Georgia and Russia: This is the most balanced and informative discussion I've seen since the invasion over three months ago (MeFi thread). If you've been wanting to catch up, this essay and its many useful links are the way to go. The author, Donald Rayfield, is professor of Russian and Georgian and knows both countries well. (Via wood s lot.)
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]
Amazing collection of sketches and doodles, drawn on birch bark, created by a child in Medieval Novgorod.
Moscow is home to the largest number of billionaires and in Russia, there are nearly 100 billionaires. Due to recent economic developments and the drop in oil prices, the oligarchs, who rose to prominence under Gorbachev, have lost a combined total of $200 billion. Help is here.
Six Russian artists have created reproductions of world-famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh and Picasso entirely out of sausage, earning a Guiness record certificate . This exhibition of perfectly edible art pieces took place a few weeks ago in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to celebrate the centennary of a local meat-processing factory. Close-up photos of the pieces at English Russia. [more inside]
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
Trains of Russia, photos from Pavoroz.com, a site about the railways of Russia, the Baltics and the C.I.S. (Commonwealth of Independent States). More than 50 000 pictures of steam, diesel, and electric locomotives, EMU and DMU trains, draisines, stations, tracks, etc. The collection is updated daily. The Turkestan-Siberian railway. [more inside]
Soviet Music "You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy". I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people. The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money, platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself." [more inside]
Eufrosinia Antonovna Kersnovskaya was a Russian woman who spent 12 years in Gulag camps and wrote her memoirs in 12 notebooks, 2,200,000 characters, accompanied with 680 pictures. How Much Is a Person Worth? has all 12 notebooks online, in Russian, some images NSFW and disturbing. (Just click on no 1 to 12 to see thumbnails of notebooks.)
As many peoples eyes will be elsewhere the readers of the blue may not have seen the red flowing in the streets of Mother Russia. Russia’s two main bourses, RTS and MICEX, said on Wednesday they were suspending trade until further notice. How bad? Russian shares suffered their steepest one-day fall in more than a decade on Tuesday, losing up to 20 per cent, as a sharp slide in oil prices and difficult money market conditions triggered a rush to sell. [more inside]
Magomed Yevloyev, who blogged human rights abuses committed by police in Russia's volatile Ingushetia region, was shot in the temple while in police custody today. The site, ingushetiya.ru (English version), reported the brutal anti-insurgent "Dirty War" tacticts committed by police against Ingushetia's civilian population.
With the potential 'crisis' with Russia, Georgia, Europe et al, the BBC tries to imagine what a new Cold War would be like starting with a tour of the budding Moscow tourist attraction called the Confrontation Cold War Museum. Sold off in an auction last year, the underground bunker now belongs to a private company that plans to turn it into an entertainment complex with a museum about the Cold War, a restaurant and even a spa. But it is already possible to hold fashion shows around the 600-meter-long network of bare, cavernous tunnels.
Why I had to recognise Georgia’s breakaway regions, by Dmitry Medvedev.
In February President Bush issued an Executive Order changing the role & reporting structure of the PFIAB, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. At the time the order was criticized & analyzed as a move to consolidate power within an organization that was already full of Bush cronies. But it now looks like all the pundits were wrong. The real reason? There was a spy in the PFIAB.
"Magnum photographer Thomas Dworzak is in Georgia for The Wall Street Journal. His photographic essays from the region span two decades and tell a moving story of the people and now war there." [more inside]
This year alone, over 20,000 Russian Orthodox pilgrims followed an icon of St. Nicholas from Kirov to Velikoretskoye on foot. The 180km-long pilgrimage through the Russian countryside dates back to the 14th century. Sergey Kozmin's photos. Some extra info here.
The Russo-Georgian War and the Balance of Power- the Russian invasion of Georgia has not changed the balance of power in Eurasia. It simply announced that the balance of power had already shifted. [more inside]
Tunnels no Minasan no Okage Desu is a Japanese game show where contestants strike poses to fit through cutouts in pink foam walls. International reproductions of this game show reveal much about national character; reproductions exist in Italy, Russia, France, Denmark, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia. [more inside]
Every hour a woman in the Russian Federation dies at the hand of a relative, her partner or former partner. Russian judge rules sexual harassment okay as it ensures humans breed. Domestic violence: Russian women speak out. NPR: Domestic Violence A Silent Crisis In Russia.
Some books you might want to read about the US and recent political developments in the world. [more inside]
"Once Upon A Time... there were two very special airplanes that lived.... far.... far.... away on a tiny island in the Bering Sea. One was named Rivet Ball and the other was named Rivet Amber. Very few people knew anything about these two planes or the men that flew them. Even family members knew very little. That's because their mission was... TOP SECRET." (some photos and language within are NSFW) [more inside]
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has died. ( BBC ) The great author and opponent of totalitarianism lived to see the end of Communism in the Soviet Union and almost everywhere else. He survived WWII as a commander in the Soviet army before being put into gulags where he spent 20 years. He went on to write the Gulag Archipelago and win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970.
Early Twentieth Century Russian Drama and From the Ends to the Beginning: A Bilingual Anthology of Russian Poetry are both products of Northwestern University Slavic Department. The former is devoted to Russian theater from the 1890s through the 1930s and focuses on the visual aspect of theater, with images of costumes, set designs and photographs of stagings. The latter is a collection of 250 poems, both in Russian and English translations ranging from the 18th Century to the modern day. There are some amazing images from the history of Russian drama, such as Kazimir Malevich's designs for Victory over the Sun and a quicktime video of actors doing Meyerhold's biomechanical exercises. The Listening Gallery of russianpoetry.net has over 75 recitals of poems, including Vladmir Mayakovsky reading his own And Could You? and a reading of Velimir Khlebnikov's famous Invocation of Laughter.
The Exile is back. Iconoclastic Moscow-based web-rag The Exile, having recently been shut down by the Russian authorities for its often less-than-complimentary views on all things to do with the motherland, is back, having relocated to Panama. A victory for the spirit of Gonzo.
There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?
Russian car magazine "Autoreview" has posted photos of a 1978 Korean Air Lines (KAL) forced landing to accompany an article about the Land Rover Defender pickup that was used to haul equipment at that time. Apparently, Korean Air Lines is not amused (Korean) by this effort to dig up the past. More photos. Via the always awesome Marmot's Hole. [more inside]
As Moscow changes, so does its population of stray dogs. During Soviet times, Moscow's stray dogs foraged for food and avoided humans, since there wasn't much to be gained from begging. As the city became increasingly affluent, the dogs' behavior changed radically. Some recent adaptations include passive subway begging, observing stoplights, and a food scam called the "come-from-behind ambush." The stray dogs, whose population is estimated at 26,000, have even ceased some of their interpack warfare. Observe the Moscow subway dog here. [more inside]
It stands as one of the more unusual turning points of the Cold War, thanks mostly to the surprise appearance of several naked middle-aged women. Taking The Cure: How a group of British Columbian anarchists inspired democracy in Russia. [more inside]
Comrades! Glory once again in the display of
Soviet Russian military might at the revitalized May Day Victory Day Parade!
Soviet Museum has some great retro photography, industrial, postcards, propaganda, "Soviet Union" magazine, aspects of moscow, red army, etc [did I mention erotic too?]. It even has 'Vladimir Putin Favourite Places' (which as far as I can tell, is one place). Set aside some time if this sort of thing interests you.
Hot For Words - a youtube classroom series on etymology taught by Marina, a... hot Russian philologist. Mildly NSFW. [more inside]
Cat + Airplane + Parachute [video]
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.
"My defection was the major failure of the Russian intelligence, probably in all of history," - Sergei Tretyakov, former colonel in the Russian intelligence service and the subject of Comrade J: by Pete Earley. His claims of Russian turned Canadian politicians, Russian scamming of the UN for millions, and of a Russian duped ranking member of the Clinton Administration have been denied, while legal action has frozen plans to sell Comrade J in Canada.
Two contrasting reviews of Comrade J, here and here.
Two contrasting reviews of Comrade J, here and here.
18 animators collaborate on a cute little cartoon set to a song by Oppa Novy God, a "festive brass band" from St. Petersburg. (via Bloody Circus of Scary Dolls)
Art Deliverance - Alex Klochkov's gallery of abandonment from the Soviet Union. There's next to no explanation of the photos, unfortunately. Indirectly via Retrospectacle's post about the brain lab.
"The "American Intervention in Northern Russia, 1918-1919," nicknamed the "Polar Bear Expedition," (wikipedia) was a U.S. military intervention in northern Russia at the end of World War I." The ostensible purpose was to open an Eastern Front following the Russian withdrawal from World War I, but in practice the unit stayed to fight Bolshevism. An archive of the expedition, which gives wonderful insight into early Bolshevik Russia as well as war-weary United States, is online. [more inside]
So we've already learned how babies are made in Germany. But we haven't seen Russia or Israel. Could be NWS if you work with people who don't know where babies come from.
After 60 years of separation due to her family being marked as an enemy of the people, and sent off to internal exile a couple who spent only three days together after their marriage have reunited, in an amazing stroke of luck. [more inside]