Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September [O.S. 12 September] 1906 – 9 August 1975) was a Soviet-era Russian composer and pianist. He is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century, with a unique harmonic language and a historic importance due to his years of work under Stalin.
Laika (Russian: Лайка; c. 1954 – 3 November 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika, a stray mongrel from the streets of Moscow, was selected to be the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into low orbit on 3 November 1957. No capacity for her recovery and survival was planned, and she died of overheating or asphyxiation shortly before she was to be poisoned.
Little was known about the impact of spaceflight on living creatures at the time of Laika's mission, and the technology to de-orbit had not yet been developed, so Laika's survival was never expected. Some scientists believed humans would be unable to survive the launch or the conditions of outer space, so engineers viewed flights by animals as a necessary precursor to human missions. The experiment aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure a micro-g environment, paving the way for human spaceflight and providing scientists with some of the first data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments. (Full article...)
The Gurian Republic was an insurgent community that existed between 1902 and 1906 in the western Georgian region of Guria (known at the time as the Ozurget Uyezd) in the Russian Empire. It rose from a revolt over land grazing rights in 1902. Several issues over the previous decades affecting the peasant population including taxation, land ownership and economic factors also factored into the start of the insurrection. The revolt gained further traction through the efforts of Georgian social democrats, despite some reservations within their party over supporting a peasant movement, and grew further during the 1905 Russian Revolution.
During its existence, the Gurian Republic ignored Russian authority and established its own system of government, which consisted of assemblies of villagers meeting and discussing issues. A unique form of justice, where trial attendees voted on sentences, was introduced. While the movement broke from imperial administration, it was not anti-Russian, desiring to remain within the Empire. (Full article...)
Bolstered by publicity stunts, Land of the Soviets was a commercial success in Belgium, and also witnessed serialisation in France and Switzerland. Hergé continued The Adventures of Tintin with Tintin in the Congo, and the series became a defining part of the Franco-Belgian comics tradition. Damage to the original plates prevented republication of the book for several decades, while Hergé later expressed embarrassment at the crudeness of the work. As he began to redraw his earlier Adventures in second, colour versions from 1942 onward, he decided against doing so for Land of the Soviets; it was the only completed Tintin story that Hergé did not reproduce in colour. Growing demand among fans of the series resulted in the production of unauthorised copies of the book in the 1960s, with the first officially sanctioned republication appearing in 1969, after which it was translated into several other languages, including English. Critical reception of the work has been largely negative, and several commentators on The Adventures of Tintin have described Land of the Soviets as one of Hergé's weakest works. (Full article...)
Khrushchev was born in 1894 in a village in western Russia. He was employed as a metal worker during his youth, and he was a political commissar during the Russian Civil War. Under the sponsorship of Lazar Kaganovich, he worked his way up the Soviet hierarchy. He supported Joseph Stalin's purges and approved thousands of arrests. In 1938, Stalin sent him to govern the Ukrainian SSR, and he continued the purges there. During what was known in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War, Khrushchev was again a commissar, serving as an intermediary between Stalin and his generals. Khrushchev was present at the bloody defense of Stalingrad, a fact he took great pride in throughout his life. After the war, he returned to Ukraine before being recalled to Moscow as one of Stalin's close advisers. (Full article...)
Operation Uranus (Russian: Опера́ция «Ура́н», romanised: Operatsiya "Uran") was the codename of the SovietRed Army's 19–23 November 1942 strategic operation on the Eastern Front of World War II which led to the encirclement of Axis forces in the vicinity of Stalingrad: the GermanSixth Army, the Third and Fourth Romanian armies, and portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army. The Red Army carried out the operation at roughly the midpoint of the five-month long Battle of Stalingrad, aiming to destroy German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced in September 1942, and developed simultaneously with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center (Operation Mars) and German forces in the Caucasus. The Red Army took advantage of the German army's poor preparations for winter, and the fact that its forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched near Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian troops to guard their flanks; the offensive's starting points were established along the section of the front directly opposite Romanian forces. These Axis armies lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor.
Due to the length of the front lines created by the German 1942 summer offensive, which had aimed at taking the Caucasus oil fields and the city of Stalingrad, German and other Axis forces were over-extended. The German decision to relocate several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe exacerbated their situation. Furthermore, Axis units in the area were depleted after months of fighting, especially those which had taken part in the fighting in Stalingrad. The Germans could only count on the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, which had the strength of a single panzer division, and the 29th Panzergrenadier Division as reserves to bolster their Romanian allies on the German Sixth Army's flanks. In comparison, the Red Army deployed over one million personnel for the purpose of beginning the offensive in and around Stalingrad. Soviet troop-movements were not without problems: concealing their build-up proved difficult, and Soviet units commonly arrived late due to logistical issues. Operation Uranus was first postponed by the Soviet high command (Stavka) from 8 to 17 November, then to 19 November. (Full article...)
Bezhin Meadow (Бежин луг, Bezhin lug) is a 1937 Soviet propaganda film, famous for having been suppressed and believed destroyed before its completion. Directed by Sergei Eisenstein, it tells the story of a young farm boy whose father attempts to betray the government for political reasons by sabotaging the year's harvest and the son's efforts to stop his own father to protect the Soviet state, culminating in the boy's murder and a social uprising. The film draws its title from a story by Ivan Turgenev, but is based on the life of Pavlik Morozov, a young Russian boy who became a political martyr following his death in 1932, after he denounced his father to Soviet government authorities and subsequently died at the hands of his family. Pavlik Morozov was immortalized in school programs, poetry, music, and film.
Commissioned by a communist youth group, the film's production ran from 1935 to 1937, until it was halted by the central Soviet government, which said it contained artistic, social, and political failures. Some, however, blamed the failure of Bezhin Meadow on government interference and policies, extending all the way to Joseph Stalin himself. In the wake of the film's failure, Eisenstein publicly recanted his work as an error. Individuals were arrested during and after the ensuing debacle. (Full article...)
The Caspian expeditions of the Rus' were military raids undertaken by the Rus' between 864 and 1041 on the Caspian Sea shores, of what are nowadays Iran, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan. Initially, the Rus' appeared in Serkland in the 9th century traveling as merchants along the Volga trade route, selling furs, honey, and slaves. The first small-scale Viking raids took place in the late 9th and early 10th century. The Rus' undertook the first large-scale expedition in 913; having arrived on 500 ships, they pillaged in the Gorgan region, in the territory of present-day Iran, and more to the west, in Gilan and Mazandaran, taking slaves and goods. On their return, the northern raiders were attacked and defeated by the Khazars in the Volga Delta, and those who escaped were killed by the local tribes on the middle Volga.
During their next expedition in 943, the Rus' captured Bardha'a, the capital of Arran, in the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan. The Rus' stayed there for several months, killing many inhabitants of the city and amassing substantial plunder. It was only an outbreak of dysentery among the Rus' that forced them to depart with their spoils. Sviatoslav, prince of Kyiv, commanded the next attack, which destroyed the Khazar state in 965. Sviatoslav's campaign established the Rus's hold on the north-south trade routes, helping to alter the demographics of the region. Raids continued through the time period with the last Scandinavian attempt to reestablish the route to the Caspian Sea taking place in 1041 by Ingvar the Far-Travelled. (Full article...)
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's relations with the group of composers known as the Belyayev circle, which lasted from 1887 until Tchaikovsky's death in 1893, influenced all of their music and briefly helped shape the next generation of Russian composers. This group was named after timber merchant Mitrofan Belyayev, an amateur musician who became an influential music patron and publisher after he had taken an interest in Alexander Glazunov's work. By 1887, Tchaikovsky was firmly established as one of the leading composers in Russia. A favorite of Tsar Alexander III, he was widely regarded as a national treasure. He was in demand as a guest conductor in Russia and Western Europe, and in 1890 visited the United States in the same capacity. By contrast, the fortunes of the nationalistic group of composers known as The Five, which preceded the Belyayev circle, had waned, and the group had long since dispersed; of its members, only Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov remained fully active as a composer. Now a professor of musical composition and orchestration at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Rimsky-Korsakov had become a firm believer in the Western-based compositional training that had been once frowned upon by the group.
As a result of the time Tchaikovsky spent with the Belyayev circle's leading composers—Glazunov, Anatoly Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov—the somewhat fraught relationship he had previously endured with The Five would eventually meld into something more harmonious. Tchaikovsky's friendship with these men gave him increased confidence in his own abilities as a composer, while his music encouraged Glazunov to broaden his artistic outlook past the nationalist agenda and to compose along more universal themes. This influence grew to the point that Glazunov's Third Symphony became known as the "anti-kuchist" symphony of his ouvre ("kuchist" refers to "kuchka", the shortened Russian name for The Five) and shared several stylistic fingerprints with Tchaikovsky's later symphonies. Nor was Glazunov the only composer so influenced. Rimsky-Korsakov wrote about the Belyayev composers' "worship of Tchaikovsky and ... tendency toward eclecticism" that became prevalent during this period, along with a predilection toward "Italian-French music of the time of wig and farthingale" (that is, of the 18th Century) typified in Tchaikovsky's late operas The Queen of Spades and Iolanta. (Full article...)
After the mutineers sought asylum in Constanța, Romania, and after the Russians recovered the ship, her name was changed to Panteleimon. She accidentally sank a Russian submarine in 1909 and was badly damaged when she ran aground in 1911. During World War I, Panteleimon participated in the Battle of Cape Sarych in late 1914. She covered several bombardments of the Bosphorus fortifications in early 1915, including one where the ship was attacked by the OttomanbattlecruiserYavuz Sultan Selim – Panteleimon and the other Russian pre-dreadnoughts present drove her off before she could inflict any serious damage. The ship was relegated to secondary roles after Russia's first dreadnought battleship entered service in late 1915. She was by then obsolete and was reduced to reserve in 1918 in Sevastopol. (Full article...)
The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of (the) chemical elements, is a tabular display of the chemical elements. It is widely used in chemistry, physics, and other sciences, and is generally seen as an icon of chemistry. It is a graphic formulation of the periodic law, which states that the properties of the chemical elements exhibit a periodic dependence on their atomic numbers.
The table is divided into four roughly rectangular areas called blocks. The rows of the table are called periods, and the columns are called groups. Elements from the same column group of the periodic table show similar chemical characteristics. Trends run through the periodic table, with nonmetallic character (keeping their own electrons) increasing from left to right across a period, and from down to up across a group, and metallic character (surrendering electrons to other atoms) increasing in the opposite direction. The underlying reason for these trends is electron configurations of atoms. (Full article...)
Clockwise from top: Remnants of Azerbaijani APCs; internally displaced Azerbaijanis from the Armenian-occupied territories; Armenian T-72 tank memorial at the outskirts of Stepanakert; Armenian soldiers
The First Nagorno-Karabakh War was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in protracted, undeclared mountain warfare in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby a majority voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia began in a relatively peaceful manner in 1988; in the following months, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, resulting in ethnic cleansing, with the Sumgait (1988) and Baku (1990) pogroms directed against Armenians, and the Gugark pogrom (1988) and Khojaly Massacre (1992) directed against Azerbaijanis being notable examples. Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land. As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognizedRepublic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Borodino-class battlecruisers (Russian: Линейные крейсера типа «Измаил») were a group of four battlecruisers ordered by the Imperial Russian Navy before World War I. Also referred to as the Izmail class, they were laid down in late 1912 at Saint Petersburg for service with the Baltic Fleet. Construction of the ships was delayed by a lack of capacity among domestic factories and the need to order some components from abroad. The start of World War I slowed their construction still further, as the imported components were often not delivered and domestic production was diverted into areas more immediately useful for the war effort.
Three of the four ships were launched in 1915 and the fourth in 1916. Work on the gun turrets lagged, and it became evident that Russian industry would not be able to complete the ships during the war. The Russian Revolution of 1917 halted all work on the ships, which was never resumed. Although some consideration was given to finishing the hulls that were nearest to completion, they were all eventually sold for scrap by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Navy proposed to convert Izmail, the ship closest to completion, to an aircraft carrier in 1925, but the plan was cancelled after political manoeuvring by the Red Army led to funding not being available. (Full article...)
Although James Clerk Maxwell made the first color photograph in 1861, the results were far from realistic until Prokudin-Gorsky perfected the technique with a series of improvements around 1905. His process used a camera that took a series of monochrome pictures in rapid sequence, each through a different colored filter. Prokudin-Gorskii then went on to document much of the country of Russia, travelling by train in a specially equipped darkroomrailroad car.
The Krestovsky Stadium is the home ground of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. Photographed here in 2016, when construction was nearing completion, it is situated on Krestovsky Island in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg. It was opened in 2017 as a venue for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, and hosted the final, in which Germany beat Chile 1–0. It was one of the venues for the 2018 FIFA World Cup the following year. Among other features, it has a retractable roof, and is equipped with a video-surveillance and identification system, as well as security-alarm, fire-alarm and robotic fire-extinguishing systems. The stadium's seating capacity is 67,800.
An Alaskan parchment scrip banknote in the denomination of 1 ruble, printed on vellum or parchment by the Russian-American Company. On the obverse, the horizontal text immediately beneath the double-headed eagle reads "Seal of the Russian American Company". The oval text reads "under august protection of His Imperial Majesty", and under the oval is the value of the note "one ruble".
Alaskan parchment scrip was used as a form of company scrip in Alaska when it was a possession of the Russian Empire. In circulation from 1816 to 1867, such scrip could be printed on vellum, parchment, or pinniped skin. Denominations of 10, 25, 50 kopecks and 1, 5, 10, and 25 rubles were issued.
A map detailing the events of the 2008 South Ossetia war, which began one year ago today, when Georgia launched an operation in the disputed region of South Ossetia. Ossetian, Russian, and Abkhazian forces ejected the Georgian forces after five days of heavy fighting. All parties reached a ceasefire agreement on August 12, and Russian troops remain stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to this day.
This photo of the Nilov Monastery on Stolobny Island in Tver Oblast, Russia, was taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky in 1910 before the advent of colour photography. His process used a camera that took a series of monochrome pictures in rapid sequence, each through a different coloured filter. By projecting all three monochrome pictures using correctly coloured light, it was possible to reconstruct the original colour scene.
A female Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), a subspecies of tiger native to Central Asia, and her cub. The Siberian tiger is the largest of the extant tiger subspecies as well as the largest felid, attaining 320 kg (710 lb) in an exceptional specimen. Considered an endangered subspecies, the wild population is down to several hundred individuals and is limited to eastern Siberia.
The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, which holds ballet and opera performances. The company was founded on 28 March [O.S. 17 March] 1776, when Catherine the Great granted Prince Pyotr Urusov a licence to organise theatrical performances, balls and other forms of entertainment. Usunov set up the theatre in collaboration with English tightrope walker Michael Maddox. The present building was built between 1821 and 1824 and designed by architect Joseph Bové.
Peremech (Tatar: пәрәмәч / pərəməç / pärämäç; Bashkir: бәрәмес, tr. beremes; Russian: беляш, tr.belyash) is an individual-sized fried dough pastry common for Volga Tatar and Bashkir cuisines. It is made from unleavened or leavened dough and usually filled with ground meat and chopped onion. Originally, finely chopped pre-cooked meat was used as a filling, but later raw ground meat became more common. Alternatively, peremech can be filled with potato or quark.
Peremech is usually shaped into a flattened sphere with a circular "window" in the middle. In contrast to doughnuts, the hole does not go all the way through, but is only made at the top, such that the filling is visible in the middle. The shape is thus somewhat similar to Russian vatrushka. However, dough neatly kneaded around the hole gives the classical peremech its distinctive shape. (Full article...)
Born and raised in east Moscow, Streltsov joined Torpedo at the age of 16 in 1953 and made his international debut two years later. He was part of the squad that won the gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and came seventh in the 1957 Ballon d'Or. Early the next year his promising career was interrupted by a rape scandal. The 20-year-old Streltsov was accused of raping a woman shortly before the 1958 World Cup; told he could still play if he admitted his guilt, he confessed, despite inconclusive evidence against him. He was instead convicted and sentenced to twelve years in the Gulag system of forcedlabour camps. (Full article...)
Russia reports a record for the fifth consecutive day of 1,075 deaths from COVID-19, thereby bringing the nationwide death toll to 229,528. The country also reports a record for the third consecutive day of 37,678 new cases of COVID-19, thereby bringing the nationwide total of confirmed cases to 8.2 million. (ANI News)
Russia reports a record for the fourth consecutive day of 1,064 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the nationwide death toll to 228,453. The country also reports a record for the second consecutive day of 37,141 new cases of COVID-19, thereby bringing the nationwide total of confirmed cases to 8,168,305. (Saudi Press Agency)