Google Earth Finds an Almost 40 Year Old Tribute to Lenin

September 5, 2008

Lenin is 100!

Only a decade ago, google was simply an internet search engine. Now thanks to its web applications such as the recently released Google Chrome, the company is well on its way to owning every aspect of your online life. Not that I mind, especially considering the fun one has with webapps like Google Earth which continually throw up surprises.

The UK Telegraph has posted a story about how Google Earth has uncovered a tribute to Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin made from Siberian trees that were strategically cut to leave the message “Lenin is 100”.

The message, which translates as “Lenin is 100”, was cut into a forest in a remote region of Siberia. Each letter is around 80 metres high, and the entire message stretches for 600 metres.

It was created by Russian woodcutters in 1970 to mark the centenary of the Communist leader’s birth, according to EnglishRussia, the blog which spotted the image.

Despite the passing of 38 years it has kept its coherent shape, and is now clearly visible on Google Maps and Earth, the internet giant’s satellite mapping services.

The blog says that the reasons for the large scale topiary are unclear, but that it could have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek message of national pride to be picked up by American spy satellites.

The tribute was cut into a forest close to the town of Zverinogolovskoye in the south west of Siberia, near the border with Kazakhstan.

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Don’t Taunt the Bear!

August 13, 2008

South Ossetia comic

At Vodka/Soda we try not to focus too much on current affairs, but this cartoon perfectly encapsulates the recent events in the Caucasus so we couldn’t pass it up :)

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Solzhenitsyn and His Dual Legacy

August 13, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1918-2008

A titan of 20th century literature, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn entered the pantheon of the Russian greats last week, taking his place alongside Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Ivan Turgenev. His legacy is now being debated furiously since different people saw his worth in different ways. Americans tend to applaud his anti-communism and his exposure of Stalin’s prison camp system in The Gulag Archipelago while Russians today turn towards his denunciation of modernism and rabid consumerism that are hallmarks of Materialism.

Solzhenitsyn was an anomaly in his time since he was not only rejected in his homeland thanks to his uncovering of the brutality of the Gulag system, but also because he was rejected in his exile by his hosts whom he criticized for their rampant materialism.

John Laughland takes a look at the great man and this tug of war over his legacy in Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Question. Here’s an excerpt:

The death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn produced predictable reactions from Western commentators. Yes, they said, he was a moral giant for so bravely exposing the evils of the Soviet penitential system in The Gulag Archipelago; but he later compromised his moral stature by failing to like the West and by becoming a Russian nationalist.

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