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.su was assigned as the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Soviet Union (USSR) on 19 September 1990. Even though the Soviet Union itself was dissolved a mere 15 months later, the .su top-level domain remains in use today. It is administered by the Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN, or RosNIIROS in Russian transcription).
- ".su" | 2019-09-18 | 353 Upvotes 226 Comments
Alcohol Belts of Europe
The alcohol belts of Europe divide Europe by their traditional alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, or spirits. They do not necessarily correspond with current drinking habits, as beer has become the most popular alcoholic drink world-wide. The definitions of these belts are not completely objective.
- "Alcohol Belts of Europe" | 2019-08-31 | 166 Upvotes 130 Comments
Alexey Chervonenkis found dead
Alexey Yakovlevich Chervonenkis (Russian: Алексей Яковлевич Червоненкис; 7 September 1938 – 22 September 2014) was a Soviet and Russian mathematician, and, with Vladimir Vapnik, was one of the main developers of the Vapnik–Chervonenkis theory, also known as the "fundamental theory of learning" an important part of computational learning theory. Chervonenkis held joint appointments with the Russian Academy of Sciences and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Alexey Chervonenkis got lost in Losiny Ostrov National Park on 22 September 2014, and later during a search operation was found dead near Mytishchi, a suburb of Moscow. He had died of hypothermia.
- "Alexey Chervonenkis found dead" | 2014-09-24 | 50 Upvotes 24 Comments
A Russian scientist who was struck by a particle accelerator beam
Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski (Russian: Анатолий Петрович Бугорский), born 25 June 1942, is a Russian scientist.
- "A Russian scientist who was struck by a particle accelerator beam" | 2014-07-27 | 172 Upvotes 30 Comments
- "The Man Who Was Hit By A Proton Beam" | 2011-01-11 | 60 Upvotes 9 Comments
Gay concentration camps in Chechnya (April 2017)
Anti-gay purges in the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian Federation, have included forced disappearances — secret abductions, imprisonment, torture — and extrajudicial killing by authorities targeting persons based on their perceived sexual orientation. An unknown number of people, who authorities detained on suspicion of being gay or bisexual, have reportedly died after being held in what human rights groups and eyewitnesses have called concentration camps.
Allegations were initially reported on 1 April 2017 in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian-language opposition newspaper, which reported that since February 2017 over 100 men had allegedly been detained and tortured and at least three had died in an extrajudicial killing. The paper, citing its sources in the Chechen special services, called the wave of detentions a "prophylactic sweep". The journalist who first reported on the subject went into hiding. There have been calls for reprisals against journalists who report on the situation.
As news spread of Chechen authorities' actions, which have been described as part of a systematic anti-LGBT purge, Russian and international activists scrambled to evacuate survivors of the camps and other vulnerable Chechens but were met with difficulty obtaining visas to conduct them safely beyond Russia.
The reports of the persecution were met with a variety of reactions worldwide. The Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov denied not only the occurrence of any persecution but also the existence of gay men in Chechnya, adding that such people would be killed by their own families. Officials in Moscow were skeptical, although in late May the Russian government reportedly agreed to send an investigative team to Chechnya. Numerous national leaders and other public figures in the West condemned Chechnya's actions, and protests were held in Russia and elsewhere. A report released in December 2018 by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed claims that persecution of LGBT persons had taken place and was ignored by authorities.
On 11 January 2019, it was reported that another 'gay purge' had begun in the country in December 2018, with several gay men and women being detained. The Russian LGBT Network believes that around 40 persons were detained and two killed.
- "Gay concentration camps in Chechnya (April 2017)" | 2017-04-14 | 40 Upvotes 13 Comments
Soviet version of the Space Shuttle
Buran (Russian: Бура́н, IPA: [bʊˈran], meaning "Snowstorm" or "Blizzard"; GRAU index serial number: "11F35 K1") was the first spaceplane to be produced as part of the Soviet/Russian Buran programme. It is, depending on the source, also known as "OK-1K1", "Orbiter K1", "OK 1.01" or "Shuttle 1.01". Besides describing the first operational Soviet/Russian shuttle orbiter, "Buran" was also the designation for the entire Soviet/Russian spaceplane project and its orbiters, which were known as "Buran-class spaceplanes".
OK-1K1 completed one uncrewed spaceflight in 1988, and was destroyed in 2002 when the hangar it was stored in collapsed. The Buran-class orbiters used the expendable Energia rocket, a class of super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
- "Soviet version of the Space Shuttle" | 2011-01-27 | 33 Upvotes 28 Comments
Chekhov's gun (Russian: Чеховское ружьё) is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make "false promises" by never coming into play. The statement is recorded in letters by Anton Chekhov several times, with some variation:
- "Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there."
- "One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep." Chekhov, letter to Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev (pseudonym of A. S. Gruzinsky), 1 November 1889. Here the "gun" is a monologue that Chekhov deemed superfluous and unrelated to the rest of the play.
- "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." From Gurlyand's Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in Teatr i iskusstvo 1904, No. 28, 11 July, p. 521.
Ernest Hemingway mocked the interpretation given by English instructors to the principle. He gives in his essay "The Art of the Short Story" an example of two characters that are introduced and then never again mentioned in his short story "Fifty Grand". Hemingway valued inconsequential details, but conceded that readers will inevitably seek symbolism and significance in these inconsequential details.
- "Chekhov's Gun" | 2021-09-05 | 257 Upvotes 172 Comments
- "Chekhov's Gun" | 2020-05-14 | 93 Upvotes 72 Comments
- "Chekhov's gun" | 2013-10-13 | 11 Upvotes 8 Comments
A closed city or closed town is a settlement where travel or residency restrictions are applied so that specific authorization is required to visit or remain overnight. They may be sensitive military establishments or secret research installations that require much more space or freedom than is available in a conventional military base. There may also be a wider variety of permanent residents including close family members of workers or trusted traders who are not directly connected with its clandestine purposes.
Many closed cities existed in the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. After 1991, a number of them still existed in the CIS countries, especially Russia. In modern Russia, such places are officially known as "closed administrative-territorial formations" (закрытые административно-территориальные образования, zakrytye administrativno-territorial'nye obrazovaniya, or ЗАТО ZATO for short).
- "Closed city" | 2016-08-01 | 84 Upvotes 27 Comments
- "Atomgrads" | 2013-06-08 | 31 Upvotes 11 Comments
Belyayev's Fox Experiment
Dmitry Konstantinovich Belyayev (Russian: Дми́трий Константи́нович Беля́ев, 17 July 1917 – 14 November 1985) was a Russian geneticist and academician who served as director of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics (IC&G) of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, from 1959 to 1985. His decades-long effort to breed domesticated foxes was described by The New York Times as “arguably the most extraordinary breeding experiment ever conducted.” A 2010 article in Scientific American stated that Belyayev “may be the man most responsible for our understanding of the process by which wolves were domesticated into our canine companions.”
Beginning in the 1950s, in order to uncover the genetic basis of the distinctive behavioral and physiological attributes of domesticated animals, Belyayev and his team spent decades breeding the wild silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) and selecting for reproduction only those individuals in each generation that showed the least fear of humans. After several generations of controlled breeding, a majority of the silver foxes no longer showed any fear of humans and often wagged their tails and licked their human caretakers to show affection. They also began to display spotted coats, floppy ears, curled tails, as well as other physical attributes often found in domesticated animals, thus confirming Belyayev’s hypothesis that both the behavioral and physical traits of domesticated animals could be traced to "a collection of genes that conferred a propensity to tameness—a genotype that the foxes perhaps shared with any species that could be domesticated".
Belyayev’s experiments were the result of a politically motivated demotion, in response to defying the now discredited non-Mendellian theories of Lysenkoism, which were politically accepted in the Soviet Union at the time. Belyayev has since been vindicated in recent years by major scientific journals, and by the Soviet establishment as a pioneering figure in modern genetics.
- "Belyayev's Fox Experiment" | 2020-01-25 | 109 Upvotes 30 Comments
Russian Domesticated Red Fox
The Russian domesticated red fox is a form of the wild red fox (Vulpes vulpes) which has been domesticated to an extent, under laboratory conditions. They are the result of an experiment which was designed to demonstrate the power of selective breeding to transform species, as described by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species. The experiment was purposely designed to replicate the process that had produced dogs from wolves, by recording the changes in foxes, when in each generation only the most tame foxes were allowed to breed. In short order, the descendant foxes became tamer and more dog-like in their behavior.
The program was started in 1959 in the Soviet Union by zoologist Dmitry Belyayev and it has been in continuous operation since. Today, the experiment is under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut, in Russia, at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk.
- "Russian Domesticated Red Fox" | 2015-11-06 | 96 Upvotes 30 Comments