Mr. Putin: Tear Down this Satellite Image!

Eli Binder ’15 and Max Jenkins-Goetz ’15

The last twenty-five years has seen the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of a new Russian Federation. Our relations with the ‘Evil Empire’ have eased considerably over the years, but the ‘Northern Menace’ still has a lot to hide. One ominous, looming threat against the United States is the covert activity happening on a certain island in northern Russia.

October Revolution Island: an island shrouded in secrecy. Situated in the Artic Circle, just north of Siberia, it is an ideal location for covert activities. Providing a blanket of ice and snow, nature serves as an ideal cover for clandestine occupations. But Mother Earth doesn’t cover everything—Google Inc. does the rest.

Google Maps provides unique concealment for the October Revolution Island. Its satellite view indiscreetly censors a large swath of the region in CIA-style black and white stripes. Something is clearly going on. The question is: what? The only possible explanation for this anomaly is that the Russians are up to something … something bad.

Google, a private corporation, accommodates government requests to censor content deemed to be in violation of local laws. Google has reported 108 requests for censorship from Russia alone. Let me repeat: 108. Yet not one of these requests involved the censorship of October Revolution Island on Google Maps. 107 of these requests concerned content related to suicide and drugs while the other referred to a video that caused religious outcry. These are commonly available statistics; clearly, Russia has no qualms about publicly requesting that Google censor certain information. So, why is the censorship of October Revolution Island a secret, and how can it be explained?

To answer this question, we need to look back to the year 2000, when Vladimir Putin was first sworn in to the office of President. Putin, an eccentric public figure, is notorious for his shirtless hunting escapades and his strange love of bottlenose dolphins.

That year, Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin to become the second president of the Russian Federation. Putin instituted on a series of reforms that opened up the country, and Russia began to move further away from its Soviet image. However, Putin is not without secrets and shady habits. As mentioned previously, he is known to have an infatuation with bottlenose dolphins.

October Revolution Island has an American counterpart—Area 51. Area 51 became a public sensation in America, while October Revolution Island is not a household name in Russia. BHSEC student Anastasia Brezhnev ‘15 (name changed for the sake of anonymity) who lived in Russia for five years offered an explanation. She explained, “American society is open, and if there is a scandal, people expect to find out what happened. However, Russians are not necessarily interested in state secrets, or too afraid to talk about them. So, even if something is going on, no one would talk about it. You don’t ask people how they got to Siberia, because more often than not, you’re going to get a bad answer.”

So, how do corporate censorship, an Arctic island, the Russian president, bottlenose dolphins and aliens come together? At this point, hard to say. But a few things are clear. The Russians are hiding something, and Google Inc. is helping them. Vladimir Putin does have an obsession with bottlenose dolphins, and it seems more than likely than not that there are extra-terrestrials on October Revolution Island.

We spoke with BHSEC student Nicolai Dobrynin ’15 (name changed for the sake of anonymity), a Russian national, who offered a different story about Putin and the island. When asked if he believed that Putin might be conducting secret operations within Russia, Nicolai did not give a straight answer. He did say, however, that any censorship must have been attempting to hide military bases, and that the US does this as well. A quick Google search revealed that the US does not always blur military bases.

Clearly, the Russian education system has done a good job of blinding its children to the realities of Putin’s schemes. Anastasia commented, “The Russians have their secrets, but we don’t even know what they’re hiding … there is some secret stuff going on there.”

So, what does the censorship of October Revolution Island mean for us as Americans? The Cold War is over, but tensions with Russia are not. The civil war in Syria has only highlighted the fragility of our relations. In this time of increasing global agitation, nations like Russia will do anything to get ahead.  The idea that Russia may be militarizing bottlenose dolphins in an attempt to gain a tactical edge on the US may sound insane, but we’re talking about a relationship that is only kept stable when both sides increase their number of world-ending weapons of mass destruction, so crazy isn’t exactly out of the realm of normal, or at least conceivable.

Dolphins provide many potential advantages in wartime scenarios.  Their advanced systems of communication and observed participation in some form of society would allow them to work together and gather intelligence efficiently and secretly, while their inability to speak our language would prevent any sort of interrogation techniques from succeeding. Not to mention, they are immune to water boarding. 

So clearly, dolphins could feasibly provide military and intelligence-related benefits to whoever is able to wield them. The question is, what evidence is there that bottlenose dolphins are being trained by Putin on October Revolution Island? Rather than answer that, let us move on to how the Russians are carrying out these shady and threatening activities—with the help of Google Maps. 

Putin has been recorded swimming and coming into close contact with a number of bottlenose dolphins.  It is likely – no – near certain that he, along with other government high-ups and KGB top dogs, are inserting themselves into the lives of these impressionable animals, rearing entire generations of them on a healthy appetite of fish and Communism. As the dolphins grow up this way, they are manipulated into serving Putin and his people. The dolphins, essentially brainwashed, are instructed on how to swim across to the US, gather important and highly classified aquatically stored information, and then bring it back to Russia.

The implications of this secretive project are enormous.  With Russia gaining such an advantage in the field of aquatic-mammalian militarization, the US must make efforts to catch up before it is too late.  One can only imagine what Putin could be planning to attempt with his new force of cuddly weapons. But there is no doubt that massive damage could ensue unless the US steps up. We must once again prove ourselves to be the leaders of the free world—by training dolphins to be the patriotic heroes they are meant to be. 

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