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Major surprise! Major disappointment! Ongoing frustration!


TacHel

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The Soviet Union is gone, it's been gone for 20 years now. The Russian Federation's ODM system was quickly reworked, minor changes here and there have improved it over the years, then in 2010 came the major amendment that completely severed all ties to the old Soviet ODMs.

I started looking into modern Russian awards just over 5 years ago and was astounded at how little data was available in the West, so I turned my attention to the East joining multiple Russian phaleristics forums. What I found was the merest trace of any serious research or correlation of data. I found most Russian collectors had no notion of the terms we use in the West, namely "official" and "unofficial". Their collecting interests are centered around themes, naval, air, space etc. They will collect anything and everything even remotely associated to their chosen theme with little if any care whether the piece is official or a mere souvenir made for the collector market. At the risk of sounding a bit condescending (and it isn't my intention), most are "amassers" vice collectors IMHO. To each is own I guess...

You can well imagine my surprise and frustration when I discovered I had accumulated more info than they collectively had! I went there seeking assistance and guidance, exactly the opposite happened! I showed up with ODMs they had never seen or heard of, I showed up with ministerial orders officializing awards they didn't believe were real or even knew existed, I proved many of there prized collectables were nothing more than mere baubles. I ended up educating most of them on there own ODM system!! To this very day I'm often their source of official decrees and orders on ODMs! I'm still at a loss to explain that...

Shocking and frustrating...

I decided to put together Wikipedia pages to catalog everything and share the research in order to promote interest in modern Russian ODMs. My pages contained 10 times what the Russian Wikipedia pages had. Within a year, most Russian Wiki pages were linked to mine! When requesting info on Russian forums, I was directed to my own research on Wiki!! Frustrating as H... What did this tell me? I was it. If anybody else had researched modern Russian ODMs in depth, he sure was keeping it a secret!

Then the realities of Wikipedia set in... Morons changing stuff at will, skewing the data, changing translations according to their personnal interpretations, no respect whatsoever for other peoples' research... It got to be too much for me and I abandonned Wiki utterly disgusted with the entire experience. In retrospect, that's what Wiki is, I should've never gone there in the first place and should've made my own web pages but was too eager to share the data and believed Wiki the best place for that. I should've found a publisher and written a book! But I never seemed to have acquired enough data, there was always something new popping up on a weekly if not daily basis! Only just very recently have I had the feeling at having reached a point where a book might be warranted, having reached the 95+% mark of what's out there.

When I say the 95+% mark, I'm talking about 500+ "official" awards from the State, ministries, departments, federal agencies... I've wanted to make a multilingual web site (English, French, German, Russian) for a while now containing everything I had amassed on the subject, then thought how great all of this would look in a book (in all 4 languages). But I simply do not have the time...

Oh well... Maybe one day.

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