New Year in Moscow
Anya in a kiosk
We all know that mobile communication breaks down completely at New Year. Once my two friends and I had to spend a New Year's Eve in a kiosk near Belyaevo, in the south of Moscow. We were 17 or something and were going to meet some friends but we didn't know exactly where we were meeting, just the time, 11.00 pm. Of course the connection collapsed and we couldn't reach them by phone.We were teenagers and we didn't have money for a taxi and we lived in Moscow region so couldn't get back home. At midnight there were fireworks and dancing near the New Year tree at Belyaevo but then everything shut, except for one little store near the metro. We went into it, they had a DVD on and we bought champagne, chocolate, crisps and spent all night there!! We met a boy who ran this small business with his mum and later on in New Years holidays we met up with him and his friends for a long night of beer and partying.
Andy up the hill
My best New Year in Moscow was probably my first here, at the end of 2006. After deciding that Red Square would be too crowded and not much fun, a group of my colleagues hit upon Vorobyovy Gory as the ideal spot, promising that from up there we'd be able to see all of Moscow's firework displays. Which was sort-of true, if you add the key expression 'from a distance'. Luckily there was plenty of other entertainment: shampanskoye, vodka, and the ever-present excitement of seeing which drunk would be the first to self-immolate in a bid to launch his rocket skywards. Memory of the night? Tramping back through the snow in front of MGU, singing Bohemian Rhapsody (in attempted harmony). You probably had to be there ...
Ayano at the conservatory
As a student living in a dormitory it gets pretty gruesome, as exams began early January and I sometimes had rehearsals or lessons on Jan 2, but there were always tons of people (such as singers) who kept the whole building awake and shaking until the wee hours of morning with their partying. Therefore most of my New Years were spent in angry confrontations with and/or sabotaging parties by cutting off the electricity from the switchboard.
Tom on the pond
We had organised a night of revelry on Patriarshy Prudy, as my friends lived just beside it. It was a minor miracle that we got there as we went to a party somewhere else before and then looked at our watches to see that it was ten minutes to twelve.
We got to the pond just in time to see people set off their fireworks, and then slid around over the ice, glugging champagne. We occasionally burst into song, being all classically trained singers and with a copy of Rachmaninoff Vespers to hand. It's just as well that my friends moved house soon after that because the neighbours thought we were freaks!
Zhenya by a building site
For me New Year has always been a family holiday, so nothing too horrible or exciting usually happens. There are the customary deafening fireworks which you hear and see from all over the city, Champagne, Olivier salad, and the President's speech at midnight. I guess the only surprise was when one Jan. 1 workers started cutting down trees under our windows to make way for a dubious construction site while everyone was still asleep and/or nursing a hangover.
Lidia round the gambling table
When I was a student in Rostov my friend Daria and I came to Moscow to see in the New Year. We stayed in a university's dorms but got partying at my brother's. The usual food, champagne and fireworks, followed by poker, charades and excess of alcohol.
Elena at the dacha
One of my best New Years was in a village two hours from Moscow by car. There were three couples of friends, and the house belonged to one of them. It had banya, billiards and a swimming pool. There was a fir tree, and we all had put presents for each other under it. One guy, a really good singer (and I reiterate GOOD) had brought his guitar, so he played and sang songs for us on request.
Then there was this big commotion outside and one of the guys, really tall, walked in dressed as a Ded Moroz. A bunch of us then went from house to house congratulating people and giving them sweets. It was awesome fun, and ended up in a snowball fight with the neighbours. After midnight a few guests came and went. Since then we have kind of had to believe in Ded Moroz!