Food Fests From East and West

All throughout the quarantine period, our friends and neighbors at the Hyatt Regency Petrovsky Park kept us well-fed with weekend deliveries of delicious foreign cuisine. They are continuing the tradition of enticing international food and drink. Only now, we can get out of the house and go to them. Singaporean Cuisine Festival The first special…

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‘The Girl From the Hermitage’

Tens of thousands of nameless older women inhabit St. Petersburg, picking their way amongst the pockmarked sidewalks and treacherous cobblestones, dressed in clean but shabby clothes, their shoulders stooped with decades of carrying heavy burdens.  They are as integral to the city as the elaborate facades and the noonday gun from Peter and Paul Fortress,…

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A Tale of Two Charlottes

Apple season is officially open! One of the more colorful hybrid holidays in Russia is Yablochny Spas, or “Apple Savior,” celebrated each year in late August, traditionally the moment when apples are ripe for picking.  In a delightful tradition reminiscent of Holy Thursday in early spring, Orthodox faithful bring baskets of apples and other early…

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Belarus Nobel-Winner Alexievich Urges Lukashenko to Go

Belarusian Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich condemned police violence against protesters in her country and urged strongman Alexander Lukashenko to go peacefully in an interview published Wednesday. The 72-year-old author won the 2015 Nobel Literature Prize for her work chronicling the horrors of war and life under the repressive Soviet regime including the 1986 Chernobyl…

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Russian Violinist and Conductor Spivakov Rejects Lukashenko Award Over Belarus Crackdown

Renowned Russian conductor and violinist Vladimir Spivakov will return an award from Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko due to police violence against protesters in the days since Belarus’ presidential election. Spivakov, 75, condemned the police crackdown in neighboring Belarus in an open letter published by the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. More than 6,000 demonstrators have been…

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In the Tvorog Test Kitchen

Many believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is firmly in the rearview mirror, but this is clearly madness.  I’m still in full lockdown and in deep danger of becoming something I never imagined: a homesteader. I spent much of the spring baking bread and early summer brewing kvas, and now in high summer it’s time to take…

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Beat Film Fest Kicks Off Aug. 1

Beat Film Festival, founded in 2010, is likely to become the headliner of this summer’s cultural events in Moscow. It launches on Aug. 1, when the city’s movie theaters are allowed to open after their long downtime during the coronavirus quarantine.  This year the films will be shown online and offline, sometimes with discussions including…

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By the Book: ‘The Soviet Diet Cookbook’

Behind many a successful food writer stands an inspirational grandparent. This is certainly true of Anna Kharzeeva, author of “The Soviet Diet Cookbook: Exploring Life, Culture and History — One Recipe at a Time.”  With the help of her grandmother, Yelena Moiseyevna, Kharzeeva, a thirty-something Muscovite, set out to explore the world of Soviet-era cuisine by…

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Russian Moviegoers ‘Not Ready for Dramas’ Amid Pandemic, Culture Ministry Says

Russian cinemas will delay premiering heavy dramas after reopening because viewers “aren’t ready” for heavy dramas amid the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said Wednesday. Russia closed down movie theaters, museums and other cultural establishments after the outbreak first hit the country in late March. Russia’s Culture Ministry lifted the nationwide ban last week, leaving it up…

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Cool Down with Slavic Ceviche

Somewhere in the early 2000s, it became okay to play with our food.  Not in the sense of rolling it up into balls and hurling it at one another, but to pair traditional ingredients with non-traditional methods of preparation or vice versa. Until then, everyone had dutifully stayed in his lane: sushi was sushi, but…

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Russian Public Figures to Join Online Talk on ‘War of Monuments’

Protests against racial and other discrimination have engulfed half of the globe. In their quest for justice, demonstrators have targetted monuments of people associated with slavery, racial and other forms of discrimination. Authorities across the world have put demonstrators on a par with ordinary vandals, imposing enormous fines and even criminal penalties for destroying or…

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A Long Weekend In Lipetsk

Sometimes the most interesting places in Russia are a bit off the beaten path. Case in point: Lipetsk region. Lipetsk is 465 km from Moscow — almost six hours by car. Although the region is associated with Peter the Great, the writer Ivan Bunin, and other famous historical figures, it is not on the standard…

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