Ya Heart Vladimir: A Visit to the Regions

Russia Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – September 22, 2016 – Mary Elizabeth Malinkin) Giant, Cyrillic block letters spelling “Ya Heart Vladimir” (“I Love Vladimir”) now illuminate Cathedral Square in downtown Vladimir, Russia. The cheery, familiar slogan brought a smile to my face – da, ya lyublyu Vladimir. In early August I traveled back to the ancient city (just how ancient remains […]

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Russia’s Blockbuster Museum: The Tretyakov Reborn

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

Director Zelfira Tregulova has breathed new life into the Tretyakov, toppling art’s ivory tower and attracting record-breaking crowds. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Mongayt – September 26, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/russias-blockbuster-museum-the-tretyakov-reborn-55436] People waited in line for up to four hours in temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius. There were ambulances and rescue workers on hand, just in case. Volunteers […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

Subject: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2016 From: Stephen D. Shenfield <sshenfield@verizon.net> [New Book: Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia] I recently published an e-book on Amazon Kindle entitled ‘Stories of a Soviet Studier: My Experiences in Russia’: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Soviet-Studier-Experiences-Studies-ebook/dp/B01EBG3RIA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1460977096&sr=1-1&keywords=shenfield My summary This is a collection of stories about personal […]

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Russia’s New Poor Ashamed of Their Poverty and Try to Hide It, Sociologist Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 16, 2016) In Russia today, with the gap between rich and poor again widening, Olga Simonova says, “poverty is viewed not as an individual’s misfortune but as his fault.” As a result, while they complain to pollster, Russia’s new poor do not turn to the state even when it could help […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Restoring Old Churches Inspires a New Philanthropy in Russia” – New York Times

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

In a country where the state has traditionally maintained extensive control, private charity is still in relative infancy. Foundations and groups that receive funds from abroad usually must register as foreign actors. Restoring churches is one area where Russians have seized the volunteer spirit, however. Both churches in Tarusa have been restored with a mixture of state, church and private […]

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Eight Things That Will Make You Jealous of Russians and Their Dachas

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 8, 2016) [Text with photos here themoscowtimes.com/articles/8-things-that-will-make-you-jealous-of-russians-and-their-dachas-38139] In summer, the dacha becomes the focal point of Russian existence. Children and grandparents live there while school is out, and those who still have to work head out for their own bit of greenery once Friday afternoon rolls around. It doesn’t have to be a luxury […]

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The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students

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

Subject: The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:59:20 +0700 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> The Westernization of Higher Education in Russia: Novosibirsk State University and its Students 1992-2016: Part 2: The Students By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. […]

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A survival guide for dating Russian women

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Champagne Glasses

If you really want to unravel the mystery that is a Russian woman, you should probably skip this survival guide entirely and read some Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Still, since Russian authors were never known for their brevity, sending you off to a library before your first date with Natasha or Tatiana or Olga would simply be inhumane on our part. […]

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Life Through a Different Lens: Moscow’s Jewish Film Festival

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ruth Moore – June 13, 2016) Tomorrow is opening night of the Moscow Jewish Film Festival, a cultural event offering Muscovites the chance to become acquainted with the world of Jewish professional cinematography. Over the course of the week, more than 35 films with a focus on Jewish culture will show at leading cultural venues […]

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Russia’s young people aren’t angry, they’re furious

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

Five years after Russia’s protest movement turned sour, young people are still frustrated with the status quo. (opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Ugarov – June 8, 2016) Mikhail Ugarov is a Moscow-based writer, art director and director born in 1956 in Arkhangelsk, Russia. He graduated from the department of dramatic arts at Moscow’s Gorky Literature Institute and went on to direct numerous […]

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The Museum of Russian Impressionism Opens in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ruth Moore – June 3, 2016) [Photos here themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/the-museum-of-russian-impressionism-opens-in-moscow/571161.html] Moscow just got a new museum. The Museum of Russian Impressionism is the first major private art museum to open in the capital, and its founder and curators hope to do nothing less than revolutionize the world’s knowledge of art history. The new museum, which features […]

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RBTH: How to be a Russian? A user’s manual; For the foreigners out there wondering what it takes to be a Russian, check out our simple guide on how to imitate typical Russian behavior and avoid standing out.

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA NOVIKOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – June 2, 2016) Recently I received an amusing gift. It was a book with the intriguing name, “How to be a Brit” and it was written by a man named George Mikes. Having rather limited experience of being one, I dove into the book, looking for answers […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Russian Literature and Language Society

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

(Kremlin.ru – May 26, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the Russian Literature and Language Society’s Congress. The Russian Literature and Language Society was established in 2016 to consolidate the efforts of scholars, teachers, cultural figures and the global public to preserve the leading role of Russian language and literature in educating young people, strengthening the […]

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Degradation of Russian Elites Underlies Russia’s Decline, Pastukhov Says

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) “The thinning out of the Russian ‘cultural stratum’ and, as a result, the degradation of elites who have turned out to be incapable of responding to new historical challenges,” Vladimir Pastukhov says, is the underlying cause of the current decline of the country. All other causes, technological, societal and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Anti-travelogue’ on Putin’s Russia wins £10,000 Ondaatje prize. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev takes prize honouring writers who best ‘evoke the spirit of a place” – The Guardian

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

… Pomerantsev said he had been struck by the ‘state-reinforced psychology of the new Russia, the insistence that all identities are mutable, that nothing is true and everything is possible.’ Born in Ukraine and now living in London, Pomerantsev has worked as a journalist, film-maker and as a consultant for the EU and World Bank. * * * Judge and […]

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Russian Charities to Be Exempt From ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 18, 2016) Charities are no longer to be classified as “foreign agents” if they receive money from abroad, according to a new amendment approved by the Russian State Duma. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in areas such as art and culture will also be exempt from the “foreign agent” label, the Interfax news agency reported […]

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A Euro ‘vision’ of discord: The reaction from Russia and Ukraine

Joseph Stalin file photo

Eurovision, Europe’s most popular song contest, has pitted Russia against Ukraine. The winning song and the results of the jury have prompted considerable commentary in both countries, turning an apolitical show into yet another frontline in an ongoing media war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 17, 2016) The Eurovision 2016 winning […]

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1 out of every 2: What do half of all Russians believe?

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

Opinion polls are regularly published in Russia containing curious facts about ‘every second Russian’ – according to surveys half of the population pray, steal items from hotel rooms and live in anticipation of a war, among other things. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 11, 2016) Sociological services often publish […]

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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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