Operation Uranus (Russian: Опера́ция «Ура́н», romanised: Operatsiya "Uran") was the codename of the SovietRed Army's 19–23 November 1942 strategic operation on the Eastern Front of World War II which led to the encirclement of Axis forces in the vicinity of Stalingrad: the GermanSixth Army, the Third and Fourth Romanian armies, and portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army. The Red Army carried out the operation at roughly the midpoint of the five-month long Battle of Stalingrad, aiming to destroy German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced in September 1942, and developed simultaneously with plans to envelop and destroy German Army Group Center (Operation Mars) and German forces in the Caucasus. The Red Army took advantage of the German army's poor preparations for winter, and the fact that its forces in the southern Soviet Union were overstretched near Stalingrad, using weaker Romanian troops to guard their flanks; the offensive's starting points were established along the section of the front directly opposite Romanian forces. These Axis armies lacked heavy equipment to deal with Soviet armor.
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 relocate several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe exacerbated their situation. Furthermore, Axis units in the area were depleted after months of fighting, especially those which had taken part in the fighting in 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 on the German Sixth Army's flanks. In comparison, the Red Army deployed over one million personnel for the purpose of beginning the offensive in and around Stalingrad. 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...)
The Sovetsky Soyuz-class battleships (Project 23, Russian: Советский Союз, "Soviet Union"), also known as "Stalin's Republics", were a class of battleships begun by the Soviet Union in the late 1930s but never brought into service. They were designed in response to the Bismarck-class battleships being built by Germany. Only four hulls of the fifteen originally planned had been laid down by 1940, when the decision was made to cut the program to only three ships to divert resources to an expanded army rearmament program.
These ships would have rivaled the Imperial Japanese Yamato class and America's planned Montana class in size if any had been completed, although with significantly weaker firepower: nine 406-millimeter (16 in) guns compared to the nine 460-millimeter (18.1 in) guns of the Japanese ships and a dozen 16-inch (406 mm) on the Montanas. The failure of the Soviet armor plate industry to build cemented armor plates thicker than 230 millimeters (9.1 in) would have negated any advantages from the Sovetsky Soyuz class's thicker armor in combat. (Full article...)
The Shuttle–Mir program was a collaborative 11-mission space program between Russia and the United States that involved American Space Shuttles visiting the Russian space stationMir, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to engage in long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.
The project, sometimes called "Phase One", was intended to allow the United States to learn from Russian experience with long-duration spaceflight and to foster a spirit of cooperation between the two nations and their space agencies, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The project helped to prepare the way for further cooperative space ventures; specifically, "Phase Two" of the joint project, the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). The program was announced in 1993, the first mission started in 1994 and the project continued until its scheduled completion in 1998. Eleven Space Shuttle missions, a joint Soyuz flight and almost 1000 cumulative days in space for American astronauts occurred over the course of seven long-duration expeditions. In addition to Space Shuttle launches to Mir the United States also fully funded and equipped with scientific equipment the Spektr module (launched in 1995) and the Priroda module (launched in 1996), making them de facto U.S. modules during the duration of the Shuttle-Mir program. (Full article...)
The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of (the) chemical elements, is a tabular display of the chemical elements. It is widely used in chemistry, physics, and other sciences, and is generally seen as an icon of chemistry. It is a graphic formulation of the periodic law, which states that the properties of the chemical elements exhibit a periodic dependence on their atomic numbers.
The table is divided into four roughly rectangular areas called blocks. The rows of the table are called periods, and the columns are called groups. Elements from the same column group of the periodic table show similar chemical characteristics. Trends run through the periodic table, with nonmetallic character (keeping their own electrons) increasing from left to right across a period, and from down to up across a group, and metallic character (surrendering electrons to other atoms) increasing in the opposite direction. The underlying reason for these trends is electron configurations of atoms. (Full article...)
Pallas's leaf warbler is one of the smallest Palearcticwarblers, with a relatively large head and short tail. It has greenish upperparts and white underparts, a lemon-yellow rump, and yellow double wingbars, supercilia and central crown stripe. It is similar in appearance to several other Asian warblers, including some that were formerly considered to be its subspecies, although its distinctive vocalisations aid identification. (Full article...)
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (Norwegian: [ˈfrɪ̂tːjɔf ˈnɑ̀nsn̩]; 10 October 1861 – 13 May 1930) was a Norwegian polymath and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He gained prominence at various points in his life as an explorer, scientist, diplomat and humanitarian. He led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis. He won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his Fram expedition of 1893–1896. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of polar travel and his innovations in equipment and clothing influenced a generation of subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
Nansen studied zoology at the Royal Frederick University in Christiania and later worked as a curator at the University Museum of Bergen where his research on the central nervous system of lower marine creatures earned him a doctorate and helped establish neuron doctrine. Later, neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal won the 1906 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on the same subject. After 1896 his main scientific interest switched to oceanography; in the course of his research he made many scientific cruises, mainly in the North Atlantic, and contributed to the development of modern oceanographic equipment. (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. Early the next year his promising career was interrupted by a rape scandal. The 20-year-old Streltsov was accused of raping a woman shortly before the 1958 World Cup; told he could still play if he admitted his guilt, he confessed, despite inconclusive evidence against him. He was instead convicted and sentenced to twelve years in the Gulag system of forcedlabour camps. (Full article...)
Ivan Goremykin (1839–1917) was a Russian prime minister during World War I. A politician with archconservative views, after some time in the Ministry of Justice, he transferred to the Ministry of the Interior in 1891. He held the rank of prime minister from May to July 1906 and again from 1914 to 1916; during both terms his effectiveness was strongly limited by opposition from the State Duma. In the aftermath of the October Revolution, Goremykin was recognized as a member of the Tsarist government and killed by a street mob.
Charles Minard's Carte figurative (1869), which details the losses of men, the position of the army, and the freezing temperatures on Napoleon's disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia. Created in an effort to show the horrors of war, the graph "defies the pen of the historian in its brutal eloquence" and has been called the best statistical graphic ever drawn.
The Portrait of Chaliapin is an oil-on-canvas painting by Boris Kustodiev, produced in 1921. Feodor Chaliapin was a Russian opera singer; possessing a deep and expressive bass voice, he enjoyed an important international career at major opera houses. He is depicted here wearing an expensive fur coat, which had come from a Soviet warehouse containing items confiscated from rich people during the Russian Revolution, and which he had received in lieu of payment for a performance. The background shows festivities at the traditional folk holiday of Maslenitsa. Dressed in a smart suit and holding a cane, Chaliapin is portrayed as having risen above his contemporaries. His favourite dog is at his feet and, at the bottom left, his two daughters stroll on the festive square in front of a poster promoting his concert. This copy of the painting is in the collection of the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Kikin Hall, commissioned by Alexander Kikin in 1714, is one of the oldest buildings in Saint Petersburg. Incomplete at the time of Kikin's execution, the building was seized by the Russian crown and used for a variety of purposes. In the 1950s, Irina Benois arranged for the restoration of the dilapidated building. It is now home to a music school.
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.
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.
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.
Barge Haulers on the Volga is an oil painting on canvas completed between 1870 and 1873 by the realist artist Ilya Repin. It depicts eleven men physically dragging a barge on the banks of the Volga River. Depicting these men as at the point of collapse, the work has been read as a condemnation of profit from inhumane labor. Barge Haulers on the Volga drew international praise for its realistic portrayal of the hardships of working men, and launched Repin's career. It has been described as "perhaps the most famous painting of the Peredvizhniki movement [for]....its unflinching portrayal of backbreaking labor". Today, the painting hangs in the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.
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.
The Tauride Palace is one of the largest and most historic palaces in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was designed by Ivan Starov for Prince Grigory Potemkin, and was constructed between 1783 and 1789. After the owner's death, it was purchased by Catherine the Great, who constructed a theatre in the east wing and a church in the west wing. Many improvements were also made to the grounds, including construction of the Admiralty Pavilion, the gardener house, the orangery, glass-houses, bridges, and ironwork fences. Although the exterior of the building was rather plain, the interior was very luxurious. More recently, the building housed the first Imperial State Duma (1906–1917) and the post-revolution provisional government.
Euler is held to be one of the greatest mathematicians in history and the greatest of the 18th century. A statement attributed to Pierre-Simon Laplace expresses Euler's influence on mathematics: "Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all." Carl Friedrich Gauss remarked: "The study of Euler's works will remain the best school for the different fields of mathematics, and nothing else can replace it." Euler is also widely considered to be the most prolific; his more than 850 publications are collected in 92 quarto volumes, (including his Opera Omnia) more than anyone else in the field. He spent most of his adult life in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and in Berlin, then the capital of Prussia. (Full article...)
Russia demonstrates the use of unmanned ground vehicles in combat formations during the weeklong Zapad joint military exercises with Belarus. The two vehicles demonstrated were the Uran-9, a tracked vehicle equipped with a 30 mm autocannon, machine gun, anti-tank missiles and a flamethrower; and the Nerekhta, equipped with a mounted machine gun and a grenade launcher as well as cargo capacity. (Military.com)
Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain — at least in a poor country like Russia — and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.