Operation Uranus (Russian: Опера́ция «Ура́н», romanised: Operatsiya "Uran") was the codename of the SovietRed Army 19–23 November 1942 strategic operation on the Eastern Front of World War II which led to the encirclement of the GermanSixth Army, the Third and Fourth Romanian armies, and portions of the German Fourth Panzer Army. The operation was executed at roughly the midpoint of the five-month long Battle of Stalingrad, and was aimed at destroying German forces in and around Stalingrad. Planning for Operation Uranus had commenced in September 1942, and was 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 preparation 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 offensives' 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 created by the German summer offensive, aimed at taking the Caucasus oil fields and the city of Stalingrad, German and other Axis forces were forced to guard sectors beyond the length they were meant to occupy. The situation was exacerbated by the German decision to relocate several mechanized divisions from the Soviet Union to Western Europe. Furthermore, units in the area were depleted after months of fighting, especially those which took 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, due to the difficulties of concealing their build-up, and to Soviet units commonly arriving late due to logistical issues. Operation Uranus was first postponed from 8 to 17 November, then to 19 November. (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...)
The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a trout and species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead (sometimes called "steelhead trout") is an anadromous (sea-run) form of the coastal rainbow trout(O. m. irideus) or Columbia River redband trout(O. m. gairdneri) that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead.
Adult freshwater stream rainbow trout average between 1 and 5 lb (0.5 and 2.3 kg), while lake-dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 lb (9 kg). Coloration varies widely based on subspecies, forms and habitat. Adult fish are distinguished by a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most vivid in breeding males. (Full article...)
Nansen's Fram expedition of 1893–1896 was an attempt by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen to reach the geographical North Pole by harnessing the natural east–west current of the Arctic Ocean. In the face of much discouragement from other polar explorers, Nansen took his ship Fram to the New Siberian Islands in the eastern Arctic Ocean, froze her into the pack ice, and waited for the drift to carry her towards the pole. Impatient with the slow speed and erratic character of the drift, after 18 months Nansen and a chosen companion, Hjalmar Johansen, left the ship with a team of dogs and sledges and made for the pole. They did not reach it, but they achieved a record Farthest North latitude of 86°13.6′N before a long retreat over ice and water to reach safety in Franz Josef Land. Meanwhile, Fram continued to drift westward, finally emerging in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The idea for the expedition had arisen after items from the American vessel Jeannette, which had sunk off the north coast of Siberia in 1881, were discovered three years later off the south-west coast of Greenland. The wreckage had obviously been carried across the polar ocean, perhaps across the pole itself. Based on this and other debris recovered from the Greenland coast, the meteorologist Henrik Mohn developed a theory of transpolar drift, which led Nansen to believe that a specially designed ship could be frozen in the pack ice and follow the same track as Jeannette wreckage, thus reaching the vicinity of the pole. (Full article...)
Originally built in the Middle Ages by Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych, the monastery comprises the Cathedral itself, the Refectory of St. John the Divine, built in 1713, the Economic Gates, constructed in 1760 and the monastery's bell tower, which was added c. 1716–1719. The exterior of the structure was rebuilt in the Ukrainian Baroque style in the 18th century while the interior remained in its original Byzantine style. The original cathedral was demolished by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s, but was reconstructed and opened in 1999 following Ukrainian independence in 1991. (Full article...)
The discovery of tennessine was officially announced in Dubna, Russia, by a Russian–American collaboration in April 2010, which makes it the most recently discovered element . One of its daughter isotopes was created directly in 2011, partially confirming the results of the experiment. The experiment itself was repeated successfully by the same collaboration in 2012 and by a joint German–American team in May 2014. In December 2015, the Joint Working Party of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, which evaluates claims of discovery of new elements, recognized the element and assigned the priority to the Russian–American team. In June 2016, the IUPAC published a declaration stating that the discoverers had suggested the name tennessine after Tennessee, United States, a name which was officially adopted in November 2016. (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 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 JapaneseYamato class and America's planned Montana class in size if any had been completed, although with significantly weaker firepower: nine 406-millimeter (16.0 in) guns compared to the nine 460-millimeter (18.1 in) guns of the Japanese ships and a dozen 16-inch (406.4 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...)
Bolstered by publicity stunts, Land of the Soviets was a commercial success in Belgium, and also witnessed serialisation in France and Switzerland. Hergé continued The Adventures of Tintin with Tintin in the Congo, and the series became a defining part of the Franco-Belgian comics tradition. Damage to the original plates prevented republication of the book for several decades, while Hergé later expressed embarrassment at the crudeness of the work. As he began to redraw his earlier Adventures in second, colour versions from 1942 onward, he decided against doing so for Land of the Soviets; it was the only completed Tintin story that Hergé did not reproduce in colour. Growing demand among fans of the series resulted in the production of unauthorised copies of the book in the 1960s, with the first officially sanctioned republication appearing in 1969, after which it was translated into several other languages, including English. Critical reception of the work has been largely negative, and several commentators on The Adventures of Tintin have described Land of the Soviets as one of Hergé's weakest works. (Full article...)
In mid- to late-19th-century Russia, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and a group of composers known as The Five had differing opinions as to whether Russian classical music should be composed following Western or native practices. Tchaikovsky wanted to write professional compositions of such quality that they would stand up to Western scrutiny and thus transcend national barriers, yet remain distinctively Russian in melody, rhythm and other compositional characteristics. The Five, made up of composers Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, sought to produce a specifically Russian kind of art music, rather than one that imitated older European music or relied on European-style conservatory training. While Tchaikovsky himself used folk songs in some of his works, for the most part he tried to follow Western practices of composition, especially in terms of tonality and tonal progression. Also, unlike Tchaikovsky, none of The Five were academically trained in composition; in fact, their leader, Balakirev, considered academicism a threat to musical imagination. Along with critic Vladimir Stasov, who supported The Five, Balakirev attacked relentlessly both the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which Tchaikovsky had graduated, and its founder Anton Rubinstein, orally and in print.
As Tchaikovsky had become Rubinstein's best-known student, he was initially considered by association as a natural target for attack, especially as fodder for Cui's printed critical reviews. This attitude changed slightly when Rubinstein left the Saint Petersburg musical scene in 1867. In 1869 Tchaikovsky entered into a working relationship with Balakirev; the result was Tchaikovsky's first recognized masterpiece, the fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, a work which The Five wholeheartedly embraced. When Tchaikovsky wrote a positive review of Rimsky-Korsakov's Fantasy on Serbian Themes he was welcomed into the circle, despite concerns about the academic nature of his musical background. The finale of his Second Symphony, nicknamed the Little Russian, was also received enthusiastically by the group on its first performance in 1872. (Full article...)
Euler was one of the most eminent mathematicians of the 18th century and is held to be one of the greatest in history. He is also widely considered to be the most prolific, as his collected works fill 92 volumes, 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...)
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.
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 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.
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.
The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, which holds ballet and opera performances. The company was founded on 28 March [O.S. 17 March] 1776, when Catherine the Great granted Prince Pyotr Urusov a licence to organise theatrical performances, balls and other forms of entertainment. Usunov set up the theatre in collaboration with English tightrope walker Michael Maddox. The present building was built between 1821 and 1824 and designed by architect Joseph Bové.
A female Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), a subspecies of tiger native to Central Asia, and her cub. The Siberian tiger is the largest of the extant tiger subspecies as well as the largest felid, attaining 320 kg (710 lb) in an exceptional specimen. Considered an endangered subspecies, the wild population is down to several hundred individuals and is limited to eastern Siberia.
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...)
We bow our heads in respect for those Soviet women who displayed exceptional courage in the severe time of war. Never before but during the days of the war the grandeur of spirit and the invincible will of our Soviet women, their selfless dedication, loyalty and affection to their Homeland, their boundless persistence in work and their heroism on the front manifested themselves with such strength.