Hot Culture Weekend in Moscow

Cultural life in the Russian capital usually begins to slow down a bit in the summer, as theater troupes head out on tour, museums start gearing up for the autumn openings, and movie theaters are filled with Hollywood blockbusters. You wouldn’t know it by the premieres and openings at the end of last week. On…

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The Night of Ivan Kupala, in Photos

While the summer solstice is more commonly marked with parties, fireworks and picnics in today’s Russia, there’s plenty of history behind the rituals that preceded modern-day celebrations. Ancient tribes that inhabited this part of the world celebrated with fire, water, song, dance and rituals. Called the Night of Ivan Kupala (from the word “to bathe”),…

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On This Day: Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova is one of Russia’s most brilliant poets. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Akhmatova’s parents were both descended from Russian nobility. Her family moved to St. Petersburg before she was a year old, and she started writing poetry at age 11. Her father didn’t want any of her work published under his “respectable” name (Gorenko),…

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How Did the World Cup Change Russia, One Year On?

Moscow transformed itself to host hundreds of thousands of fans for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

One year after, what’s the legacy of the event in Russia… and how did Russia change?

We headed to two popular places for fans, Nikolskaya Street and Luzhniki Stadium to ask Muscovites about their memories of the World Cup.

On This Day: Ivan Goncharov

On June 18, 1812 Russian writer Ivan Goncharov was born in Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk). Born into a wealthy merchant family, Goncharov went to boarding school and university in Moscow before relocating to St. Petersburg where he worked as a government translator and private tutor. He served for nearly 30 years as an official: first in…

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Moscow: The City That Never Sleeps

Nightlife in Moscow is about more than just its nightclubs.

The city’s potpourri of activities, people, landmarks and cultures is what it’s already famous for during the day, but when the sun goes down, everything shines in a new light.

Here’s a look at what the city does in the shadows:

‘1983: The World At The Brink’

In “1983: The World At The Brink,” Taylor Downing delves into one of the most pivotal years of the Cold War, when escalating brinkmanship between the Soviet Union and the United States nearly caused nuclear apocalypse. Downing is a historian, award-winning television producer and writer who has penned best-selling books on both world wars and…

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‘Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy’

A new history of the world’s worst nuclear accident has emerged from the recent opening of Chernobyl archival materials. In “Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy,” Serhii Plokhy traces how the explosion occurred in 1986, the Soviet government’s crisis management, and the repercussions of the explosion that released radiation equivalent to 500 bombs dropped on Hiroshima.…

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Moscow Sizzles in Record Temperatures

Sweltering summer temperatures came to Moscow this week, with the thermometer reaching a record high of 30 degrees Celsius on Thursday.

Muscovites flocked to the city’s parks and fountains in search of any respite they could find.

Here’s a look at Russia’s capital during a heat wave:

On This Day: Alexander Pushkin

Born into a noble Russian family, Alexander Pushkin was the son of Sergei Pushkin, a descendant of a family with Russian nobility tracing back to the 12th century, and Nadezhda Gannibal, a descendant of German and Scandinavian nobility. Pushkin’s maternal great-grandfather Abram Gannibal was an African page who was kidnapped, sent to Constantinople and later…

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On This Day: Ufa Train Disaster

On June 4, 1989, a railway accident in the Iglinsky District (then the Bashkir A.S.S.R, Soviet Union) killed 575, injuring 800 more. Many passengers were children coming to or from summer camp or holidays by the seaside. It remains the deadliest postwar rail disaster in Russia. While the incident happened about 50 kilometers east of…

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Happy Birthday, St. Petersburg

Despite an unrelenting downpour and cool temperatures, St. Petersburg marked its 316th birthday last weekend with plenty of pomp and splendor, as befitting the Venice of the North. Celebrations kicked off on Saturday with an ice cream festival and retro transport parade consisting of more than 200 buses, trams and trucks from private collections, museums…

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Kokoshnik: Not Just For Fairy Tales

Pick up a book of Russian fairy tales, and you’ll notice something very distinctive in the costume of the female characters.  Spend Christmas in Russia, and you’ll see the same distinctive circlet on the head of every incarnation of Snegurochka – the Snow Maiden. We refer, of course, to that most iconic Russian headdress: the…

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On This Day: Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born in the southern Russian city of Kislovodsk in 1918. He studied both mathematics and philosophy, literature and history before serving in the Great Patriotic War (the Soviet part of World War II) as an officer, later decorated for personal heroism. But despite his record, his criticism of Josef Stalin’s conduct of…

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On This Day: Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov was a nuclear physicist and an outspoken activist for disarmament, peace and human rights in the Soviet Union. He was persecuted for his views on civil liberties and reform, but it was these efforts that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. Today, the Sakharov Prize is awarded by the European Parliament…

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Spring Bike Festival Races Through Moscow

You know it’s spring when Moscow closes its busiest streets and lets outdoor activities take over. Last weekend saw a rare trio: a half marathon, a cross-country race and an epic bike festival that gathered cyclists in the tens of thousands.

Here’s a look at central Moscow during the festival:

Discover Nikolai Meshcherin

The private Museum of Russian Impressionism was founded less than five years ago, but it has already become an important part of the Moscow art and museum scene. Its significance is not only thanks to its architecturally stunning venue — a reconstructed sugar silo at what was once a confectionary factory — and its central…

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On This Day: Mikhail Bulgakov

On this day in 1891, Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev – then part of the Russian empire, now the capital of Ukraine. Today a household name in Russian literature, Bulgakov’s best and most known work was published after his death in 1940. One of seven children, Bulgakov’s father was a prominent professor and a…

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Sergei Dorenko Dead at 59

Sergei Dorenko died on May 9 in Moscow. According to multiple media reports, he was riding his motorcycle not far from the city center when he had a heart attack, drove into the oncoming traffic lane and then slid to a stop. No other vehicles were involved in the accident, and he apparently died on the…

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St. Petersburg’s Scars of War

May 9 represents one of the biggest celebrations in Russia, but also the commemoration of the end of one of the darkest chapters in the history of the country. Although victorious in what Russians call the Great Patriotic War (their part of World War II), the Soviet Union lost over 27 million people. Leningrad paid…

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