Old looking new, new looking new

In many cities with hundred or sometimes thousand years of history, modern skyscrapers have started mushrooming around historical buildings and monuments, often creating interesting and unexpected contrasts. In this case, though, Russia is once again a little "different" as looks can be very deceiving when trying to guess the age of what you are seeing.... Continue Reading →

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How vodka helps achieve a great erection

I don't want to know what you were thinking about, but I am obviously referring to the erection (the action of erecting) of a monument, more specifically the The Alexander Column (Russian: Алекса́ндровская коло́нна) in Saint Petersburg, to erect which vodka played an indispensable role! The Alexsandrovskaya Kolonna (also the "Pillar of Alexandria" , according to Alexander Pushkin’s... Continue Reading →

The Red Moon that never was

Exactly 50 years ago today, at 02:56 UTC July 21, 1969, an American named Neil Armstrong took "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" and set his left boot on the lunar surface. Why was the first man on the moon an American and not a Russian, when the Soviet Union was the... Continue Reading →

The unsung heroes of Chernobyl

In the last few weeks the world watched in amazement (with a potent mix of fascination and horror) HBO's new series Chernobyl, which tells the story of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in Pripyat, Ukraine, at the time part of the Soviet Union. The series received almost universal acclaim, both because of the... Continue Reading →

Operation Beluga

I've got good news and bad news. Bad news first: if you are looking for a post on the delicious beluga caviar, this is not it. The good news, on the other hand are that this is another incredible, but true! story (about Soviet icebreakers and beluga whales) and that if you are still thinking... Continue Reading →

The long swim to freedom – Part II

If you haven't already done so, please read Part I of this incredible, yet absolutely true story before proceeding. «That night - Pyotr recalls - I knew I couldn't go back to the unit. I would get maimed or killed. It was as simple as that». The celebrations, after a day's work, happened right around... Continue Reading →

When Russia wanted to conquer India

One of the most bizarre and short lived military campaign in the history of Russia was the plan to try to conquer India in 1801. Russia and Britain were allied during the French Revolutionary Wars of the 1790s. In 1799 they even attempted to invade the Netherlands together. When this operation failed, the Russian Emperor Paul I... Continue Reading →

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