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Russian history: 3rd week of February

Saturday 15, February 2014, 7:48 pm Red

What happened on this week of February in Russian history? We will talk about the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the last great conflict in which the Soviet Union was involved. We will also remember the day when, after the end of another war, Russia's greatest treasure was returned back to its place. Also one day of February, Radio Liberty began broadcasting from Spain to the whole territory of the USSR and a Russian truck manufacturer began its history. Also, we will find out who gave its name to the city of Sevastopol, and we will remember the day when the construction of the Mir space station began.

The Kremlin Armory

February 20, 1945: After the end of World War II, many valuable items were returned to the Kremlin Armory Museum. These items had to be evacuated to Yekaterinburg (which was named Sverdlovsk between 1924 and 1991) to avoid a possible looting from the Nazis. This museum keeps the most valuable pieces of Russia’s treasury, including a collection of diamonds and precious stones, comparable only to the one in the Tower of London. Among other treasures, this museum in Moscow hosts a 189 carat diamond, the Orlov diamond, that was part of Catherine the Great’s scepter. This diamond is believed to be part of the missing Great Mogul, a 797 carat diamond. The museum also has the largest collection of Faberge eggs in the world.

kremlin
Scepter and crown of the Russian Empire

Afghanistan War

February 15, 1989 marks the end of the withdrawal of the last Soviet troops from Afghanistan. This conflict lasted over ten years and saw up to half a million Soviet soldiers deployed to Afghanistan. It was named the Soviet Vietnam, partly due to the number of casualties, 15.000 Soviet soldiers were killed, with the lack of results. After the withdrawal, Afghan factions continued fighting each other for three years.

Radio Liberty

The radio station "Voice of America", also known as Radio Liberty, starts broadcasting in Russian to the entire Soviet Union on February 17, 1947. It was an anticommunist radio station, financed by the United States which transmitted its signal with enormous antennas placed on a Spanish beach, in the town of Pals. Until the 1990s the Soviet government tried to muffle its signal. From 1953 the Russian service of this station was led by Alexander Gregory Barmine, a Soviet political exile, who married U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt’s granddaughter.

Kamaz

February 16, 1976: Russian company Kamaz manufactures its first truck. Today this company supplies the Russian army but also creates versions of its vehicle for civil purposes. Apart from the quality of their trucks, Kamaz has the record of having won the Dakar Rally 12 times. Also, it was the first Soviet company to become a private corporation.


KAMAZ truck in the Dakar Rally 2009

MIR’s birthday

On February 19, 1986 the first module of the space station Mir is launched. It was the module that would provide the basis for future expansions. Although it was only intended to be in orbit for five years, the space station remained in space for thirteen, while its construction lasted ten. Once completed, the MIR consisted of nine modules that were assembled during nine different space missions.

mir
Main module of the Mir space station

Sevastopol

February 21, 1784: Catherine II "the Great" officially granted the name of Sebastopol to a port and a fortress captured during the Crimean War. The foundation of this town is attributed to Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin, the great Russian military leader. Although today the city belongs to Ukraine, the Russian Federation does not recognize this port as Ukrainian sovereign territory. The headquarters of both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet are located in the city.

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Online Russian lessons

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