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Archive for Life in Russia, Culture, Arts, Theater, Music

Homegrown Films Beat Hollywood Imports in the Battle for Viewers

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – April 17, 2014) After a string of domestic blockbusters and the strongest first quarter in recent years, it seems fair to say that the Russian film industry is on the rise – but the story is far from over, a local producer says. “Russian cinema is experiencing

Apparatchik Apartments: Behind the facades of the House on the Embankment

Back side of House on Embankment (central part), view from Patriarshy Bridge pedestrian walkway, from Wikimedia Commons, user NVO, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow,_House_on_Embankment_back_side.jpg

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – April 16, 2014) This huge apartment block across the river from the Kremlin is one of the enduring symbols of the Stalin era. In the 1930s the apartments inside were allocated only to senior officials and the Soviet elite, but when many of them

Culture Ministry Purges Prominent Arts Figures

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – April 11, 2014) The Russian Culture Ministry raised eyebrows this week by replacing several respected figures in two departments involving the fine arts and theater. Many admit it was high time for these experts to be rotated out of their positions. But most also suggest that the

The heady style of the heady 1990s

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Inna Fedorova, special to RBTH – April 8, 2014) The Russia of the 1990s is staunchly associated with the epithet “heady”. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the arrival of democracy gave the nation not only freedom of choice and an abundance of goods, but also organized

‘Geograf’ Picks Up Top Russian Film Award

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 2, 2014) Alexander Veledinsky’s “Geograf Globus Propil” was the big winner at this year’s Nika awards for Russian film, picking up a bundle of the top awards. The Nika, an annual Russian film award named after the Roman goddess for victory Nike, awarded prizes to the best movies of

Snowstorm Paralyzes Moscow on April Fool’s Day

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 2, 2014) A snowstorm buffeted Moscow for about 18 hours, snarling traffic and blanketing the city in a record 17 centimeters of white that many residents probably wished was an April Fool’s joke. “Winter has returned to Moscow, and this is no April Fool’s joke,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said

Most Russians believe women should stay at home

Two Babushkas file photo

(Moscow News – moscownews.com – David Burghardt – March 7, 2014) A woman’s place is in the kitchen, according to a recent poll by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM) published on Friday. According to the latest survey, 72 percent of Russians believe a woman should choose the home and family over her

Maslenitsa Weekend in Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katerina Azarova – February 28, 2014) Sunshine and pancakes: If you ask me, it doesn’t get any better than that. That’s what Moscow is all about this week, because it’s Maslenitsa time! The delicious, gluttonous week of sweet and savory pancakes before Lent is finally upon us, and you should

The 10 most well-known Russian words

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH  - January 30, 2014) Words like vodka and Kalashnikov are know around the world. But how many people realize that they come from the Russian language? Russian actively borrows words from other languages, mainly English. But there are also Russian words that travel

Ten more well-known Russian words

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH – February 20, 2014) Following the publication of my earlier piece “The 10 most well-known Russian words”, readers have responded with suggestions of more Russian words that have become known and used internationally. So in response to these requests I have written about

Russian Writers Call for Free Speech as Pasternak’s Birthday Celebrated

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock and Olga Chetina – February 17, 2014) Feb. 11 marked the 124th anniversary of the birth of Boris Pasternak, the famed Soviet author best known for his book “Doctor Zhivago,” which was published abroad after being banned in the Soviet Union. Pasternak’s birthday was celebrated with great

NEWSLINK: Russians hold outdoor kissathon in coldest city

Red Valentine's Heart

["Russians hold outdoor kissathon in coldest city" - AFP - February 14, 2014 - news.yahoo.com/russians-hold-outdoor-kissathon-coldest-city-140334458.html] Russian couples in Yakutsk took part in a Saint Valentine’s Day kissing contest called “Love warms you up,” with the winners kissing for one hour and twenty minutes, the last 20 minutes spent with the man also picking the woman

NEWSLINK: Russians use ‘love’ emoticon on Facebook more than any other

Red Valentine's Heart

["Russians use 'love' emoticon on Facebook more than any other" - San Francisco Business Times - Steven E.F. Brown- February 13, 2014 - bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2014/02/russians-love-emoticon-facebook-berkeley.html?page=all] The San Francisco Business Times reports that the top emoticon for Russian facebook users is the love icon.  Yet researchers at Cal-Berkeley and Cambridge provide a mixed assessment of what that

RIA Novosti: Russians Unwilling to See Their First Love Again – Poll

Cartoon Hearts Spelling L O V E

MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Most Russians remember their first love but only 13 percent would like to meet up with that person again, a poll conducted ahead of St. Valentine’s Day showed. Eighty-five percent of adult Russians said they had fallen in love, while nine percent of Russians said they have never lost

Literature on the front lines: Russian writers in the Caucasus conflicts

chechnya-military

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Phoebe Taplin, special to RBTH – February 11, 2014) The tradition of literature exploring conflict in the Caucasus began with the great stories by Lermontov and Tolstoy, and is carried on by today’s writers: RBTH presents 5 contemporary authors, each with military experience and individual views on duty,

RIA Novosti: Half of Russians Are in Love – Poll

Artistic Rendition of Valentine's Heart

MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Almost half of Russians are currently in love, although men with romantic feelings outnumber women, according to a new poll released Tuesday. Some 48 percent of Russians admitted to being in love, 4 percent less than in 2011, the survey by the independent Levada Center found. But, implying some

Top things Google says Russians are

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Sorokina, RBTH – February 3, 2014) RBTH gets to the heart of what Russians and Americans think about each other by examining the most searched phrases in Google and Russia’s main search engine, Yandex. Thousands of miles lie between Russia and the U.S. – and that distance

Russian writers and rulers: the love-hate relationship

Alexander Solzhenitsyn file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – February 3, 2014) For Russian literature, it’s time again for a political choice: for or against Putin? RBTH presents an overview of the problem and interviews experts. Russian literature and government power have always had something of a love-hate relationship. There have been periods when writers were exiled

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art Presidium

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Kremlin.ru – February 3, 2014) Vladimir Putin chaired an expanded meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art Presidium on developing theatre. Before the start of the meeting, the President visited the Pskov Academic Drama Theatre, which recently underwent restoration and construction work. Speech at a meeting of the Council for Culture and Art

Visiting Russians at home

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Trofimova, RBTH – February 2, 2014) RBTH has selected the most widespread traditions and stereotypes linked to Russian hospitality. It is no secret that foreigners sometimes associate Russia with everlasting cold, bears, vodka and the rudeness of its people. So much for the stereotypes. But what kind

What public opinion polls tell us about Russians

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anastasiya Maltseva, special to RBTH – January 29, 2014) Recent polls show that Russians value family first and look cautiously at the West. But well over half of the population will follow the Sochi Olympics. For Russians, family is what matters most. Most Russians hope for the better

‘Reconstruction’ Brings ’90s Back to Russian Art

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – January 28, 2014) The 1990s are often thought of in the West as a decade with relatively few problems. One-hit wonder bands sang sincerely while hip, neoliberal politicians managed booming economies. The 90s in Russia, however, was a more turbulent time and art from the period shows

Translation challenges the brightest minds

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Phoebe Taplin, special to RBTH – January 14, 2014) Top translators of Tolstoy and Pelevin talk to RBTH about misunderstandings, cultural differences and how not to get lost in translation.   Each year scores of books are translated from Russian to English. This year has seen publications in

Old New Year Has Enduring Popularity in Russia

File Photo of New Year's Eve Revelers With Sparkler Near Kremlin

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2014) Nearly half of Russians are planning to ring in the “Old New Year” on Monday night, in a sign of the enduring popularity of the holiday based on the old Julian calendar. “Old New Year” is a legacy of the calendar that the country used before the

Russian Village Reformer Released on Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Moscow artist was released on parole Friday after spending more than two years in jail for a bribery conviction that followed his move to a Russian village in a bid to bring culture to the provinces. Ilya Farber, whose case has become a cause celebre for many opposition

Unrolling the Russian carpet

File Photo of Moscow In Snowy Winter Showing St. Basil's At Night in Snowfall, with People on the Ground in the Distance

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Manaev, RBTH – January 8, 2014) Do Russian walk on their walls? If not, why do they have carpets all over them?. RBTH takes an in-depth look at one of the most intriguing Soviet traditions Do you know what really hits home with Russians when they watch

Ivan Kozlovsky: The man who refused to sing for Stalin

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yan Shenkman, RBTH – January 4, 2014) The legendary opera singer admired by Stalin, yet always resented being told what he could sing and what he could not. Ivan Kozlovsky (1900-1993) was a legendary opera tenor and a soloist at the Bolshoi Theater. He sang more than 50

Moscow Celebrates Russian Orthodox Christmas With Giant Apple Pie

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 7, 2014) This year’s warm temperatures meant believers in Moscow celebrated a red and gold, rather than white, Orthodox Christmas. Moscow confectioners baked a giant apple and cherry pie in celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas, which is marked on Jan. 7, based on the old Julian calendar. The 100

Taking precautions on Moscow’s metro

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Zoya Miloslavskaya, special to RBTH – January 2, 2014) The Moscow metro is relatively safe, but pickpockets, thieves and drunken travellers can darken an unwary passenger’s mood. However, you can avoid incidents like these by following some simple rules. According to statistics from the Directorate of Internal Affairs,

Russian hangover remedies: Cucumbers, caviar, and a bath

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – January 1, 2014) During the holidays, a morning hangover can ruin your day. There are many remedies in the world for a hangover, but Russians swear by theirs. A folk wisdom says “What is good for a Russian in the evening, is bad for

Body-conscience Russians a lot like Europeans

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – January 1, 2014) Russians are traditionally viewed as being harsh and unconcerned about their bodies, but it turns out that this is far from reality. Russians reacted vehemently when the artist Pyotr Pavlensky nailed his genitals to a cobblestone in Moscow’s Red Square in

Eat, drink and be merry ­ but at your own expense!

File Photo of New Year's Eve Revelers With Sparkler Near Kremlin

(opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – December 31, 2013) Mikhail Loginov is a journalist and novelist based in St Petersburg. He is the author of the recently published bestselling political thriller “Battle for Kremlin”. New Year is by far Russia’s most important and lavishly celebrated public holiday.  But as Russians prepare to celebrate it, Putin is

What to Expect From The Year of The Horse

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 1, 2014) Many Russians love to honor the animal that symbolizes the coming year, based on the Chinese astrological calendar, believing ­ half-jokingly but many would insist ­ that it brings them luck for the next 12 months. “Whose year is the next one?” Russians ask

Investigators asked to look into Moscow Art Theater production of An Ideal Husband

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – Requests to conduct an inquiry into the production of the play An Ideal Husband at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater (MAT) have been forwarded to the Russian Investigative Committee’s Moscow branch, the city police department said on its Twitter page. “Twenty-three requests demanding an inquiry into the Chekhov MAT’s production

Russian New Year’s celebration: It’s all in the numbers

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – December 27, 2013) New Year celebrations are popular all over the world, but in Russia they are the main national holiday. The festivities last for at least eight days, and sometimes as many as 20. Russians’ pagan ancestors celebrated Kolyada, a winter solstice holiday.

Structure of Russian Family Continues to Change, Expert Says

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 30, 2013) Despite the traditionalism being promoted by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian family continues to change, with more people living alone or with those to whom they are not married and having fewer children than their parents, according to a

Interfax: Putin politician of the year – poll

kremlin-175-aerial

MOSCOW. Dec 26 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin is predominantly seen in Russia as the politician of the year, an opinion poll suggests. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) said in a report made available to Interfax on Thursday that 44% of respondents in a recent poll named Putin as the top politician of

Russian New Year’s celebration: It’s all in the numbers

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – December 27, 2013) New Year celebrations are popular all over the world, but in Russia they are the main national holiday. The festivities last for at least eight days, and sometimes as many as 20. Russians’ pagan ancestors celebrated Kolyada, a winter solstice holiday.

Father Frost, Russia’s Counterpart to Santa Claus, Varies Widely by Region and Nationality

new-year-200

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 24, 2013) As the peoples of Eurasia enter into the holiday season, it is worth remembering that Father Frost, a figure that many Russians see as uniting their country however divided it may be, in fact varies widely not only among the region’s many nations but

The basics of the best Russian drinking toasts

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexey Mikheev, special to RBTH – December 26, 2013) It is customary in Russia to propose a toast before each new round of drinks. At official events, the toasts are serious and earnest. At a party with close friends in attendance, they are usually ironic and jocular. People

Russia 2013: Success and Anxiety; How Russians will remember the outgoing year.

New Year's Eve in Red Square with Crowd and Fireworks

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolay Surkov, Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – December 24, 2013) The outgoing year had a disturbing start ­ a large-scale disaster. In February, a large meteorite fell in Chelyabinsk, a major industrial center of the Urals. The explosive power of this meteorite was approximately 500 kilotons (30 times stronger

RIA Novosti: Russians Do Not Trust Each Other – Report

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) ­ More than two-thirds of Russians do not trust other people, the Russian Public Chamber said in its annual civil society report Friday. “The level of trust between people in Russia remains low at present. More than two-thirds of Russians believe that you should be cautious in relations with others

The lower depths in Russia today

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – December 14, 2013 – Ekaterina Loushnikova) Ekaterina Loushnikova is radio and print journalist based in the city of Kirov Over a century after Maksim Gorky’s famous play about homeless people ­ ‘The Lower Depths’ ­ Ekaterina Loushnikova has been looking around her home city of Kirov to see if anything has changed. The

Times of turmoil at the Bolshoi Theater

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Kozlov, special to RBTH – December 16, 2013) In the past year, the Bolshoi Theater has gone through a series of controversies and management changes. What is behind all of the chaos? Just a few years ago, Bolshoi was under public scrutiny because of its major renovation

Celebrating Aitmatov and his examination of collective memory

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Olga Fedina, special to RBTH – December 12, 2013) The author of the acclaimed novel “The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years,” would have been 85 years old on Dec. 12. When I was finishing school in the late 1980s, in the anarchic and utopian times of

Suburbs Await Transformation Into Hubs in a New Polycentric Moscow

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – December 9, 2013) Moscow will get a new master plan by 2015 to reflect its forthcoming transformation into a polycentric city, in which peripheral areas become alternative hubs for work and cultural activities, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at the third annual Moscow Urban Forum. Wrapping up on

The curious case of the Red Square suitcase

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – By Anna Arutunyan – December 4, 2013) The Louis Vuitton pavilion controversy highlighted lack of transparency in managing areas surrounding the Kremlin As workers dismantled a giant Louis Vuitton suitcase that went up suddenly on Red Square last week, just who authorized the project and who issued orders for it

Protests and Scandals Strike Moscow Theaters

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – December 2, 2013) If Russian theater is a mirror of Russian society ­ – and most any Russian theater artist will tell you that is true ­ – then Russia is in turmoil. Two of Moscow’s most famous theaters have been rocking and rolling to scandalous events

Ten varieties of Russian smiles

Russian Folk Singers file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Iosif Sternin, special to RBTH – November 29, 2013) Iosif Sternin is the head of the Department of General Linguistics and Stylistics, Voronezh State University. Russians have a reputation for being stern, serious, unsmiling people. But actually, Russians do smile, and their smiles mean different things in different

Petersburg, the city with a split personality

St. Petersburg

(opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kotsyubinsky – November 25, 2013) Daniil Kotsyubinsky is a Russian historian and journalist based in St. Petersburg Today’s Russia is like a huge ice floe ­ broken off from contemporary life and drifting further and further from Europe into a dank and gloomy past. St Petersburg, or ‘Peter’, epitomises this duality most

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