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  • Dictatorship of the Air
    describes why the airplane became the most important symbol of industrial progress and international power for generations of Russian statesmen and citizens The book reveals how behind a façade of daredevil pilots record setting flights and gargantuan airplanes Russia s longstanding legacies of industrial backwardness cultural xenophobia and state directed modernization prolonged its dependence upon Western technology and ultimately ensured the USSR s collapse Based on nearly a decade of research but intended for general readers and aviation enthusiasts this clearly written and well illustrated study is the only book in any language to answer the fundamental question What is Russian about Russian aviation Now in Paperback From Cambridge UP Amazon com Dr Scott W Palmer is a historian of modern Russian culture and technology and a frequent traveler to the Russian Federation He has conducted numerous extended visits to Russian archives since 1994 He is the recipient of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship from the National Air Space Museum as well as fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies the Library of Congress the Fulbright Hays Program and the National Endowment for the Humanities Look Inside Table of Contents Introduction Excerpt 1 Excerpt 2 Index Aviation Links

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Avia-Corner
    the photographic archive contains 750 images drawn from the personal papers of two Americans who found themselves in the USSR during the two decades that followed October 1917 Robert L Eichelberger 1886 1961 was a U S military officer who was served in Eastern Siberia with the American Expeditionary Force during the Civil War Frank Whitson Fetter 1889 1992 was an economist who toured southern Russia in the summer of 1930 the height of Stalin s forced collectivization campaign I ve only had time to scan the contents of the collection which is freely available for use in teaching research and private study but from what I ve seen so far it looks fantastic For the entrance to the collection just click here ScP Discussion 0 Getting back up to speed May 20 2009 9 29 am Filed in 1920s Avia Corner Eastern Europe Guest Bloggers Technology While in Europe in late November and early December my friend and colleague Nathan Wood began research on his next project a book length study that will explore the introduction of bicycles automobiles and airplanes in the lands of East Central Europe specifically Austria Czechoslovakia and Poland Tentatively titled East Central Europe in the Age of Speed Nathan s future work promises to shed a great deal of light on a region typically ignored by historians of technology It s a terrific concept Soon after his return from Poland Nathan drafted a short piece describing his project accompanied by a few photos he collected during his travels He graciously agreed to allow me to post them here back in January But as one thing led to another including my first site hack I put off blogging altogether At long last I have resolved to get back up to speed blogging about Russia technology aviation and whatnot So without further delay Here s Dr Nathan Wood on East Central Europe s Age of Speed If East Central Europe is often considered backwards in comparison to its Western neighbors what did this mean in an age of fast new forms of personal transportation Could transportation technologies be seen as a way to catch up or even surpass the center I will look at the mechanics and specialists who built and steered the machines the avant garde and futurist artists and poets who rhapsodized about them and the popular reception of these machines in the illustrated press In the four photos I have selected here you can see something of the interconnectedness of these machines The people who were interested in bicycles were also intrigued with automobiles and airplanes Recall that Orville and Wilbur Wright had a bicycle shop and that Charles Howard the owner of Seabiscuit worked in a bicycle shop before specializing in cars Moreover to the public his knowledge of bicycles meant that he should also know something about cars The inventors of the first plane in Cracow were a Czech and a Pole who worked in an auto garage The Czech pioneers

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » The Cranes are Sleeping
    day the approach is dominated by the mundane topography of podmoskv e the city s suburban region a few roads and railway tracks intersecting forests and fields accompanied by clusters of small summer cottages dachas and some non descript buildings that grow a bit denser as the plane nears the runway Although the landscape has altered somewhat recently thanks to increased development near the airport arriving into Moscow I ve always been keenly aware of how much the view is dominated by the countryside flat open and seeming endless From the air the city is hard to discern It s almost as if it is in hiding enveloped by prostranstvo the vast space that encompasses the country s near limitless hinterlands In direct counterpoint to the sharp verticality of its politics Moscow s topography is decidedly horizontal I am always excited to find myself returning to Moscow But from the standpoint of an aerial eye the arrival has never made much of an impression That changed last week As my plane descended toward Sheremetevo last Friday morning I noticed something that I hadn t seen before Moscow now has a skyline Or to be more accurate it has a skyline now visible from an airplane And it s modern one at that a distinct cluster of steel and glass high rises that emerge from the Eurasian plain to mark the location of the capital and its bustling business center It s certainly not much compared to New York Tokyo or Chicago but it is definitely there The cluster is Moscow City Москва Сити a gigantic 12 billion and counting development project first begun in 1995 It s the latest in a long line of grand strategies to renovate Moscow However as I rode into town toward the apartment where I

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Crumbling Colossus
    styling and Stalinist kitsch A symbolic representation of Soviet victory over Nazi invaders the figure intentionally recalls the Winged Victory of Samothrace Like that ancient masterpiece the Soviet composition communicates dynamism and strength A closer inspection of The Motherland Calls however reveals at least one important difference Cast entirely out of reinforced concrete the dull grey surface interrupted here and there by cracks and the rust marks caused from embedded

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » “Americans in the Land of Lenin”
    USSR during the two decades that followed October 1917 Robert L Eichelberger 1886 1961 was a U S military officer who was served in Eastern Siberia with the American Expeditionary Force during the Civil War Frank Whitson Fetter 1889 1992 was an economist who toured southern Russia in the summer of 1930 the height of Stalin s forced collectivization campaign I ve only had time to scan the contents of

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Getting back up to speed
    people who were interested in bicycles were also intrigued with automobiles and airplanes Recall that Orville and Wilbur Wright had a bicycle shop and that Charles Howard the owner of Seabiscuit worked in a bicycle shop before specializing in cars Moreover to the public his knowledge of bicycles meant that he should also know something about cars The inventors of the first plane in Cracow were a Czech and a Pole who worked in an auto garage The Czech pioneers of motorcycles and autos Václav Laurin and Václav Klement were cycling specialists first and then they designed airplane engines Ferdinand Porsche yes that Porsche designed a revolutionary airplane engine and BMW first built airplanes before specializing in cars In my research I found that bicycling magazines soon had sections on automobiles while car magazines like Samochód the Polish word for automobile had sections on motorcycles motorboats and especially airplanes The question on the cover of this issue one frequently asked in the popular press is Who s faster and defter The plane or the car There is also a sense of progressiveness connected to the new machines especially for women For a woman to ride a bicycle was at first scandalous but of course it was also empowering offering her freedom of movement otherwise impossible in an age when a respectable woman was expected to have an escort in public Note that the girls in the top photo from the 1920s demurely pose sidesaddle for the picture even if they did not ride that way The cover from Auto and Sport from 1928 seems so familiar to us today because we are accustomed to seeing pretty women and fast machines on the cover of specialty magazines almost exclusively for men It is also telling that automobiles and sport are connected

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Back in Action
    to re open to the public in early November Today marks my own return to action here at DotA following a late summer hiatus I suspended blogging during September in order to wrap up one scholarly project and to begin two new ones I ve also returned to teaching following a year off devoted to research and writing courtesy of American taxpayers In the days and weeks to come I

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  • Dictatorship of the Air » Avia-Corner
    upon a collection of rare wartime images contained in the archives of the Moscow House of Photography Московский Дом фотографии to tell the story the USSR s wartime experience Not surprisingly most of the images concerned the battlefield heroism of Red Army soldiers at the front But the exhibit included more than a few photographs drawn from the rear as well including scenes of factory life public demonstrations the air raid shelters in Moscow s metro and bears no really The material from the 2005 exhibit including a 40 minute video produced for the occasion is available for viewing on line As is so often the case with these types of things English language translations are few and far between so non Russian readers will find themselves at a disadvantage To view the photographic collection in chronological order click HERE ScP Discussion 0 The Air Force Museum at Monino A Reader s Report June 22 2008 8 42 am Filed in Avia Corner Monino Museums Yesterday I received an e mail from Tom Geisler a reader who has recently returned from a visit to the Russian Federation While in Moscow Tom organized his own trip out to the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino He s been kind enough to permit me to post his letter Here s what Tom had to say about his visit to the museum Continue Reading Discussion 1 Showdown Air Combat June 11 2008 7 30 pm Filed in Avia Corner General This coming Sunday 15 June at 9 pm CST the Discovery network s Military Channel debuts a new program aimed at aviation history buffs Showdown Air Combat uses restored aircraft and interviews with veteran pilots to recreate aerial combat encounters from the First World to the almost present Continue Reading Discussion 1 A

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