Laika, the first space dog, died in orbit. But the next two – Belka and Strelka – survived. One of Strelka’s puppies was gifted to John F. Kennedy… but not before it was fully scanned for secret listening devices.
In the 1960s and 1970s, both the United States and the Soviet Union explored “peaceful” applications of nuclear weapons: excavating earth for lakes and canals, geological research, and extinguishing gas well fires.
Przewalksi’s horse is genetically distinct from modern horses (it has an extra chromosome pair). It went extinct in the wild in 1969, but a small population was introduced to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in 1998; they have thrived.
Arktika, the second nuclear-powered icebreaker made by the Soviet Union, was the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
In 1917 Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Three years later, more than a thousand actors, circus performers, and ballet dancers stormed it again.
When politicians’ historical crimes catch up with them, what happens to their statues?
When is a protest not a protest? In Russia, when it’s a performance art parody of a protest. But that still didn’t stop the Russian government from overreacting.
Behold the fabulous creatures of myth and legend! The dragon, the phoenix, the basilisk, the roc, the unicorn… and the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary?
The Tsar Bell in Moscow is the largest extant bell in the world – but it has never been rung.
The Turkic sport kyz kuu involves a man, a woman, two horses, a kiss, and a whip.
Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition based on a journey through his late friend’s art exhibit – but what happened to the pictures?
The Sea of Azov, between Ukraine and Russia, is never more than fourteen metres deep. Parts of the sea are shallow enough to wade across.
In the mid-20th century, several countries had plans to construct a flying submarine.
The human gene ABCC11 determines whether your sweat smells bad or not. It also determines whether your earwax is wet or dry.
The sides of Kawa Ijen, a volcano in Indonesia, are wreathed in blue flame.
The Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff has a songwriter credit for the power ballad “All by Myself.”