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kottke.org posts about Russia

Face control

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 25, 2009

To sort out the uncultured, ill-tempered, and just plain ugly, Moscow clubs use a process called face control (or feis kontrol), a particularly picky version of the typical velvet rope system employed at clubs around the world.

Not that Pasha doesn’t take his role seriously. As he sees it, his job, or that of any face control expert, is necessary because Russia is filled with “people who have just made their first million and think they deserve to be in the club, that they should get everything they want.” This, of course, is a problem. “But in fact they’re just a bunch of miners and day laborers,” Pasha said. “They don’t have respect or culture.”

Early color photography

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 04, 2009

The color photography of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who plied his trade in Russia in the early 1900s, is making the rounds online again. It’s always worth a look. Prokudin-Gorskii made color photographs using a clever filtering system years before color photography would be widely available. As a result, his work goes on the list of things that seem contemporary but really aren’t.

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

As Mike notes, I first linked to Prokudin-Gorskii’s work more than 8 years ago (!!).

Update: Clayton James Cubitt reminded me that Prokudin-Gorskii took a color portrait of Leo Tolstoy in 1908. (thx, clayton)

Synchronized bridge jumping

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 04, 2009

Synchonized jumping from bridges is a thing in Russia now.

It’s new fun in some Russian cities, to jump from the bridge with the rope in a big group, when there is no water under the bridge but raw firm ice, also they use to jump at that same moment when the train is going thru the bridge — just imagine what the machinist could think when he sees a bunch of people standing on the rails just before the moving train, so he probably starts slowing down and then all those people jump out of the bridge…

Illegal toilet seats

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 29, 2008

As a companion to an offline article about illegal logging, the New Yorker has a video that traces illegally cut wood in Russia to distribution and manufacturing centers in China and eventually a finished toilet seat is shipped to Wal-Mart in the US.

The truth about Russia

posted by Jason Kottke   May 09, 2008

Chip Kidd’s copy of the New York Times reveals the truth behind Russia’s new President: Trickery. (via book design review)

Alexey Titarenko

posted by Jason Kottke   May 02, 2008

Wonderful timelapse photos by Alexey Titarenko of “shadow” people in St. Petersburg just after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This one is stunning. (via heading east)

David Remnick on the current state of

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 01, 2007

David Remnick on the current state of Russian politics and the head of the tiny anti-Putin movement, former chess champion Garry Kasparov.

In recent years, Putin has insured that nearly all power in Russia is Presidential. The legislature, the State Duma, is only marginally more independent than the Supreme Soviet was under Leonid Brezhnev. The governors of Russia’s more than eighty regions are no longer elected, as they were under Yeltsin; since a Presidential decree in 2004, they have all been appointed by the Kremlin. Putin even appoints the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The federal television networks, by far the main instrument of news and information in Russia, are neo-Soviet in their absolute obeisance to Kremlin power.

There’s also an audio interview of Kasparov by Remnick.

Kremlin Inc. is from the New Yorker

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 20, 2007

Kremlin Inc. is from the New Yorker a few weeks ago, but it’s still very worth reading. The article details the current political situation in Russia and how in many ways, the press, business, and the political process are less free and open than under the Soviet regime. “‘I don’t know of a single case in the past six years when the Duma voted against any Presidential initiative,’ Vladimir Ryzhkov, one of the last liberal legislators willing to speak critically and publicly, told me. ‘I also don’t know of any case where the Duma adopted an initiative that came from the regions. One man makes all the rules in Russia now, and the Duma has become like a new Supreme Soviet.’”

Some interesting photos taken in the Moscow subway. (thx, malatron)

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 19, 2007

Some interesting photos taken in the Moscow subway. (thx, malatron)

A collection of almost 1500 Soviet and Russian

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2006

A collection of almost 1500 Soviet and Russian propaganda and advertising posters. (thx, mark)

Powerful photo essay on Chernobyl, 20 years after

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2006

Powerful photo essay on Chernobyl, 20 years after the accident. Photographer Paul Fusco says the damage was so great that he thought he was looking at “a different race of people”. (thx, lisa)

Russia plans to drive a golf ball

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 01, 2006

Russia plans to drive a golf ball off of the ISS with a gold-plated, scandium alloy six-iron into a four-year, low-earth orbit….which may actually damage the space station if the ball is not “hit out of the station’s orbital plane”. I understand this event will be debuting at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Weblog detailing a journey across Russia on the trans-Siberian railway

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 17, 2005

Weblog detailing a journey across Russia on the trans-Siberian railway.

I made a decision a

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 23, 1998

I made a decision a couple days ago. I’m going to stop using all lowercase text in my writing (except for here because the style has already been established and I don’t care to change it).

Why change? It’s getting old, and it is harder for people to read. I’ll still use it occasionally, when it is warranted, but for the most part, I’ll be using capital letters again, just like most of you.

So, if you receive a piece of personal correspondence from me that’s written in lowercase, feel free to kick my ass.