The long swim to freedom – Part III

If you haven't already done so, please read Part I and Part II of this incredible, yet absolutely true story before proceeding. No one would have ever thought to look for a deserter in a secret military base. And no one did. Pyotr slept through the day and when the sun set he again got... Continue Reading →

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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 →

The greatest rescue operation in the Artic Ocean

In 1957 the USSR launched both the world's first nuclear-powered surface ship and the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel: the nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin. Now permanently moored in Murmansk, the ship is an unmissable museum for anyone visiting the largest city on Earth above the Artic Circle. An embodiment of the technical progress of her time, the Lenin comprised 70,000 parts, with the total length... Continue Reading →

Plasticine Putin

After living in Russia for over a year, I decided to start this blog to share what I see and experience every day, living in the largest country on Earth and one certainly filled with co-existing opposites. The blog is called Russia Through The Lens, not just because I publish one (or more) picture I... Continue Reading →

Alexander Lodygin, the Russian who invented the lightbulb

Who invented the lightbulb? Here's a question that will certainly spark discussion! (pun intended). In addressing this question, historians Robert Friedel and Paul Israel list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps prior to Thomas Edison. They conclude that Edison's version was able to outstrip the others because of a combination of three factors: an effective incandescent material, a higher vacuum than others... Continue Reading →

The Lady of the Korolenko

The town of Vyborg lies on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Vyborg Bay, 130 km (81 miles) to the northwest of St. Petersburg and 38 km (24 miles) south of Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland. The town has changed hands several times in history, most recently in 1944 when the Soviet Union captured it from Finland during World... Continue Reading →

Gagarin’s glory

If you can read Cyrillic, you will already have noticed that the town's name is Gagarin, in honour of the first human to journey into outer space: Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin or simply Yuri Gagarin. The Soviet cosmonaut was born on March 9th, 1934, in the nearby village of Klushino and after his death in 1968 (when the MiG-15 training jet he was piloting crashed) the city was renamed in his honour (and I suspect, but that's just my speculation, also because the former name of Gzhatsk - Гжатск - was all but unpronounceable!).

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