Moscow’s Chief Architect Envisions the City’s Future

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Vanina – April 29, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/business/article/moscows-chief-architect-envisions-the-citys-future/567455.html] For many years, Triumfalnaya Ploshchad was a nondescript square across from Moscow’s beating heart. It was an occasional meeting point for anti-regime protesters, a space to get across to reach somewhere else. Today, however, it is an example of modern design, a beautifully lit Scandinavian oasis […]

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Five foolproof ways to identify Russians on holiday abroad

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

I will not waste your time describing boring images of Russians squandering money and wearing tawdry outfits on vacations abroad. You have probably already read such tropes a million times. Here I’d like to discuss the not so obvious, but no less true, signs that a tourist is from Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELENA POTAPOVA, RBTH […]

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How Greed and Incompetence Put Russia’s Heritage at Risk

Novodevichy Convent file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ekaterina Motyakina – April 14, 2016) The Novodevichy convent is a rare glimpse of tranquility in Russia’s bustling capital. Perched on the banks of the Bolshoi Novodevichny Lake, the convent’s golden domes and soaring bell towers have given refuge to Moscow’s needy since the 16th century. When cultural and scientific agency UNESCO designated it a […]

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Five great new Russian films to watch online with the Dubl Dv@ festival

File Photo of Reel of Film

New Russian movies will be available for streaming online with English subtitles as part of the Dubl dv@ (Take Two) film festival from April 11-22. We have selected the five most interesting movies from the program. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDER NECHAYEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – April 11, 2016) Festival website: d2.rg.ru 1. ‘CH/B’ (‘Black/White’) After Nurik, […]

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Office Affairs and Chit-Chat Around the Russian Water Cooler

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michele A. Berdy – April 8, 2016) Облагора́живать: to ennoble Imagine that you are a foreigner who has been studying English. You’ve mastered most of the grammar – except those pesky articles and absurd tenses – and your listening comprehension is pretty good. So you go to the U.S. and meet someone in a coffee […]

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Six Russian writers to watch at the London Book Fair

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

A delegation of Russian authors is coming to London on April 11-14 for the city’s international book fair. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDRA GUZEVA, RBTH – April 7, 2016) The Read Russia international project returns to the London Book Fair. Among daily meetings with award-wining contemporary writers, this year the Russian stand (5D169) at Olympia Exhibition Center […]

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Ukraine bans all Russian films released after Jan 1, 2014

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Interfax – March 29, 2016) Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has banned broadcasting of the “films of the aggressor state” produced and/or publicized (demonstrated) for the first time after January 1, 2014. The bill, entitled “On making changes to the Ukrainian law ‘On cinematography’,” was favored by 237 parliamentarians on March 29. Having passed the law, the parliamentarians extended the ban to […]

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Russian Karjakin to Compete in Chess World Championship Title Match

Chess Pieces File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – March 30, 2016) Grandmaster Sergei Karjakin will become the first Russian since 2008 to compete in a title match of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) championship, after he defeated Fabiano Caruana of the United States in Moscow on Monday, according to an announcement on the FIDE website. Karjakin, playing the white pieces, […]

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Russian, U.S. Chess Grandmasters Face-Off In World Champions Tournament

Chess Pieces File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 29, 2016) Eight of the world’s top chess grandmasters have converged on Moscow to compete for the right to challenge reigning World Chess Federation (FIDE) champion Magnus Carlsen for the championship title, the FIDE website reported. Going into the final round on Monday, Sergei Karjakin of Russia and Fabiano Caruana of the United States […]

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Cultural cooperation in a time of war: the view from Kyiv; How the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has changed the face of cultural exchange.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Ksenia Turkova – March 24, 2016) Ksenia Turkova is a journalist and presenter on Radio Vesti and Hromadske.tv. She writes for Snob.ru and pravmir.ru, and is based in Kyiv. The average viewer of Russian television has long had the impression that Russia no longer has any links to Ukraine – whether in terms of transport connections (direct flights […]

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Russians’ Favorite Writer? The Winner is…

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 15, 2016) The Levada Center has recently published the results of a nationwide survey asking Russian citizens to name their favorite writer. Lev Tolstoy took first place with 45 percent of the vote, Fyodor Dostoevsky came in second with 23 percent and Anton Chekhov took third place with 18 percent. Russia is known worldwide […]

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A crisis is the best time to invest in the world’s future consumers

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Despite Russia’s difficult economic situation, 30 Russian and international companies – without intentions of making an immediate profit – have invested in the biggest educational entertainment center in Europe, KidZania. As a reward they hope to bring up loyal consumers for the future. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MKarpova, RBTH – March 7, 2016) Would you like to […]

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Russians’ Values ‘Normal but Weak’ not ‘Strong but Abnormal,’ Sociologist Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 28, 2016) Many are inclined to believe that Russians strongly hold “abnormal” values; but in fact, sociologist Ella Paneyakh says, the values they hold are quite normal but they are only weakly attached to them. As a result, there often occur sudden and otherwise apparently inexplicable changes in the goals and […]

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Keeping Russia’s history safe for the ages: Inside a Moscow archive

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

The Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents in Moscow is the country’s primary repository of manuscripts and records dating back to the Middle Ages and beyond, but the story of the archive itself is not short on interest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 23, 2016) [Text with links to sources here […]

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It’s official: Native Americans and Siberians are cousins

Siberian River, Forest, Mountain

After more than a century of speculation, an international group of geneticists has conclusively proven that the Aztecs, Incas, and Iroquois are closely related to the peoples of Altai, the Siberian region that borders China and Mongolia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – ARAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – rbth.ru – February 23, 2016) Scientists have suspected for a long time […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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Obscenities an Inalienable Part of Russian Language and Life, Expert Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 22, 2016) Russians today have an “ambiguous” attitude toward obscenities, a specialist on the Russian language says. “On the one hand, there is an official prohibition of their use” in the media and even a fine for cursing in public. But on the other, many public figures and even more ordinary […]

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Censors would starve in modern Russia

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Maya Kucherskaya, a writer, linguist, literary critic and director of the newly opened Creative Writing School, the first such center for budding authors in Russia, talked to RBTH about professional writing, censorship and Russia’s book market. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YULIA VINOGRADOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 17, 2016) RBTH: How is the Creative Writing School different […]

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Russian Women – They’re Just Not That Into You

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog, Peter Hobson – February 12, 2016) [Chart here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russian-women–theyre-just-not-that-into-you/559233.html] Tatyana, a good-looking blonde, leans across the table. “You fancy sticking around for a drink?” she asks with a naughty smile. The subject of her advances, a British Moscow Times business reporter, blushes with embarrassment. It is Saturday evening and we are nearing the […]

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Moscow’s Steamship Bolshoi Keeps Rolling

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Raymond Stults – February 9, 2016) [DJ: Bolshoi Babylon available on HBO in the US] In the summer of 2013, a British film production team was given unprecedented access to the Bolshoi Theater for purposes of making a documentary about the theater’s inner workings. Titled “Bolshoi Babylon,” the film made its debut on cable television […]

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Russia’s year of cinema, or a return to silent films

File Photo of Reel of Film

In Russia, 2016 has been designated the Year of Cinema. But any new films are likely to be ‘silent’, lacking any voice of their own. (opendemocracy.net – Eleonora Zbanke – February 3, 2016) Eleonora Zbanke is a filmmaker, videographer, producer, human rights activist and a speaker at the 2015 World Forum for Democracy on “Freedom vs Control”. Russia’s cinema industry […]

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Andrew Davies’ New ‘War and Peace’ Takes the Small Screen by Storm

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Des Brown – January 27, 2016) British screenwriter Andrew Davies is television’s best English literature lecturer. He introduced homicidal British Prime Minister Francis Urquhart to BBC viewers in the “House of Cards” trilogy between 1990 and 1995. Just over two decades ago, a wet-shirted Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy captured the national imagination in Davies’ […]

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Nine lingering myths about Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

We are often held prisoner by imposed stereotypes and opinions about countries, people and events. RBTH has collected nine myths about Russia that are far from accurate. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALYA PUKHOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 26, 2016) 1. The death rate in Russia is higher than its birth rate There is a widespread belief […]

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Moscow’s Art Exhibition for the Record Books

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – January 26, 2016) This past week Moscow, news has been dominated by events at the Valentin Serov retrospective at the Tretyakov Gallery. First the television shows broadcast President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the show, then the ever-growing crowds of people who came to see the exhibition in its final week, followed by […]

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How Russians react to BBC’s War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy file photo

RBTH’s pick of the best comments made by Tolstoy’s compatriots. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALIA MASHINISTOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 26, 2016) Although BBC’s new War and Peace adaptation hasn’t aired on Russian television yet, the most curious Russians have found a way to check it out on the internet. Any foreign attempt to adapt what […]

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Record Number of Russians Empty-Handed at New Year – Poll

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 25, 2016) Twenty-three percent of Russians received no gifts for New Year – the highest percentage for six years, according to a poll conducted by state-run pollster VTsIOM. For those who did receive gifts, the most popular items were sweets, alcohol and delicacies – these items were received by 24 percent of respondents, according […]

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The poorer Russians get, the happier they become and other mysteries

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Sometimes sociological surveys capture paradoxical results. For example, for some reason Russians on the whole feel happier when they are poorer and many people that claim to be Orthodox Christians do not go to church and do not believe in God. As the famous 19th century poet Fyodr Tyutchev once said, “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone.” (Russia […]

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Russia without whom?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

As the Soviet Union collapsed, a generation had just been born. The online journal Russia without us catalogues their struggle to find a place in today’s Russia. Interview. (opendemocracy.net – Andrey Urodov, Maxim Edwards – January 21, 2016) Andrey Urodov is a freelance journalist covering сultural and social issues in Russia. He runs the non-profit Russia without us magazine. Maxim […]

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10 common Russian superstitions

Spilled Salt and Toppled Salt Shaker

Russians are a very superstitious people. According to a recent Russian Public Opinion Research Center’s (VTsIOM) survey in October 2015, 50 percent of Russians conform their behavior to their beliefs in superstitions. Here are the most popular ones that could help you while travelling in Russia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – LEXANDER KOROLEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January […]

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Russian Animated Film Gets Oscar Nod

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2016) [Trailer here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/news/article/russian-animated-film-gets-oscar-nod/555777.html] The Russian animated film “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” has been shortlisted for an Academy Award. The film by Russian director Konstantin Bronzit was named a nominee on Thursday in the Best Animated Short Film category. The film tells the story of two friends and their paths to achieving […]

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Dark Jokes Lighten Gloom Over Russia’s Ailing Economy

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, January 17, 2016) What’s the difference between the ruble, the dollar, and the pound? With a dollar, you can buy a pound of dried rubles. Jokes like these have become par for the course as the recession-hit Russian economy limps into 2016 showing no signs of recovery and the national currency plunges […]

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Agents of Change: Promoting Tolerance and Acceptance in Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – January 18, 2016) A rehearsal is being held in a large hall – light streaming in through floor-to-ceiling windows onto the performers. Some dance, some sit sprawled across the floor watching their compatriots. “Kostik, stand up, you’re going to get cold,” the choreographer scolds. A young man slouched on the wooden parquet […]

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Russian Culture Minister Says Burning Books ‘Completely Unacceptable’

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 15, 2016) Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has denounced an incident in which 53 publications funded by the George Soros Foundation were reportedly incinerated in northern Russia’s Komi region. Medinsky told the Meduza news portal on Thursday that the burning of books and the destruction of monuments, is “completely unacceptable” because it “looks terrible […]

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What’s so Russian about Russian food?

File Photo of Russian Food and Nesting Dolls

Blogger offers cultural insights to the country’s cuisine. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEKSANDRA EFIMOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 12, 2016) [Photos here rbth.com/blogs/leadership._inspiration._achievement/2016/01/12/whats-so-russian-about-russian-food_558755] On a recent trip to Russia, I picked up three cookbooks dating back to the 1800s that were originally written for housewives of that time. Although updated for the modern cook, these books […]

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Seven powerful politicians from around the world that speak Russian

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn yet there are many influential politicians around the world that have taken it up. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NATALIA MASHINISTOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 12, 2016) [Videos with Michael McFaul and Condoleezza Rice here: rbth.com/arts/lifestyle/2016/01/12/7-powerful-politicians-from-around-the-world-that-speak-russian_558729] Most Russian-speaking politicians live in former Soviet republics and other […]

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Moscow homeless treated to free film shows

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

“Cinema for the homeless” was born in the summer: the homeless were shown French film 1+1 and classical Soviet comedy Operation Ы. The screenings are organized by volunteers from the Friends on the Street Movement, which since 2002 has been helping people without a home of their own. The movement feeds them, helps them socialize and carries out various events. […]

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Sanctions, Khachapuri, Burgers – Moscow’s Year in Food

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – January 6, 2016) Despite the various sanctions, counter-sanctions, inflation and other economic and gastronomic woes, 2015 was a pretty good year for food lovers in Moscow. With all those economic problems, it’s no wonder that cheap but good fast food emerged as the main trend of the year. Georgian cuisine, previously associated […]

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Unwrapping Christmas in Russian literature

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

The decorations are up, the nights are drawing in – in the northern hemisphere, at least – and gift-hunters are braving the crowds ahead of Christmas. In Russia, however, this celebration has a different meaning. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – PETER BEECH, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 7, 2016) The majority of Russians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, […]

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Putin gives Kursk schoolgirl Labrador retriever puppy

Putin Descending a Staircase

KURSK. Dec 31 (Interfax) – Anna Abramova, 11, from Kursk, received from Russian President Vladimir Putin a Labrador puppy as a gift, the press service for the Kursk City Assembly reported on Thursday. The girl named the puppy Undina. The girl has been dreaming about a dog for a long time, but the income of her family (her mother, Tatyana […]

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