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Secret Soviet Space Ships

Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Nov 15, 2013 - 21 comments

one of the fastest decimations of an animal population in world history

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 13, 2013 - 41 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

What if it decides to fire?

Полигон (Polygon), also called Firing Range, is a Soviet short film from 1977. It concerns a tank that is able to read the brain impulses of enemy soldiers, and the man who designed it. The generals have great plans for this tank, but the designer, and the tank, have other plans. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Oct 17, 2013 - 13 comments

"Scholars, however, have long known a very different story"

The Real Cuban Missile Crisis: Everything you think you know about those 13 days is wrong.
posted by andoatnp on Feb 8, 2013 - 49 comments

Socialism Expo

Beautiful images from the USSR. Someone has scanned over 10,000 photos from the Soviet Union. Sources seem to be mainly the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Soviet Life magazine and catalogs and magazines. [more inside]
posted by k8t on Sep 18, 2012 - 13 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

In Soviet Russia, Mars travels to you

The utopian Mars fiction of Soviet Russia
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2012 - 8 comments

"You can’t regret your fate, although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter."

Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin. Mrs. Peters passed away from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 28, 2011 - 39 comments

Soviet Literature Summarized

Sovlit.com is a very large and comprehensive site dedicated to the literature of the Soviet Union (both official and dissident), with summaries (fans of the genres might find the examples of Soviet science fiction and spy novels to be particularly interesting), biographies, and even some full translations of short stories from authors such as Isaac Babel, Vasily Grossman, Yevgeny Zamyatin, and others.
posted by a louis wain cat on Jul 20, 2011 - 10 comments

Christopher Alexander would have a fit

Freakish, otherworldly Soviet architecture. (previously)
posted by shii on Feb 15, 2011 - 49 comments

You would like us to tighten our belts. Instead, tighten your belts--or leave.

The Soviet Collapse "The document which effectively concluded the history of the Soviet Union was a letter from the Vneshekonombank in November 1991 to the Soviet leadership, informing them that the Soviet state had not a cent in its coffers."
posted by bitmage on Nov 19, 2010 - 28 comments

Soviet Sci-Fi Animation in the 1980's

This is a small collection of Soviet Animated science fiction from the 1980s, including the work of Vladimir Samsonov, Mikhail Titov (whose "Сражение" is one of Stephen King's "Dollar Babies"), Vladimir Tarasov, Nazim Tulyakhodzayev and Anatoly Petrov. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Apr 27, 2010 - 14 comments

Comrade Draper, we have a new account from Acme Caviar.

Mad Men: Soviet Style. Beautiful advertising posters from the USSR.
posted by grumblebee on Nov 4, 2009 - 54 comments

Everyday life in the USSR

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
posted by Rumple on Aug 5, 2009 - 23 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

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.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

hatchink fiendish plan to catch moose and squirrel

Interested in Soviet era spying by the KGB in the United States? Bummed that you cant get into the KGB archives? Well it turns out that someone copied all the good stuff already, and you can take a peek. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Apr 23, 2009 - 6 comments

Soviet Jazz

When people think of Soviet culture in the Stalin era, jazz usually isn't the first music to come to mind. But it was there, and some of it was pretty good, whether adapting Western standards, partying with a Russian twist, or just being adventurous. If that's a little too old-school for you, try some Soviet funk.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Jun 9, 2008 - 14 comments

Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия

Comrades! Glory once again in the display of Soviet Russian military might at the revitalized May Day Victory Day Parade!
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 11, 2008 - 52 comments

Lemon Ades You?

Soviet Lemonade Labels
posted by interrobang on Apr 17, 2008 - 15 comments

Тхундербирдс являются дороге!

Russian cold war bombers - The Tu 95 Bear and Tu 160 Blackjack, based in central Russia, which resumed long range patrols in August.
posted by Artw on Dec 23, 2007 - 52 comments

Shooting Range

Out of work? The Shooting Range is hiring. No, not the Firing Range. The Shooting Range.
posted by TrialByMedia on Sep 27, 2007 - 4 comments

Space: 1989

Some photo galleries (and youtube video) of Buran, the USSR's space shuttle program (previously) from the 1980's, long since abandoned. Bonus: A comparison between Buran and the US space shuttle. Double Bonus: More on Buran from russianspaceweb.com, which is awesome. Combo breaker: An official page with NASA's take on Buran, (and their photos), frozen in time a decade ago.
posted by dersins on Sep 13, 2007 - 25 comments

A Soviet Poster A Day

A Soviet Poster A Day delivers what it promises, one propaganda rich helping of Soviet art every day to help you on your daily doings.
posted by jonson on Aug 20, 2007 - 14 comments

Visit Beautiful Norilsk!

Norilsk is a big city in northern Siberia. On the permafrost. It was built by slave labor in the 1930s. Norilsk Nickle, a very profitable company, wants you to invest there. Some think it's a hell hole. Others think it was the downfall of the Soviet economy.
posted by MarshallPoe on Jun 21, 2007 - 30 comments

Russia in photos: 1941-1945

Russia in photos: 1941-1945.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on May 11, 2007 - 32 comments

USSR Posters

USSR Posters. Gallery of over 1400 posters from the Soviet era.
posted by plep on Sep 28, 2006 - 44 comments

'Study, study, and study, to overtake and surpass the capitalist world!' - K.Radek

The Parade of the Red Army and other scans of Soviet Children's Books from the '20's and '30's. [via DaddyTypes]
posted by anastasiav on Mar 27, 2006 - 14 comments

The greatest children's toy in the world

The greatest children's toy in the world? A railway run largely by children aged 10-14 with full sized trains. The Hungarian one is perhaps the best known, but there are others in the former soviet republics.
posted by biffa on Oct 25, 2004 - 16 comments

Red Tape from Red Square

Red Tape from Red Square. Russian and Soviet cartoons. An interesting collection, despite a couple of broken images.
posted by plep on Dec 18, 2003 - 3 comments

Truth, Justice, and the Soviet Way

Truth, Justice, and the Soviet Way What if baby Kal-El's spaceship had crashed on Earth 12 hours earlier, in the Ukraine instead of middle America? The new 3-issue comic book series Superman: Red Son envisions the Man of Steel as a good-hearted citizen of the USSR, helping to spread communism across the world. Wonder Woman is his girlfriend; Batman is an anti-Soviet terrorist; Lex Luthor becomes U.S. president. This alternate-universe jaunt is not just for fun: writer Mark Millar says it's a timely exploration of what happens when one all-powerful country anoints itself leader of the world.
posted by Artifice_Eternity on Jun 9, 2003 - 25 comments

Music and Freedom

Shostakovichiana. Documents and articles about one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, some of them focusing on the problems he encountered working under a totalitarian system. Some highlights :- 'Do not judge me too harshly': anti-Communism in Shostakovich's letters; 'You must remember!': Shostakovich's alleged 1937 interrogation; About Shostakovich's 1948 downfall. More related material can be found at the Music under Soviet Rule page.
There are a number of interesting sites dealing with music expression and censorship generally. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a site on the music of the concentration camps - 'While popular songs dating from before the war remained attractive as escapist fare, the ghetto, camp, and partisan settings also gave rise to a repertoire of new works. ' Here's a Guardian article on the Blue Notes, who 'fought apartheid in South Africa with searing jazz'. Here's a page about the Drapchi 14, Tibetan nuns who 'recorded independence songs and messages to their families on a tape recorder' (and were subsequently punished). Finally, a page on records which were banned from BBC radio during the 1991 Gulf War (example :- 'Walk Like an Egyptian').
posted by plep on Mar 26, 2003 - 18 comments

Birobidzhan

Stalin's Forgotten Zion. In 1934, the Soviet Union established the Jewish Autonomous Region in remote Birobidzhan as a permanent agricultural colony for all Soviet Jews. Substantial incentives from the Soviet government drew many new settlers. Today, only a few thousand Jews remain. A few more links: pictures from the BBC, a travel diary, a recent economic overview.
posted by tss on Mar 17, 2003 - 5 comments

Secrets of the Cold War in Space.

Secrets of the Cold War in Space. Deep Cold is an website with detailed renderings, quicktime movies and information about the ideas and concepts being developed for both U.S. and Soviet presences in space during the cold war.
posted by moz on Dec 7, 2001 - 4 comments

Soviet Computer Technology

Soviet Computer Technology circa 1988 (Google Cache).
posted by mutagen on Apr 22, 2001 - 7 comments

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