series on the history of India from the beginnings of its independence movement, through independence and partition into its recent history as a nation-state is the latest in a series of erudite, opinionated and wordy articles in The London Review of Books by the UCLA professor of history and sociology on the modern history of various countries, so far taking in Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, Taiwan and France. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 25, 2012 - 6 comments

Ancient Siberian Tattoos

In Siberia, several frozen human burials dating to 2,500 years ago have intact skin with elaborate tattoos. Warning: link contains graphic pictures of dead people.
posted by Rumple on Aug 23, 2012 - 36 comments

“Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!”

Pussy Riot found guilty of anti-religious ‘hooliganism’ for church protest. [NYTimes.com] Previously Previously.
posted by Fizz on Aug 17, 2012 - 182 comments

Using Broad Strokes to Draw Attention to the Fine Details.

The World in 2 Minutes is a series of videos showing the eccentricities, both good and bad, of different countries as told by their youtube videos. [more inside]
posted by quin on Aug 14, 2012 - 19 comments

closing statement

"I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you." - Yekaterina Samutsevich: Closing Statement at the Pussy Riot Trial
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 9, 2012 - 66 comments

"Cats are a part of our life, they amuse people, and make a nice atmosphere for us."

The Hermitage Museum sits on the Neva River in St. Petersburg, it houses millions of works of art by the great masters, and since the 18th century, it has been protected by cats. [more inside]
posted by quin on Aug 9, 2012 - 30 comments

Marina Akhmedova amongst the crocodile addicts of Yekaterinburg

Marina Akhmedova amongst the crocodile addicts of Yekaterinburg - published and censored in Russia, translated and mirrored on opendemocracy. "They check intently who is getting how much, and count out the eyedrops. If I ran right now into the middle of the kitchen and bellowed at the top of my voice, they would not turn round. Their world extends only a few metres and has the cooker and its hood at its centre. It is not a world within the world: it is their entire world, a world as narrow as a coffin, but all-encompassing for those who live in it, a world which follows its own laws. In it there are neither saints nor sinners, no thieves or benefactors, only the harsh laws of survival. There is no truth, no certainty about anything, not even that the sun will rise tomorrow. It is a world which arises when people are dicing with death. A supreme, inexorable law instantly appears, an axis around which their universe revolves: it is the right of those as yet still human to play a game they have chosen for themselves."
posted by jcrcarter on Aug 7, 2012 - 25 comments

It's Paratrooper's Day and Russia is draining all of its fountains

It's Paratrooper's Day in Russia and Russia is draining all of its fountains. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 3, 2012 - 31 comments

urban skiing

Urban skiing, courtesy of Finnish crew Nipwitz. Like skate videos with snow, ambient soundtrack, and a pinch of travelogue. Here is Murmanst Oblast and Sarajevo.
posted by oneirodynia on Jul 27, 2012 - 13 comments

Russia and Syria

"The Western observer tends to split the Russian press into two camps: evil statists and martyrs. But for their part, members of the Russian press are convinced of their superiority over their Western colleagues, at least when it comes to Syria. Russian journalists aren’t under the illusion that they are more objective than their Western counterparts, but they are convinced of their ability to convey a more realistic, complex picture of the events in Syria." - The New Republic: In Russia, Even Putin’s Critics Are OK With His Syria Policy
posted by beisny on Jul 24, 2012 - 34 comments

Dictatorship in Belarus

"Mr. Lukashenko has steadily turned Belarus into something akin to a prison colony. The possibility of ending up in prison is a constant risk for millions, and a check on even their most mundane daily routines." - Europe’s Last Dictatorship (SLNYTIMES)
posted by beisny on Jul 17, 2012 - 21 comments

Russian Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot is a free-floating (except when jailed) band of punk rockers and activists in Russia. Their punk protest issues include LGBT and gender rights, as well as opposition to Putin and the government. They’re usually anonymous, and they change their assumed and actual names and personnel on a whim. They perform in balaclavas that hide their features, and wear bright-colored tights and plain, skimpy dresses, so anyone can easily don Pussy Riot gear. Hair, makeup, even gender — doesn’t matter. This is not rock star territory. Men can be members of Pussy Riot; so can anyone on the spectrum. They do not perform in clubs or theaters or at music events. Every performance is a guerrilla one. Vice interviews Pussy Riot (before the arrests). Salon reports on the recent detention of three members. Amnesty International page.
posted by infini on Jul 14, 2012 - 28 comments

I do my little turn on the catwalk...

Rio Wang has posted a fantastic 1892 photo album of Russian army fashions.
posted by gman on Jun 30, 2012 - 23 comments

The Club of 100 Year Ladies

English Russia often chooses odd subjects but the ladies in this article have lived sadly sweet lives through some of the most intense and difficult years in an intense and difficult place. It was originally published in Russian Esquire if you prefer the Russian language version
posted by Isadorady on Jun 13, 2012 - 19 comments

Are you Bazhenov?

Exxon mobil has signed a development agreement with the Kremlin-majority-owned Rosneft to develop the Bazhenov oil shale reserves in Siberia (PDF), which are estimated to hold 2 million million barrels of oil equivalent -- that's about 64 years of current consumption.
posted by seanmpuckett on Jun 11, 2012 - 39 comments

Gingerbread House

"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
posted by The Whelk on Jun 8, 2012 - 29 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

Russian Skywalking

"Skywalking" Russky Island Bridge. Three Russian teenagers climb up the 300 meter Bridge to Russky Island without any safety equipment. Apparently this is part of a trend calling 'skywalking'. WARNING: Sweaty palms may damage computer.
posted by Corduroy on May 20, 2012 - 39 comments

Kazakhstan and Beyond!

In Pictures: Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome
posted by Artw on May 17, 2012 - 24 comments

Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Strategy, Force Structure and Posture

The nuclear-disarmament group Global Zero just released a report proposing a ten-year plan for the United States and Russia to reduce their arsenals below 900 warheads each, well below the New START treaty limits of 1,550 deployed warheads each by 2018. Implementation is unlikely in an election year. [more inside]
posted by haltingproblemsolved on May 16, 2012 - 17 comments

Russian Soft Drinks

"Hi. Russia may well be associated with hard liquor like Водка, but in this video I will be talking about our traditional soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages." Part 1 [mostly juices] and Part 2 [fizzy drinks]. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on May 6, 2012 - 32 comments

The Great White Whale

The first sighting of an all-white male orca (YouTube 1, 2) is reported by Eric Hoyt, Senior Fellow with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, UK.
posted by bardophile on Apr 24, 2012 - 13 comments

You must've heard of a few

The Most Powerful Women You've Never Heard Of [more inside]
posted by vidur on Apr 22, 2012 - 41 comments

Dream Pictures: hand-tinted glass travelogue slides by Branson DeCou

Moscow of 1931 is a collection of hand-tinted lantern slides by Branson DeCou, an American photographer and travelogue lecturer who traveled the world for 30 years before his death in 1941. You can view more of the DeCou corpus online at the Branson Decou Archive at the University of California, Santa Cruz where they've been attempting to sort, preserve, identify and digitize 10,000 DeCou slides received in 1971, a gift referred to the university chancellor by photographer Ansel Adams. [more inside]
posted by taz on Apr 14, 2012 - 16 comments

The Only Winning Move is to Watch This

Most of us reading on the blue lived through at least a portion of it. Forty-plus years of tension between the world's two superpowers and their allies. That's right: The Cold War. Then, they made a documentary. Aired on CNN in 1998, and never released on DVD, the 24 episode, 20 hour series features tons of archival footage, along with many interviews with individuals directly involved at some of the highest levels. You might not be able to see it on DVD, but you can watch the full series on Youtube, starting with Part 1: Comrades (1917-1945).
posted by symbioid on Mar 27, 2012 - 78 comments

"My Japanese is getting better. We started speaking English."

Iron Lady lost in Russian translation. [Guardian.co.uk] Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Margaret Thatcher, as played by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, explains what she would do as prime minister: "Crush the working class, crush the scum, the yobs."
posted by Fizz on Mar 20, 2012 - 25 comments

No fear! No indecision! Rage against the system of the oppressors!

Punks Not Dead.... but it can get you killed. Punk rock in oppresive regimes.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 18, 2012 - 8 comments

“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

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