Do the Crimean people prefer to be with Russia than with Ukraine?

In July 2016, Donald Trump, as a US presidential candidate was quoted by ABC News as saying: The people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.Politifact confirmed the quote and looked into reports at the time about whether this demonstrated ignorance of the "geopolitical developments" in Crimea. "Okay, well, he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there yet," Trump responded. "You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you're ta...Read more

Uber-style rideshare/taxi services in Russia?

What are my options for rideshare/taxi apps in Russia? I understand Uber is in the process of pulling out, and only covered a few of the largest cities anyway. I'm specifically interested in Irkutsk, but happy to entertain broader answers.Goal: an app that lets me specify pickup & dropoff locations without needing to speak Russian and offers clear pricing or at least a dependable estimate before I book.Update: I used Yandex quite a bit and it worked very well. Just don't rely it outside the city: I was surprised to find that in both Taltsy ...Read more

weapons - Has Egypt sold two French-made Mistral warships to Russia?

Claim: Poland's defense minister Antoni Macierewicz says he believes Egypt has sold two French-made Mistral warships to Russia for the symbolic price of $1.Associated Press, 21/Oct/2016: Antoni Macierewicz made the claim during a parliamentary debate on Thursday and later told reporters he had the information "from good sources" but did not reveal any other details. On Friday he added that "if Egypt would now withdraw from this operation it would be a gain for world peace" and a good lesson for Russia.I tried to find anything about the clai...Read more

russia - What are these hats and the function of those wearing them (worn by the Russian imperial army at Borodino)?

After the battle of Borodoni Franz Roubaud worked on a great panorama painting of 115 meters long.looking at the big panorama painting by Franz Roubaud I noticed that some of the Russian imperial army soldiers were wearing what almost seemed like Santa hats.(Mitre caps as explained in answer)If I am not mistaken this is frame two of the panorama painting.What are these hats and the function of those wearing them?My first guess would be they are officers or special units/soldiers, but a search on the internet did not help....Read more

international politics - Why did Germany launch its spy satellites from Russia?

I just saw this article on a family of German recon sats were all launched from Russia! Why? Why not an Ariane launch from French Guiana? I can understand America buying Russian engines to launch stuff and keep the engines’ designers from working out of Russia, but actually launching your spy sats on Russian rockets just seems like a step too far.Edit: it seems like you’re asking for sabotage if a strategic enemy is launching your spy sat....Read more

Why did Russia accept the legal framework that led to Kosovo's independence?

Kosovo's unilateral secession was judged not illegal by the ICJ based on Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) and the UNMIK (United Nations Mission in Kosovo) regulations promulgating the Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government.Russia did not even abstain during the vote for resolution 1244. It's interesting to draw some contrast between Resolution 1244 and a few other ones that expressly prohibited secession; these arguments were brought up by the pro-independence advocates, cf. Goodwin (2007):in Resolution 787, on the pos...Read more

russia - New surnames for baptized natives

During the colonial era, Christian missionaries on remote frontiers around the world chose new Christian names for the natives they baptized.Apparently the monks who missionized Kamchatka also assigned surnames. A librarian told me that S. I. Vahrin's Secrets of the Kamchatka Names says many Volkovs still lived in areas where Filip Volkov had baptized in the mid-1700s. Volkov is a very common Russian surname, but the librarian made the association with the monk unambiguous. Filip, unable to pass on his name through church-sanctioned parenthood,...Read more

russia - e-Visa for Kaliningrad, TWOV at SVO possible?

for citizens of several countries it is possible to apply for a free e-Visa for the Russian region of Kaliningrad (certain restrictions apply). However most of the flights to Khrabrovo airport in Kaliningrad originate in Moscow. It is possible to do a TWOV (transit without visa) at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, if the following three Timatic conditions are met:Confirmed onward ticket to a third countryOnward flight within 24hOnward flight from the same terminal/terminal complexSheremetyevo airport currently has four terminals, whereas B is se...Read more

russia - What is the furthest north one can get without flying or taking special cruises?

While researching this answer, I learned that there about 5 times per year between late July and September, there are passenger boats from Yakutsk all the way north to Tiksi at 71°39' north. For comparison, the Norwegian North Cape is at 71°10' north and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska is quite far south at 70°20'N, so this passenger boat goes further north than one can drive in either Europe or North America. In fact, to get to Tiksi the boat has to pass along the mouth of the Lena River at 72°25'N before calling at Быковский / Bykovskiye (72°00'N) just...Read more

russia - What is the best way to obtain visas for the Trans-Siberian/Trans-Mongolian Railway?

I'm planning on taking the trans-Siberian / trans-Mongolian from Moscow to Beijing via Ulaan Bataar next year and I'd like some advice on how best to organise the visa situation. I'm a British citizen, my partner is Swedish. We'll need visas for Russia, China and Mongolia. Seeing as you can only book the train tickets like 3 months in advance and you need to get all the visas together in that time as well, the process seems likely to be a bit complicated. Especially if you end up getting declined for a visa.What is the best process or method fo...Read more

russia - Trans-Siberian Express: Stopping along the way?

I'm planning a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express. I've already received excellent advice on a related post, but I've got a couple more questions. My plan is to head from Moscow to Beijing. It's six solid days of train travel, and I'm looking to break up the trip with a few stops along the way.Any recommendations as to where?Since I'd like to travel in either a Spalniy or Kupe compartment, it appears that I would need to book well in advance. How can I best book my tickets if I plan to break my journey into three or four legs?Are there differen...Read more

russia - Did the Creole estate in Russian America encompass Siberian creoles?

A large number of Russian American Company employees and colonists were Creoles, or the product of an ethnic Russian father with a native (Aleut, Tlingit, etc.) mother. They were established as a distinct estate (social class), with different rights and responsibilities than the groups to which their parents belonged.Admixture had already occurred across Siberia, resulting in Creoles of Yakut and Kamchadal origin who voluntarily entered Company service rather than being born in the colonies. Did they receive the same treatment as mixed children...Read more

russia - Can I apply for a Russian visa from the country Georgia?

I will be in Georgia in the Caucasus in a few months and am considering a side trip to Russia; either via the Black Sea to Sochi or across the one land border that is apparently open to foreigners.But considering the recent history and delicate political situation between these countries, is it possible for a foreigner to get a visa to Russia while in Georgia? If not what about Armenia? If not, what other possibilities exist?...Read more

united kingdom - Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

I know that "The Great Game" was originally concerned with Russian-British competition in Central Asia, but my question is was this competition and British fear founded on anything? My understanding of Russian history at this point leads me to believe that the Tsarist empire was not in a position to try and undertake such a massive task. Perhaps I am mistaken about this, but I would like to see evidence supporting, or disproving, the British concerns....Read more