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The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed.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.
This came my way on Facebook without attribution or explanation. I tried researching it with small success. The photo clearly comes from Russia, and that front goose looking sideways is a Photoshop addition.
Here is a neat item. A Russian police facial reference sheet used for identifying male subject’s probable nationality.
(click on picture for larger image)
Top row from the left: Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar, Jew, Gypsy, Kyrgyzian.
Middle row from the left: Belorussian, Lithuanian, Georgian, Armenian, Kazakh, Uzbek.
Bottom row from the left: Latvian, Estonian, Azerbaijani, Moldovan, Tajik, Turkmenian
Claire Berlinski shares a Turkish news report identifying one more vitally important, historically Russian territory which Moscow is determined to defend against “foreign interference.”
Russia will never accept “foreign interference” in Syria’s internal affairs, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem told a news conference on Tuesday.
“No one can doubt the strength of the Russian-Syrian relationship,” based on their history and the interests of both people, Muallem said.
“Russia will never accept foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs. That is the red line,” he added.
Yes, that would be Damascus, the ancestral homeland of the Russian people. You all knew Dostoyevsky was from Aleppo, right?... Russians have been indigenous to Syria since the Mithridatic Wars. Everyone knows that.
As a thoughtful gesture of admiration and respect for his country’s leader, Sam Nickel set out to touch the breasts of 1000 Russian females. After which feat was accomplished, Nickel proceeded to shake hands with Vladimir Putin in order to pass along the mystical tactile energy produced thereby. Somehow I tend to think Putin got gypped.
The Russian Chronicle provides the first mention of Moscow in 1147 as the place where Duke Yuri Dolgoruky of Suzdal entertained his ally Duke Sviatoslav of Chernigov with “a mighty feast.”
It was not actually until 1156 that the same Duke Yuri fortified the hig ground between the Moskva River and its tributary the Neglinnaya, in essence, “founding the city,” but Moscow has never placed strong significance on truth and accuracy.
In any event, the people my Lithuanian ancestors generally referred to as burlokai , “beet-eaters,” last weekend set some kind of new record in whooping it up by using the facade of Moscow University as the 25,000+ sq. ft. projection screen for a rather astonishing light show.
That’s the Russians for you: simply awful at government, never heard of justice or the rule of law, but they do like to party.
The most recent issue of the Wall Street Journal’s monthly answer to the New York Times Sunday Magazine, WSJ, came out last Saturday, a week ago today, and featured a fascinating article on the Russian government’s painstaking restoration of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater.
Next month the red and gold curtain goes up for the first time in six years at Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theater, revealing a restoration that is the biggest, most meticulous overhaul the landmark building has received since it opened in 1856. Costing more than $720 million and directly supervised by the nearby Kremlin (even the deadline for the October 28 opening was set by presidential order), the project has spared no expense—from chandeliers to artisanal gold leaf and embroidered silks—in restoring the Bolshoi’s grand public spaces to their original 19th-century design. Backstage has also been upgraded with sophisticated lighting and hydraulics equipment, transforming the storied cultural institution into Russia’s most modern venue for opera and ballet.
Paramount to the project was that the theater be re-created in the original vision of the czars—ornately beautiful and handcrafted—so no detail was considered too expensive or painstaking. Hundreds of spruce wall panels were imported from the Austrian Alps to replace those ripped out by the Bolsheviks to make room for party congresses; decorative silk coverings were remade from scratch in a special workshop within a Moscow monastery; artisans shipped in from across Russia spent months with agate styluses rubbing more than 3,000 square feet of gold leaf onto the six tiers of seats, and tens of thousands of crystal pendants were removed, catalogued and then either restored or replaced on the dozens of chandeliers throughout the building. It’s a feat that few capitals have attempted, preferring to keep historic theater buildings mainly for smaller performances while constructing new, modern houses for the full company repertoire. But when the current Bolshoi hall opened in 1856 for the coronation of Czar Alexander II, it was bigger and grander than nearly all its European contemporaries (bolshoi means “grand” in Russian), and that’s how Moscow would like it to remain. ...
The current overhaul is the Bolshoi’s third reincarnation. First built in 1780, the theater burned to the ground twice in the 1800s. After a three-day conflagration in 1853 razed its relatively modest predecessor, the czar demanded a grander replacement. Albert Cavos, the Italian-trained architect who won the commission, designed the Bolshoi to mimic a musical instrument, with wood panels in the floors, ceiling and walls that would resonate and carry the sound, along with a vaguely violin-shaped main auditorium. “I tried to decorate the main hall as magnificently as possible but also lightly, in the style of the Renaissance, mixed with the Byzantine,” Cavos later wrote. Restoring that glory turned out to be a titanic task, however, because the Bolshoi’s disrepair dated back decades. In his rush to finish the project in time for the coronation, Cavos appears to have cut corners and the Bolshoi’s structural problems began within just a few years. In 1902, a sudden shift in the foundation jammed the doors of most of the boxes during a matinee, forcing terrified spectators to clamber along the balconies to escape.
The Bolshoi barely survived the early Bolsheviks, some of whom argued for shuttering what they saw as a symbol of aristocratic excess. Vladimir Lenin saved it, and Communist officials ordered that extra seats be stuffed into the main auditorium for party congresses. The theater also endured Soviet-era renovations—concrete was poured under the floor and into a special resonant chamber below the orchestra pit, dulling the sound—and a Nazi bombing in 1941, when an 1,100-pound bomb badly damaged the lobby.
When the theater was closed for renovation in 2005, engineers were shocked by what they found. Foot-wide cracks ran through the walls, and foundations had been reduced largely to dust. The stout columns on the front of the building were treated like arthritic joints, rubbed with special salves and wrapped in plastic for weeks to leach decades of pollution from the limestone. After removing the Soviet-era concrete from under the floor, restorers considered replacing the original mechanism of large stone balls that allowed the auditorium floor to tilt for performances but quickly become flat for grand imperial balls. That update proved too complex, but designers did steepen the angle to improve sight lines and house a larger orchestra pit—big enough for Wagner. “You will feel the fortissimo in your body,” says one engineer. ...
The Soviet hammer and sickle… [has] been replaced with the original double-headed eagle, the emblem of the Romanov dynasty that had pride of place over the Czar’s Box.
Dmitri offers a characteristically insouciant (some would say, “accident-waiting-to-happen”) Russian approach to playing with seriously dangerous toys.
Gasoline-flavored pork! Yum.
Dmitri has his own blog: FPS Russia, devoted entirely to videos of the man himself playing mostly with the kind of stuff the BATF doesn’t want you to have. Are flamethrowers legal in Russia, do you suppose? Does anybody know what the “FPS” in FPS Russia stands for?
Haaretz sympathizes with the terrible bad luck that seems to pursue scientists and engineers who provide assistance to Iran’s nuclear program. It’s really a lot like all the deaths which overtook the people who violated that pharoah’s tomb.
The five nuclear experts killed in a plane crash in northern Russia earlier this week had assisted in the design of an Iranian atomic facility, security sources in Russia said on Thursday.
The five Russian experts were among the 44 passengers killed when the Tupolev-134 plane broke up and caught fire on landing outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk on Monday.
The experts – who included lead designers Sergei Rizhov, Gennadi Benyok, Nicolai Tronov and Russia’s top nuclear technological experts, Andrei Tropinov – worked at Bushehr after the contract for the plant’s construction passed from the German Siemens company to Russian hands.
The five were employed at the Hydropress factory, a member of Russia’s state nuclear corporation, and one of the main companies to contract for the Bushehr construction.
The sources said that the death of the scientists is a great blow to the Russian nuclear industry.
The experts were tasked with completing construction of the plant and ensuring that it would be able to survive an earthquake.
According to the sources, although Iranian nuclear scientists have in the past been involved in unexplained accidents and plane crashes, there is no official suspicion of foul play. Investigators are probing human error and technical malfunction as the causes of the crash.
Careful reading between the lines may discover that there is a message of some kind embedded in this news story.