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Russian women’s hockey league releases new calendar (PHOTOS)

Meet 12 Russian professional female hockey stars

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(Sputnik) – A new photoshoot by prominent  photographer Pyotr Titarenko, who has worked for L’uomo Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes and many more, features the most outstanding and beautiful  representatives of 7 hockey clubs from all over Russia. Here is the full list to draw real inspiration from (photo credit: WHL press service):

Anna Prugova (“Agidel”)

Anna Prugova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Anna Prugova

Two-time bronze medal holder in the world’s championship, four-time winner of European Champs Cup, four-time Champ of Russia, two-time silver medal winner of the Women’s Hockey League (WHL). She has been a goalkeeper since she was 11: back then she fell in love with hockey in her native city of Khabarovsk, paying special attention to goalkeeping. Cheerful and incredibly full of life, she is extremely energetic when defending the goal.

Maria Pechnikova (“Agidel”)

Maria Pechnikova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Maria Pechnikova

International Winter Universiade Champ (2015), silver medal winner in European Champs Cup, two-time gold and four-time silver winner of the Russian championship. She tried various sports, but finally opted for hockey, after Dad had given her an ice hockey stick. Reticent and firm, she loves hockey for its beauty, strength and tremendous teamwork.

Oksana Afonina (“Arctic-University”)

Russia’s champion as “Tornado” player. She started playing ice hockey in her native Pervouralsk, eventually advancing to the high-profile “Spartak — Mercury” team. Oksana was part of the national and youth team during numerous international ice hockey tournaments. Boasting 8,000 subscribers on Instagram, she demonstrates not only a perfect performance, but astonishingly trendy looks.

Oksana Afonina

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Oksana Afonina

Evgeniya Dyupina (“Dinamo-Spb”)

Evgeniya Dyupina

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Evgeniya Dyupina

Two-time winner of the International Winter Universiade (2015, 2017). Love for hockey runs in her family, her father being a hockey coach. She boasts a wide Hollywood smile, as well as perfect speed and accuracy in her ice hockey play. Openhearted with her close circle of friends, she turns into a real predator on an ice rink.

Diana Kanaeva (“Dinamo-Spb”)

Diana Kanaeva

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Diana Kanaeva

Bronze winner of the Youth Hockey Championship in 2015. Diana preferred a stick and a puck to a ribbon and clubs: she did gymnastics as a little girl, but having once tried hockey she couldn’t resist it. Delicate and graceful, accurate and quick as a panther, Diana steals everybody’s heart both on the ice and in life.

Nadezda Morozova (“Biryusa”)

Nadezda Morozova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Nadezda Morozova

Bronze winner of the World Championship in 2016, two times champ of the International Winter Universiade (2015, 2017), bronze prize holder of the WHL Championship (2016). A cousin to the famed forward player Alexey Morozov, she tried for three years to talk her parents into letting her follow in her brother’s footsteps. She firmly holds her rank as one of the top three goalkeepers of the league. Perfectly cheerful, she shares her uplifting mood with those around.

Tatiana Shatalova (“Biryusa”)

Tatiana Shatalova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Tatiana Shatalova

Bronze winner of the WHL Championship in 2016

As a little girl, she tried to persuade her parents to let her play ice hockey, but they flatly refused. As she made up her mind to do boxing instead, mom and dad gave in, saying ice hockey would be a better choice. Strong-willed, she sets herself goals and strives to achieve them, with a sense of humor and commitment.

Anastasia Smirnova (“Scythian”)

Anastasia Smirnova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Anastasia Smirnova

Gold and silver winner of the EuroCup. Before taking a hockey stick, she actively participated in beauty pageants, was in Russian designer Vyacheslav Zaytsev’s class and took part in his displays. She started playing hockey at 19 and by 20 signed her first sporting contract. She thus proved it is never too late to opt for hockey.

Tatiana Shchukina (Sverdlovsk regional team)

Tatiana Shchukina

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Tatiana Shchukina

Three times Russian champion. She started playing hockey at the age of 13 in Podolsk, Moscow region. A year later she chose to be a goalkeeper and has been one ever since. She makes up for the lack of extreme going downhill skiing. She is deeply fond of reading classics and contemporary foreign literature, as well as visiting impressionist exhibitions.

Nina Pirogova (“Tornado”)

Nina Pirogova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Nina Pirogova

Bronze winner of the 2016 International Championship. She was born into a family of sportsmen. In her childhood she walked round the flat wearing her brother’s skates, tried on his hockey kit, and not surprisingly, followed in his footsteps. Though remembered for notoriously taking part in an emotional fight at the youth championship, she loves reading books and devotes her leisure time to education and is now in search of her favorite place around the world.

Alevtina Shtaryova (“Tornado”)

Alevtina Shtaryova

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Alevtina Shtaryova

Bronze winner of the Youth Championship in 2015.

She started taking a vivid interest in hockey following her brother’s example. Having tried lots of activities from swimming to dancing, it took her nearly half a year to persuade her parents that hockey was her cup of tea. Natural shyness doesn’t prevent her from demonstrating firmness and resilience on the ice, as explicitly shown in her ratings.

Anna Shokhina (“Tornado”)

Anna Shokhina

© PHOTO: WHL PRESS SERVICE Anna Shokhina

Started training in a youth sports school in Dmitrov, Moscow region. Made her debut in the 2012/2013 Russian Championship. Leader of Hockey Club “Tornado,” the WHL’s top scorer in 2016/2017, with her KPI amounting to a staggering +69.

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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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Kaspersky Lab snags former NSA contractor stealing hacking tools

Semi-buried article did see publication on Politico and Fox News, but Kaspersky Lab was not vindicated for its help in solving this case.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In a time known for Smear Campaigns of the Strangest Kind, we have seen Russia blamed for being there, for interfering and preventing the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Presidency, putting Donald Trump in the White House instead. One of Russia’s companies, Kaspersky Lab, has a particularly notable history of late; that is to say, this computer security company has found itself on the receiving end of quite frankly, illegal levels of slander and punishment without cause from the US government. Kaspersky Lab owner and CEO tried very hard to come to the US to discuss these matters with a Congressional committee, only to have the meeting shelved into limbo.

However, the truth made itself manifest when it became known that Kaspersky Lab actually helped the American FBI catch Harold T. Martin III, who was found to be attempting to steal some of the American government’s most sensitive hacking tools. This fact emerged on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, when sources familiar with this investigation spoke to The Politico magazine. Politico says the following in its report:

[Kaspersky Lab’s] role in exposing Martin is a remarkable twist in an increasingly bizarre case that is believed to be the largest breach of classified material in U.S. history.

It indicates that the government’s own internal monitoring systems and investigators had little to do with catching Martin, who prosecutors say took home an estimated 50 terabytes of data from the NSA and other government offices over a two-decade period, including some of the NSA’s most sophisticated and sensitive hacking tools.

The revelation also introduces an ironic turn in the negative narrative the U.S. government has woven about the Russian company in recent years.

Under both the Obama and Trump administrations, officials have accused the company of colluding with Russian intelligence to steal and expose classified NSA tools, and in 2016 the FBI engaged in an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit the company and get its software banned from U.S. government computers on national security grounds. But even while the FBI was doing this, the Russian firm was tipping off the bureau to an alleged intelligence thief in the government’s own midst.

“It’s irony piled on irony that people who worked at Kaspersky, who were already in the sights of the U.S. intelligence community, disclosed to them that they had this problem,” said Stewart Baker, general counsel for the NSA in the 1990s and a current partner at Steptoe and Johnson. It’s also discouraging, he noted, that the NSA apparently still hasn’t “figured out a good way to find unreliable employees who are mishandling some of their most sensitive stuff.”

The Politico piece as well as Fox News’ variant still seem somewhat determined to keep that negative narrative in place, with Fox assessing that the FBI had a “strange bedfellow” in the investigation, and what appears to be an absolutely enormous presumption in Politico’s piece:

The first message sent on Aug. 13, 2016, asked one of the researchers to arrange a conversation with “Yevgeny” — presumably Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky, whose given name is Yevgeny Kaspersky. The message didn’t indicate the reason for the conversation or the topic, but a second message following right afterward said, “Shelf life, three weeks,” suggesting the request, or the reason for it, would be relevant for a limited time.

However, there are many people in the world named “Yevgeny” (Evgeny, or Eugene) in Russia, and presumably many Evgenys in Kaspersky Lab itself. The notion that the CEO of the company would be involved in this appears to be an absolutely enormous leap of logic.

The maintenance of a negative narrative about Kaspersky Lab has been one of the most frustratingly effective examples of American propaganda in use since Russia overall became increasingly used as America’s newest scapegoat.

This is also not the first time that Kaspersky Lab saved the day for an American intelligence agency. In 2017 the same company’s services found 122 viruses on an NSA employee’s computer.

Kaspersky Lab itself is a highly sophisticated company based in Moscow, Russia, specializing in securing computers against malware, viruses, ransomware and all manner of invasive efforts by the bad guys out on the ‘Net, and among the providers of such services it consistently rates among the best in the industry, including in US surveys. While US retailers Best Buy, Office Depot and the US government have banned selling or running Kaspersky Lab software, European allies of the US have not even breathed the slightest bit of discontent with the AV provider. The narrative is the only thing that is actually wrong, and since Evgeny Kaspersky’s education was largely at the Academy that trained former KGB personnel, (now called FSB), the anti-Russia narrative in the US the acronym “KGB” is usually enough to alarm most low-information American news readers and watchers. 

However, logic and awareness of life in modern Russia, point to the fact that getting an education on security at the FSB Academy ought to be equivalent to the same education at the CIA. Who would know better about how to create security than those people specially trained to compromise it? However the propaganda vantage point that Kaspersky afforded the US government in its drive to get rid of President Donald Trump made the Russian company too juicy a target to ignore.

Over the last year or two, however, this narrative has slowly been falling apart, with this Politico article being a significant, though still small vindication of the company’s prowess and abilities.

That a Russian Internet Security company could succeed where American enterprises failed, and especially where it helped the Americans catch a man who was stealing very powerful hacking tools, is a significant story, indeed.

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