Tag Archives: Russia

My opportunity to use the word ‘pussy’ in a post while still staying classy

Spencer Ackerman hits the jackpot writing an article fusing foreign policy (his regular job) with punk music (his musical preference). The subject is Pussy Riot 1 a Russian punk band whose members conducted an improptu gig in a Russian cathedral mocking both Vladimir Putin and the church’s collaboration with him. Good for him to getting the opportunity to write it and good for Pussy Riot for making music (even pretty bad music) politically dangerous.

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All of us here at TwShiloh await what, if anything this means for music in general.  I, for one, welcome anyone who can get us out of the auto-tuned, homogenized rut we currently find ourselves in.

  1. By the way, I love hearing newscasters try to dance around not naming the band on TV. Credit to the BBC for just coming out and saying it, even if they did so in a conspiratorial whisper.

The Eastern Front

English Russia has some phenomenal photos of the Eastern Front during the First World War.

Russian cavalry...I bet about to have a bad day.

Looks like it'd be easier to just lift the whole car

Embrace the suck...remember, someone had to dig all that. And he was probably a private.


Putin is the world’s greatest super-villain.  That’s beyond doubt but let’s face it, he’s getting a little long in the tooth and he won’t be able to shoot tigers and frighten world leaders with his dogs forever.  It’s also clear we need a cool villain in the world.  Not a creepy Kim Jong Il  but someone who doesn’t look like they’ve spent their whole lives in a bunker eating bon-bons.

So, we here at TwShiloh demand the world embark on an immediate program to create a Putin-cyborg hybrid.  It might look something like this (h/t EnglishRussia).  There’s no way I’m messing with that dude.

Remember the Arctic Sea

You may remember the saga of the Arctic Sea which I wrote about extensively back in 2009.  It’s back in the news with some Finnish researchers are now providing a theory as to what exactly was behind that strange set of events.

In their new book, Myrskyn Silmässä (Eye of the storm), Timo Hellenberg and Pekka Visuri explain their theory that biological, chemical, nuclear, or radioactive materials extracted in Russian Kaliningrad, were loaded onto the ship when it was hijacked in Swedish waters.

There was a LOT about that story that simply didn’t make any sense on a whole host of levels.  The idea that a group of pirates would steal a cargo ship for $1.8 million in timber (how does one sell it?), manage to avoid detection around Europe and then mysteriously get recaptured by Russia with accusations and recriminations by Russia, Israel, and European nations.  Followed by the imprisonment of the crew in addition to the pirates and mysterious warnings to journalists to move on ‘or else’.

Further (thanks to Wikipedia), the Guardian reported that in discussions between a Spanish national prosecutor and U.S. embassy officials, the Arctic Sea was referred to as:

“a clear example” of arms trafficking.

More from the story:

Although Gonzalez does not elaborate, his remarks suggest he believes the ship was used by organised criminals to smuggle arms under secret orders from Russia’s intelligence agencies. There has been speculation the ship was carrying S-300 missiles destined for Iran. Others have suggested rockets, smart bombs or even nuclear missiles.

Gonzalez said Kalashov, the arrested mafia suspect, was used by Russian military intelligence to sell weapons to the Kurds in an attempt to destabilise Turkey, a key US ally. The allegation is likely to infuriate Ankara.

Really, how has this NOT gotten picked up by Hollywood yet?

Too soon?

Hey, I’m all for historical reenactments but this might be a bit too soon.  A group in Russia is doing a little ISAF (specifically German)/Taliban combat.  I guess this sort of thing would have to be done outside of the U.S.  After all, who would want to play the Taliban?  Whoever would be willing would probably never be allowed to fly on an airliner again.

Looks like some decent scenario based training, however…

For you chemical warfare junkies out there…

h/t EnglishRussia

A photo spread of a Russian chemical unit…


Bad news for Westphalians…Russia and miniskirt edition

Probably not what you want to hear if you’re a ruler of a nation-state and this sort of article comes out about one of your towns.
When Sergei the Gypsy wanted to show who was boss in this tiny settlement on the edge of the Ural Mountains, he gathered a posse of armed men and drove down a narrow road through the night, illuminating the forest with his headlights.
Viktor Gorodilov, who was in his bathhouse, threw on some clothes and joined a small group of men with shotguns, pitchforks, chains and knives to guard the road. “We just had three guns, including me,” said Mr. Gorodilov, 56. “But they didn’t expect any resistance, and we had them in our hands.”
No government support appeared until the battle was safely over.  Nothing else happened until the public outcry forced the upper echelons of the police force were compelled to discipline some of their members.  But the rot runs deep and a few wrist slaps are unlikely to help.
Trust in the police is so low that only 40 percent of victims report their crimes, according to recent studies, whether they involve robbery or car theft or pickpocketing or more serious offenses,
Think about that.  60% of all crimes go unreported.  What percentage of those reported actually result in arrests, recovered property, and convictions are probably much less given the widespread accusations of corruption.
I usually ‘poo-poo’ claims of the collapse of the nation-state but I can’t help but think of the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West where people just began figuring out that allegiance to Rome wasn’t bringing any real benefits and split off to do their own thing.  I imagine they’d relate to Mr. Gorodilov when he says:
“We have everything we need here,” said Mr. Gorodilov, opening a wood gate to show a vegetable garden and a gaggle of quacking geese. “We settle our problems among ourselves. We help each other out.”

On to Putin news…

Putin raises the bar, yet again, for autocrats everywhere.  Now he has attractive Russian women shilling for him.  Really, what can’t this guy do?

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And, of course, Putin’s buddy has to have his own PYT video and this is what’s so fascinating about Russian political advertising.  It seems there’s no message in which scantily clad females aren’t appropriate for Russians.  This Medvedev piece is part of an anti-alcohol campaign.  Let’s face it, while these shapely lasses may say ‘It’s either beer or us’ the fact of the matter is most of the mopes doing the drinking have about zero chance with girls like this.  Perhaps that’s why they’re drinking.  Just sayin’.

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But it gets any better when a rival political party decides to counter the Putin ad with a well reasoned, intelligent response.  In other words, chicks in miniskirts and firing pistols.

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Look, it can’t be a good thing when a political party’s symbol is a hand grenade and they shoot guns as symbols of their rivals but (looking at the positive) at least they have pretty women to look at while the state slides into anarchy.

Into the wild blue yonder

Yeah, yeah, I know.  You’ve seen so many pictures of Polikarpov I-16s lately, how could another set impress you?

It’s kind of a weird looking plane but there’s something about the stubby little thing that’s kind of cool.  It must have generated some feelings since in every theater of war in which it deployed soldiers gave it another less than flattering nickname:

The diminutive fighter, nicknamed “Ishak” (“donkey”) by Soviet pilots…Rata (“rat”) by the Nationalists or Mosca (“fly”) by the Republicans [in the Spanish Civil War]. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava (“Flying Squirrel“).

Not exactly names that spring to mind when you’re talking about a fighter plane.

Still check out these photos of one of the planes that’s still flying and I dare you not to think the think is pretty darned cool.

Kvick Tänkare

EnglishRussia has a maddening photo spread about something called the ‘90th Search Battalion‘  that appears to be excavating a Soviet WWII grave site.  I say appears because there’s almost no detail in the accompanying text.  What is a ‘Search Battalion’?  Should I assume there are at least 89 more of them in Russia? I mean, w-t-f?

Am I crazy or could you read the lyrics to Blue Oyster Cult‘s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper‘ as a song about the Four Noble Truths?

 This is totally cool yet I’m unable to tell you why other than the fact that nature totally blows my mind:

[Graduate student Kevin Beiler] has found that all trees in dry interior Douglas-fir forests are interconnected, with the largest, oldest trees serving as hubs, much like the hub of a spoked wheel, where younger trees establish within the mycorrhizal network of the old trees. Through careful experimentation, recent graduate Francois Teste determined that survival of these establishing trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees. Through the use of stable isotope tracers, he and Amanda Schoonmaker […] found that increased survival was associated with belowground transfer of carbon, nitrogen and water from the old trees.

More news from the natural world:  “…rattlesnakes and opossums are locked in an evolutionary arms race.”

Oh, what the heck, let’s just make this a theme…There are worrying signals that the poor economic situation will bring the culture wars roaring back by (further) politicizing wildlife/environmental protection.  Gutting environmental protections?  Let me guess, jackass and incompetent pilot Senator Inhofe is involved?

Republican Sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and James Inhofe (Okla.) have proposed amendments to an economic-development reauthorization bill that would prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from extending ESA protections to two species prevalent in oil and gas country.

Yes, could we please take science out of the hands of the scientists and but it in the hands of our responsible congresspersons who will vote on whether plants, animals and wildlife should receive protection.  I can’t possibly imagine this turning out badly.

Ladies and gentlemen…the “Grusha” (“Pear”)

EnglishRussia has some pictures from the 22nd Brigade and one of their UAVs.  Check out the video:

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Now, I don’t know jack about UAVs but the assembly here looks a bit shoddy.  Do you really have to keep track of those little screws?  Seems like you’re just begging for those things to get lost.  Still, what do I know?

Of course, you don’t see it fly either so maybe it’s just the world’s biggest webcam.