[OC] The Best MLS Player from Each Country That's Fielded One: Part 1 (UEFA)
Throughout its first 25 years, Major League Soccer has seen players from all different corners of the globe, each with their own career story. Whether it be a guy like Tim Melia or Chris Wondolowski who were scrappy guys that came out of nowhere to be stars in this league, or world famous names such as Zlatan, Beckham, and Henry, the league's history of big names is as diverse as they come. Let's take a look at the best player from each country around the globe. This will be based on national team allegiance. Today, we'll be leading with Europe! Please note that this is my opinion, and in some cases the decisions were tough; I'll be sure to add in honorable mentions where I can, or add notes. Albania: Shkëlzen Gashi ( COL 2016-18) Short list to pick from here, as Gashi's only competition is Jahmir Hyka and Hamdi Salihi. Gashi gets the nod, if nothing else, for his huge 2016 season, where he scored 10 regular season goals (one of which was that year's Goal of the Year) as the Rapids damn near won the Shield. The madlad then went and one-upped that with his absurd equalizer in the playoffs against the Galaxy. His last two years weren't as fruitful, but man, when he was on he could pull something out of nowhere. Armenia: Yura Movsisyan ( KC 2006-07, RSL 2007-09 & 2016-18, CHI 2018) Four choices here, although in the end it's Movsisyan winning out over Harut Karapetyan, who played a couple seasons in the 90s for the Galaxy, San Jose, and Tampa Bay. The fourth pick in a strong 2006 MLS SuperDraft out of Pasadena City College, Movsisyan is mostly associated with RSL, who acquired him in a 2007 trade. With the Claret and Cobalt, he would tally 15 goals in 53 regular season appearances, and in 2009 he'd hoist the club's first MLS Cup. That'd be his last game with RSL until 2016 after some time in Europe with Randers, Krasnodar, and Spartak Moscow (even sharing the Russian PL Golden Boot in 2012/13 with Wanderson). He'd put up a similar clip of 16 in 57 before being waived and finishing his MLS career with four scoreless games with Chicago. Austria: Daniel Royer ( NYRB 2016-pres.) The choice here was largely Royer vs. Andreas Ivanschitz, who was a regular starter for Seattle's first MLS Cup, but I can't say no to a man with over 100 MLS matches played and three straight 10-goal seasons. In all comps, the former Austria Vienna man is just two goals behind Thierry Henry for third on the Red Bulls' all time goal scoring list. Belarus: Sasha Gotsmanov ( COL 2005) Gotsmanov qualifies by default as the only Belarusian player in MLS history. The Minsk native (and son of former Soviet and Belarusian international Sergei Gotsmanov) played one (1) single game for Colorado in October 2005, against RSL. Belgium: Laurent Ciman ( MTL 2015-17, LAFC 2018, TFC 2019-pres.) Shouts to Roland Lamah, who had his moments in Dallas, and Jelle van Damme, who played a season and a half for the Galaxy, but Ciman is the obvious choice. While he's fallen off a cliff as he's gotten older, he's a three-time All-Star and won Defender of the Year in his first MLS season; in his second, he played for Belgium at Euro 2016. At 35, he's lost a step and probably should only be used in emergencies, but at his best he was an elite MLS center back that could also be deployed at right back. Bosnia & Herzegovina: Haris Medunjanin ( PHI 2017-19, CIN 2020-pres.) The first one where I'm not totally confident in my pick, as Baggio Hušidić made this tricky (and as a Union fan I'm afraid of bias). But at his best, Haris is an assist machine (30 in four MLS seasons so far), and a threat on set pieces; the madlad even scored an Olimpico this year. His left foot is probably the best the Union have ever had. While his commitment to defense was nonexistent, give him the ball and he could spray a pass anywhere. Bulgaria: Hristo Stoichkov ( CHI 2000-02, DC 2003) One of three former Ballon d'Or winners to play in MLS (the others being Lothar Matthaus and Kaka, although "playing" is generous for the former), Stoichkov spent the last four seasons of his career in MLS, scoring 22 goals in 72 regular season matches for Chicago and DC. In his first season, a 9 goal in 18 match outing for the Fire, he also won the US Open Cup, scoring the opening goal of the final, a 2-1 win over Miami. (The winning goal, by the way, was scored by our old friend Owen Goal.) Croatia: Damir Kreilach ( RSL 2018-pres.) Mr. Miyagi's favorite MLS player for his crane kick equalizer in the playoffs, the former Rijeka and Union Berlin man has proven to be an excellent utility piece and core part of RSL throughout his time there, scoring 26 goals and chipping in 14 assists in 86 regular season matches and playing all over the damn place (naturally a central midfielder, he's probably still RSL's best forward). At 31, he still has a lot to give. MLS has seen a huge influx of Croats lately, though; before Kreilach's 2018 signing there had only been four Croatian players in MLS history, two of whom barely played. Currently, there are five on active rosters. Czechia: Luboš Kubík ( CHI 1998-2001, DAL 2001) Czech players have had a good hit rate in MLS. In his lone MLS season, Bořek Dočkal led the league in assists, and Zdeněk Ondrášek was a very solid piece for Dallas, albeit one whose MLS time was brief. But no. We have to go with Kubik. The sweeper was Best XI twice, in 1998 and 1999, and won Defender of the Year in 1998 helping Chicago to a MLS Cup-Open Cup double. He'd win another Open Cup two years later, before being traded to Dallas in 2001 and retiring due to injury. So many lethal counterattacks started on the foot of this man, and he is rightfully seen as one of the greatest defenders the league has ever seen. Denmark: Jimmy Nielsen ( KC 2010-13) I debated going WAYYYYYYY off the board here and throwing out Miklos Molnar. His time in MLS was brief, just the 2000 season before he retired, but the man was the best attacking piece on a Cup winner. He could have balled out if he didn't retire early. But nah. We're going with Casino Jimmy, one of the keys towards Kansas City's early 2010s turnaround. A two time All-Star, Nielsen was Goalkeeper of the Year in 2012, a year that also saw him win the Open Cup with the Wiz (on penalties, because KC and penalties, name a more iconic duo at this point). In 2013, he capped off his career by winning MLS Cup, again on penalties, while playing with broken ribs. England: Bradley Wright-Phillips ( 2013-2019, LAFC 2020) This league, man. The list of English players to have represented in MLS is a long one, full of iconic names. Ashley Cole. David Beckham. Frank Lampard. Steven Gerrard. Jermain Defoe. Wayne Rooney. Hell, even Bradley's brother Shaun. But nope. Many of those guys are the butt of many MLS jokes. BWP, on the other hand, is one of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen, with two Golden Boots to his name and well over a century of league goals. He was a part of 3 Shield winning teams, and made CONCACAF's Best XI in 2018. And it all started with a quiet trial in 2013 after Charlton dumped him. This. League. And This. Man. Even as a fan of Philly who doesn't care much for the Red Bulls, I respect this dude and everything he's done. I hope he gets another year after winning Comeback Player of the Year this year. Estonia: Joel Lindpere ( NYRB 2010-12, CHI 2013) The only other option here was Erik Sorga, who could dethrone Lindpere as he came to MLS at a very young age. But it's unlikely, as Lindpere was quietly very solid for the Red Bulls during his time. The Tallinn native was a two-time All-Star, and in 2010 he was named the Red Bulls' team MVP. Finland: Alex Ring ( NYC 2017-2020, AUS pres.) T O P I C A L There's a few fairly talented Finns in MLS right now that could make this interesting (I really like Robin Lod's game, and Lassi Lappelainen would be excellent for Montreal if he'd stop getting hurt). Ring however has proven his worth across 4 seasons, including time as NYC's captain. Over 10,000 MLS minutes, mostly for good teams, as a defensive anchor, he will be a fantastic tone-setter for the new Austin team. France: Thierry Henry ( NYRB 2010-14) Oh man, as an Ireland fan I wanted to give this to literally anyone else. I am still bitter, dammit. His best competition is probably Aurelien Collin, who has a closetful of trophies (including a Best XI and MLS Cup MVP). But no...it's Henry. When a big name comes to MLS, what people want to see is someone who treats the league with respect. Henry did that. Not only was he dominant on the pitch, a three-time Best XI nomination, he also respected the history of the club he played for and gave 100%, even though he was getting up there in the years. He's a Red Bulls and MLS legend...as much as I curse that godforsaken hand Georgia: Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili ( SJ 2017-20) It looks like the San Jose chapter of Vako's career is done and dusted. While the former Vitesse man struggled for consistency, he did put up 26 goals and 13 assists across four MLS seasons for the Quakes, including 10 while being coached by Mikael Stahre, which should probably get him and Wondo some sort of award. We'll see what's next for him, if he leaves MLS or goes back to Europe. His only competition was Quakes teammate Guram Kashia. Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger ( CHI 2017-19) I'm...actually not sure about this one. I actually changed this while writing, as I very nearly chose Julian Gressel; the former Rookie of the Year has two 10-assist seasons under his belt, and Kai Wagner has also been one of the league's better fullbacks for Philadelphia; Schweinsteiger was solid enough for Chicago in his advanced age for some very frustrating teams (and even moved positions to center back!)...but man, I don't know. Germany is weird. For a country with such a great footballing tradition, the pickings are fairly slim. Arne Friedrich had one good year for Chicago before injuries claimed his career. Lottar Matthaus was as committed to this league as Schalke are to winning football matches. Stefan Aigner was stifled by Anthony Hudson going galaxy brain. Torsten Frings...existed. I dunno. Greece: Alexandros Tabakis ( ATL 2017) The only Greek in MLS history...and our second one game wonder. Atlanta's FOURTH string keeper in 2017, he managed to sneak into a game against Minnesota with Brad Guzan on international duty, Alec Kann injured, and Kyle Reynish sent off during the match. Atlanta lost 3-2. He's now in USL. Hungary: Nemanja Nikolić ( CHI 2017-19) Dániel Sallói and Krisztián Németh had their moments, but the winner is Nikolić, who came to MLS from the Ekstraklasa and immediately won the Golden Boot. His totals diminished in the three seasons he spent with Chicago, but 51 goals in 96 appearances isn't too shabby at all - it's second in Fire history behind Ante Razov. Iceland - Guðmundur Þórarinsson ( NYC 2020-pres.) Not much choice, 3 guys, all of whom were mostly bench guys. I almost went with Kristinn Steindorsson here on the merits of "he didn't have a penalty saved by Rodrigo Schlegel." Israel: Gadi Kinda ( SKC 2020-pres.) It was either him or Dedi Ben Dayan, really. And I nearly went with the former Colorado left back, but nah, Kinda is very much the superior player. The midfielder born in Ethiopia, Kinda shone brightly in his first season in KC, with 6 goals and 4 assists in his debut season. He'll be a DP next season. Italy: Sebastian Giovinco ( TOR 2015-18) A signing that changed an entire club. Before Giovinco, the Reds were a laughingstock. He came in, won a Golden Boot and MVP right away, led the league in assists, made Best XI three years in a row, led them to their first playoff game, their first MLS Cup final, their first MLS Cup win, and a historic treble. And they damn near won CCL too. The Atomic Ant was must-see from Day 1. It's not just because of him that Toronto is now one of MLS's elite...but he was a huge part of changing that culture. 83 goals in 142 games in all comps. And he dished out his fair share of assists too, with a telepathic partnership with Jozy. Latvia: Raivis Hščanovičs ( TOR 2010) Not much to write about here. 14 games for a bad Reds team. Gets in by default with no other Latvian MLS players. Liechtenstein: Nicholas Hasler ( TOR 2017-18, CHI 2018-19, SKC 2019) Another one by default. 66 games as a utilityman. Won MLS Cup and the Shield, though. Lithuania: Vytautas Andriuškevičius ( POR 2016-18, DC 2018) Only other choice was Edgaras Jankauskas, a forward who played 14 games for the Revs. Vytas played 37 for Portland and zero for DC. Luxembourg: Maxime Chanot ( NYC 2016-pres.) Another one by default but this one's an actually really solid player that finished fourth in Defender of the Year voting in 2019. We take those. Malta: Etienne Barbera ( VAN 2012) 2 games in 2012. Only Maltese player in MLS. Montenegro: Branko Bošković ( DC 2010-12) Pretty much every other Montenegrin player played less than 20 games in MLS. Bošković played 43 before returning to Europe for family reasons. 7 assists in his final season though, which is technically something. Netherlands: Johan Kappelhof ( CHI 2016-pres.) Much like Germany, bright footballing tradition, very shaky MLS history. Which is weird because the Eredivisie exports a lot of guys to MLS. Also, I'm excluding Kelvin Leerdam, as he is probably changing his international allegiance to Suriname. So I'm going with 2017 All-Star Kappelhof, who I think is still fairly solid. But really the choices aren't great. Dave van den Burgh? Roland Alberg scored a hat trick once I guess? Danny Koevermans was decent but injured all the time? Maybe it's a hot take. It probably is. North Macedonia: Oka Nikolov ( PHI 2013) Never actually played, only in a friendly. Watch this space though as North Macedonia is apparently courting LAFC's Danny Musovski. Northern Ireland: Johnny Steele ( RSL 2012, NYRB 2013-14) Another case of shaky opposition, it was either Steele or Steve Morrow, who played 41 games for Dallas in the aughts. Steele played regularly for a Shield winner, the 2013 Red Bulls. Easy peasy. Norway: Vadim Demidov Ola Kamara ( CLB 2016-17, LAG 2018, DC 2019-pres.) Adama Diomande is the main competition here. Kamara's first stint in MLS was a smashing success, scoring 48 goals in 90 regular season matches for Columbus and the Galaxy (he was traded for Gyasi Zardes before 2018). A brief foray to China followed, and while he's back in MLS with DC he hasn't quite been the same. Still a good player on his day, maybe just the Bennyball effect. Poland: Piotr Nowak ( CHI 1998-2002) When I think of early Chicago, Nowak and the earlier-mentioned Kubik are the first two names that come to mind. Kubik held down the back while Nowak was the chief creator in the midfield. Three-time best XI, three-time All-Star, and MLS Cup MVP. ...can I drink my water now? Portugal: José Gonçalves ( NE 2013-16) Gonçalves fell off a cliff in his latter years, but in his first MLS season he won Defender of the Year and in his second he was a key part of a team that made the MLS Cup final and damn near won the thing. Runner up here is Nani who is probably closing in. EDIT: I also forgot to mention Pedro Santos, thanks to the Crew fans who pointed that one out. I still think Gonçalves pips him for his 2013 if nothing else, but Santos is probably closer than Nani. Republic of Ireland: Robbie Keane ( LAG 2011-16) A LOT closer than you think; Time Person of the CenturyJuventus legend Ronnie O'Brien was two-time best XI himself. But nonono. This is Robbie freaking Keane. When we see these big name Euro guys interested in MLS, this is the man we want them to be. Hypercompetitive and holding guys accountable on and off the pitch, and scoring for fun. 83 goals in 125 MLS regular season appearances. Best XI four times. 2014 MVP. MLS Cup MVP in 2014. A closetful of team awards including 3 MLS Cups. This man was a baller, and frankly his departure was the beginning of the Galaxy decline into irrelevance, but that's a story for another time. Romania: Alexandru Mitriță ( NYC 2019-pres.?) Question mark because he's on loan and I have no idea if it'll be permanent, but he was punted out by the Pigeons just as he was really starting to break out. He scored 12 goals in his debut season last year but filled in nicely this year while Maxi Moralez was injured. EDIT: NYC fans have informed me he wasn't punted out, but was loaned out to be closer to his pregnant wife. My apologies. Honorable mention: Alex Zotincă, who played for the Wizards and Chivas USA in the aughts. Brave man. Russia: Igor Simutenkov ( KC 2002-04) Not a lot to pick from here either. 49 games, 12 goals for this forward from Moscow, who now serves as an assistant coach at Zenit. Scotland: John Spencer ( COL, 2001-04) Give Johnny Russell another few years and he'll pass Spencer, but for now I'm leaning the latter. Spencer as a coach was frustrating as hell, but as a player he was Best XI twice and an MVP finalist once. Dude could score goals despite battling injuries in his time in MLS. Just don't let him sign Kris Boyd. Then you lose to Cal FC. No one wants that. Serbia: Aleksandar Katai ( 2018-19, 2020) FROM A SPORTING PERSPECTIVE. And mostly due to a weak pool. Runner up was probably someone like Miloš Kocić. 18 goals in 62 games for Chicago before getting yeeted back to Serbia for Bad People Reasons Slovakia: Albert Rusnák ( RSL 2017-pres.) He has tenure on Ján Greguš, who's the closest competitor, but Rusnák is also good. He followed up a 14-assist debut season (4th in the league) with back to back 10 goal seasons before struggling this year with injury. Slovenia: Robert Berić ( CHI 2020-pres.) Once he got acclimated to MLS, the goals came, and Chicago has its successor to Nikolić up top. He finished with 12 goals in his debut season, tied for second in the league with Ruidiaz and Zardes. Also, from what I saw early on, seems like he's a dark-arts type of guy that gets in your head. That's fun. Spain: David Villa ( NYC 2015-18) I really didn't want to put him here due to recent allegations, and the fact that Pozuelo has already matched his MVP and two Best XI performances.... 77 goals in 117 games though, that's tough to pass on. Sweden: Zlatan Ibrahimović ( LAG 2018-19) It's Zlatan. He pretty much dragged a sorry LA organization to something resembling competitiveness. What the hell did you expect? (Anton Tinnerholm made this hard, though) EDIT: Forgot Gustav Svensson as well in my honorable mentions. Switzerland: Stefan Frei ( TOR 2009-13, SEA 2014-pres.) Pretty self-explanatory, one of the most accomplished keepers in MLS history and with a closetful of hardware. And all it took Seattle to get him was a late first round pick that pinged around so much that it was eventually traded for a coach. Turkey: Sercan Güvenışık ( SJ 2012) 5 games that year. No one else has flown the Turkish flag in MLS. Ukraine: Dema Kovalenko ( CHI 1999-2002, DC 2002-05, NYRB 2006-08, RSL 2008, LAG 2008-10) I'm afraid he'd break my legs if I didn't. One of the most physical and downright dirty players the league has ever seen. Made nearly 300 appearances though, and has one each of the 3 major US trophies (MLS Cup, USOC, Shield), all with a different team. Wales: Andy Dorman ( NE 2004-07, 2013-15) Dorman was a key part of that real good Revs team from the mid-aughts, and just beats out Carl Robinson. He made 112 appearances in his first stint, and played in 3 MLS Cup finals, though they famously lost all three. The Revs brought him back in 2013 after some time in Scotland and England, and was playing semipro in the area as recently as 2018.
The best laid PLANs of mice and men often go awry. Welcome back to another effortpost by me generally on the developing arms race in East Asia, this time covering the People's Liberation Army Navy, hereafter referred to as the "PLAN", and its massive growth... and... mostly, well, its massive growth. What that means is mostly covered in other posts about how other countries are responding to it. The why is a bit difficult because, well, China is not well known for open debate, or open anything, really, which will turn up repeatedly.
First And Last Stand Of The Tin Can Navies [ASEAN + Australia and the smaller adversaries China may contend with]
Boned: Problems in the US Air [and space!] Force
--Unnamed-- effortpost on Japanese military matters, mostly about how weird the JSDF status is
--Unnamed--effortpost on Indian military matters, and why they can't focus on China or buy anything that works
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the PLA, mostly the air force though
--Unnamed--effortpost on the rest of the US Armed Forces, mostly talking about how the marines are changing and the Army's new love affair with INF-busting weapons
Glossary: PLA = People's Liberation Army = the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, or China PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy = the naval forces of the PLA PLANAF = People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force = the air force of the navy of the PLA Ashm = Anti-ship missile, cruise missile unless specifically described as otherwise--there's only one anti-ship ballistic missile in existence and its efficacy and whether or not it functions is questionable CIWS = close-in weapons system, like the Phalanx gun or Goalkeeper VLS = vertical launch system for missiles AEGIS = Aegis Combat System if described specifically in that context, a US naval warfare system, but we'll usually be talking about "Chinese AEGIS", which is a nomiker used by the Chinese media in particular comparing the Type 346 radar to the AN-SPY family, with which it shares numerous technical characteristics--but how comparable the "Chinese AEGIS" system is to what the US uses is a complete unknown. SAM = Surface-to-air missile, in this case usually a S-300 derivative First Island Chain = The islands, stretching from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan, which keep China inside its littoral seas much as the GIUK [Greenland-Iceland-UK] gap has kept various continental powers out of the Atlantic. Some PLAN equipment you might see described--the nomenclature is confusing and a relic of the cultural revolution, and as a result China now has more Types than the British. Type 003 = China's new conventionally powered supercarriers, currently under construction Type 002 = China's first truly "operational" carrier Type 001 = China's first carrier, built on a Soviet hull purchased from Ukraine ostensibly to make a floating casino Type 055 = Guided-missile cruiser, though generally called a destroyer it's probably more descriptively labeled a cruiser Type 052D = Guided-missile destroyer using "Chinese AEGIS" Type 052/051B/052B/052C = the gradual progression of evolving Chinese naval tech, largely built as practice/demo ships like the Type 001. Some of the earlier ones are steam-powered but by the Type 052C you have something almost as advanced as the Type 052D, albeit with turbine problems Type 054A = the standard modern frigate of the PLAN Type 053[anything] = old PLAN frigates Type 096 = China's newest SSBN class, under construction Type 094 = China's first functional SSBN class, very noisy Type 092 = China's first "SSBN", believed to have never left port with an actual nuke on board Type 095 = China's newest SSN class, under construction Type 093 = China's current SSN class, noisy Type 091 = China's first SSN class, dumb dumb dumb and is at a 1950s tech level Type 039[A] = China's new SSK class Kilo = China's older SSK class, imported from Russia Sovremenny = China's first capable anti-air destroyers, imported from Russia
1. The Last Time A Rising Navy Challenged A Dominant Foe
The last time we've seen something like this was in the late 19th century. After the First World War shipbuilding was restricted by the landmark Washington Naval Treaty, one of the first great arms control treaties, and during the Cold War the Soviet Union never really had any hopes of surpassing American naval power. China, however, seems intent on replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power, or at least building a force that can stop the US Navy, even combined with the forces of Japan and other regional allies. The nations in question, of course, in the last naval arms race, were the United Kingdom and a newly-unified Germany. Germany never reached the level of the UK, but seriously threatened it. Previously the UK had maintained a policy of having more ships than the next two largest fleets combined, but this was no longer possible, and the UK legitimately was fearful for its naval supremacy. It didn't last too long in the end--under a decade--and a resumption was foiled by first a world war and then the Washington Naval Treaty. The impact of the arms race, though, was massive. It set Germany and the UK at odds with each other, it resulted in a general buildup of warships pretty much everywhere [South America was, believe it or not, one of the biggest offenders there], established Germany for a time as the world's second naval power, having eclipsed both France and Russia and turning a small coastal defense navy into something that was able to defeat the Royal Navy itself, though never comprehensively enough to change the course of the first world war. China dwells in a much different situation than Germany did at the turn of the last century, so we can only extend the analogy so far--substituting in Japan for the UK, India for Russia, and so on is possible but not, in my view, educational. However, we can see many of the same elements playing in here. China seems intent on replacing the US as a dominant power, or at least as regional hegemon--the ancient tributary system seems to lie fairly heavily on Chinese minds--and in order to do that, it must be able to have some degree of power projection and the capability to deny the US Navy access to areas within the first island chain. It remains to be seen, however, how successful that quest will be. Much as with the dreadnought battleships, I wouldn't be surprised if we never actually do find out if most of the shiny naval toys people have built actually work. But their mere existence shows the mutual hostility developing in the region and demonstrates the size of the Chinese threat. Another lesson learned here is that China, like Germany, may not develop a naval force capable of defeating the US comprehensively, but only partially, and that one of the powers--in this case, China--might be pressured to strike first before the US Navy can close the gap. That ~2030 gap I talked about in my last post is, I think, an especially vulnerable point, because China may look at a degraded, but rejuvenating US Navy, then at their own capable forces, and decide to strike then in Taiwan and the South China Sea, only to back down when the US Navy again eclipses them. Whether or not that will happen, we will see--but I find it a very dangerous and perhaps likely possibility.
2. What the PLAN looked like 20 years ago
The PLAN has undergone an absolutely stunning evolution in the past two decades. In the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis the US could intimidate China with a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups and China could do pretty much nothing about it. Now the US is afraid of sending anything more than a destroyer through the strait. Twenty years ago, the PLAN was a bit of a joke. Even Taiwan figured it could hold the seas against the PLAN. It consisted of a few tens of outdated coastal-defense frigates, some Soviet-era diesel-electric subs, and a large number of unsophisticated missile craft. The pride of the Chinese fleet were a handful of destroyers assembled using cobbled-together Western technology--copied French missiles, American gas turbines, the lot. According to American accounts at the time, the instructions for the equipment hadn't even been translated. The most advanced ship in the fleet used steampower. There were nuclear submarines, but of 1950s quality. Of particular note was the fact that the Chinese fleet had no area air defense capabilities--their premier surface-to-air-missile was an unlicensed knockoff of the French Crotale, and couldn't shoot anything outside of visual range, at high altitudes, or really doing anything more sophisticated than trying to kill their ships with low-altitude dumb bombing runs. In the past twenty years, however, the PLAN has, much like the German Navy towards the end of the 19th century, gone from an afterthought to the world's second most powerful force. It began, as modern China's military capabilities almost all began, with the looting of the former Soviet Union for naval technology. While Soviet naval tech was generally lacking, it was much better than anything else China could get its hands on after the arms embargo placed on it in the 1990s by the US and Europe in response to Tienanmen and the end of the Cold War. China bought Soviet diesel submarines, Soviet air-defense destroyers, and Soviet aircraft carriers, which it promptly left lying around [and turned one of them into a theme park]. This was combined with copies of various pieces of Western, mostly European, technology for everything from sonars to surface-to-air missiles. China then began developing its first modern indigenous surface combatants, the Type 052C, but there were still problems. The engines were Ukrainian and had reliability trouble, the gun jammed, there was no VLS. It is really in the last ten years that things have begun to move extremely quickly, and even only in the latter portion of the decade. In 2012 the Type 001 Liaoning entered service, and although it remains more of a training ship than an operational vessel, and is held back by a poor carrier aircraft, the mere fact that China "built" a carrier was a surprise to many. In 2014 the first Type 052D destroyer came online. It had learned the lessons from the Type 052C, and in just the last six years at least ten have entered service, with a class size of about 23 expected. This rapid expansion is what has frightened competing navies the most--in a little over a decade, the PLAN is constructing more destroyers than the British, French, and Australian navies have in service combined. It is also building the Type 055, which has generally been called a "destroyer" despite being more aptly described as a cruiser in line with the Ticonderoga-class. China has also built 30 modern frigates in the past decade, which has also swelled its numbers, along with numerous smaller corvettes, submarines, and so on. This is why the PLAN has become such an object of concern. While it cannot challenge the US Navy yet, at least outside its littoral zones, the decline of the USN and rapid expansion of the PLAN means that it is a serious threat. And the speed at which it has developed has made many fearful. As recently as 2010, the idea of China operating an aircraft carrier or modern destroyers seemed distant, possibly preposterous. Now China speaks openly of having a six-carrier fleet in the 2030s, although, as with many of China's plans to operate full US-replicated tech and doctrine, these may have somewhat caved to realism. China is mighty, but it has already done the easy part--the last part is much harder, in economics and in military matters. Building the software, the institutional knowledge, the hardware to compete with the US Navy will prove difficult.
3. What the PLAN looks like now--submarines
Submarines are one of the PLAN's weak spots, particularly nuclear submarines. China is, however, making some fairly rapid advances in this area. Their nuclear submarine program has been considered a bit of a joke for some time. In the late 1950s when all the cool kids great powers were getting nuclear submarines, China decided [or at least Mao did] that China needed nuclear submarines too. About 16 years later, the product of this effort finally emerged as the Type 091 submarine. Based on 1950s technology, with poor radiation shielding and basically nothing done in the name of noise reduction, and not even a teardrop hull, the Type 091 was probably more of a threat to the sailors who were on it than anyone else, except maybe the two Tench-class submarines that Taiwan operates, which use 1940s technology and are the world's longest-serving submarines, though they're mostly used for training nowadays. Even then, my money would be on the Tench despite the upgrades the PLAN has made to the Type 091. There's only so much you can do to put lipstick on a pig. China also produced an SSBN, the Type 092, which was probably the only submarine more useless than the Type 091. About the only useful thing it did for the PLAN was that it served as a test platform for SLBM launches. Reports suggest that the Type 092 is the noisiest SSBN ever made, and is thought to have only ever undertaken a single patrol. It stayed at port for so long that it was thought to have sunk in an accident. And the experience turned the PLAN off from building SSBNs for over twenty years, until the Type 094 came online in 2007. More recent submarines are growing in capability, though. The Type 094 is not the noisiest SSBN ever made, and may not even be the noisiest in current service--that honor going to the Delta III operated by the Russian Navy, which uses 1970s technology, and, which, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, is about as noisy as the Type 094. The Type 093 is also moderately capable--it actually functions and can fire anti-ship missiles. However, the Type 093 is still considered only comparable to the Soviet Victor III class, again using 1970s technology. Future submarines have not yet been seen, but expectations are that China will make another step forward to late 1980s or early 1990s tech levels, producing something on par with the Los Angeles or Akula for the first time. China also operates a fairly capable fleet of coastal diesel-electric submarines. While some are quite old--the Type 035--most are pretty average for the global submarine force, a mix of Kilos and domestic AIP designs. The large number of boats in operation and their anti-ship missile capability means that these should be considered a real threat, at least in the littoral waters near to China, but they aren't decisive by any means, especially since China is facing off against such threats as Japan's Soryu class, probably the most advanced diesel-electric sub in existence. In conclusion, the PLAN is still pretty weak on the submarine front--weaker here than on anything but its carrier force, but its capabilities are advancing rapidly and should not be underestimated.
4. What the PLAN looks like now--surface combatants
The surface fleet is definitely the most impressive and capable portion of the PLAN, no questions about it. China once had a fleet consisting mostly of coastal frigates and missile boats. As recently as 2000, its fleet had no real area-air-defense destroyers, and no SAMs that could operate outside visual range. Now, though, the PLAN operates tens of advanced guided-missile destroyers, advanced frigates, and still retains a large number of small, stealthy missile boats. The major focus of Chinese warships appears to be on anti-air, with anti-surface being a somewhat secondary concern for all but the smallest vessels. This makes sense when you realize that the primary focus is, at least for the moment, on using land-based aircraft to strike against hostile fleet formations using long-range anti-ship missiles, in a very Soviet sort of way--"Backfire raids" using long-range land-based aircraft with anti-ship missiles were one of the US Navy's major concerns during the Cold War, and the very reason for the F-14's existence along with the AIM-54 Phoenix it carried. However, China has been developing anti-surface capabilities as well using ashms and land-attack cruise missiles [generally the same thing, actually]. Since China has finally developed a VLS system that allows it to use the same launcher for multiple missiles, its most recent ships have become more versatile in that role. How effective these ships are at that task is, however, a relatively open question. Their radars at least seem to quite sophisticated, using flat-panel AESA, and have been dubbed "Chinese AEGIS" by the highly reliable Chinese domestic media. The basic platform their surface-to-air missiles are based on also seems to be fairly capable--the HQ-9 is an S-300 derivative, a respectable SAM system though, again, how capable it is against opponents in an active electronic warfare environment is questionable, and it has basically no capabilities against stealth aircraft like the F-35 as far as anyone knows. The efficacy of their CIWS, again, is open to question. Really this is true of everything about the modern PLAN, and PLA in general. The PLA is secretive, has not exported most of its hardware, and has developed largely independently of foreign militaries, though it is definitely influenced by them. Now that the PLAN has moved away from simply copying foreign hardware and patching it together, its capabilities are much harder to discern. However, they should be taken as a very real threat, and not written off. My guess would be that their warships are about as capable as most of their non-American counterparts, save those equipped with AEGIS, but that's all my guess is---a guess.
5. What the PLAN looks like now--carriers
The PLAN currently has two carriers in service, and two more known to be under construction, and most suspect that it will build several more. However, at the moment, the PLAN's carrier force is largely a paper tiger, designed around training. The first carrier, the Type 001, basically was a "how do you build a carrier" kit bought from Russia, possibly by accident--the "fully functional" Minsk ended up as a theme park, believe it or not. The hull was purchased from Ukraine and then completed in China years later. It is also believed that the PLAN may have learned some things about aircraft carriers from the HMAS Melbourne, which was sold to a Chinese firm for scrapping--rumor has it the PLAN had no clue this had happened and then had a field day looking at all the stuff that hadn't been taken out. This was back in the old days when nobody could imagine that China would have an aircraft carrier. The Type 002, however, is built from scratch, but isn't particularly capable especially as it's a ski-jump carrier, leaving the Type 003 the first carrier which will prove actually useful. The main thing holding China's carrier fleet back, though, is a lack of a suitable aircraft. Originally China was considering purchasing Su-33s from Russia, hardly a good carrier-based aircraft but functional, but after Russia discovered that China had been mucking about building a Su-27 derivative without asking the deal fell through [China tells a different story, saying that Russia demanded exorbitant amounts to reopen production which it was unwilling to pay for a nearly obsolete aircraft]. As a result China operates the J-15 as its naval fighter, with... less than stellar results. It's extremely heavy, and, if it takes off from the carrier, has minimal range if carrying anything at all--it can't take more than two short range air to air missiles into the sky to fight enemy aircraft. However, the J-15 isn't really intended for combat service--it's intended to teach China how to run carriers, and it seems to work well enough for that task, aside from the multiple fatal crashes. There is, however, thought to be a new carrier fighter in the pipeline--most say the J-31/FC-31, which has reduced RCS and a number of carrier-unique features, is being pitched as a carrier-based aircraft and will serve as China's carrier fighter in the future. China also lacks any fixed wing carrier-based airborne early warning, which could prove troublesome--a lack of AEW means that its view is limited by the horizon--and has no resupply aircraft like the C-2 Greyhound. As a result, for the moment at least, China lacks an effective carrier force, but it is likely to continue developing rapidly in the next decade and become a fairly substantial threat. Remember that as recently as 2010, a Chinese aircraft carrier seemed preposterous to many people, and now they have two.
6. Some attention to land-based aircraft
Land-based aircraft as a naval weapon are not generally used by the US, which has never had a reason to develop them as a doctrinal focus. Sure, you could potentially envision them as being used, and there even were situations where they were utilized, but it just wasn't generally a priority or how things were done. For China, though, taking influence from the Soviets, and lying on littoral seas with hostile powers in the First Island Chain, land-based aircraft and missiles are a key part of doctrine. Although this is often viewed as a new thing, called A2/AD [anti access/area denial], it's really the result of a long historical evolution of naval power, probably most refined by the Soviet Union. As a result, land-based naval aviation plays an important role, firing anti-ship missiles at standoff distances at enemy vessels, and shore-based launchers of anti-ship missiles are also an important weapon. The combination of these systems means that venturing within China's littoral seas is a dangerous proposition during war, and some waters, like those of the Taiwan Strait, are effectively considered closed at this point in the event of hostilities breaking out. For this reason air superiority is also important in this sort of naval warfare, as if either side gains air superiority it can pummel its opponents with air-launched anti-ship missiles. China's capabilities in this area are sophisticated and should not be underestimated, but they are unlikely to go through a rapid period of growth like the PLAN's fleet. And a brief note dedicated entirely to the DF-21D "Carrier killer" that the PLA likes to show off. It's a pretty impressive capability, on paper, using a ballistic missile to hit a carrier. The CEP [circular error probable] means that it could even happen, presuming that an aircraft carrier was good enough to sit in one place, not moving, long enough to be detected by China. Aircraft carriers look big, but the seas are huge, and they're surprisingly hard to find. They also move quite fast, in excess of of 35mph/55kph, and thus by the time the ballistic missile has launched it might well be out of range given the fact that ballistic missiles are not particularly known for their maneuverability in terminal stages, at least not in the realm of miles. The DF-21D is not a particular threat to the modern aircraft carrier. It could potentially be one if it evolves into a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, but that's a whole additional can of worms, that I might address a different day.
7. The PLAN's plans for the future--what will it look like in 2030?
Unfortunately the PLAN is not exactly the most open of navies, as I've repeatedly mentioned. There are no public debates over acquisitions programs, no big fleet shape plans, relatively little detail. However, a few things are fairly sure bets or publicly announced. China has repeatedly announced plans to build a six-carrier force, including the Type 001 and Type 002, but also a pair of Type 003 [already under construction] conventionally powered supercarriers and a pair of Type 004 nuclear powered supercarriers. However, it seems that the Type 004 is currently on hold. Why, exactly, is unclear, but it seems to be technical difficulties, which are not particularly surprising given that China's experience with nuclear maritime propulsion seem to be rather limited and have had poor results in their submarine fleet. The costs were also expected to be too high--China does not have an unlimited quantity of money, despite what it may flaunt, and nuclear carriers are expensive to develop especially given that China has not built a nuclear-powered surface ship before. A new carrier-based fighter is almost certainly in the cards because the J-15 is pretty much useless. The FC-31 seems by far the most likely candidate but it could be another aircraft we haven't seen yet. The addition of this aircraft will greatly improve the PLAN's capabilities. China also has two Type 075 amphibious assault ships/LHDs under construction, and I would expect this class to be much more prolific. These ships are much more affordable than the full carriers, and focus on areas in which China is particularly concerned--amphibious assaults, say, on islands in the South China Sea or on Taiwan, and anti-submarine warfare, which is of particular importance given that submarines cannot be easily halted with land-based anti-ship missiles and air-launched cruise missiles provided for in their area denial doctrine--submarines are one of the few things that can slip through that net. The surface combatant fleet is likely to continue growing, but I am not sure if it will swell much beyond the ~23 Type 052D ships planned and the 8 Type 055s. We're likely to see the retirement of the classes preceding the Type 052C destroyer and the Type 054 frigate, and they may be offloaded to Bangladesh, Myanmar, or Pakistan--there is substantial precedent here, and it seems that China is interested in expanding the naval capabilities of its partners around India. The submarine fleet is likely to see rapid expansion if the PLAN is satisfied with the Type 095 and Type 096 classes, and we're likely to see more diesel-electric subs built as well. Submarines are generally quite good at fighting submarines and conducting area-denial missions, and the large and capable subsurface forces of Japan, Korea, and the United States means that this has to be an area the PLAN invests more in--and the fact that several Southeast Asian nations are also looking at acquiring submarines makes the issue more pressing.
China has in the past decade gone from a third-rate navy to perhaps the greatest threat the US Navy has faced since the Second World War. This has significant geopolitical implications, and has resulted in neighbors scrambling to overhaul their naval forces. The growth of the PLAN means that the US can no longer easily defend Taiwan or the South China Sea, or any of China's littoral waters. This, more than anything else, is what has everyone scrambling in the US talking about "great-power competition" because denying access to the US Navy and working on power projection, an inherently naval thing, is essentially a clear sign that China is looking to directly compete with the United States. Underestimate the PLAN at your own peril. I hope to have more detail and citations in future posts, but unfortunately the PLAN is very secretive [yes, I've said that fifty times already] and this is a pretty big topic to discuss without going into details about all sorts of naval tidbits. Thanks for reading the fourth post in what I hope will be a fairly substantial series, probably around ~12 posts.
NSS report says: in 2009, Yerevan mayor Beglaryan colluded with Center District officials to embezzle property. They organized an illegal scheme to donate 4 properties worth $488k, located on "expensive" streets, to an accomplice, who then sold them to Beglaryan's family for pennies. The properties, in reality, belonged to Beglaryan. He used others to launder and conceal the theft. A felony case is launched. https://factor.am/277085.html
other criminal cases involving Beglaryan On March/24/2020 we learned that HHK Gagik Beglaryan, a former Transport Minister and Yerevan mayor, was placed on the wanted list and an arrest warrant in-absentia was issued. At the time, he was charged with embezzling $483k worth property at the expense of a kindergarten. The investigation began after new mayor Hayk Marutyan busted 27 instances of kindergarten embezzlement by the former regime.
Pashinyan's Kotayk trip / Roads and kindergartens / Magic wand / Արամուսի լավ գյազար կիլոն 2,000
Pashinyan: The first kindergarten in 40 years is being built in Aramus village. Official: // After 2018, they began enforcing tax laws and restaurants began paying taxis. That money is what's paying for this kindergarten. (magic wand) With population 4,000, Aramus will have a new gas network on several streets. By the end of 2020, the entire village will have gas. \\
On Oct-2018, two cops and their secretary in Ararat were charged with stealing $57k worth funds from their colleagues' salary bonus budget, plus some tax evasion. Today the court made a guilty verdict. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025289.html
Policeman rejects a bribe and busts a driver's license buying attempt
The report says: a few months ago, an 18yo man failed his behind the wheel test. He scheduled the second exam but failed again, so he used his friend's help to bribe the policeman in charge of licensing. The policeman refused the bribe and pressed 3 counts of felony bribery charges. The suspects are told not to leave the country. https://factor.am/277219.html
Massive property corruption ring is busted / ex-Minister
The report says: several officials stole $2.8m between 2008-2014. A company wanted to buy a property belonging to Urban Development Ministry. The Minister and other officials organized an illegal process to sell the property for half the price, causing $1.3m in damages. Similar property transactions were made for the Minister's family members. The SIS has launched a felony investigation. https://factor.am/277243.html
Lydian miner: // we're reopening the analytical chemistry lab in Gorayq village which was operating since 2007. It was earlier shut down after illegal activities by environmental activists. Local youth will be able to learn and work with science. Armenia will have its first-ever "internationally certified technology of passive treatment for acid rock drainage." (Google Translate) \\
A group of 200 Geghamasar residents shut down a highway to protest the activities of nearby Sotq mine. They complain that the recent explosions created a cloud of toxic dust. The mine's representatives agreed to meet the protesters. The highway was opened. https://factor.am/277132.html , https://factor.am/277206.html
Civil society groups discuss election reforms / Ineligible voters inflating electoral numbers
NGOs held a meeting: The govt has SECT system that contains information about whether the person is located in Armenia. Since SECT was implemented in certain checkpoints with delays, it doesn't have accurate info about people who left/entered. Another problem for SECT is caused when the person changes their last name abroad, for example after marriage. If "Sasun" moves to Russia and writes his name as "Sergey", it'll case a problem.
One way to fix the problem with ineligible voters being on voter lists, as it's done in Georgia, is to require a valid ID to keep the person on the list. These days, expired passports are not accepted for any transaction except for voting. This exception should be removed.
This will remove 188,000 people from voter lists. Inflated numbers cause various problems. It makes it harder to gather enough % votes to add an issue to a ballot.
We also need to make sure people are registered to vote in districts where they actually live. This is especially important for provincial elections because local officials have a record of collecting residents from elsewhere to vote in another location.
Many people don't want to register their real address as their voting address because they want to hide the fact that they own the new address they live in (tax purposes?). We must make it clear to the public that these electoral changes have no legal effect on their property ownership issues.
.... is being rebuilt after being bombed by Azerbaijan during Tavush Battles. New roofs were installed on several houses. Photos: https://factor.am/277077.html
Bordering villages to have Smart Barns
Moo. Thirty-four high-tech barns will be built in Gegharquniq's and Vayots Dzor's bordering regions, co-funded by Economy Ministry and the UN. Up to 70% of the barn's cost can be subsidized. Must have a valid passport and a two-week veterinary training. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284154/
ex-Defense Minister becomes Pashinyan's chief adviser
Vagharshak Harutyunyan was a Lt. General. He was critical of the Kocharyan administration and allegedly played a role against Kocharyan's plans to give a "corridor" to Azerbaijan in Armenia's southern Meghri province. He was fired by Kocharyan and had his military rank stripped in 2002. He described it as "political persecution". In 2019, Pashinyan restored his military rank after finding Kocharyan's decision illegal. Today he was appointed as Pashinyan's adviser. https://factor.am/277300.html https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30126601.html https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1569941.html
After Pashinyan gets grilled by BBC's HARDTalk, Ilham Aliyev next?
Tourism-Armenia Association signed a deal with a COVID testing laboratory to conduct 6-hour tests for tourists visiting Zvartnots airport. The visitors will get a 50% discount and will receive the results on email. If it's negative, they'll be allowed to exit the quarantine instead of waiting 14 days. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025282.html
COVID restrictions will be relaxed
Universities will also resume in September. Libraries, museums, theaters can operate under open-air. TV anchors don't have to wear a mask if they're alone in the room. Restaurants can perform live music under the open air. The max number of patrons near a table increases from 5 to 8. https://factor.am/277222.html
This 6-year-old kid cooks better than you. Admit it.
Mom found out about an upcoming cooking competition in Goris and registered his 6-year-old son Mher Harutyunyan. He became the youngest participant. The kid prepared a stuffed fish with a salad and was declared the winner. He won a trip to a cooking show. "Mher has been helping grandpa and mom in kitchen since the age of 3. His dream is to open a restaurant." https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025247.html
With the airports "closed", more people choose hiking and nature adventure, says the Tourism Committee. Armenia has 11 companies that organize hiking to mountains. They gather 1,000 people every weekend. Lately, there has been a great interest in rafting and canyoning. The youth also prefers horse riding and biking. Off-road car travel among a small group is also common. They install tents to take a rest. High-end hotels are already full for the next month. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025214.html
A herd of bezoar goats was captured by nature camera
The desperate man thanked his supporters for gathering in the square for a show of support. "We built this country together. Who do you wanna give it to? Think hard, Belorussians. What is wrong with you? You've wanted to be called "people" for centuries. End me now, and it'll be the beginning of the end of yours." https://youtu.be/QvCgC_Ub1Ac?&t=73
What angered the public the most was the brutality by the special forces and executions of protesters. Local administrators were confronted and scolded by the angry crowd, who demanded the release of the detained activists. https://youtu.be/XjZn91kZZEY
Doctors went on strike because they weren't allowed to enter jails to treat the thousands of detainees. There are widespread reports of torture. Medics chanted "resign" and "tribunal". https://youtu.be/ODf4JlGD4RY
Journalists noticed a fleet of trucks coming from Russia. They said the trucks look similar to Russian National Guard trucks that often appear during protests in Russia. https://youtu.be/yGx-DvXx3wU
1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty. 2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise. 3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. ARF = Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5. 5) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
View this thread for the most up to date pubstomp list! This thread is updated everyday!Organizers, you can create an account and publish your event on Esports-Tickets.com if you plan to sell tickets, $0 fees promo for organizers I tried to look for a pubstomp thread but couldn't find one so here it is! Usually Reservoir_cat creates this one but I haven't been able to get in touch with him/her. Here's the old TI7 and TI6 pubstomp threads. There are a couple of threads made to ask for surveys/feedback/how-tos about pubstomps, feel free to PM me because I've organized several pubstomps in the past and partnered with sponsors such as RedBull, Logitech, GameVox, AMD, etc. as well and can offer a few tips and tricks! Comment below with the country, city and description for your pubstomp, it helps a lot to include a link for additional details.
Event Link - Tickets $20 before 18/08, $25 after. Food and Drinks provided, giveaways and 1v1 tournament as well. luberk
Event Link - One amazing guy has rented a cinema in Melbourne, Australia if you feel like joining us at 3am! priorax
Event Link - The same amazing guy that rented out a cinema in Melbourne, Australia has also rented out a cinema in Sydney, Australia if you feel like joining us at 3am.
Event Link Official Secret Shop, bars , cosplay & sponspors giveaway. Velcom Cinema & Galileo Silver Screen RestorKa
Event Link - We will broadcast every game, including group stages, at WASD eSports Bar in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. For the finals we are planning a big event with giveaways and x1 with pros and semi-pros. The tickets are R$ 10,00 and you can check it out here. Urso_WASD
Event Link - Venha assistir a final do The International 2018 ao vivo, em um telão, na Lends Club! Teremos comida, chopp e premios! Come watch The International 2018 finals on a big screen, at Lends Club! We'll have food, draft beer and prizes for atendees! esportsPOA
Event Link - Cinema viewing party for the Lower Bracket Final and Grand Final of TI8 on 25. august 2018. 17:45-04:00 CET (or whenever it ends) with competitions, giveaways, free Coca-Cola at entrance, hosts, entertainment and a great atmosphere. Panel, interviews, and ceremony will all be broadcasted as well. OlLi_-
https://www.facebook.com/events/285584798893275/ - PHZ.fi in co-operation with Aalto Gamers are organizing a viewing party in the Helsinki metropolitan area (Espoo, Otaniemi to be precise). You can get there very easily by metro from Helsinki. Come enjoy the final day of TI8 with us! There's gonna be pizza & soft drinks available for free + there's a grocery store and a grill close by to the venue phzgames
Event Link - There's one here organized by JeSSe Ry: Jyväskylä, Finland. Ilokivi onstage. Facebook link for the event: This is 18+ event. Hallunder
Event Link - Since we have successfully hosted Germany’s biggest Dota 2 public viewing for a couple of years now, we want to try meet the expectations this year once again. We will be broadcasting the grand finals on August 25th on the AKK tribune starting at 7pm. There, we want to collectively experience the biggest spectacle in this Dota 2 year with all the fans from near and far. Not only Dota 2 players but also DotA veterans, Dota 2 newbies and everyone who wants to get to know the phenomenon Dota are welcome to join us. spcemarine
Event Link - The 4th year in a row we are organizing the Dota TI finals public viewing in the old town of Regensburg. The event will take place at Picasso Regensburg. Starting time is 18:00 at the 25th of august. Like the last years the entrance is free, we have a pubquiz and MEGA Dota related drink specials. This year we also organized a Fotobox (thanks to the Gamerverein Regensburg) were you can take fotos with your favourite Dota heroes or even become one yourself! For further details you can look up the event page or contact us via facebook. Kryptondifluorid
Event Link - Location is still to be determined. Dota2 HK is hosting one on Grand Finals Day. Aug 25, 10pm HK Time. cybuster2
Event Link - Not sure if this counted as pubstomp but we are having one in Bangkok, Thailand. Sponsored by Lenovo Thailand. It will be hosted at Siam Pavalai Theatre on the 6th floor of Siam Paragon shopping mall. Aug 25-26 10pm-10 am local time. Rawinza555
Event Link - Another BIGGEST PUBSTOMP in BKK THAILAND is held by INVATE, Esport Specialist in Thailand (The best Live Broadcasting), who will bring the best experience to all Dota 2 fans!! discotechssss
Event Link - there is pubstomp in Odessa, Ukraine if anyone even cares
Event Link - Hey, representing the Baltimore one as well! This event is 21+, food specials. It's the fourth year we've participated! Seanbiscuit
Event Link - If you're 18+ in Chicago and want to watch Grand Finals surrounded by fellow fans, come out to a FanHome hosted International watch party at Hi-Point, the gaming lounge of Highline in River North on Saturday, August 25th. Tickets are sold above, each ticket provides you entrance to the bar, food, giveaways from FanHome's beverage partner, and enters you into a raffle. Jayhawk2b
Event Link - I’m proud to announce the official TI8 Pubstomp this year in Cincinnati! I’ve been working with the owners of 16-Bit Bar+Arcade. We have a great venue setup, with our own reserved seating to accommodate however many people show up. We'll even have a signature drink just for the occasion! Please be sure to tell your friends and family (even those who haven’t watched or played DotA – they might leave a fan!).This event is for guests 21 and over, so please keep that in mind. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions and please RSVP if you plan on attending. Banana___Hammock
Event Link - The International 8 Watch Party on August 25th In Houston, TX! Whether you love Dota, or have never seen a game this is going to be a great party for all gamers! We will have special guests, vendors, raffles, drink specials, food, hookah stands and much more! We will be raffling off a Hyper X gamer setup including a Mechanical Keyboard, Mouse, and Headset! LotharThrowaway
Event Link - Welcome to the 6th year of me hosting Dota pubstomps in Medina Ohio. Last year was a great turnout but after many people saying that it was too small i looked for a new place again. Luckily the place i hosted in 2016 is back and that's where we are this year. As always the event is open to anyone of any age and no cover charge! I just strongly encourage anyone who attends to Eat and Drink there as they are giving us the place for the whole day for free. theaxel11
Cafe el Patio - In Oakland, California is going be showing everything from the group stages to the Main event finals! Address is 4030 International Blvd, Oakland CA. There is limited seating but there are three TVs. typicalhonduran
Event Link - Come watch The International 8 at my house! Join us for our second annual Pubstomp! We host Friday and Saturday and setup a LAN party in the dining room to play between matches. Fairfield is located directly between San Francisco and Sacramento (North-East bay). Last year we had six viewers. Please RSVP so we can plan for food and message you the exact address. Amenities include: 75" 4k UltraHD stream with Pioneer 5.1 Surround Sound, Pizza, Beer, Nachos and More, Couches, Enthusiasm, Fast Internet, 420 Friendly josher777
Event Link - If you're over 21 and are in the Seattle area during TI, @FollowMe has organized a pubstomp in Capitol Hill for Saturday, August 25th. Sketches_Stuff_Maybe
Event Link - Join us at Tenley Bar and Grill to watch the finals on their projection screen. This event is ALL AGES and cosplay is encouraged. There will be giveaways throughout the day of some Dota2 swag as well as 3 full event tickets for GEXCon (gexconvention.com) coming up at the end of the month. dmr83457
Event Link - Time: 21 h00 day 25/8-10 h00 day 26/8, location: Restaurant 68 lộc shots, number 213 to theme, Ward 15, District 10, TP. Ho Chi Minh. All details, please contact MEGA esports gaming house at 0909791809 ptaqll5
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[Meet Report] IPF Open Raw World Championships | F 72kg | 500kg Total | 489 Wilks
Hey y'all, I sometimes peruse this sub and have read a few meet reports lately and really like them. It's nice to sort of just summarize the meet and the story around it on your own terms without having to worry about an audience that only cares about the big details. I am also looking forward to USAPL Raw Nationals in 4.5 weeks so I figured I'd write this to hype myself a bit for the chance to compete in IPF Worlds again. Background / Journey to the Meet Well, it was a fun story to get to this meet. To qualify for IPF Raw Worlds, you are supposed to take 1st in your weight class at USAPL Raw Nationals. Well, that's hard to do in my case because the reigning champion is also the 7-time world champion. So I ended up on the alternate list based on my Wilks and willingness to remain on the list. I was 4th on the alternate list but bumped up to 2nd because 2 people ahead of me did not have any interest in heading to Minsk, Belarus. But, I was initially left OFF the alternate list because I was signed up to compete in the USPA US Open in April. I had to fight for that alternate spot, which I was only given after I removed myself from the US Open roster. This, to me, was really silly. I hadn't violated any rules by being on the list for the meet, and people drop out of meets all of the time. I had to go through an appeals process to get my alternate spot back. Even after the appeal, I was #2 alternate, so I didn't think it would happen. Ironically though, 10 weeks out from the meet and literally the night before the US Open meet, I got a call that a spot had opened up. All that headache was worth it, and I accepted on the spot. Minsk, here we come! I had been planning to do a meet around the time of Worlds regardless of whether or not I got a spot on the team. The past 2 years, I had also gotten off the alternate list late, but declined to accept a spot because I wasn't prepared (either way overweight for the weight class or just not mentally ready to commit to such a meet). This time I had resolved to actually be prepared in the event that I'd get off the list, and sure enough, it happened. Great success. Competition Day So, I get to the meet, as prepared as ever. I knew it would be a battle for 3rd with the two Swedes going in (Isabella von Weissenberg and Annika Zelander). My meet PR total was 492.5kg and theirs were 495kg and 487.5kg, respectively. I also knew that Kim Walford and Ana Castellain would be untouchable in the 1st and 2nd place spots, so the focus was on getting to the podium. The plan for the meet was to make all attempts and push my competitors to pull a weight that they weren't capable of. My attempt selection was more about playing the competition that day instead of hitting huge PRs. There's a time for huge PRs and a time for strategy, and this was the first meet I've competed in where strategy was more important than big PRs, so I think for that reason it was the most exciting meet I've competed in thus far. Anyway, here is the breakdown of the meet. Link to meet results Squat I knew I would be starting the meet slightly behind my competitors on squat. Annika's PR squat was 180kg and Isabella's was 192.5kg, so I knew I'd have to plan to make all 3 attempts here to put myself in a good position to push ahead on subtotal on bench. Opener: 165kg / 363kgs, good, fast, great way to start off the day 2nd: 175kg / 385lbs (2.5kg PR) 3rd: 180kg / 396lbs (7.5kg PR) - somehow I got 1 red for depth here, but that just means depth was perfect! Not complaining at all about that. Video of all squat attempts I think I could have gone as high as 185kg on squat and made it, but my handlers had predicted my competition would miss their 3rd squats. Sure enough, they missed their 3rds and I made my conservative 3rd attempt. A great start to the day. This was also an incredibly satisfying PR because at Nationals I had missed a chance to PR due to my squat technically falling apart. I had cleaned up my technique in the past year and it surely paid off. If nothing else went my way that meet, I would be happy to come home with this PR squat. Bench Bench is far away my best lift and I was sure I'd be able to medal here. I came home with a silver medal after Ana Castellain with 3 successful attempts and 9 white lights: Opener: 112.5kg / 248lbs 2nd: 120kg / 264lbs (2kg PR) 3rd: 122.5kg / 270lbs (4.5kg PR) Video of all bench attempts I would say I had 125kg in me on bench, but again, the goal was to build a total and not make mistakes. Annika missed her opener due to technical failure, and Isabella lost her confidence on bench and missed what should have been an easy 100kg for her. So, given the circumstances, it was OK to play it safe here. Two red plates will go down at my next meet. Deadlift Again, we were here to put whatever I needed on the bar to get on the podium (but also within reason and what we thought I was capable of doing). I left my attempt selection to my 3 handlers, and boy were there disagreements on my 3rd attempts. After 2nd attempt deadlifts, I had a 500kg total, Isabella had a 500.5 (she had chipped the WR on squat with 193 and benched 97.5kg), and Annika 495kg. The ultimate decision was 205kg, and I just barely missed it. Opener: 185kg / 407lbs 2nd: 197.5kg / 435lbs 3rd: 205kg / 451bs, Posterior Chain RPE 8, Grip RPE 10.5. MISS due to grip while getting the down command! Video of all deadlift attemptsAaaand here's that third deadlift one more time Now, I should have been thinking about the fact that my hands were feeling swollen and my 2nd attempt didn't feel so great in my hands. But I didn't communicate this to my coaches, thinking everything would be OK. But in hindsight, I should have said something. I have a feeling that the water cut and sodium load plus a big bench makes my hands feel puffy, because I had held 205kg for 10 seconds in the gym during prep. Oh well, more to learn and improve on. Isabella and Annika ultimately missed their third attempts. It's hard to say what was the "right" third attempt. I could have gone a little more aggressive on my 3rd squat or bench, but then Isabella could have pulled 212.5 instead of 215 for her third deadlift and made that. Regardless, I am happy with my performance and that's all I was able to control. 7.5kg total PR, 7.5kg PR squat, and 4.5kg PR bench for 4th place by 0.5kg at my first IPF World championships. People to Thank I was in great hands on meet day thanks to my 3 handlers, Andrey Grebenetsky, Bill McCarthy, and Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary. Andrey did my meet prep and idk what I'd do without him. I am the most uncoachable person ever and he somehow coaches me. Bill also helped me fix my squat and that was a game-changer. And thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far and watched the livestream! Re: Minsk Minsk was not somewhere I ever thought I'd visit. But let's just say it fulfilled every post-Soviet state stereotype you would expect. There was a military parade with tanks rolling in the streets, which was a rehearsal for their July 3 Independence Day parade. There was literally a mob killing of one of the World team member's family members. A Master's lifter's nephew "fell off the balcony" in a hotel that had a casino, after an altercation with the Russian mob. There were cheap vodka shots everywhere, to the tune of $0.50/shot anywhere. Mink coat stores in the mall. Oh, and the venue where they hosted the meet had a nightclub in the basement where they hosted the IPF banquet. Everyone got drunk and it was a crazy party. I hadn't partied like that since college. What's next? You might imagine that missing the podium by 0.5kg was a real heartbreaker! So, I am working tirelessly to get back there and move up in the rankings. I just have to get there first, either by winning Nationals or hoping my Wilks is high enough and a few people drop out. TL;DR: Competed in my first IPF Raw World Championships, went 8/9 in a nail-biter fight to the end, had a lot of fun but no one cares about 4th place. I hope to be back.
Once you have decided to go to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, you may wonder about where to stay. (Our full travel information page on Minsk, Belarus with more travel tips is here https://meetngreetme.com/belarus/minsk) There are many good options to choose from, though you should first decide on the location – whether you want your accommodation to be in the city center, near an underground station, or not far from Minsk airport so that you could spend a night there after an evening flight to Minsk. MeetnGreetMe will share with you the top hotels, hostels and accommodation for rent in Minsk, so that you could choose the greatest place to stay. Minsk hotels
Minsk Marriott Hotel
One of the best, luxurious and the most comfortable hotels in Minsk is Minsk Marriott hotel. It is a new beautiful hotel with sophisticated accommodation, excellent service and a very nice location next to the main river in Minsk – Svislach. The hotel offers rooms with a view onto the peaceful river and a green park. It is not located in the heart of the city (it takes 10 minutes by car to reach the Minsk Marriott hotel from the center) but it is very close to the Zamak shopping mall, Dreamland amusement park and Minsk-Arena sports and entertainment center. Address: 20 Pobediteley Avenue. Price per night: one night would cost you $125 and above.
Another Marriott hotel in Minsk is called Renaissance and is situated on Dziarzhynskaga avenue. It is not the best location either, though with a car or a taxi it is close to the center. Address: Dzerzhinsky Avenue 1 E. Price per night: one night would cost you $125 and above.
Near Minsk railway station there is a new hotel Hampton by Hilton. Just in 7 minutes from the train station and Lenin Square underground station you will find cozy accommodation with hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi, gym and fitness center included in every stay of its guests. Address: Tolstogo str 8. Price per night: prices start from $80 per night for one adult.
Double Tree Hotel
Another Hilton hotel is located right in the center of Minsk, it is Double Tree by Hilton. Located on Niamiga street, it offers you access to the best places in Minsk – Galleria shopping mall, the Palace of Sports, the Trinity Suburb historic area in Minsk, numerous cafes and restaurants, Svislach river. Address: Pobediteley avenue 9. Price per night: for one night stay you would need to pay $130 and above. The following hotels are also all located in Minsk center. It means that if you choose one of them, you will stay within a walking distance from the best restaurants, clubs and casinos, shopping malls, parks, museums and galleries. 5-star Europe Hotel with prices from $120 and 3-star Garni Hotel with rooms at $70 are located on Internacyianalnaya street which is one of the oldest and coziest streets in Minsk with cafes, bars and museums. Minsk Hotel and Crowne Plaza Hotel are based near the Nezalezhnastsi square (Independence square) with the underground shopping mall Stalitsa, governmental buildings, universities and Lenin Square underground station. Rooms in Minsk hotel cost from $80 and in Crowne Plaza prices start from $130. On Kirava street you will find 5-star President Hotel and Beijing Hotel on Chyrvonaarmejskaya street surrounded by a park and the Svislach river with prices starting from $130 per room in both hotels. Would you like to learn more about hostels and renting accommodation in Minsk, Belarus? Read the full article here: https://meetngreetme.com/blog/guide-to-best-hotels-and-hostels-in-minsk/
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