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Slavomir Rawicz

Slavomir Rawicz was a Polish calvary officer, who was imprisoned by the Soviets and eventually taken to a prison in Siberia. With 7 companions, including one mysterious american, he escaped and journeyed to the south, crossing Mongolia, the Gobi Desert and Tibet before making it to British India. Or at least this is what he claims in his book "The Long Walk." Nobody has ever found evidence that he was ever in russia or that any of his companions ever existed. Oh and he also claims to have seen Yetis.
posted by afu on Mar 17, 2006 - 21 comments

The hidden super university

Vlad gives his views on the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As the anthem of Phystech promises, "we will disperse, when the time comes, in all the world, from Dolgoprudny"
posted by tellurian on Feb 28, 2006 - 3 comments

"We're going to the Emerald City by a difficult road..."

We all know the story: little Elli, a girl living in the steppes of Kanzas with her dog Totoshka, is blown by a hurricane (stirred up by the wicked witch Gingema) all the way to Magic Land, where she meets the Cowardly Lion, the Iron Woodman, and the scarecrow Strashila and has to make her way to the Emerald City to find the magician Gudvin so she can get back home... What, you don't remember it that way? Didn't you read The Wizard of the Emerald City and its much-loved sequels Urfin Jus and his Wooden Soldiers, The Seven Underground Kings, The Fiery God of the Marrans, The Yellow Fog, and The Mystery of the Deserted Castle? Ah, you're not Russian! Listen [RealAudio] to a five-minute description (on Studio 360) of Alexander Volkov's Russified versions of Baum (with illustrations by Leonid Vladimirsky) and how they captivated children and adults in the Soviet Union (you even get a bit of the famous song Мы в город Изумрудный/ Идем дорогой трудной ["We're going to the Emerald City by a difficult road..."]); visit the Emerald City website (Russian version, where all the links work); and see the wonderful illustrations at this site, which links to the texts of all six novels (click on Читать...)—in Russian, but the images need no explanation. (Fun fact: the word "Oz" doesn't occur anywhere in the Russian versions.) And if you're interested in other alternate versions, go to Oz Outside the Famous Forty. (Via P. Kerim Friedman.)
posted by languagehat on Nov 25, 2005 - 21 comments

In Soviet Russia, the Calculator ... oh, never mind!

Soviet Calculators
posted by anastasiav on Oct 8, 2005 - 16 comments

hmmmmmmmmskrtxzzztmmmmm

Museum of old Russian radios I want the styling Zvezda-54 and one of these early iPods. The Thermogenerator TGK-3 looks like fun.
posted by arse_hat on Jul 7, 2005 - 13 comments

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms 'Of course technique is everything...' Introduced by renowned Marxist scientist and geneticist JBS Haldane, this Soviet film depicts the artificial maintenance of individual organs, a severed dog's head, and finally a dog in toto (excuse the pun).
posted by derangedlarid on Apr 25, 2005 - 8 comments

No Gorky Park?

You heard it here first, ex-soviet, a blog for all the soviet music fan in us all.
posted by drezdn on Feb 28, 2005 - 18 comments

the People's Palaces - a beautiful ride

Fabulous images of the Moscow Metro underground, also known as "the people's palaces". Click "M"s on the entry map to view gorgeous (often architecturally surreal) panoramic images, and visit the picture gallery for sweet details. Via Jorgen at Viewropa.
posted by taz on Jan 14, 2005 - 24 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

Handcrafted Russian chess sets

A large catalog of interesting handmade Russian chess sets. Some that caught my eye: Soviet vs. American; "Soviet-Fascist Chess" (note the kings); and American vs. Russian politicians (note the American queen).
posted by Prospero on Jul 19, 2004 - 5 comments

Bodies in Formation

Dsicipline, Strength, Beauty, Youth 'Bodies in Formation' is a wonderful exhibition of photographs and ephemera, that illustrates Soviet-era mass gymnastics displays in eastern Europe. Via plep.
posted by carter on May 23, 2004 - 7 comments

Revolution by Design: The Soviet Poster

Revolution by Design: The Soviet Poster
Amazing examples of graphic design from the masters of propaganda. For those of you feeling a little revolutionary this weekend!
posted by hypnorich on Jan 23, 2004 - 6 comments

Beyond the Fall.

Beyond the Fall. The former Soviet block in transition 1989-1999. Outstanding photojournalism.
posted by normy on Jan 18, 2004 - 4 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

'Their job is to suppress us noiselessly; ours is to survive.'

Victor Serge is one of the missing links in 20th-century history; in at the beginning of the Soviet Union, he saw before almost anyone what a nightmare it was going to be, wrote some prescient books, may have invented the word "totalitarian," knew everybody who was anybody, and was forgotten. Christopher Hitchens tries to remind us (quote and acknowledgment inside).
posted by languagehat on Nov 18, 2003 - 6 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

Soviet Children's Books and more

Children's books of the Early Soviet Era [more]
posted by hama7 on Apr 9, 2003 - 11 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

Stalin killed to prevent nuclear war?

Was Stalin assassinated to prevent him from launching a nuclear attack on the United States? "'The circumstantial evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of non-fortuitous death,' said Jonathan Brent, a professor of Russian history at Yale University. 'And to support this further, we now have solid evidence, non-circumstantial evidence, of a cover-up at the highest level.'"
posted by mcwetboy on Mar 6, 2003 - 44 comments

Museum of Soviet synthesizers

Museum of Soviet synthesizers.
posted by soundofsuburbia on Feb 20, 2003 - 16 comments

Soviet

Phantom Cosmonauts On November 28, 1960, a morse code transmission reading "SOS to the whole world" from an orbiting spaceship was picked up by the Judica-Cordiglia brothers with their home-made radio tracking station in San Maurizio Canavese, Italy. Sometime between February 2-4, they picked up telemetry of a dying cosmonauts heartbeat and breathing. Yuri Gagarin, the universally acknowledged first man in space, did not make his flight until April 12, 1961. These brothers claimed that they intercepted radio transmissions of other secret flights as well. Were there secret Soviet spaceflights that ended in the death of Cosmonauts? Most tend to disagree, and offer an excellent debunking. I started reading about this several weeks before the Columbia, but it now has a new poignancy. I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that these alleged flights took, but the claims of these brothers, mingled with various other rumor and various Soviet urban legends, (along with the fact of Russian/Soviet general secrecy about most everything,) create an alternate history that is exceedingly disturbing.
posted by Snyder on Feb 7, 2003 - 18 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

The Trial of Unit 731

The Trial of Unit 731 "is the forgotten war-crimes prosecution of the 20th century." In 1949, Soviet courts tried a unit of the Japanese Imperial Army for wartime biological weapons experimentation on human subjects.

This article contains some gruesome descriptions.

posted by dfowler on Jun 6, 2001 - 8 comments

Soviet Computer Technology

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

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