Creepy High Voltage Installations
The Russian countryside yields sometimes most improbable sights - abandoned artifacts and installations from bizarre military/scientific research, strangely futuristic forms left to rust and decay - to be found by a curious photographer. "Master"
stumbled upon this installation close to Russian city of Istra (50 km from Moscow) quite by chance, and these mysterious shots were percolating for a while around the web, until the answer was found. According to this little, cryptic, and quite secretive website [in Russian]
, the weird alien-like towers are the Experimental Grounds for High-Voltage Generation, the only open-air kind in the world. Amazingly, it's still in use... as the powerful lightnings rip through the night and the darkened forest - much like in "The Prestige" movie.
posted by psmealey
on Jul 4, 2007 -
"OMON knows no mercy and forgives none. This is the way it is, was, and always will be."
The Russian OMON (Otryad Militsii Osobovo Naznacheniya), or Special Purpose Police Squad, is one of the most elite police units in the world
. Formed in the mid-1980s to combat urban riots, the 20,000-strong OMON now tackles terrorists, protesters, and soccer fans
. What drives former soldiers to join the beefy brigade? "Risk," says
Major Viktor Kommissarov, "Working in the OMON always involves the risk of death." (in Russian)
posted by nasreddin
on Jun 1, 2007 -
Putins spy war on the West
White House intelligence advisers believe no other country is as aggressive as Russia in trying to obtain US secrets, with the possible exception of China.
In particular the SVR, as the former KGB’s foreign intelligence arm is now known, is using a network of undercover agents in America to gather classified information about sensitive technologies, including military projects under development and high-tech research.
posted by jouke
on May 20, 2007 -
The death of Russia [google video].
A very interesting documentary made for Channel 4 in the UK on the state of modern Russia from Marcel Theroux
Marcel is older brother of Louis Theroux
and son of the travel writer Paul
Marcel's documentary style is more sober than that of his brother and he deals with a tragic subject delicately and with a sympathetic tone. A very depressing but nonetheless very watchable documentary told by a literate, compassionate journalist.
[48 minutes running time]
posted by ClanvidHorse
on Apr 9, 2007 -
Russia's discomfort with its Muslim minority
stems from a fear that the higher-than-average fertility of the Muslim population (6-10 children children per woman among Muslims vs 1.5 per woman among non-Muslims) will make the ethnic Russians of eastern-orthodox persuasion a minority within the state. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Diary of a Collapsing Superpower
- "Seventeen years ago, the Berlin Wall fell, and two years later the Soviet Union broke apart. More than 1,400 minutes published earlier this month in Russia from meetings that took place behind the closed doors of the Politburo in Moscow read like a thriller from the highest levels of the Kremlin. They reveal Mikhail Gorbachev as a party chief who had to fight bitterly for his reforms and ultimately lost his battle. But in doing so, he changed the course of history and helped bring an end to the Cold War."
posted by Gyan
on Nov 28, 2006 -
The real James Bond
— Sidney George Reilly
, the shadowy 'Ace of Spies
' and inspiration
for Ian Fleming's 007
, was born Shlomo/Sigmund Georgievich Rosenblum in Ukraine/Poland in 1874. Perhaps illegitimate, dapper
Sidney was a tireless self-promoter, patent-medicine chemist
, world traveller, and high-stakes gambler (not only at the tables: he married four women but divorced none.) A Czarist Okhrana
informer as a Parisian student, he was hired as an undercover agent in the late 1890s by M
of Scotland Yard. Reilly worked both sides of the Russo-Japanese War
, influenced British oil interests
in Iran, brokered World War I
arms sales, and volunteered for the Royal Flying Corps
in Canada. Sent to Russia by C
of Britain's SIS
in 1918, he joined a plot to overthrow the Bolsheviks
: it failed, but he escaped to London. Returning to Russia in 1919 to help the White Army
, he was later awarded the British Military Cross
. A staunch anti-Communist, Reilly schemed against them throughout his career. Lured back to Russia
by agents of the 'Trust
' — an anti-Bolshevik trap set by the Soviet OGPU
— Sidney was arrested, interrogated, and shot in 1925.
posted by cenoxo
on Oct 18, 2006 -