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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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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Peskov on Kasyanov’s plans to await president’s response to threats from Kadyrov: “This is his right”

Mikhail Kasyanov File Photo

MOSCOW. Feb 2 (Interfax) – The Kremlin has said that PARNAS opposition party leader, Mikhail Kasyanov, has a right to expect a response from the Russian president, as the guarantor of the constitution, to Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov’s Instagram publication with threats toward the non-systemic opposition and Kasyanov personally. “This is his right,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on […]

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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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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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Fear Once Again Dominating Russian Society, Gudkov Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 24, 2016) For first time since the late 1980s, fear has come to dominate the lives of Russians, although many are unwilling to acknowledge this directly preferring instead to say that they are not afraid but that others are, a typical case of projection of their own situation, according to Lev […]

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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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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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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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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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Bad News Trumps Glad Tidings During Russia’s Long Vacation

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – January 10, 2016) A lot can happen in 10 days, and during Russia’s long winter holiday, it usually does. From bizarre, bloody attacks to lethal combinations of bad weather and alleged government negligence, the long Russian New Year and Orthodox Christmas break has brought plenty of grim news — along with […]

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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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Twelve Things to Do on the 12 Days Of Christmas

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 28, 2015) 1. Have dinner on an ice-breaker yacht Take in the stunning Christmas lights of Moscow whilst meandering on the Moscow River on one of the new Radisson Hotel flotilla of ice breaking yachts that ply the water 365 days a year. You can dine in the on-board restaurant or simply just come […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Winter heat wave, of a sort, envelops usually frigid Moscow”

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

AP covers unseasonably mild temperatures in Moscow. It’s usually the cold that’s bitter in Moscow in December, but this year it’s the humor that bites during an unusual warm spell. … temperatures climbed as high as 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) … a joke began circulating … This was nature’s compensation for Russians being unable to take vacations in […]

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In Forgotten Karelian Village, Frustration With Moscow Runs High

Russia Regions Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Sergei Khazov-Cassia – December 19, 2015) VEGARUS, Russia — The stream bounces gaily on its bed of pebbles as it passes through this tiny village in Russia’s republic of Karelia, some 70 kilometers from the Finnish border. Up until 1939, the pristine, wooded area was part of Finland. Today, despite its proximity to one of Europe’s […]

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Russian business falls in love with “Western” Christmas

Russian Christmas – celebrated in January – is still a noncommercial family occasion. December is now the main month for holiday shopping. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – December 21, 2015) According to the city’s press services, festivals and fairs, such as the Journey to Christmas, are engines of development for tourism, business activities and […]

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What is going on in Russia? The views and values of ordinary Russians

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

Subject: What is going on in Russia? The views and values of ordinary Russians Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2015 From: Karen Hewitt <karen.hewitt@conted.ox.ac.uk> I am attaching the talk which I have given (with adaptations) to various groups of non-professionals who are interested in Russia. Some professionals in the audience, sometimes, but it was not intended for them. — What is […]

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Three major Russian books of 2015; The Big Book Prize has been presented in Moscow

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDRA GUZEVA, RBTH – December 12, 2015) 1. Guzel Yakhina. Zuleikha Opens her Eyes This sensational debut novel is the main talking point of this year’s award, which saw a newcomer to the literary scene take first prize ahead of such established writers as Victor Pelevin and Alexei Varlamov. Guzel Yakhina was born […]

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Putin’s Russia on the Way to Complete and Proud Barbarization, Regnum Commentator Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 13, 2015) Russia didn’t succeed in modernizing itself, Sergey Shelin says; instead, “on all fronts, archaic forms and values are triumphing;” and Russia is achieving ever greater “successes in the construction of feudalism” and the promotion of ignorance as a value to the point that one can speak of the formation […]

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Moscow School Teaches Russian Boys to Look Up to Cavemen

Cave Art File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 11, 2015) When Ruslan Goncharov, 25, refers back to the Stone Age, it is not for history’s sake, but as an example of better days. “Man goes out, kills a mammoth, brings the mammoth home to his wife, the wife prepares it and then saves the leftovers, salts them and so […]

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Russian Women: Obey Thy Father, Husband, Son

Two Babushkas file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – December 11, 2015) Russia remains a conservative country where traditional gender paradigms dominate. Rather than being admired for its progressive gender dynamics, Western society is seen as degenerate and ultimately doomed. As Russia has isolated itself from the West politically and economically, traditional values have been heralded as a hallmark of Russian […]

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How much do we know about contemporary Russian writers?

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

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – PHOEBE TAPLIN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 9, 2015) As December 2015 sees another week of Russian literary events in New York City, RBTH asks Anglophone readers and publishers about their favorites and bestsellers among 21st-century Russian fiction. When English-speaking readers talk about Russian novels, they generally mean Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, Bulgakov and […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “Russians Read Tolstoy’s War and Peace in 60-Hour TV Marathon”

Leo Tolstoy file photo

AP covers a televised reading of War and Peace. More than 1,300 Russians are reading Leo Tolstoy’s notoriously lengthy novel “War and Peace” aloud in a 60-hour marathon on national television. The public readings, pre-recorded at locations all over Russia, from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to remote Arctic islands, have been coordinated by Tolstoy’s great-great-granddaughter and feature Russians […]

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Is Russia Ready for Modern Dance? Ask Diana Vishneva

Modern Dance file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Olivia Bagnall – December 8, 2015) Moscow just closed the curtains on the third international festival of contemporary choreography and dance, “Context. Diana Vishneva.” Performances from leading international dance companies from Argentina, Holland, Israel and the United States took place at various venues around the city. During the festival, the audience could also attend screenings […]

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We’re right here; Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – December 2, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. All over the world, autism is a condition that attracts scrutiny and controversy-it is both highly variable and often poorly understood. In Russia, a society still struggling with inherited Soviet disdain of anything […]

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Got a Diplomatic Dilemma? Send in the Clowns

Clown file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – December 2, 2015) While some potential visitors have crossed Russia off their list, a group of humanitarian clowns still regards the country as an ideal destination. The 22nd annual clown tour of Russia, which ended last week, brought more than 40 garishly dressed volunteers from 12 countries, including those with problematic relations […]

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Muscovites Get Keen On Making, Not Buying

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – November 13, 2015) More crafts shops are appearing in Moscow every day, with more young men trading lucrative office jobs for the opportunity to make things themselves. In recent years, Moscow dandies have been moving away from cafes, barbershops and Internet-related startups toward trades like blacksmithing, printing and woodworking, putting down their […]

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A Cookbook to Rehabilitate Soviet Cuisine

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Michele A. Berdy – October 29, 2015) If you think of the Soviet period in Russia as a culinary desert, a new book in English by the country’s most prominent food historians, Olga and Pavel Syutkin, may change your mind. “CCCP Cook Book: True Stories of Soviet Cuisine” was commissioned especially for an English-speaking audience […]

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Russians Need 175,000 Rubles a Month to Feel Happy, Poll Shows

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 31, 2015) Russians believe they need an income of at least 175,000 rubles ($2,725) a month to feel happy, according to poll results published by the Izvestia daily Friday. The cost of happiness is higher in Moscow, where an average resident needs at least 193,000 rubles a month to feel happy, the poll by […]

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Reclusive Russian Family’s Last Survivor Toughs It Out In The Taiga

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

(RFE/RL – Nick Holdsworth – October 28, 2015) SIBERIAN TAIGA, Russia — Agafia Lykova emerges from the thick forest on the banks of the Abakan River like an image from Russian folklore. Dressed in ragged black sackcloth with a tattered head scarf and a triangular prayer amulet hanging from a beaded cord around her neck, she greets visitors arriving by […]

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But why Russia?

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

Recent arrival in Moscow, Fraser Young, delves into the myths and legends that help give his adoptive new home such a mysterious allure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – FRASER YOUNG , SPECIAL TO RBTH – October 27, 2015) Fraser Young is a recent graduate of Leeds University, where he studied History and Russian Language; he is an avid […]

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U.S. professor unveils Russian ‘Architecture at the End of the Earth’ in DC

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

William Brumfield presents new book on cultural heritage of Russia’s north. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA SOROKINA, RBTH – October 23, 2015) William Brumfield presented highlights and stunning photos from his new book Architecture at the End of the Earth: Photographing the Russian North on Oct. 15 at the headquarters of the American Councils for International Education […]

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The Sakharov Center’s Direct View on Real Life

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Guido de Boer – October 21, 2015) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/the-sakharov-centers-direct-view-on-real-life/540002.html] With all the big exhibitions that opened this autumn as part of the 6th Moscow Biennale or as museum season openers, one small but interesting show might have been overlooked. It is an exhibition of photographs at the Sakharov Center called “Direct View.” The 11 […]

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Yekaterinburg: Russia’s Next Capital of Culture

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Galina Stolyarova – October 20, 2015) If you ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of Yekaterinburg, they’ll probably say that it’s a highly polluted industrial city and the site where the Romanov family was executed. But the truth is quite different. This town in the Urals has established itself as […]

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A Critic Who Raised the Curtain

Mayakovsky Theater at Night, file photo; adapted from image from Creative Commons/wikimedia/Shuvaev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – October 15, 2015) I wrote my first article in August 1990 for a newsletter that transformed in 1992 into The Moscow Times. I publish my last article as theater critic of The Moscow Times today. Between those dates I wrote about 1,600 reviews, interviews, features, op-ed pieces, columns and personal observations for […]

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Online reading of Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ to be open to all; Any Russian speakers can apply to take part in December event

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Krasnov, RBTH – October 12, 2015) Anyone on the planet who speaks Russian will be able to read a chapter from Russian writer Lev Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace directly online as part of an upcoming event The “War and Peace: Let’s Read The Novel” event will take place between Dec. 8 […]

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Moscow Opera Season Preview: A Great Year

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Raymond Stults – October 5, 2015) The 2015-16 season of opera in Moscow enjoyed a rousing start last month when Novaya Opera Theater brought to its stage a new version of Richard Strauss’ “Salome” that came as close to getting everything right – singing, conducting, orchestral playing and staging – as any local production of […]

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