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A House United

A House United | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Why analysts touting Ukraine's East-West division are just plain wrong."

 

This neat picture [of East/West divisions] becomes muddled in the environs of Luhansk and Donetsk. For example, the official website of the Bilokurakyn district of Luhansk province (which borders Russia) is in Ukrainian, and the website's sentiments are distinctly anti-Yanukovych. The countryside and smaller towns of both provinces tend to speak Ukrainian and practice Ukrainian culture. And even in the cities themselves, the vast majority of the population -- minus the pro-Russian chauvinists -- will happily engage Ukrainian speakers in conversation. One Ukrainian history professor at Donetsk State University has been conducting all his lectures in Ukrainian for over a decade. At first some students grumbled -- and he responded by pointing out that if they lack the intellectual ability to understand Ukrainian, they shouldn't be university students. Since then, there have been no complaints and no problems.


Go to Lviv in the West, and you encounter similar subtleties.  The vast majority of Lviv residents are at least proficient in Russian, gladly speak the language, read Russian newspapers and books, and watch Russian television. If a radio is playing in a restaurant or café, chances are as high that it'll be tuned to a Russian station rather than a Ukrainian one. Lviv is especially popular with Russian tourists, who like it for its Middle European feel, old architecture, and Ukrainian distinctiveness. A favorite Russian watering hole is the Kryyivka (Bunker) restaurant, modeled after the underground hideouts used by anti-Soviet Ukrainian nationalists after World War II.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Still a hot spot in Eastern Europe even after the split of the Soviet Union.  The people are split as who to go with the EU, NATO, the West on one side vs. Russia on the other.  As a former Soviet republic there are still strong ties to Russia but many feel they are being sold out by their leaders to the Russians.  Some also feel the West is just interested in the gas and oil that is flowing through their country from Russia....they feel they are being played by both sides...hmmm seems like the cold war again...what do you think?

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Human/Environmental Interactions

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. 


Via Seth Dixon, Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:49 PM

I've read about the disaster of the Aral Sea before when I was taking a class on Eurasian history, but being able to visualize it made it even more striking. It was especially striking when, at the end, the man was talking about the great paradox he sees between people who are being threatened with rising ocean levels and then his people who are threatened by the drying of the Aral. It really does show how humans impact the environment, and demonstrates that areas in which people are manual laborers, working resources, health and environmental conditions tend to be worse. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 12:24 PM

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.

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Moscow tries to calm tensions after anti-migrant riot

Moscow tries to calm tensions after anti-migrant riot | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems that Russia is not exempt from the anti-immigrant feelings that ares preading in Europe.  As the population declines more and more immigrants are entering European countries and Russia in order ti fill the job that have been left open by workers shortages.  The protests seem to be against the illigal immigration of Muslims into Russia.

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Ukraine: West or east?

Ukraine: West or east? | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
ITS very name means “borderland”. Ukraine has long been on the edge between east and west. Now this country of 46m people is poised to tilt westward by signing...

Via Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

Going to be an intersting situation.  Aside from the issues with Russia, will the Ukraine be willing to lose some autonomy and follow the rules, especailly the human rights rules, of the EU.  How much are they willing to give up to be free from Russian influence?  Will they be willing to what some might say is trading one master, Russia, for another, the EU?  What will be the Russian reaction to this, especailly with all the gas they receive from Russia?  Goingt o be an intersting situation soon in this area of the world.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 10:00 PM

The Ukraine is currently stuck in a tug-of-war between the EU and a Russian contrived Central Asian trade agreement. The Economist believes that, thanks to Putin's bullying, the Ukraine will land in the EU's lap. This softpower fight between East and West is a remnant of the Cold War. 

Al Picozzi's comment, October 9, 2013 4:31 PM
Going to be an interesting situation. Russian with its long control of this area historically, from about the mid 17th century until its independence in 1991. Is it Russian fears of the "West" being so close to its border, remeber it was invaded many times from the west, Napoleon, Germany twice, from other western countries during the Russian civil war, including the US? or is it pure ecomonic to compete with the EU or just to deny the EU another member? Another Cold War coming, this one not involving the US?
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Obama cancels meeting with Putin amid Snowden tensions

Obama cancels meeting with Putin amid Snowden tensions | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
In a rare diplomatic snub, President Obama is canceling plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month. 
Al Picozzi's insight:

So, the cold war is over...hmm maybe not.  This issue with the tension in Iran and Syria seems to remind me of the 1980s disputes witht he old Soviet Union.  Seems the US and the Russians are going to butt heads once again.  Will this one last 50+ years? Or is this just another case of seeing who is goiong to blink first and get back to normal relations?  Going to be interesting watch.  See history does tend to repeat itself.

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Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map

Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944.  However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Amazing the amout of people Stalin sent to the gulags as politucal prisoners.  He even sent his own soldiers to them if they were captured and held in German POWs camps.  He though with them just evein seeing the west would lessen his hold.  Completely changed the ethnic geography of Soviet Russia

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 1:09 AM

This article details the ethnic deportation of peoples during the Soviet era. Many peoples were relocated under the guise of creating an ethnically unified Soviet Union but the truth was while some of the deportations were to simply move workers places of planned industry, many were to exile those deemed enemies of the state. The article estimates over 40% of those relocated died of diseases, malnutrition, or mistreatment. These forced migrations changed the demographics of Eastern Europe and Asia while causing major conflicts between various ethnic groups and Russia.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 9:22 AM

This article describes the practice of Lenin and Stalin of Russifacation.  This policy led to many ethnic minorities with in the Soviet Union being deported from their home soil to the interior of Russia.  The aim was to place ethnic Russian in boarder areas and to bring the ‘undesirable’ ethnicity into the interior to become Russian or sent to the gulags to die.  The effects of this mass relocation of ethnicity is still being felt today.  The rising conflict in Ukraine is a direct result from these policies as the country is split between ethnic Ukraine and the decedents of the ethnic Russians move there to secure the ports to the Black Sea.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 12, 1:43 PM

The Soviet Union forced vast amounts of people and ethnic groups out of their historical homelands to settle new areas during the early and mid 20th century. Many of those forced into resettlement died, and today some consider it a genocide or crime against humanity. As ethnic groups were moved out, ethnic Russians were moved in to take their places, and explains why many places outside of Russia (Ukraine) have populations that still maintain strong Russian identities. It also explains why places like Chechnya have such a long history of insurgency and extremism against Russian authority and power.

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.

 

The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   

 

Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

We never heard about this during the Soviet Union as the news was controlled.  Also during the Soviet time I do not believe environmentalists would have gotton the chance to investigate the area.  With the fall of the USSR the world can now see some of the environmental effects that communism had on Russia.  These towns are built around the factory.  Much like the old steele towns in PA, like Allentown.  However Allentown chnaged with the times and is able to support, although it is difficult, the population that was focused on the steele industry.  Here is this remote area of Russia, there is nothing else in the area.  There is no service economy in the area, just the paper factory.  It has been kept open because of Putin who basically said to ignore all environmental laws and regulations and he made sure the environmental groups are not an issue anymore.  Not surprising from a former KGB Lt. Colonel and the Director of the FSB, the sucessor of the KGB.  To solve the issue in these monotowns I think there needs to be government intervention to transition the economies in theses areas.  To keep these factories running in the long run will just hurt all the people in the towns with no end in sight.  However, I do not think this will happen unless there is a change in the leadership of Russia, something I do not think will happen anytime soon.

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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 2:43 PM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:42 AM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 12:05 PM

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

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50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster

50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. ...

 

A haunting gallery that displays the effects of environmental and political mismanagement. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I was 15 when this happened.  The scare of fallout was huge as this was a total meltdown.  I also remember Three Mile Island, PA in 1979 where the scare was not as big as it was only a partial meltdown.  Today though it is the newly independant countires of the Ukraine and Belarus, former Soviet republics, that have to deal with the long term issues.  The pictures here are just errie, like this place just stopped in time and since in can't be inhabited for 10,000 years, it will always look like 1986!

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Ashley Raposo's curator insight, October 16, 2013 7:51 PM

Absolutely frightening to see a city so empty.  To only imgine what could have been in Chernobyl today if this nuclear disaster didn't happen.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 3:03 PM

The pictures are breathtaking.  What was once a modern and prosperous area is now completely devestated and basically irreparable for hundreds of years to come.  In some of the pictures it is possible to see the haste and desertion of buildings and rooms which gives a sense of fear and panic that the people experienced.  There is surely still so much that can be explored, but the radiation limits people and the danger of the area is hard for civilians to be within the boundaries of Chernobyl.  Places like this show how drastic the rise and fall of the Soviet Union really was.  Similar to mono-towns in Siberia, these areas were set up for people to flourish and become successful, but as history went on and disasters ensued, the great empire came crashing down.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:51 AM

These photo's are rather gripping.  Many of the images seen here are of objects that have not moved or been touched in 25 years.  The entire population of Pripyat had to pack their bags and leave all in an instant. The chaos that must have ensued after the nuclear meltdown must have been haunting. Pripyat will remain like this for years to come, and one can imagine what it will look like in 25 more years.

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Israel strikes Russian weapons shipment in Syria

Israel strikes Russian weapons shipment in Syria | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The attack was confirmed by an Obama administration official. The revelation came as Syria met a deadline to destroy chemical production facilities.
Al Picozzi's insight:

The situation is Syria is still in flux and very dangerous.  It seems that they are cooperating with the chemical weapon sanctions that the UN wants but they are still buying Russian weapons for Hezbollah.  Israel has struck before at weapons bound of Hezbollah from Syria.  The weapons are usually long range missles that Hezbollah can use against aircraft, ships and land targets fired from inside Syria.  State support terrorism..I think this shows it is still around.....

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Egypt: Military may turn to Russia for aid and alliance | North Africa

Egypt: Military may turn to Russia for aid and alliance | North Africa | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Egypt has threatened to go it alone on foreign policy issues effectively disregarding its tradition allies - the United States or Israel – after Washington cut military aid.

Via Meagan Harpin
Al Picozzi's insight:

There is a fine line here that the US needs to be carefu on.  Geographically Egypt is extemely important to the US given that it controls the Suez Canal.  It is also an important ally in the fight against terrorism and has the only Arab peace treaty with Israel.  The cut of military aid could all end this.  In driving Egypt to seek aid from the Russians they is no need to keep that peace treaty with Israel, even though I do not think they wil end it, but there is always the possibility.  This is also important geopolitically, with the Chinese making inroads into this area, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/24/us-turkey-china-defence-usa-idUSBRE99N09X20131024 and Russia making its move in this area the US may be n the process of losing influence in this area of the world, something I do not think the US afford.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 17, 2013 5:40 PM

After Washington cut military aid Egypt has begun threating to go alone on foreign policy. Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said that Egypt should turn to Russia for military aid to manage its civil war with terrorism. 

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 4:40 PM

There always seemed to be a tension between the United States and Russia and its former Soviet partnerships.  The military hostility and even threats within the last few years show that relations among the world's superpowers and countries in the Middle East are always up for debate and controversy.  It's no wonder that Egypt threatening to turn to Russia for aid has rasised eyebrows among the international relations and trading traditions.  Though the U.S. can have a tough time assuring the relations among many of the Middle Eastern countries, they are necessary to be fulfilled given the rough history of all participating countries.

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Russia’s DNA: “Fear of Invasion”

Russia’s DNA: “Fear of Invasion” | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Al Picozzi's insight:

This is just a small article that explains a Russian "DNA" and the fear of invasions, especailly from the "west".  Who could blame them, Poland, Sweden, Germany in WW I, then many western countries during the Russian civil war and Germany again in WW II.  Fast forward to todays geographic and political outlook from Russian eyes, NATO more on their border with Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lituania all members and with the growing of the EU economically, this fear within the "DNA" of Russia may not be hard to explain.  History will always shape how people feel and what they believe.

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Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union'

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Russian PM Vladimir Putin calls for the formation of a "Eurasian Union" of former Soviet republics, but says it will not be like the defunct USSR.

 

Russia's cultural influence over former Soviet Republics is strong, but the desire to strengthen these old ties is deeply embedded into the cultural ethos of Russia.  It is also a key part of Russia's geopolitical strategy for greater international influence and economic strength.

 


Via Seth Dixon, Meagan Harpin
Al Picozzi's insight:

So is this just to compete with NAFTA and the EU on an economic level?  Or is this to compete with the EU on economic, political and military level, much like the EU's EuroCorps?  Putin states thie is not a return to the USSR, but Russia has always been weary with the growing of NATO and the EU on its borders.  How about if Turkey gets int the EU right on the Russian border?  This action might move thie bloc creation even more forward and Putin might become more forceful to its creation.  No that former KGB member Putin is foreful.

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:20 AM
Russia's will to start a Eurasian Union seems to be a ploy to recreate a neo-Soviet administration obviously dominated by Russia. Millions of Russians live in these satellite nations so it will be more than easy for Russia to spread its influence and dominate this union. It would also be a bad decision for some of these nations to join in a union with Russia. Some nations, such as Azerbaijan, are rich in oil reserves, and a union with Russia could be detrimental to their development.
Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 2, 2013 12:59 PM

Putin is calling for a Eurasian Union. He said it would change the political and economical configuration of the continent and have positve global effects. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already formed an ecomonical allicance and it removes customs barriers. Putin has however denied that he is propsing for the recreation of the Soviet Union.  

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:26 PM

It is more than understandable that former Soviet satelite states are weary of any kind of union with Russia. However, some sort of treaty could benefit the block, particularly an arangement like the one already held between Russia, Belarus, and Kahzakstan. An agreement that would ease travel between the two countries appears to have little downside.

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Georgian PM Meets Rasmussen, Discusses NATO And Russia

Georgian PM Meets Rasmussen, Discusses NATO And Russia | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says his country will continue on its course of "joining NATO as soon as possible."

Following talks in Tbilisi with visiting NATO Secretar...
Al Picozzi's insight:

So the main question here is, will Russia allow Georgia, which it fought a short five day war in 2008, to join NATO? With this country right against the border of Russia, will they feel even more surrounded?  Estonia, Latvia and Lituania have joined NATO and there are talks also with the Ukraine about membership.  Will Russia allow it? Do they have a choice?  They went to war once with Georgia, why not again?

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Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway

Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you may notice that the commuters around you include a dog - a stray dog, on its own, just using the handy underground Metro to beat the traffic and get from A to B.  Yes, some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's immense and complex subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops."


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

It is not just human's that have to adapt to the environment.  As we have adapted to the wilderness that once existed, animals are now adapting to the new urban areas.  It is just amazing to see what these dogs can do,

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 8:46 PM

Dogs are creatures of habit. They get on at one stop and off at another every day or every so often. This is because there is an abundance of stray dogs and since no one is taking them in, Moscow will continue to have interesting subway surfers among them.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 11:06 AM

Humans commonly think of themselves as separate from nature.  However, we very much are a part of it and animals, like these stray dogs, know it.  When dealing with something more powerful than yourself, you have to learn how to navigate the system in order to survive.  That is exactly what these dogs have done, literally and figuratively, by learning the complex subway systems in Moscow.  It is an example of how animals can adapt to their man-made surroundings and how persistent (the rest of) nature can be.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 5:51 PM

Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you notice that the commuters around you include a stray dog. Some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's complicated subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops. The human commuters around them are so accustomed to it that they rarely seem to notice. As many as 35,000 stray dogs live in Russia's capital city. They can be found everywhere, from markets to construction sites to underground passageways, scrounging for food and trying to survive. Using the subway is just one of many strategies that they use to survive. Living in the streets in tough and these dogs know this better than some humans. What is most impressive about their dogs is their ability to deal with the Metro's loud noises and packed crowds, distractions that domesticated dogs often cannot handle.

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How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan

How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The European country where Skype was born made a conscious decision to embrace the web after shaking off Soviet shackles Eesti keel | Estonian language version...

 

Can you imagine walking over 100 miles without losing your internet connection?  Estonia has done it by making internet access a public service along the lines of water and electricity.  The impacts and effects or profound considering that 9 in 10 Estonians have a computerized ID card that they can use to vote, transfer money and access all the information the state has on them.  Although this may sound very dystopian and authoritarian to many, Estonians argue that it actually empowers citizens to keep the state in check.      


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just an amazing fact to see a county that was once under the controll of the USSR for so long as come so far.  Now a part of NATO and the EU Estonia has stepped out of the control of Russia to become a virbrant place to live.  Once independant and then under the contol of the USSR at the start of WW II it has once again become a nation itself.  Also notice a very different view in the article, the people there feel this electronic system lets them keep and eye on the government and not a big brother view many people in the US have over electronic ID systems.  Is it because they have always been use to being looked at by the government, ie the USSR over the last 50 years and because we are so use to freedoms that we have had for hundreds of years?

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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 15, 2012 1:23 PM
Wow i didn't realize that Estonia created Skype or that they are very dependent on the internet. Good for them, no more Soviet commands.
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:03 PM

I actually like the idea of the computerized ID card.  Yes, undoubtedly from the outside looking in this does appear to have some big brother qualities but I think it's brilliant.  The card allows people to transfer money and vote.  It's also nice to see a country that doesn't just treat their internet use like a toy.  They use it to benefit their society, making it accessible to everyone in the country and not just those who can afford it. 

Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 11:04 AM

I actually had no idea that Estonia birthed Skype. It was an amazing foresight that Estonia immediately jumped into the computer and internet age, and even more surprising that you can get Wi-fi across most of the country, no matter how remote. That's something that hasn't been accomplished in even the US. They had Internet in most schools by 1997 and can even vote online!

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The Russian Cross

Natural Population Growth of Russia.PNG

English: Natural population growth trends of Russia. Data source: Demoscope death rates,Demoscope birth rates, Rosstat

The economic and social turmoil after the fall of the Soviet Union was profound enough to be seen in the demographic statistics.  Birth rates dropped as the death rates went up.  Typically when birth rates drop it is presented as an indicator of social development, but it clearly is not in this instance.  What explains these statistics?  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

An increase in deaths can be seen because of the dramatic change of governments that would have a profouond psychological effect on the people.  The stress that the people went through must have great after being under the Soviet system since 1917.  What does this mean for Russia?  This combined with peole leaving Russia for what they see as a better chance can have sever destablizing effects in the country.  Worker shortages are the 1st thing that comes to mind, maybe even a return to stop people from leaving. With the EU growing NATO expaning, what is Russia goning to do escpecailly with its long history of suspicion of the "West?"

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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 10:37 PM

There is a proliphic correlation between the fall of the Soviet Union and the population rate in Russia. Sometimes it takes statistical images to get a particular message across. With a decrease in male life expectancy,increase in alcoholism as well as an increase in suicide and crime is it is apparent the fall of the "Iron curtain" had an extensive shock wave. In a country with a small population in comparison to it's size this is a astronomical decline.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 20, 9:30 PM

(Russia topic 4)

The "Russian Cross" refers to the point at which Russia's population began to shrink. The number of births 'crossed' beneath the number of deaths occurring in a given period of time. Coinciding with the USSR's collapse, this decline in population hinted at a tougher future for the nation. More elderly and fewer young signify a greater dependency upon those who work, causing more of an economic strain. Ironically, this seems to echo the effects of the American 'baby boomers' as they have been approaching retiring age now. Though other factors are certainly involved, it is interesting to note how different situations as these can have such similar outcomes.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 6:52 PM

This graph shows that while we in the west think of the fall of communism as a freeing and positive event in reality many in Russia have been severely damaged by this. While the Soviet government was known for oppression it also provided security and was dependable. With its fall the people were plunged into confusion leading to a decline in birthrate and a raise in suicide and alcoholism.