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The Siberian accentor (Prunella montanella) is a small passerinebird that breeds in northern Russia from the Ural Mountains eastwards across Siberia. It is migratory, wintering in Korea and eastern China, with rare occurrences in western Europe and northwestern North America. Its typical breeding habitat is subarcticdeciduous forests and open coniferous woodland, often close to water, although it also occurs in mountains and sprucetaiga. It inhabits bushes and shrubs in winter, frequently near streams, but may also be found in dry grassland and woods.
The Siberian accentor has brown upperparts and wings, with bright chestnut streaking on its back and a greyish-brown rump and tail. The head has a dark brown crown and a long, wide pale yellow supercilium ("eyebrow"). All plumages are quite similar. The nest is an open cup in dense shrub or a tree into which the female lays four to six glossy deep blue-green eggs that hatch in about ten days. Adults and chicks feed mainly on insects, typically picked off the ground, but sometimes taken from vegetation. In winter, the accentors may also consume seeds or feed near human habitation. (Full article...)
The Borodino-class battlecruisers (Russian: Линейные крейсера типа «Измаил») were a group of four battlecruisers ordered by the Imperial Russian Navy before World War I. Also referred to as the Izmail class, they were laid down in late 1912 at Saint Petersburg for service with the Baltic Fleet. Construction of the ships was delayed by a lack of capacity among domestic factories and the need to order some components from abroad. The start of World War I slowed their construction still further, as the imported components were often not delivered and domestic production was diverted into areas more immediately useful for the war effort.
Three of the four ships were launched in 1915 and the fourth in 1916. Work on the gun turrets lagged, and it became evident that Russian industry would not be able to complete the ships during the war. The Russian Revolution of 1917 halted all work on the ships, which was never resumed. Although some consideration was given to finishing the hulls that were nearest to completion, the three furthest from completion were sold for scrap by the Soviet Union during the early 1920s. The Soviet Navy proposed to convert Izmail, the ship closest to completion, to an aircraft carrier in 1925, but the plan was cancelled after political manoeuvring by the Red Army cut funding and she was eventually scrapped in 1931. (Full article...)
Jogaila was the last pagan ruler of medieval Lithuania. After he became King of Poland, as a result of the Union of Krewo, the newly formed Polish-Lithuanian union confronted the growing power of the Teutonic Order. The allied victory at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410, followed by the Peace of Thorn, secured the Polish and Lithuanian borders and marked the emergence of the Polish–Lithuanian alliance as a significant force in Europe. The reign of Władysław II Jagiełło extended Polish frontiers and is often considered the beginning of Poland's Golden Age. (Full article...)
Tsereteli while a member of the Russian Provisional Government, 1917
Tsereteli was born and raised in Georgia when it was part of the Russian Empire. A member of the Menshevik faction of the RSDLP, Tsereteli was elected to the Duma in 1907, where he gained fame for his oratory abilities. Shortly after entering the Duma, Tsereteli was arrested and charged with conspiracy to overthrow the Tsarist government, and exiled to Siberia. A dedicated Social Democrat who believed in the Menshevik ideology, Tsereteli was one of the leading figures of the movement in Russia. In 1915, during his Siberian exile, Tsereteli formed what would become known as Siberian Zimmerwaldism, which advocated for the role of the Second International in ending the war. He also developed the idea of "Revolutionary Defensism", the concept of a defensive war which only allowed for the defence of territory, and argued it was not being utilized. (Full article...)
Marshal Mortier at the battle of Durenstein in 1805, Auguste Sandoz
At Dürenstein, a combined force of Russian and Austrian troops trapped a French division commanded by Théodore Maxime Gazan. The French division was part of the newly created VIII Corps, the so-called Corps Mortier, under command of Édouard Mortier. In pursuing the Austrian retreat from Bavaria, Mortier had over-extended his three divisions along the north bank of the Danube. Mikhail Kutuzov, commander of the Coalition force, enticed Mortier to send Gazan's division into a trap and French troops were caught in a valley between two Russian columns. They were rescued by the timely arrival of a second division, under command of Pierre Dupont de l'Étang. The battle extended well into the night, after which both sides claimed victory. The French lost more than a third of their participants, and Gazan's division experienced over 40 percent losses. The Austrians and Russians also had heavy losses—close to 16 percent—but perhaps the most significant was the death in action of Johann Heinrich von Schmitt, one of Austria's most capable chiefs of staff. (Full article...)
From the film advertising poster, by Izrail Bograd
In the early days of sound cinema, among the various distinguished composers ready to try their hand at film music, Prokofiev was not an obvious choice for the commission. Based in Paris for almost a decade, he had a reputation for experimentation and dissonance, characteristics at odds with the cultural norms of the Soviet Union. By early 1933, however, Prokofiev was anxious to return to his homeland, and saw the film commission as an opportunity to write music in a more popular and accessible style. (Full article...)
Her hull was launched in September 1896, but non-delivery of the ship's main guns delayed her maiden voyage until 1899 and her completion until 1900. In May 1899 Rostislav became the first ship of the Imperial Navy to be commanded by a member of the House of Romanov, Captain Alexander Mikhailovich. From 1903 to 1912 the ship was the flagship of the second-in-command of the Black Sea Fleet. During the 1905 Russian Revolution her crew was on the verge of mutiny, but ultimately remained loyal to the regime, and actively suppressed the mutiny of the cruiser Ochakov. (Full article...)
Born and raised in east Moscow, Streltsov joined Torpedo at the age of 16 in 1953 and made his international debut two years later. He was part of the squad that won the gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and came seventh in the 1957 Ballon d'Or. The following year, his promising career was interrupted by allegations of sexual assault shortly before the 1958 World Cup. Soviet authorities pledged he could still play if he admitted his guilt, after which he confessed, but was instead prosecuted and sentenced to twelve years of forced labour under the Gulag system (abolished in 1960 and replaced by prisons). The conviction was highly controversial, with many pointing to conflicts between Streltsov and government officials. (Full article...)
After the mutineers sought asylum in Constanța, Romania, and after the Russians recovered the ship, her name was changed to Panteleimon. She accidentally sank a Russian submarine in 1909 and was badly damaged when she ran aground in 1911. During World War I, Panteleimon participated in the Battle of Cape Sarych in late 1914. She covered several bombardments of the Bosphorus fortifications in early 1915, including one where the ship was attacked by the OttomanbattlecruiserYavuz Sultan Selim – Panteleimon and the other Russian pre-dreadnoughts present drove her off before she could inflict any serious damage. The ship was relegated to secondary roles after Russia's first dreadnought battleship entered service in late 1915. She was by then obsolete and was reduced to reserve in 1918 in Sevastopol. (Full article...)
Due to the length of the front lines created by the German 1942 summer offensive, which had aimed at taking the Caucasus oil fields and the city of Stalingrad, German and other Axis forces were over-extended. The German decision to transfer several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe exacerbated their situation. Furthermore, Axis units in the area were depleted by months of fighting, especially those which had taken part in the struggle for Stalingrad. The Germans could only count on the XXXXVIII Panzer Corps, which had the strength of a single panzer division, and the 29th Panzergrenadier Division as reserves to bolster their Romanian allies guarding the German Sixth Army's flanks. These Romanian armies lacked the heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor. In contrast, the Red Army deployed over one million personnel for the offensive. Soviet troop movements were not without problems: concealing their build-up proved difficult, and Soviet units commonly arrived late due to logistical issues. Operation Uranus was first postponed by the Soviet high command (Stavka) from 8 to 17 November, then to 19 November. (Full article...)
Although James Clerk Maxwell made the first color photograph in 1861, the results were far from realistic until Prokudin-Gorsky perfected the technique with a series of improvements around 1905. His process used a camera that took a series of monochrome pictures in rapid sequence, each through a different colored filter. Prokudin-Gorskii then went on to document much of the country of Russia, travelling by train in a specially equipped darkroomrailroad car.
Lenin, a Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker, was both the world's first nuclear-powered surface ship and the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel. The ship entered operation in 1959 and worked to clear sea routes for cargo ships along Russia's northern coast. Nuclear power proved to be an ideal technology for a vessel working in such a remote area, as it obviated the need for regular replenishment of fuel. From 1960 to 1965, the ship covered over 85,000 mi (137,000 km) during the Arctic navigation season, of which three-quarters was through ice. After being decommissioned in 1989, the vessel was subsequently converted into a museum ship and is now permanently based at Murmansk.
Yuri Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space; his capsule, Vostok 1, completed a single orbit of Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour. In 1967, he served as a member of the backup crew for the ill-fated Soyuz 1 mission, after which the Russian authorities, fearing for the safety of such an iconic figure, banned him from further spaceflights. However, he was killed the following year, when the MiG-15 training jet that he was piloting with his flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin crashed near the town of Kirzhach.
This photograph of Gagarin, dated July 1961, was taken at a press conference during a visit to Finland approximately three months after his spaceflight.
A Boyar Wedding Feast is an oil-on-canvas painting created by Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky in 1883. The boyars were members of the highest rank of the feudal aristocracy of Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries, and a wedding was an important social event. In this painting, the guests are depicted toasting a newlywed couple. They stand at the head of the table, where the groom sees his bride without her veil for the first time; she appears timid and bashful as the men toast for the first kiss. Behind the couple, the Lady of Ceremony gently urges on the bride. A roasted swan is being brought in on a large platter, the last dish to be served before the couple retires to the bedroom. The work is in the collection of the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, in Washington, D.C.
The Solovetsky Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery in Solovetsky, Arkhangelsk, Russia. Founded in 1436 by the monk Zosima, the monastery grew in power into the 16th century, becoming an economic and political center of the White Sea region and eventually hosting 350 monks. After the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet authorities closed down the monastery and incorporated many of its buildings into Solovki prison camp, one of the earliest forced-labor camps of the gulag system. The camp closed after the region's trees had been harvested. Today the monastery has been re-established, and also serves as a museum.
An aerial view of the Field of Mars, a large park in central Saint Petersburg, Russia, pictured in 2016. It is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The park's history goes back to the 18th century, when it was converted from bogland and named the Grand Meadow. Later, it was the setting for celebrations to mark Russia's victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War. Its next name, the Tsaritsyn Meadow, appears after the royal family commissioned Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli to build the Summer Palace for Empress Elizabeth. It became the Field of Mars during the reign of Paul I. Towards the end of the 18th century, the park became a military drill ground, where they erected monuments commemorating the victories of the Russian Army and where parades and military exercises took place regularly. After the February Revolution in 1917, the Field of Mars became a memorial area for the revolution's honoured dead. In the summer of 1942, as the city was besieged by the German army in the Siege of Leningrad, the park was covered with vegetable gardens to supply food. An eternal flame was lit in the centre of the park in 1957, in memory of the victims of various wars and revolutions.
Maslenitsa, a 1919 painting depicting the carnival of the same name, which takes place the last week before Great Lent. The painting encompasses a broad range of things associated with Russia, such as snowy winter weather, a troika, an Orthodox church with onion domes. Painted in the aftermath of the October Revolution, the canvas was intended as a farewell to the unspoilt "Holy Russia" of yore.
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the world's greatest novelists. He is best known for War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. Born to an aristocratic family on 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828, Tolstoy was orphaned when he was young. He studied at Kazan University, but this was not a success, and he left university without completing his degree. During this time, he began to write and published his first novel, Childhood, in 1852. Tolstoy later served at the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War, and was appalled by the number of deaths and left at the conclusion of the war. He spent the remainder of his life writing whilst also marrying and starting a family. In the 1870s he converted to a form of fervent Christian anarchism.
The Chesme Column is a victory column in the Catherine Park at the Catherine Palace, a former Russian royal residence in Tsarskoye Selo, a suburb of Saint Petersburg. It was erected to commemorate three Russian naval victories in the 1768–1774 Russo-Turkish War, including the Battle of Chesma in 1770. The column is made from three pieces of white-and-pink marble; decorated with the rostra of three ships' bows, and crowned by a triumphal bronze statue depicting a Russian eagle trampling a crescent moon, the symbol of Turkey. Bronze plaques on three sides of the pedestal depict scenes from the battles, and the campaign is described on the plaque on the fourth side.
This photo of the Nilov Monastery on Stolobny Island in Tver Oblast, Russia, was taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky in 1910 before the advent of colour photography. His process used a camera that took a series of monochrome pictures in rapid sequence, each through a different coloured filter. By projecting all three monochrome pictures using correctly coloured light, it was possible to reconstruct the original colour scene.
The Kiel Institute reports that pledges of aid to Ukraine have significantly decreased, reaching their lowest level since the beginning of the war. The amount of aid pledged to Ukraine has dropped by nearly 90% compared to the same period in 2022.(Al Jazeera)