Russia's in the news again today. Specifically, UK slams 'brazen' attack on Russian spy as Moscow suspicions grow. Great Britain is furious, and this isn't even the first time that there's been a Russian spy attack in Britain. I found the story of Alexander Litvinenko, back in 2006, an intriguing tale of shadowy espionage. That's some real Spy vs. Spy, Cold War craziness there, that's some scary stuff.
But I'm not as afraid of Russia as I was during the Cold War. Growing up, the Soviet Union was a mysterious place. No one you knew had ever been there, and you'd hear stories of the Soviets being inhuman monsters that longed to nuke us into dust. Today the media still tries to paint Russia as a dark and scary place, but it's not. Cousin Natalie went there a few years ago and took some beautiful pictures. (She's a lawyer.) And, thanks to the wonders modern technology, I can go there right now.
No seriously. Goin' to Russia.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin joked that she could see Russia from her house, then she was roundly mocked by the American Media. Of course she couldn't see Russia from her house in Wasilla, Alaska, but there's a real place in America where you can see Russia physically from your house. In the Bering Straight there are a pair of islands called the Diomede Islands. One island is Russian and one is America.
Little Diomede Island is an American property bought from the Russians in the 1860's and was populated by a couple of dozen natives. All citizens lived in a single settlement on the western shore of the island. Around the year 1900, the population ballooned up to 100, where the community's numbers have stayed steady for over a century. At their closest points, the islands are physically about 2 1/2 miles apart.
Meaning if you were on the roof of the tallest building in Diomede, it is feasible that you could see Russia, but there's nothing to see. Big Diomede Island is...ahem, ahem...
But through the Magic of Google Maps, you can clearly see some activity on the Northern tip of Big Diomede. Is it an abandoned outpost? A scientific station? Other?
Being in the middle of the Bering Straight, it's probably a crab fishing processing center. Point is, the technology for American citizens to look into Russia on Google Maps exists (it's 13 years old.) Not just by overhead pictures, no, down to road level, just like in the States. Okay, I found this story on RT today: Horror in Khabarovsk.
Let's go to Khabarovsk!
On the road along the beautiful Amur River. I followed a road called Pravoberezhnaya Ulitsa for miles. I wonder if this is where they found the hands. The view is from June of 2013
Editors Note: Guardrails in Russia?
Large swaths of the Eastern Russian wilderness and Siberia are unmapped. I don't think they're hiding anything, I think it's because it's largely uninhabited. Like Canada. Now let's aim for something in central Russia. Let's go to Novokuznetsk!
Going down the unpronounceable road of Teatral'nyy Proyezd, I found a cool mural on the side of the street, took a screen shot. I don't know who the people are, don't know historical significance, don't know the age. If you know, well, good for you.
Most of European Russia is covered by Google Maps, isn't the World Cup coming up? Let's find a soccer game. Let's go to Sochi!
Right down Olympic Avenue, there's where Spain and Portugal will be playing on June 15. Imagine how crowded this street will be in mid-June. This stadium was built for the 2014 Winter Olympics and will be re-used for games in the 2018 World Cup. Alright, name just one city in Russia. Of course you just said Moscow. Let's go to Moscow!
So I went all the way around the world, was kicking around the edges of Moscow, and this is what I found. See, the US and Russia aren't that different after all. To me, going down the streets of Moscow on my computer was unimaginable only a few years back. Let's keep going.
Let's go to St. Petersburg!
No matter what city I was in, I did notice alot of the apartment buildings were drab. At least until I got to St.Petersburg. I was going down Kushelevskaya Doroga and this set of domiciles caught my eye. I don't know if they're nice on the inside, but they look nice on the outside. I could do this all night. Let's go to Smolensk!
Let's go to Nizhny Novgorod!
Let's go to Samara!
Let's go to Yakutsk
Okay, you get the picture.
This past week, Putin was sending mixed messages whether Russia wanted to nuke America.
But I found this excellent article at Slate spelling out why we "Shouldn't Buy Putin's Missle Hype."
Long story short, I think that Trump and Putin are putting on a Worldwide-level Reality Show. Both countries should be worried about one thing....
(Beacon of Speech Fans, say it with me)- CHINA
Not in 1917.
Not in 1941.
Not in 1989.
But today. The biggest threat in the World today is China.
Just talking pure logistics, Putin could wake up one morning and wonder how his country of .15 Billion suddenly got overrun by 1.4 Billion Chinese Patriots. China has nearly 10 times the population of Russia, right on their doorstep. Russia can Nuke us, but they can't overrun us. We can Nuke Russia, but we can't overrun them. Do you know how easily Xi Jinping could send 50 million troops pouring across Russian borders? I assume Xi Jinping's Generals have Google Maps.
"I got a message for you Mr. Hunt."