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]
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]
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).
Russian divers working for the Orda Cave Awareness Project have revealed stunning images of the world's longest underwater cave.
This is a very insightful piece that shows the Soviet collapse from a completely different angle than one would expect.
A heroin substitute called "Krokodil" is having destructive effects on Russia's active user population. [more inside]
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.
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.
"We are under more of a moral obligation to try very very very hard to develop compassion and mercy and empathy."
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.
"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.
"Howe snapped more than 400 photographs in Moscow and St. Petersburg with his hand held Graflex camera, a state-of-the-art device that allowed its user to shoot without a tripod. His photographs of pedestrians, street vendors and aristocrats are rare glimpses of everyday life before the upheavals of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution — and sparked huge interest in Russia among history buffs and local museums."
Leningrad - Dr. House (slyt)
tonalist (aka composer Pavel Karmanov) is a YouTube user who has uploaded numerous videos featuring performances of contemporary/classical music from the former Soviet Union... [more inside]
"Legendary" Russian movie studio Mosfilm is posting some it's most famous films on its youtube channel. They will be posting 5 new legendary Soviet films per week. They expect to have 200 uploaded by end of year. Most have English subtitles. [more inside]
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
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
Nadezhda Korotkaya, 77, a widow who lives alone in her small wooden house on the edge of Stary Vyshkov, still remembers the World War II. "The Germans came and went," she said. "But Chernobyl came here to stay." It was 25 years ago today that reactor number four at the Chernobyl power plant exploded, following an emergency shutdown (detailed recounting of the disaster on Wikipedia). A memorial was held in Kiev, Ukraine, this morning for the liquidators who were the first human responders, with a bell struck at the exact moment of the Chernobyl explosion on April 26, 1986. See also: a look back, with The Big Picture. [more inside]
Google Translated from nub1an's livejournal Some stunning wilderness-travelogue photography from Russian trekker and (self-described-)amateur photographer "nub1an" (Ilya Kondrashov). Untranslated link.
Livejournal has been straining to keep up service in the face of repeated DDoS attacks. Fingers are being pointed at the Kremlin, but others are skeptical. While often associated with media fandom in the English speaking world, Livejournal is extremely popular in Russia, and home to presidents and dissidents (info) alike. [more inside]
Mapping Petersburg "..explores the everyday life and the material, political, and literary culture of St. Petersburg [..] at the beginning of the twentieth century. It maps eleven itineraries through the city with the purpose of creating a palpable sense of life in Russia's late imperial capital on the eve of the 1917 revolution and during the subsequent decade." [About] [via] [more inside]
Voina are a group of revolutionary artists. The most controversial of all was Voina's final stunt before the arrests, which the artists called "Palace Revolution". Members overturned seven police cars, some of them with officers inside, at St Petersburg's Palace Square one night last September. Obviously, a group called "war," is going to attract a certain amount of controversy, but they're also going to attract some allies. Right now, they're just trying to dodge the fuzz. Who knows? Maybe they're just dicks.
Six months ago, MetaFilter discussed Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev's disappearance. This past week, an interview with him was aired on Gay USA. (Interview starts around 30m10s, and runs for 17m30s ) Episode also available as audio only, and available through iTunes as a free podcast. [more inside]
... history is written by the winners. That's the philosophy behind "The Last Ringbearer," a novel set during and after the end of the War of the Ring... and told from the point of view of the losers. ... In Yeskov's retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!"
"In 2006 I was invited to take part in one of the great adventures of modern broadcasting – conquering the booming Russian television market." Peter Pomerantsev remembers his time in the Russian television industry. [more inside]
"In a small, remote village in the Udmurt Republic of Russia, photographer Lucia Ganieva discovered a wonderful anomaly in home decoration — the interiors of practically every home in the village feature room-size photographic murals of 'exotic' scenes, which symbolize the distant places that the home-dwellers will never visit, except in their dreams." Via wood s lot.
A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
The funny thing about the National Anthem of the Soviet Union is that through the sixty-so years of its existence the lyrics were written all by one man. [more inside]
Deep in the forests of Russia’s Far East, the last Siberian tigers are under siege by runaway logging and poachers who get paid $30,000 per carcass. One tiger decided to fight back. [more inside]
Beg, Steal, or Borrow: New Beats From Moscow Nice look at some brokenbeat/glitch/electronica/hiphop musicians in Russia, with embedded songs, a couple of mixtapes and links to lots of free listening. [more inside]
In the scale of its intensity, its destructiveness and its horror, Stalingrad has no parallel. It engaged the full strength of the two biggest armies in Europe and could fit into no lesser framework than that of a life-and-death conflict which encompasses the earth. - The New York Times, February 4, 1943 [more inside]
The Russian mafia and criminals have their own type of music. It's called shanson [chanson]. A couple of contemporary examples by Michael Krug- Kolschik and Lesovopal- Sit Boy l Arcadiy Severnyj (1939-1980) was considered the king of street (prison-folk) songs. Shanson MyRadio channel. [more inside]
Russian films worth watching l Russian cuisine l Russiapedia l Historama l War Witness films l from rt.com the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news. The Russia Today YouTube channel. [more inside]
Czar Nicholas II was an early and ardent fan of film, and commanded that some of the significant events of his life be captured on celluloid: including his coronation in 1896 (the first film of a state occasion anywhere, nicely narrated and expanded upon at the HowStuffWorks video site), and the retreat with his family in 1917 (a repost from the excellent but difficult to navigate WPA Film Library). More (still, color) film from Czarist Russia previously on Metafilter.
Color Photos of the Russian Front Even though color photography was no longer entirely a novelty by the time of the Second World War, it is still uncommon and intriguing to see color photos from the war. Even moreso in this case, as the pictures in this EnglishRussia.com post are mainly of the German army fighting in Russia. The images include scenes of actual combat as well as behind the lines, though there was only one I noticed that featured a wounded soldier. There's even a picture of some GIs near the end of the series.
Insane russian biker (youtube) takes a Yamaha R1 down the Warsaw highway in moscow. Biker culture is taking off in a land where it is too cold to ride for half the year.
Concerns for the safety of Russian lgbt activist Nikolai Alexeyev. "After passing passport control at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, Mr Alekseev’s boarding pass was cancelled and his luggage unloaded from the plane upon a request from Russian authorities. He was taken into custody around 19:00 MSD, and has not yet been released." Text messages stating that he was withdrawing his case before the ECHR and seeking asylum in Belarus are believed to be fake or coerced under torture.
"Without the participation of Microsoft, these criminal cases against human rights defenders and journalists would simply not be able to occur"
Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent - Adding to its long-running series on corruption and abuse in post-Communist Russia, the New York Times has reported on Russian authorities using the pretext of software piracy to seize computers from journalists and political dissidents critical of current policies. In a surprising twist, lawyers representing Microsoft have been found working with Russian police, despite reporters and NGOs providing evidence of legitimate software purchases. An official response to the NYT piece suggests impostors claim to represent Microsoft in Russia, and notes the company's offer of free software licenses to these and similar groups.
A fascinating look at some interesting, and at times mind-boggling, arrays of dials and switches.
RussianFilter: Historical Chronicles with Nikolai Svanidze is an ongoing Russian television documentary series which, starting with 1901, picks out one person per year, every year, of the 100 years of the 20th century in Russia. It's entirely in Russian, of course, but for them as speaks it, it's one fascinating perspective on Russian history, with excellent narration, copious detail, and fascinating interconnections of events, people and places. All of the episodes that are available through Google Video and various other sources, and [more inside]
An Amazing 3D Light Show From Russia (watch in 480p)