A meteor streaked across the sky and exploded over central Russia on Friday, sending fireballs crashing to earth which shattered windows and damaged buildings, injuring more than 500 people.
People heading to work in Chelyabinsk heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave, according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 950 miles east of Moscow.
The fireball, travelling at a speed of 19 miles per second according to Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail in its wake which could be seen as far as 125 miles away.
Car alarms went off, windows broke and mobile phone networks were interrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteor explosion had caused a sonic boom.
Smithsonian describes how, in 1978, Russian geologists discovered a family of six Old Believers who were living in the most primitive conditions in complete isolation in a remote, and totally unexplored, region of Siberia, and who had been completely out of contact with the rest of humanity for 40 years. They had never heard of WWII.
When the warm days do arrive, though, the taiga blooms, and for a few short months it can seem almost welcoming. It is then that man can see most clearly into this hidden world—not on land, for the taiga can swallow whole armies of explorers, but from the air. Siberia is the source of most of Russia’s oil and mineral resources, and, over the years, even its most distant parts have been overflown by oil prospectors and surveyors on their way to backwoods camps where the work of extracting wealth is carried on.
Karp Lykov and his daughter Agafia, wearing clothes donated by Soviet geologists not long after their family was rediscovered.
Thus it was in the remote south of the forest in the summer of 1978. A helicopter sent to find a safe spot to land a party of geologists was skimming the treeline a hundred or so miles from the Mongolian border when it dropped into the thickly wooded valley of an unnamed tributary of the Abakan, a seething ribbon of water rushing through dangerous terrain. The valley walls were narrow, with sides that were close to vertical in places, and the skinny pine and birch trees swaying in the rotors’ downdraft were so thickly clustered that there was no chance of finding a spot to set the aircraft down. But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there. It was a clearing, 6,000 feet up a mountainside, wedged between the pine and larch and scored with what looked like long, dark furrows. The baffled helicopter crew made several passes before reluctantly concluding that this was evidence of human habitation—a garden that, from the size and shape of the clearing, must have been there for a long time.
It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district.
And we all know how well that worked out for them.
90-odd years after the appearance of the above poster, we find Stanislav Mishin (in Pravda, these days a much better paper than the New York Times, urging Americans to “never give up your guns.”
[A]t one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.
Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.
This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.
Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.
Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.
1:09 video (Autoplay would not turn off in the embedded version.)
A wolf attacked 56-year-old Aishat Maksudova near her sister’s home in Dagestan in the Northern Caucusus. Maksudova was on her way to repair a fence, and tried to stop a wolf from attacking a calf. The wolf went after her instead, biting her leg and left hand, and knocking her to the ground. Fortunately, Maksudova was able to bring into play the axe she was carrying to repair the fence. She hit the wolf right on the head, splitting its skull and killing it dead.
A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government.
The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed.
“We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria,” the company said in a statement. “We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage.”
The Royal Navy blocked invasion of the British Isles by the Spanish Armada in 1588 with cannon-fire and cutlass. So formidable was the Royal Navy’s fighting superiority in 1805 that Admiral Jervis was able to quip: “I do not say that they [the French] cannot come—I only say they cannot come by sea.”
Where in days of yore, England maintained command of the seas with “hearts of oak,” clearly today Britain has succeeded in substituting hearts of ink.
One pictures Napoleon glaring in frustration as Marshall Bertrand reports that Lloyds’ has cancelled the invasion fleet’s insurance, so the fleet cannot embark.