After Attack, Rivalries at Bolshoi Draw Scrutiny

Bolshoi Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 1, 2013) Ballet may be high art onstage, but last month’s acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet chief Sergei Filin has drawn attention to the fact that it’s a dirty business behind the scenes. Two weeks after an unidentified assailant threw sulfuric acid in Filin’s face outside his apartment building, the attack […]

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Vysotsky’s Iconic Status Endures for 75th Birthday

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – January 28, 2013) In a grim Soviet reality, he lived the lifestyle of a playboy. While not being a dissident, he sang satirical songs. While not writing a single song that would praise the authorities, he wrote ballads about World War II and was a symbol of patriotism for many Russians. Vladimir […]

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Russians Invited to Document Their Lives on Film

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – January 21, 2013) If you live in Moscow, breathe and have a fairly stable hand, consider yourself invited to take part in a new documentary series. Casting for the documentary project “Realnost.Doc” (Reality.Doc), which aims to chronicle life within Moscow society through a series of amateur-shot clips, launched on Sunday. Chosen candidates […]

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Russian Rocker Yury Shevchuk: Society Is Awakening, People Are Beginning To Think

Yuri Shvchuk file photo, adapted from Voice of America image

(RFE/RL – January 21, 2013) Despite claiming that he’s not a politician, Yury Shevchuk, frontman for the legendary Russian rock band DDT, is quite vocal when discussing political topics. Speaking recently at the Brooklyn Public Library, Shevchuk said he and his band are seeking to bring about democratic change in Russia through music. Nikola Krastev caught up with Shevchuk in […]

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U.S. Gov’t Opposes Court’s Jewish Archive Ruling

Royce Lamberth file photo

WASHINGTON, January 17 (RIA Novosti) ­ The United States government disagrees with a federal court’s decision to impose a $50,000-a-day fine on Russia for failing to comply with an earlier order to hand over religious texts to a New York-based Orthodox Jewish group, a US State Department spokeswoman said Thursday. On Wednesday a federal judge in Washington ordered Russia to […]

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Putin’s representative perplexed by U.S. court ruling on Schneerson collection

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo

Moscow, January 17, Interfax – Russian presidential representative for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy is perplexed by a U.S. court order on the so-called Schneerson collection, as he thought Russia and the United States had earlier settled the problem. “Russia earlier honored all agreements on this issue. The problem was discussed within the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission’s framework, and we reached quite […]

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State Recommends Schoolchildren Watch 100 Films

Movie Theater file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – January 18,  2013) The culture and education ministers on Thursday presented a list of 100 Soviet and Russian films that schools will be advised to show students to strengthen their cultural values and to build bonds with their parents and teachers from older generations. “This is not a list of the best […]

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Winter in Russia: cold indoors as well as out

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

(www.opendemocracy.net – Mikhail Loginov – January 16, 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”. Most radiators in urban Russian homes are fed by hot water transported from heating plants miles away. Ageing pipes frequently burst, causing hardship and even fatalities. Could […]

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New ‘Anna Karenina’ Irks Russian Traditionalists

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – January 16, 2013) Loudly and menacingly, the train on the large screen of a darkened cinema raced toward the audience in a foreshadowing that the lead character, just a few years deeper into the plot, would commit suicide by throwing herself on the railroad tracks. The expected response would have been gasps […]

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More Stars Expected to Bid for Russian Citizenship

Gérard Depardieu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Bratersky – January 15, 2013) When President Vladimir Putin gave Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu, the story became the biggest Internet hit and a subject of political controversy over the long New Year’s vacation. It was the first time in modern Russian history that someone who was not a former spy but […]

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Stability attracts investors, artists – Gref on Russian passport of Depardieu

Gérard Depardieu file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – Political, economic and financial stability attracts investors and artists, Sberbank CEO German Gref told Interfax on Friday, speaking of Russian citizenship conferred to French actor Gerard Depardieu. “The Depardieu situation shows that financial, economic and political stability is frequently a key factor in the choice of the country by investors and artists. I think people […]

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Gerard Depardieu Glad To Get Russian Citizenship – TV

Gérard Depardieu file photo

MOSCOW, January 4 (RIA Novosti) – Legendary French actor Gerard Depardieu said he is glad to be granted Russian citizenship, adding that he loves Russia and promising to study the Russian language. “Yes, I have applied for a passport and I am glad my request has been granted,” Depardieu said in a letter to Russian journalists posted on the website […]

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NEWSLINK: Ten reasons for Russians to be proud of their country

File Photo of Crowd of Russians

(Ten reasons for Russians to be proud of their country – Russia  Beyond the Headlines/ Russky Repoter – December 31, 2012 – click here for full article) Russia  Beyond the Headlines covers Russky Reporter magazine’s list of 2012 events it argues should stir Russian pride.  They focuses on volunteers first: Volunteers The birth of the volunteer movement is usually traced […]

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Magnitsky Play at Teatr.doc Hits Harder Than Ever

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – John Freedman – December 28, 2012) Some things remain relevant longer than you would expect. Take the death of Sergei Magnitsky. This muck-raking attorney was allowed to die in a Moscow prison in November 2009. That story was still making news when Teatr.doc opened a show called “One Hour Eighteen” in the early summer of […]

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History Repeated Itself as Farce in 2012

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Roland Oliphant – December 28, 2012) Two hundred years ago this month, the miserable shreds of Napoleon’s Grande Armee shuffled out of Russian territory, thanking their lucky stars they had made it safely home and vowing never, ever to try that again. Those sentiments were shared by survivors of this year’s re-enactment of the Battle […]

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Orenburg 2013: Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New!

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

(Elena Strelnikov – www.opendemocracy.net – Elena Strelnikova is a journalist based in Orenburg (Southern Russia) – December 26, 2012) Regional journalist Elena Strelnikova takes a wry look at some of the events of the departing year. ‘When I was a child, I remember waking up in the morning and smelling the pancakes my mother would make in the kitchen. The […]

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New Year makes Russians go childish

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Alina Lobzina – December 26, 2012) Russian lavish New Year’s celebrations provide the chance to “fall into childhood” which Russians happily enjoy, a psychology professor told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. The superstition about wearing something new, stacking up on figures of animal symbols of the year and rhyming wishes might seem unnecessary to many, but […]

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Moscow’s Cabbies, Prices, Locals ‘World’s Worst’ ­ Poll

Moscow Traffic file photo

OSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow ranked last in four categories in a new list of the top 40 global tourist destinations, its score ruined by vicious cabbies, antisocial locals and ungodly prices. The Russian capital scored last on “friendliest locals,” “friendliest taxi drivers,” “best taxi services,” and “best for shopping” in the new World City survey by the […]

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Putin calls for revival of provincial intelligentsia as moral pillar of Russia

Map of Russia

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – Provincial intelligentsia should be revived as a moral pillar of the country, President Vladimir Putin said in the state-of-the-nation address he presented at the parliament on Wednesday. “I would like to speak particularly about the social sphere. Specialists working in this field are formally indentified as ‘public sector employees’. These people have a good education […]

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Idealists Eye Blossoming Art Hub in Moscow

File Photo of Artists in Vladivostok Studio with Paintings on Easels, with American Artist Demonstrating Technique to Russians

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova – Dec. 11, 2012) As innovative as Skolkovo might be, it may not be unique for much longer. Professional artistic visionaries are summoning all their creative energies to design their own innovation hubs, which could become a reality in just a few years. Moscow has experience with creating artistic districts, such as the […]

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Russians happier, better off than last year – opinion poll

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Interfax – Moscow, 5 December) Surveys by VTsIOM (All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre) sociologists have shown that the feeling of social well-being among Russians has increased over the last year. For example, the percentage of Russians who are satisfied with the life they lead has increased from 26 per cent in November 2011 to 40 per cent in November 2012, […]

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Moscow faces coldest winter in decades

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

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com –  Alina Lobzina – Dec. 5, 2012) Muscovites are to brace for the coldest winter in 20 years, a weather forecast service warned on Wednesday. “It will be like in the good old times ­ snowy and frosty, with no deviations,” a representative of the Fobos weather center told RIA Novosti. Winter seasons when Muscovites wade […]

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NEWSLINK: In Panicky Russia, It’s Official: End of World Is Not Near

Map of Russia

[Ellen Barry – New York Times – Dec. 2, 2012 – http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/world/in-panicky-russia-its-official-end-of-world-is-not-near-664630/] Ellen Barry of the New York Times covers Russia’s response to reports about the would-be Mayan Apocalypse: There are scattered reports of unusual behavior from across Russia’s nine time zones. * * * For those not schooled in New Age prophecy, there are rumors the world will end […]

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NEWSLINK: Snow traps drivers for days in giant Russia traffic jam

Map of Russia

(Snow traps drivers for days in giant Russia traffic jam – Reuters – Dec. 2, 2012 – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/03/uk-russia-traffic-idUSLNE8B201620121203) Reuters reports on a two-days-and-counting, 120-mile-long traffic jam on a major Russian highway resulting from heavy snow and involving thousands of vehicles: Thousands of trucks and cars have been stuck on a major highway, some for more than two days, in a […]

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Putin’s Power Stirs Russians Watching ‘Julius Caesar’

File Photo of Bust of Julius Caesar

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – November 18, 2012) Vladimir Putin, who has stirred up unprecedented protest to his more than decade-long rule in Russia, was not far from the minds of some watching the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Julius Caesar” in Moscow. The story of betrayal and assassination of a dictator followed by civil war, set in a modern-day […]

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Moscow’s New English-Language Radio Station Starts Broadcasting

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Moscow’s first 24-hour English-language radio station, Moscow FM, started broadcasting on Monday. The radio station is the brainchild of the city government’s Moscow Media holding, hopes to become a must-listen-to resource on events in the capital. “Today we are opening the first English-language radio station in Moscow. I hope that this station will open […]

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Is the Kremlin Writing off Middle-Aged Russians?

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Paul Goble – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 9, Issue 201 – November 2, 2012) The Kremlin has created a new “agitation and propaganda” (agitprop) administration, which will focus on the elderly, whom the regime hopes to influence or at least keep in its corner now, and the young whom it can only hope to affect […]

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Russians slightly less confident about long-term future than before – poll

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

(Interfax – Moscow, 1 November) The majority of Russians are trying to plan their lives (60 per cent), but mainly over the short term (43 per cent), and 39 per cent of those polled are not inclined to plan for the future, sociologists have found. Among the groups most likely to try to plan for the future are young Russians […]

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National Unity Day Still Just a Day Off for Most

Map of Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 31, 2012) Only 16 percent of Russians will celebrate National Unity Day this weekend, while for most other people the holiday is little more than a day off work, according to a poll released Wednesday. Despite its growing popularity since 2005, when the Nov. 4 holiday was instituted, a quarter of respondents could not […]

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MOSCOW BLOG: 1812 revisited

Painting of Napoleon Bonaparte on Horseback

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – October 31, 2012) Exactly 200 years ago this month, Napoleon rode out of Moscow with what was left of the Grande Armée, having failed to crush the Russian army, only to be famously defeated himself by the Russian winter. Given the love of round number anniversaries by the press […]

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Back in time… or not: Standard time did not arrive in Russia ­… but the situation may yet change, and more confusion is expected

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – October 29, 2012) Last Sunday, Russian social network users woke up and began pitching fits over the Daylight Savings time change ­ or lack thereof ­ in Russia. “What time is it really?” demanded bewildered gadget-users whose computer time may have turned back one hour but whose phone clocks remained the same. […]

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No Time Change This Fall

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nikolaus von Twickel – October 26, 2012) When Europe turns its clocks one hour back this Sunday, two countries are going to have it their own way: Russia and Belarus will move out of step with much of the northern hemisphere by sticking with “eternal summer time,” introduced last year by then-President Dmitry Medvedev. Despite […]

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Politics, Orthodoxy a Potent Mix at Winzavod

File Photo of Pussy Riot Members in Courtroom Enclosure, With Man Showing Papers to One While Female Guard Looks On

Maximilian Gill – Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 24, 2012 Chaos ruled at the opening of an exhibition of “real icons” inspired by Pussy Riot, resulting in the arrest of nine protesters. On Thursday evening, about 20 Orthodox activists and Cossacks blocked the entrance to the Gelman Gallery at Winzavod Modern Art Center, where artist Yevgenia Maltseva’s exhibition “Spiritual […]

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