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Russia is a country that has fascinated me for a long time now. I love reading about the country's history and generally finding stuff out about the place, so let me share a few interesting things about Russia...
The Russian who was shot in the head with a particle accellerator In 1978, Anatoli Bugroski was working on the Soviet Union's largest particle accellerator, when the safety mechanism malfunctioned and he was shot in the head by the proton beam that was moving almost as fast as the speed of light! He described it as a flash "brighter than a thousand suns". Lucky for him he survived and completed his Ph.D.
Ambitious Russian Aircraft Russian Aircraft were ont of the things that made me fascinated by the country in the first place. I mean, just look at this stuff that they made!
The Ukranian Antonov An-225 first flew in 1988 to airlift the Soviet space shuttle, but with the commercialization of Antonov, and only one such aircraft ever made, it became a one of a kind superheavy transporter for hire.
It also has this awkward little sister, the An-124. But at least this bastard actually made it to mass production!
Here's another rugged transporter, the Illyushin Il-76. Workhorse of many air forces and airlines. This one is operated by Libya, presumably one of the ones that wasn't bombed by America following an incident in a German nightclub.
Built by a time that ended, for a time that never happened. The Tu-334 and Il-96 entered production when the Soviet Union ended. When airlines opted for safer western aircraft, and production was blighted by meagre government funding. I swear I saw one of those Il-96s over Israel once. So fucking cool! Those things are RARE.
Here's the fastest passenger plane ever made, the Tupolev Tu-144. It flew before Concorde did (possibly due to blueprints being stolen from France). In order to show the west just how advanced Soviet technology was, the Tu-144 was displayed in Paris Air Show where this happened: Everybody on board died, and so did 8 people on the ground. But at least the USSR was able to get their SST off the ground, unlike America.
On the subject of Russian planes crashing at air shows... American spies used to visit air shows in Russia to keep an eye on what planes they were making. Or destroying, it seems.
Partially helped by Stalin, a number of design bureaus were set up in the Soviet Union, with factories in Kazan, Tashkent (which is in what is now indipendent Uzebekistan) and a few other locations east of the Ural Mountains. Andrei Tupolev, founder of the Tupolev design bureau, was thought to be giving designs to Nazi Germany. So Stalin put him in prison, and made him keep designing planes while in prison!
Nowadays, all these companies have formed the U.A.C (United Aircraft Corporation), where they are competing with the west to a degree of success. Sukhoi Superjet 100: way with the future!
So what did NATO think of all this?
NATO came up with codenames for Soviet aircraft. Helicopters had names starting with 'H'. E.g. Hind and Hip. Fighters started with 'F', e.g. Fishbed, Faggot, Flogger, Fulcrum, Flanker. Bombers started with 'B', like Beagle, Badger, Blinder, Backfire. And civil planes started with 'C', e.g. Crusty, Cul, Coot, Careless, Candid. Etc, etc, etc. Other than destructive air shows, NATO could only find out about such aircraft from spy satellites and reconnaissance planes. Including the time they got found out because it turns out Soviet radar goes quite a lot higher than America thought they could. It also turned out their missiles go a lot higher than they thought they could.
They NATO also had to intercept a lot of Soviet bombers, and still do! US Navy pilots would drive up alongside the bombers and hold up porn magazines to show to the bomber crews. There were many air-to-air engagements during the cold war era between American-made fighters and Soviet-made MiGs, with varying results.
Despite less-than-satisfactory maneuverability and pilot visability, the MiG-25 had NATO forces pretty worried. It's the last fighter to destroy an American fighter in air-to-air, and it's fast. It's official top speed is mach 2.8, but on radar the MiG-25 has been seen going at mach 3! The only female fighter aces in history During World War 2, the Soviet Union was the only country to let women fly planes in combat. A bomber regiment knicknamed as the 'Night Witches' would turn off their engines and glide to the target so that the Germans wouldn't hear them coming!
A 'ace', however, is the term given to pilots who destroy at least five enemy planes, and the only two female fighter aces flew for the Soviet Air Force. However, they were both K.I.A in 1943. Lidya Lytvak, with at least 12 solo victories was last seen trailing smoke from her Yakovlev persued by 8 Messerschmitts.
Yekaterina Budanova's plane got shot up but was still operable in 1943. But still died of injuries before she could be pulled from her stricken plane.
When I told my sister about these two, she said that if they had stayed at home in the kitchen then they might still be alive today. The states of Russia Something interesting: The Russian Federation is made out of republics, krais and oblasts. (So was the USSR, but then some of them got the luxury of indipendence.) Many of these states have their own languages and customs, and republics are home to their own ethnic minorities. Because they are all part of Russia, it can be easy to overlook how diverse the place is. One such state is the 'Jewish Autonomous Oblast', located out in Russia's borderlands just north of China. And then there's Kalilingrad Like an island, the Kalilingrad Oblast is surrounded by, well, not Russia! 60% of it's residents have foreign passports. It's capital used to be the capital of Prussia. Kalilingrad is where this guy's heart was. I think it would be his final resting place, considering Prussia's demise as he disintigrates in unison with the sands of time. But Germanic influence is still existing in Kalilingrad, so if you're ever there you might want to try some of the local beer! North Korea's labor camps, in Russia Deep in the taiga in Siberia, there are thousands of North Korean lumberjacks who are working for years at a time with 70% of their wages taken off of them. Originally just criminals and political prisoners, many of these workers have volunteered to work there simply for money. Which is reasonable, looking at North Korea's current poverty and employment situation. What's even more shady, is that these dudes aren't being paid in legal tender. So it's not like they can go and hang out in a bar in one of the local towns after a hard day's work, because they aren't paid in rubels. Also, the security around those camps might seem pretty lax, but the workers know that a lot of horrible things will happen to their families if they decide to wonder off. Mr. Burns has the right idea.
Speaking of labor camps... At one point, Soviet Russia was pretty big on labor camps. Look at how many they had! The gulag camps were a place to put political prisoners and dissidents. But they also housed regular convicts too. Some of these were mining camps, whereas others were devoted to building the ill-fated Transpolar Railway.
When Hitler began to invade the Soviet Union, Stalin became despirate for more people to fight for Russia. So he offered many prisoners their freedom if they fought Germany. And many did. However, Soviet POWs that were freed when World War 2 ended were sent to gulags as punishment for getting themselves caught! Oh dear.
However, to avoid getting shot if they wanted to try and escape, inmates would get tattooes of Lenin and Stalin. Because guards weren't allowed to shoot pictures of Stalin and Lenin. About the Russian Mafia At one point the mafia in Russia controlled two-thirds of Russia's economy Thanks to the Soviet Union falling, they were able to exploit the governments of the new republics using black markets and even more gangs than before. But back when Stalin was around, when at one point an average of 1000 people were executed every day, many mafia members were placed into gulags where they thrived. Russian gangsters sure love their tattoos! However, Russia's crime rate has been in a decline in recent years but does still leave a lot to be desired. Crimes against gay people have taken a bit of a rise, thanks to this bumblefuck "I'm going to prohibit promoting homosexuality. Now excuse me while I do something flamboyant and extremely macho while topless!" Communism, it's a party!
After repression, lost wars and meagre attempts to industrialise, people finally gave the boot to the the last Tsar, Nicolas II in the Febuary Revolution of 1917 (which actually happened in March). But the new government were a bit shit, so the October Revolution took place...in November! And The Bolsheviks took over, and began to enforce their radical ideals.
However, people were still unhappy. So the Bolsheviks had about 300,000 naysayers (and kulaks) killed. But that's not all, because in an attempt to do something about The Bolsheviks the Civil War kicked off, and more thatn 2 million people died. But lucky for cheeky Lenin and his motley crew, they won.
Here's what happened next: - Only Pravda and other Bolshevik newspapers was allowed to be published. - All other parties were banned. - Religion was discouraged, with an objective to eliminate it entirely. - Divorce was legalized. - Abortion was legalized. - Homosexuality was legalized. (In Russia, not in any of the republics.)
However, homosexuality was made illegal again in 1933.
After Lenin died, Stalin took power in the most illegitimate way possible and killed all of his rivals and anybody who critisised him or threatened his authority, because he was a callous, paranoid bastard. He wasn't your average psychopath, he was a psychopath with a superpower!
Stalin came up with the five-year plans, to focus on developing different industries and making different goods. Sometimes things went to plan, and sometimes they didn't.
One thing that didn't quite go to plan was collectivization, in which larger farms were made by joining smaller ones together with equipment provided for them from the government as a famine got more and more worrying. However, 5 million people ended up starving to death. But still, at least lots of grain got sold to other countries. Urgh.
Needless to say, Stalin was mad. So when his successor, Nikita Krushchev came to power, De-Stalinization had to take place.
Russia's Space Program For now at least, the Space Race between Russia and America is over. But while it was going, Russia might have been even earlier into space if you believe in the Lost Cosmonauts. No matter though, they still beat America.
However, they could not beat America to the moon because their rocket kept exploding in testing. After launching from Kazakhstan on a test flight, the N1 rocket explodes. Clearly a few problems need fixing if that thing will ever reach the moon! The problem with the engines was rectified, but by the time that happened America had beat them to it and the project was cancelled. By the way, Russia and Japan are still at war Russia and Japan never signed a peace treaty at the end of World War 2, which means that technically they're still at war.
There are still a few islands in northern Japan with claims disputed between Japan and Russia, too.
Well, anyway. I hope you found that at least interesting and fun to read. I know I enjoyed writing it.
Time to cue the...
But wait, I forgot to write about Rasputin! Aw fuck it.
Favorite moviesAkira, Redline, Harry Potter, The Sky Crawers, The Iron Sky, Airplane, Airplane 2, Blues Brothers, 2001: A Space OdyessyFavorite bands / musical artistsAnamanaguchi, Sudanim, Dubmood, Shirobon, Sabrepulse, I Fight DragonsFavorite booksYukikaze series, Area 88 (Manga), Gantz (Manga), Hetalia: Axis Powers (Manga)Favorite gamesCoD, Portal series, FSX, Ace Combat, Sonic, Half Life seriesTools of the TradeCaffine, Glasses, Adobe Flash, Hair Straighteners