“Fail-Safe”: How a Classic Cold War Novel Still Resonates Today

 

 

I don’t know what the President is doing, but whatever it is he’d better be right.  Khrushchev isn’t going to sit around forever and watch those planes move in on Moscow.  The whole thing rests on the President’s ability to persuade Khrushchev it was an accident.  If he doesn’t, then we’re going to have all-out, 100 per cent, slam-bang, hell-bent war.  That’s right, isn’t it, General?

-Congressman Raskob, “Fail-Safe,” page 206

For those who are familiar with the story of Fail-Safe due to the 1964 film directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda in an unforgettable performance as a U.S. president who finds himself in a nuclear crisis with the Soviet Union, the book is much like the film but delves deeper into the central themes as well as some of the main characters’ psyches and background.

The story explores not only the ideological foundation of the Cold War conflict of 1945 – 1989 and its contribution to creating the immediate crisis but also the related political, psychological and technological foundations.  On the political level, the question is implied throughout: why do ideological differences in how to organize one’s society have to mean confrontation that puts all of humanity at risk as opposed to a “live and let live” approach?  As the US president and Soviet premier (openly referred to as Khrushchev) attempt to deal with the crisis, it is clear that a psychological spiral of long-standing mutual distrust and perceived escalations have made the situation worse, creating circumstances that compound the crisis as it is learned that an understandably suspicious Soviet military leadership has already jammed radio communications on the US nuclear bombers that are on their way to attack Moscow as the result of a mistaken “go” order.  The jamming has prevented the US leadership from communicating the error and an abort mission order to the pilots.

This poisoned atmosphere of distrust leads directly to the horrendous decisions made to resolve the crisis later on.

On the technological side, it is brought out that the US nuclear bombers were given the erroneous “go” order to proceed to Moscow on an attack mission as the result of procedures that were supposedly infallible or as close to it as possible – hence, the term “Fail-Safe”.  In the midst of the crisis, one of the foremost engineers of the system who works for a private contractor, is forced to acknowledge that the more complex a system is, the more error-prone it is:

The fact of the matter is that the machines move so fast, are capable of such subtle mistakes, are so intricate, that in a real war situation a man might not have the time to know whether a machine was in error or was not telling the truth. (page 187)

Furthermore, the political and financial climate in Washington disincentivizes acknowledging potential errors and weaknesses in the system:

Those of us who manufacture the gear, who had some notion of what it was being used for – we never told anyone that it was infallible.  But somewhere in Washington they had to say it was perfect, that it couldn’t make a mistake. General, there is no such thing as a perfect system and they should have told you that….Look, for years there has been a fellow named Fred Ikle, who has been working with the Rand Corporation and the Air Force on how to reduce war by accident.  He has found flaw after flaw in the system, at just the same time that the newspapers were saying it was perfect.  Kendrew over in England has talked about accidental war for years – loud and clear.  So have dozens of others.  Most of us, the best of us on the civilian side, we knew that a perfect system is impossible.  The mistake was that no one told the public and Congress. (page 207)

Thus, technology – typically viewed without question as a convenient solution to excess labor or time-consuming tasks – becomes instead a short-cut that ensnares its subjects.

What is remarkable about Fail-Safe isn’t just its thought-provoking look at a topic of profound importance, but its ability to draw the reader in emotionally through complex and compelling characters who must grapple with the concrete decisions – large and small – that will contribute to the ultimate climax as the story unfolds.

The president, in terms of age, temperament and background is clearly modeled on then-president John F. Kennedy.  The reader gets to know the president through his translator, Peter Buck.  Buck, who was discovered years before to have an uncanny talent for picking up the Russian language, along with its nuances and dialects, has been coasting through his job at the White House while going to law school at night as his services were understood only to be needed in the event of a crisis.  Needless to say, it takes several seconds for it to sink into Buck when he gets the call on the special red phone in his drawer and is instructed by the president to meet him at the entrance to the underground bunker beneath the White House ASAP.

Then there is Walter Groteschele, a nihilistic professor who advocates the most hard-line positions imaginable in theoretical discussions of potential nuclear war, including first-strike actions, rattling off figures on what would constitute an acceptable number of deaths (in the millions) from the ensuing conflagration to still be considered a victory:

In one way, the public way, he was a respectable high priest of civic death.  This dialogue he had raised from a secretive conversation to a respectable art.  It was a game at which he was exquisite.  Almost by his own single-mindedness and wit he had introduced to a whole society the idea that a calm and dispassionate and logical discussion of collective death was an entertainment.  By refinements and logical innovation he had made municipal death a form of style and a way of life. (page 125)

The president has allowed Groteschele to be present and offer his opinions at his teleconferences with his national security team during the crisis.

And there is General Warren Black, a reflective warrior tormented by a recurring nightmare of brutality in which the perpetrator’s identity is elusive, who worries about the implications of conflict in the age of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and is also an old college friend of the president.  He is ultimately (and ironically) tasked with an unimaginable responsibility.

Perhaps the most disturbing difference between 1962 – when Fail-Safe was first published, with the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh on everyone’s mind – and today is that a book like this could be an instant bestseller, with the film version released two years later in competition with Dr. Strangelove.  Unlike Dr. Strangelove, Fail-Safe makes a serious and unflinching examination of the insanity of confrontation between two nuclear superpowers, with the psychological, ideological and technological factors that can still converge in Armageddon more easily than many care to realize.

Unlike half a century ago, we are now bombarded with a popular culture that often seeks to normalize torture, never-ending warfare and militarization of society, rather than provide a space for thoughtful reflection or questioning of these phenomena in its story-telling.  It is difficult to imagine Hollywood coming out with a film like Fail-Safe today or a show like the original Twilight Zone, tackling similar issues every week in a thoughtful way that didn’t rely on gratuitous sex and violence to titillate and attract viewers.

As for the subject matter of Fail-Safe, in reading it today, one can’t help but feel this all sounds too eerily familiar to today’s renewed tensions between Washington and Moscow and the escalations in Eastern Europe with all they could portend.  Both nations still have a ridiculous number of nuclear weapons, with many on hair-trigger alert and fewer lines of communication open as during the original Cold War.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  Many rejoiced when the Cold War ended and hoped for a more cooperative approach to international relations and a peace dividend at home.  Indeed it sometimes feels as though the fates of the US and Russia are bound together in a strange never-ending dance of fear, fascination, competition and contempt.  Whether that fate is inevitable or is being intentionally driven by ideological madmen, drunk on power and messianic visions, holding the fate of humanity in their hands is a matter I have discussed in other articles.

But, unlike articles, which attempt to marshal facts and logic, story-telling is what tends to move people.  Our need and capacity for story-telling is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of being human.  A film, book or other work of story-telling art for a contemporary mass audience that can convey, like Fail-Safe, on such a visceral level, what is at stake in terms of the continuing dangers of geo-politics in the nuclear age is desperately needed.

 

 

The Duran Interviews Joe Lauria: From Journalist to Dissident (VIDEO)

Joe Lauria on Muck Rack

(Photo: https://muckrack.com/unjoe)

Interesting 30-minute interview with veteran journalist Joe Lauria who discusses what’s wrong with western corporate media reporting on international affairs and why it’s dangerous.

http://The Duran Interviews Joe Lauria: From Journalist to Dissident (VIDEO)

 

Hamilton College Levitt Poll: Russian Elite 2016 Survey – Perspectives on Foreign & Domestic Policy

Entrance to Red Square Moscow

(Entrance to Red Square, Moscow; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin, 2015)

Some of the most interesting findings of the 2016 poll of Russian elites, including those at ministerial positions in the executive branch of Russian government, Russian media figures, members of the Duma, and major business people:

  • More elites – 32.1% – regard the inability to solve domestic problems as the “utmost threat” to Russia’s security than any other threat, including the growth of the U.S. military at 7.4%.Terrorism is ranked second on the list, with 22.2% rating it at “utmost threat.” Threats to security posed by border conflicts with the states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) declined and reached an all-time low in 2016, with only 4.5% of Russian elites stating that a border conflict with a CIS state was the “utmost threat” to Russia’s security.
  • Less than 10% of elites would choose the United States as a coalition partner. Asked which coalition partner they would choose – the European Union, China or the United States – 33.7% of those surveyed answered that none of the options would be suitable.
  • For the first time since 1993, more elites report that a country’s military, and not economic, potential is decisive in international relations. In 2016 a majority of elites (52.3%) agreed with the statement that “military force will always ultimately decide everything in international relations.”

The full report and summary is available here:

 

Foremost Russia Expert Stephen F. Cohen Interviewed by John Batchelor: Is War with Russia Possible?

“Finally, Cohen reports, an influential faction in Kremlin politics has long insisted, behind closed doors, that the US-led West is preparing an actual hot war against Russia, and that Putin has not prepared the country adequately at home or abroad. During the past two weeks, this struggle over policy has erupted in public with three prominent members of the Russian elite charging, sometimes implicitly but also explicitly, that Putin has supported his “fifth column” government headed by Prime Minister Dmitrii Medvedev. They are not seeking to remove Putin; there is no alternative to him and his public approval ratings, exceeding 80 percent, are too high. But they do want his government replaced and their own policies adopted. Those policies include a Soviet-style mobilization of the economy for war, and more proactive military policies abroad, especially in Ukraine. Cohen wonders whether US and NATO policymakers are sleepwalking toward war with Russia or whether they actively seek it. ”

 

Please listen to this important interview  at:  https://audioboom.com/boos/4518912-nato-guns-along-the-russian-frontier-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com

Building Civil Society in Russia – An Example from Krasnodar

(Pedestrian thoroughfare in downtown Krasnodar, Russia; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin)

Krasnodar, meaning “beautiful gift”, is located in the Black Sea region of southern Russia.  After suffering a devastating level of damage during the Second World War, Krasnodar showed its independence and resourcefulness when it eschewed financial assistance from Moscow and embarked on its own rebuilding efforts.

Formerly a provincial town in a largely agricultural region, Krasnodar has recently evolved into a cosmopolitan city that is the 8th largest in the country.  It saw a such a high rate of civic construction in 2014 that it surpassed even Moscow.  As a consequence of the challenges presented by this rapid development, Krasnodar is showing its spirit of resourcefulness once again with the rise of the Public Council as an independent citizen initiative to make the city government’s process more responsive to the needs and desires of the people living there.

 Continue reading here

How Crimeans See Ukraine Crisis

A map showing Crimea (in beige) and its proximity to both the Ukrainian mainland and Russia.

(A map showing Crimea (in beige) and its proximity to both the Ukrainian mainland and Russia.)

We had boarded the bus that would transport us from the gates of Moscow’s Vnukovo airport to the plane waiting on the tarmac to fly us to Simferopol, Crimea, when a friendly blonde in her late 30’s asked us in accented English if we were from “The States”?

When we answered that we were, she told us she currently lived in Texas but was going to visit relatives in Crimea. As we chatted more and my travel mate and I explained our reason for going there – to see Crimea for ourselves and find out from the people living there what they thought about the Ukraine war and the peninsula’s reunification with Russia – it became apparent that this lady had a few things she wanted to get off her chest.

“You cannot separate Ukraine from Russia, there is too much culture and history together,” she said.  Choking up on her words, she continued, “American people are good people – I have many friends in the U.S. – but their government leaders are not because they interfere too much in other places. I worry about Hillary [Clinton], you know. When [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi was killed, she said ‘We came, we saw, he died. Ha ha.’ What kind of leader is that? Is she going to be the next president?”

She felt that, due to the violence on the Maidan and Washington’s interference in the form of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland’s manipulations, Putin’s intervention in Crimea was correct:  “Putin did the right thing for Crimea, he is a good leader.”

When we landed in Simferopol, it was clear that the small airport had been recently renovated as everything was clean and freshly painted. After haggling down the price to something reasonable with the proprietor of a taxi service, we loaded ourselves into a cab in which stale cigarette smoke hung thick in the air.

My travel mate, who spoke functional Russian, asked the driver what he thought about Crimea’s reunification with Russia. He replied in broken English, “Historically and ethnically we are Russian, so it is better to be with Russia than Ukraine.” He acknowledged, however, that there were still many problems to be addressed and it would take time, but with Russia they now had hope.

His sentiments would be echoed throughout our stay in Crimea. Tatyana, a professional tour guide from Yalta, told us the next day that, in terms of road repair and airport renovation, there had been more infrastructure investment in one year under Russian governance than there had been in all the 23 years with post-Soviet Ukraine.

Looking around Simferopol, more such investment would obviously be needed. The roads and buildings had not been sufficiently maintained and it gave the place an air of being run down. Alongside that, however, were parks and trees, roads filled with people in cars and packed mini-buses during commute hours, and parents walking on sidewalks clutching the hands of their small children. Everyone was dressed in the typical Western attire one would see in the U.S. and most young people fingered smart phones.

On the bus ride from Simferopol to Yalta, there were many small houses in various stages of disrepair and frozen construction. My travel mate, who had been going in and out of Russia since the 1980s, remarked that it looked like the Soviet era.

As we approached the Yalta coastline, however, the lush trees and sparkling blue water that reflected a sunlit sky, emerged from the mountainous journey, dissipating the gloom. We toured Livadia Palace, the seasonal home of the czars from Alexander II to Nicholas II. It was also the location of the famous Yalta Conference of 1945 where Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin met as WWII was winding down.

Afterwards, we walked down a lane littered with lovely and well-cared for “stray” cats that now took up residence on the grounds of the palace. Then we came to a small two-story restaurant where we had lunch with Tatyana, who articulated the feelings of many Crimeans about the Maidan protests that rocked Kiev in early 2014:

“No one asked us if we wanted to go along with Maidan. There are Russians as well as people who are a mix of Russian and Ukrainian here. We are not against Ukraine as many of us have relatives there, but Maidan was not simply a spontaneous protest. We are aware of the phone call with Victoria Nuland and [U.S. Ambassador] Geoffrey Pyatt, we saw the photos of her with [opposition leaders] Yatsenyuk, Tiagnibok [leader of Svoboda, the neo-fascist group that was condemned by the EU in 2012], and Klitschko on television. We saw the images of her handing out cookies to the protesters.”

We returned to Simferopol that evening and talked to a group of local small business entrepreneurs. They spoke of the many disruptions that the political upheaval with Ukraine and the subsequent reunification had caused. Kiev stopped paying salaries and pensions and even cut off electricity, which prompted Russia to provide generators to hospitals and other establishments where there were significant numbers of people in need.

In fact, Crimea had been dependent upon Ukraine for 70 percent of its power since reunification. Consequently, Russia is in the process of laying a power cable beneath the Kerch Strait from the Krasnodar region, which is now partially operational and will be fully operational by summer of 2016.

In the meantime, Russia had been paying Ukraine $211 million to supply Crimea with energy through the end of 2015. In what is perceived by many to be retaliation for seceding, Ukraine had seriously cut energy supplies to Crimea without notice numerous times throughout 2014 andraised prices by 15 percent. Similar issues with water supply have also been reported.

“Kiev claims they want us back, but then they alienate us even more with these kinds of actions,” said one of the entrepreneurs, shaking his head.

Continue reading here

 

Vladimir Putin: Neither a Monster Nor a Messiah

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

(Vladimir Putin takes presidential oath of office, May 7, 2012; Russian government photo)

Many westerners are understandably disillusioned with Western policies and culture (largely led by the US), both of which have degenerated. The former into unabashed imperialism, militarism (both at home and abroad), and oligarchy and the latter into crass consumerism, sexual exhibitionism and social alienation. Consequently, many of these people are looking for something.

Enter into this picture, Russian president Vladimir Putin — pointing out the tragic folly of western policies (again, largely led by Washington) on the world stage in public forums, countering said folly with a combination of diplomacy and limited military actions in reaction to western provocations and general mess-making.  Simultaneously, in the search for social glue, Putin has encouraged a re-discovery of Russia’s pre-Soviet cultural heritage, with the Orthodox Church playing a significant role and Russians’ social conservatism acknowledged.  All this reflects the concept of boundaries, rootedness and order where the west seems to have long-forgotten each in the arrogant belief it doesn’t need them.

There is also a strong sense of duty and loyalty that Putin personally values — sometimes to an extreme.  These qualities make him attractive to western conservatives, despite the fact that in many ways he is a statist.

In previous writings, I have debunked a number of myths propagated by the western mainstream media that portray Putin as some archetypal monster-villain, Hitler-Stalin-Al Capone-and KGB assassin all rolled into one slipper.

But in my perusal of a wide range of alternative media sites and their comments sections, I have observed another trend, with a segment of people who are viewing Putin as some kind of Messiah figure. Whether right, left or libertarian, these people are justifiably fed up with American empire, propaganda, and the resulting detritus.  However, just like the demonizers, some of these people lack nuance and complexity in their analyses and often have little understanding of Russian culture, political history, and the current complex dynamics in the Kremlin which all factor into who Putin is and his decision-making.

I hate to break it to these people, but Putin is not looking to save the world.

Putin is, first and foremost, a Russian patriot and pragmatist who’s top priorities are the security and stability of Russia as well as improving Russians’ living standards.  Anyone who has an understanding of Russian geography and history immediately comprehends these priorities and why they resonate with the Russian people, who overwhelmingly believe that Putin is a good leader, whatever his flaws admittedly may be.

Putin wants to stop Washington’s regime change madness in Ukraine and the Middle East because it is seriously destabilizing an area that is in Russia’s backyard and, if left unchecked, has the potential to destabilize Russia directly in the future.  To the extent that Putin’s policies countering the Washington empire may lead to a more peaceful and stable world in the future, it is an ancillary benefit and not necessarily Putin’s primary goal.

Putin believes that a multi-polar world with more equitable development and decision-making will provide the conditions in which his three priorities for Russia have the best chance of being fulfilled.

Putin has a history of trying to achieve his real goals using diplomacy and accommodation with the west that is meant to be reciprocal of each party’s interests.  For example, after the 9/11 attacks, Putin was the first world leader to call president Bush to offer his condolences and support.  His reasoning was 2-fold: one, he saw the U.S. and Russia as having a mutual interest in fighting Islamist terrorism; second, he knew that he had a tall order in successfully addressing the many profound problems facing Russia at the time, which included a cratered economy, massive crime and corruption, and the worst mortality crisis since WWII.  He would need to put as much time, energy and resources as he could muster into the project of rehabilitating his country — which meant not wasting precious time, energy and resources in unnecessary conflict with the world’s lone superpower.  Going against the advice of most of his security team, he provided logistical and intelligence support as well as access to temporary military bases on behalf of the U.S. operation in Afghanistan.

In return for this assistance, Putin received the equivalent of a swift kick in the shins from the Neocon Bush administration in the form of a unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to pursue a “missile defense shield” in 2002 and the accession of 7 more nations of Eastern Europe into NATO in 2004.

Seemingly undeterred, in 2008, Putin ordered the Russian Foreign Ministry to draft a proposal that Dmitry Medvedev took to Brussels, outlining a security plan that would cover all of the Euro-atlantic community and Russia, obviating the need for NATO’s continued existence, much less its expansion.

The preamble states that:

…the use of force or the threat of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other way inconsistent with the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations is inadmissible in their mutual relations, as well as international relations in general.

It also reiterates the intent to cooperatively address any security concerns that may arise among members:

Intending to build effective cooperation mechanisms that could be promptly activated with a view to solving issues or differences that might arise, addressing concerns and adequately responding to challenges and threats in the security sphere.

The body of the document contains mechanisms for how dealing with security concerns or breaches of security could be handled.  This proposal was sent to the leaders of relevant nations as well as the heads of EU, NATO and OSCE, emphasizing that Russia was open to suggestions and negotiation on the plan.

Putin’s pursuit of these kinds of policies is less an example of him donning some hippie beads while singing songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, and more a pragmatic realization that, if successfully implemented, they would better enable him to protect and develop his country in a way that is consistent with its particular geography, history and culture.

Of course, Putin and Medvedev heard crickets in response to their proposal.

Not long afterward, Mikheil Saakashvili, egged on by elements in Washington, staged a military incursion into South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers and prompting a military smackdown by Russia.  Five years later, the EU recklessly tried to pressure Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to sign an Association Agreement that contained terms and consequences that would be unwise (to say the least) for the leader of an already poor and divided nation on Russia’s border to agree to.  Again, elements from Washington egged on violent and provocative actions; then, subsequently, pissed and moaned about the more forceful and predictable reaction from Russia, conveniently forgetting the diplomatic gestures for cooperation that had been offered that could potentially prevent and/or resolve these problems in everyone’s interests.

With much of western leadership so irrational and drunk on power, westerners cannot be blamed for admiring an intelligent and pragmatic leader who does not eschew the art of diplomacy on behalf of his country’s interests.

Rob Kall: Is NATO Member Turkey Aiding and Abetting ISIS/DAESH?

 

Photo: Screenshot/Anadolu Agency

Turkey seems to be one of the biggest factors in the abetting, empowering, even training and funding ISIS. Why is the MSM ignoring this? Why are members of congress ignoring this. At Least Joe Biden has talked about it.

It is looking more and more like Turkey, a member of NATO, is massively abetting ISIS, with the United States and NATO looking the other way.

After Turkey shot down a Russian jet, the NY Times reports that Vladimir Putin “called the downing of the Russian fighter a “stab in the back” by those who “abet” terrorism, and he accused Turkey of aiding the Islamic State by helping it sell its oil.”

 

Continue reading here

 

How Russians See the West and Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin taking the presidential oath at his third inauguration ceremony on May 7, 2012. (Russian government photo)

 

After a year and a half of conducting research on Russia, the world’s largest country, mostly for a book I co-authored on the history of post-Soviet U.S.-Russia relations and its context for the Ukraine conflict, it was time for me to finally go see this beautiful, fascinating and complex nation in person and to meet its people on their own terms and territory.

On this maiden voyage to Russia, I visited six cities in two weeks:  Moscow, Simferopol, Yalta, Sevastopol, Krasnodar and St. Petersburg. In each city, I talked to a cross-section of people, from cab drivers and bus riders to civil society workers, professionals, and entrepreneurs of small- to medium-sized businesses.

I even had an opportunity to hear what teenagers had to say in two of those cities as my travel mate and I participated in a Q&A session with students of a private high school in St. Petersburg and teens who were part of various youth clubs in Krasnodar. Their questions reflected a thoughtful engagement with the world as they led to discussions on environmental sustainability, socially responsible economics and how to promote initiative, goodwill and peaceful conflict resolution.

Many of the adults were no less thoughtful during the formal interviews and informal conversations I had with them. Admittedly, I wondered how I would be received as an American during one of the most acrimonious periods of U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War.

It helped that my travel mate has been going in and out of Russia since the 1980s, lives part-time in St. Petersburg, and has developed good relations with many Russians across the country. Once most Russians realized that I came in goodwill and did not approach them or their country with a superiority complex, they usually responded with some combination of curiosity, honesty and hospitality.

Below is a summary of what Russians that I spoke to thought about a range of issues, from their leader to their economy to the Ukraine war, Western media’s portrayal of them and what they wanted to say to Americans.

Continue reading here

Russia Photos

 

 

 

Entrance to Red Square Moscow

Entrance to Red Square, Moscow

GUM Shopping Complex Red Square Moscow

GUM Shopping Complex, Red Square, Moscow

Kremlin Wall Red Square Moscow

Kremlin Wall, Red Square, Moscow

Red Square Moscow 2

Red Square, Moscow

St Basil's Cathedral Red Square Moscow.Edited

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow

Church Rebuilt in 1990s Outside Red Square Moscow

Church destroyed under Stalin’s orders, rebuilt with original blueprints in early 1990’s, outside Red Square, Moscow

Child Breaching Barricades on Red Square Moscow

Child breaches the barricades at Red Square, Moscow

Red Square Squat Building is Lenin's Tomb

Squat building in center is Lenin’s Tomb, Red Square, Moscow

Outside Red Square Moscow

Outside Red Square, Moscow

Bolshoi Theater Moscow.Edited

Bolshoi Theater, Moscow

Moscow Street Life

Moscow Street Life

Lake Park Moscow

Park in Moscow

Mural in downtown Moscow

One of many murals in Moscow

Monument to Soviet Workers Moscow.Edited

Monument to Soviet Worker, Moscow

Gagarin Monument Moscow

Gagarin Monument, Moscow

Monument to DeGaulle Cosmos Moscow

Monument to Charles DeGaulle in front of Cosmos Hotel in Moscow

American Embassy Moscow

The American Embassy in Moscow

Meeting of Public Council in Krasnodar

Meeting of Public Council in Krasnodar, Russia

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

NGO Ladies in Krasnodar II

Civil society workers in Krasnodar

Bus Station in Simferopol Olga

Bus station in Simferopol, Crimea

Father and son bus station simferopol

Father and son wait at bus station in Simferopol, Crimea

Botanical Park in Simferopol Crimea

Botanical park in Simferopol, Crimea

Me at Botanical Park in Simferopol Crimea

Me at botanical park in Simferopol, Crimea

Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory Day Libadia Palace Yalta

Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory Day, WWII, at Livadia Palace, Yalta, Crimea

Courtyard where famous photo of FDR Stalin Churchill was shot Libadia Palace

Courtyard where famous photo of FDR, Churchill and Stalin was shot at Yalta Conference in 1945, Livadia Palace

Room where final documents signed at Yalta Conference Libadia Palace

Room where final documents of the Yalta Conference were signed, Livadia Palace

Room with Paintings of Czar & Czarina at Libadia Palace

Room at Livadia Palace with full portraits of Czar and Czarina

View of Yalta Coastline from Balcony of Libadia Palace

View of Yalta Coastline from balcony at Livadia Palace

Wax Figures of Yalta Conference Libadia Palace

Wax figures of Yalta Conference at Livadia Palace

Bust of Nicholas II at Libadia Palace

Bust of Nicholas II at Livadia Palace

Dock at Naval Base Sevastopol 2

Dock at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Tower Naval Base Sevastopol

Naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Walking Bridge at Naval Base Sevastopol

Walking bridge at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Starducks Coffe Naval Base Sevastopol

Starducks Coffee at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Leader of Black Sea Cossacks Sevastopol

Leader of the Black Sea Cossacks, Sevastopol, Crimea

Retired Naval Officer Sevastopol

Retired naval officer, election monitor during Crimean referendum, Sevastopol

Nicolai with flag in Sevastopol

Nicolai, who was a driver during the “Crimean Spring” aka “Third Defense of Sevastopol” in Sevastopol, Crimea

Billboard of Putin.Russia.Crimea.Forever.Edited

Popular billboard seen throughout Crimea with Putin’s image, it reads “Crimea. Russia. Forever.” 

Church on Spilt Blood St Petersburg NB

Church on Spilt Blood, built on site of Alexander II’s assassination in 1881, St. Petersburg

Astoria Hotel St Petersburg.Edited

Astoria Hotel where Hitler planned to celebrate the taking of Leningrad, St. Petersburg

Peter the Great Monument 2

Peter the Great Monument, St. Petersburg

Palace Square St Petersburg.Edited

Palace Square, where desperate peasants and workers pleaded for justice and were massacred by Nicholas II’s forces in 1905, St. Petersburg

Alexander's Monument in St Petersburg

Alexander’s Column, Palace Square, St. Petersburg

Palace in St Petersburg

Palace in St. Petersburg

Building where Rasputin was Murdered St Petersburg

Building where Rasputin was murdered, St. Petersburg

Russian Art Museum in St Petersburg

Russian Art Museum, Palace Square, St. Petersburg

The Hermitage in St Petersburg

The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

St Petersburg at Night.Edited

One of the palaces in St. Petersburg at night

St Isaac's Cathedral St Petersburg.Edited

St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, St. Petersburg

Singer Sewing Building in St Petersburg

The Singer Sewing Machine Building in St. Petersburg

All photos by Natylie S. Baldwin, 2015

 

 

 

Analysis & Book Reviews on U.S. Foreign Policy and Russia

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