The city of Ostroh (Ostrog) in what is today Western Ukraine has flown many flags over the past 900 years. Just in the last century, it was part of the Tsarist Russian Empire, then Poland, then the Soviets in 1939, then German occupation during WWII, then the Soviets again in 1944, and finally, since 1991, an independent Ukraine.
It should, therefore, be no surprise that when a local house was torn down in the city, it disgorged some interesting contents.
Some people get all the luck. The best thing I ever found left behind on a house demo was a coffee cup.
The Ural Mountains are the closest thing that Russia has to the Appalachians. This line of hills separate Europe from Asia, Western Russia from Siberia, and were only settled by Europeans about the same time the New World was. Things move at a different pace in the Urals. Even in Russia, there is a very back-woods feel to the region. This is where the last Tsar and his family were taken to for their infamous execution in 1918, the hard mountain locals having no qualms about getting their hands dirty. This is where Stalin hid his weapons factories and secret design bureaus over which CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down in his U-2 spy plane in 1960. You just never know what you are going to find there….
Read more in my column at Firearms Talk