Who are the Black Widows?


(FEDERALJACK)   In the past few days it’s emerged that Russia is hunting for three women it suspects of planning to carry out suicide attacks ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics: Ruzanna Ibragimova, Djannet Tcakhaeva and Oksana Aslanova. These women are being referred to in the media as “Black Widows”, a chilling phrase that in recent years has become associated with some of the worst terrorist attacks Russia has ever seen, including the 2004 siege of a school in Beslan, South Ossettia in which 186 children were killed. The term refers to female suicide bombers who have usually lost a husband, brother or other close relative in the past two decades of violence between Islamist separatists in the North Caucuses region and Russia.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Terrorists, and The 2014 Olympic Games

 bandar bush

(FEDERALJACK)   A few months ago, during the last insane push for an invasion into Syria, Saudi Arabia threatened Russia with terrorist attacks if they didn’t stop supporting Syria and blocking any attempt of an invasion. We all know that Russia didn’t back down, and so far no military invasion, yet. Flash forward to this week, suddenly Russia has had two terror attacks in as many days, leading up to the Olympics. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Follow the money, I bet it leads to the Saudis, and by proxy the CIA.

Antarctica by Sea

(RT) Travel to Antarctica onboard the “Akademik Fyodorov” ship. The vessel carries a year supply of food and fuel for Russian stations on the southern-most continent. Hundreds of miles lie ahead before the ship can reach the icy shores of Antarctica.

Russian Federal Guards to Buy Typewriters to Avoid Eavesdropping


(THE MOSCOW TIMES)   Following the much-publicized leaks of secret information by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Russia’s Federal Guard Service has decided to revert to using typewriters to produce secret documents.

A tender to purchase 20 electric typewriters for 486,540 rubles ($15,000) was published on the government’s procurement website on July 3. According to the announcement, the equipment must be delivered to the special agency by Aug. 30.

The Federal Guard Service is responsible for ensuring the protection of top officials, including the president of Russia.

An unidentified source in the service told Izvestia newspaper that following reports that the NSA targeted then President Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to Britain for the Group of 20 summit in London, the agency has decided “to expand the usage of hard-copy documents.”

Each of the typewriters will have its own signature, so it will be easy to trace where a particular document came from.

The revelation came as a result of a large-scale leak by Snowden, who currently finds himself stuck in extraterritorial limbo in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport while he awaits decisions on his asylum requests to different countries. A number of Latin American countries have spoken out in support of Snowden, who is trying to escape being brought to justice in the United States.

Typewriters and cipher machines were heavily used in the 20th century with the German Enigma machine being the most famous one. Breakthroughs in code-breaking techniques significantly contributed to Allied victory in World War II.


Russian family lived in wilderness for 40 years and missed World War II


(RAW STORY)   A family of religious refugees lived in the Siberian wilderness for 40 years completely cut off from civilization. According to an article published Monday in Smithsonian magazine, when archeologists found the Lykov family, they were on the verge of starvation and had no knowledge of major events of the last half century, including World War II.

The steep mountains and thick forests of Siberia make up the forbidding terrain known as the taiga. It is one of the most isolated and deserted places left on the planet, with winters that stretch from September to May. Its five million square miles are largely uninhabited save by bears and wolves and the occasional lonely villages, which are home to only a few thousand people. These chilly, pine-forested wastes stretch from “the furthest tip of Russia’s arctic regions as far south as Mongolia, and east from the Urals to the Pacific.”

Siberia provides Russia with much of its oil and mineral resources, but the terrain is treacherous to navigate in summer and impassable in winter. In the summer of 1978, a team of Soviet surveyors were flying over a heavily wooded valley looking for a safe place to land a crew of geologists. The sides of the valley, which was formed by a tributary of the Abakan River, were nearly vertical and almost impossibly narrow, with rows of slender pine and birch trees that tossed and swung in the downdraft from the helicopter rotor.

The pilot was looking for a place to set down when he saw something he did not expect, a clearing with man-made rows for cultivation. Some 6,000 feet up the mountainside, someone had dug a large garden. The surveyors reported back to the four scientists who were running the exploration mission that they had found signs of human habitation. The scientists were initially alarmed.

Journalist Vasily Peskov wrote in his 1990 book Lost in the Taiga that in this part of Siberia, “It is less dangerous to run across a wild animal than a stranger.”

At length, the geologists, led by scientist Galina Pismenskaya, decided that rather than wait at their temporary base, 10 miles away, they would muster an exploration party. Pismenskaya recalled that the team “chose a fine day and put gifts in our packs for our prospective friends.” But, she said, just to be sure, she packed her pistol as well.

As they made their way up the mountain, the Soviet team began to encounter signs of human habitation, a path, cut trees, a tiny shack filled with cut and dried potatoes. Then, Pismenskaya said, they found the cabin.

“Beside a stream there was a dwelling,” she said. “Blackened by time and rain, the hut was piled up on all sides with taiga rubbish—bark, poles, planks. If it hadn’t been for a window the size of my backpack pocket, it would have been hard to believe that people lived there. But they did, no doubt about it. Our arrival had been noticed, as we could see.”

The door of the cabin opened and a barefoot old man came out, “straight out of a fairy tale,” Pismenskaya described him as looking “frightened and very attentive.”

“Greetings, grandfather,” she said to him. “We’ve come for a visit.”

Uncertainly, and seemingly with great reluctance, the old man said that since they had traveled so far, they might as well come in.

They found five people, the old man, Karp Lykov, 81, his sons, Savin, 54 and Dmitry, 38. Karp’s two daughters, Natalia and Agaifa, were 44 and 37. Karp and his wife Akulina had fled into the taiga with their family in 1936 to escape religious persecution. The Lykovs were members of a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox sect called the Old Believers, who had been subject to ridicule and harassment since the reign of Russia’s Peter the Great.

Living on potatoes, leaves and whatever animals Dmitry could hunt and kill, the family had survived in the wilderness, completely cut off from civilization. The two youngest, Dmitry and Agaifa, had never met anyone outside their own family.

The family had endured many hardships, including the gradual disintegration of anything made of metal they had brought with them, ultimately resulting in the loss of all cooking pots and kettles for water. They had lived, at times, on shoe leather and leaves. Akulina died of hunger in 1961 when she decided to feed her children rather than herself.

The Lykovs would accept no gifts from the visiting scientists at first except salt, which had been “true torture” to go without for 40 years, said Karp. His sons and daughters knew of a world beyond their forest, with nations and cities and wars, but these things were an abstraction. They knew nothing of World War II or the technological advances that had occurred since the 1930s.

Karp refused to believe that men had set foot on the moon, but was quick to grasp the concept of satellites because the family had observed them as early as the 1950s, when “the stars began to go quickly across the sky.” Karp concocted a theory that mankind had invented fires like the stars that they could send up into the sky.

The younger son, Dmitry, became a favorite with the scientists. He was the first of the family to visit the Soviets’ camp downstream. He was an avid woodsman who had learned to read the taiga’s moods from day to day and season to season. He was particularly enchanted with the camp’s sawmill, which converted trees to clean boards before his very eyes, a task that took him days to do by hand.

Sadly, only three years after being introduced to outsiders, three of the Lykov children fell ill and died within days of each other. Natalia and Savin died of kidney failure in 1981, brought on by their years of inadequate nutrition. Dmitry died of pneumonia, presumably from an infection he caught from interacting with outsiders for the first time in his life.

Dmitry’s friends among the Soviets begged him to allow them to call a helicopter and have him flown to a hospital to treat his pneumonia. He refused, whispering, “We are not allowed that,” moments before he died. “A man lives for howsoever God grants.”

Karp died in his sleep five years later in 1988. With the help of the scientists, his daughter Agaifa laid him to rest, then returned to the family’s cabin. She resisted all entreaties to join surviving relatives back in the villages at the edge of the taiga.

An oil driller named Yerofei Sedov who became close with the family wrote of leaving Agaifa on the day of her father’s funeral, “I looked back to wave at Agafia. She was standing by the river break like a statue. She wasn’t crying. She nodded, Go on, go on.’ We went another kilometer and I looked back. She was still standing there.”

Agaifa Lykov still lives by herself in the family cabin. She is now in her 70s.

Mystery of Stalin’s Death

(RT)   This Soviet figure was probably one of the most prolific leaders the world has ever known. He led the Soviet Union to victory during the Second World War, though many suffered greatly under his rule. His personal life was complicated, and the circumstances surrounding his death still remain a secret. He was the man with an iron heart: Joseph Stalin.

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