An unsuspecting tourist strolling down Volkhonka Street on a weekday afternoon may notice a curious phenomenon. A strand of people unfurls from the yard of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts onto the sidewalk for nearly a block down the otherwise empty street. Hundreds of people wait in line to see one of the most…Details
On this day in 1959, the Strugatsky brothers, Arkady and Boris, published their first sci-fi novel, “The Land of Crimson Clouds.” The tale of a dangerous trip in the 1990s to Venus, covered in crimson clouds, was the first work the brothers wrote and the only work they each wrote parts of separately. Legend has…Details
Soviet satirical writer Mikhail Zoshchenko was born in Poltava, Ukraine to a Russian mother and a father descended from Ukrainian nobility. From a young age, he enjoyed writing poetry and prose. In school he was not a good student and attempted suicide after failing a composition class. At the age of 17, Zoshchenko began studying…Details
The world is just beginning to come to terms with the scale of the previous century’s cruelty and carnage. Indeed, it is almost impossible to grasp the macabre tally of two devastating world wars, famine – both natural and manufactured — the disturbing rise of nationalism and fascism, the specter of atomic and nuclear weapons,…Details
On Saturday Muzeon is celebrating its 27th birthday. The park on the banks of the Moscow River has a short but fascinating history. It began as nothing more than a construction site where all the detritus from building the New Tretyakov Gallery and the (then) House of Artists’ structure was deposited. In the 1980s artists…Details
Arseniy, an artist from the Russian city of Samara, has recently made waves on social media with a series of photographs made against the backdrop of an abandoned five-story building. The project is called “1m²” and addresses social issues and experiences encountered by normal Russians. The performances include showing a simple factory worker’s dinner, dreams…Details
At the dacha, a traditional Russian summer house, home appliances are pretty basic. You can cook on the woodstove, draw water from a well or even cross the garden to go to the toilet… But the dacha is also a safe haven for Russians who live in cities — they rush here after work every…Details
Vladimir Mayakovsky was born on July 19, 1893 in Georgia to ethnically Russian and Ukrainian parents. By the age of 14, Mayakovsky was already engaged in socialist activism. He lived in Georgia until his father died in 1906 and the family moved to Moscow. There Mayakovsky became interested in Marxist literature and joined the Russian…Details
In July 1896, Russia presented its first car — the Yakovlev-Freze — to the world at an exhibition in Nizhniy Novgorod. Designed by Russian engineers Yevgeny Yakovlev and Pyotr Freze in St. Petersburg, the car looked like an elegant open carriage with large wooden wheels. It seated two and had a top speed of 21 kilometers…Details
Early in the morning on July 16, residents and guests of St. Petersburg observed the spectacle of warships passing under the bridges of the Neva River. It was the first of five rehearsals of the main naval parade to be held on the Day of the Russian Navy on July 28. This year, 43 warships,…Details
On July 17, 1918, Tsar Nicholas II, his family, and those who accompanied him in imprisonment were executed by Bolshevik agents with gunshots and bayonets at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. By then Nicholas was no longer a monarch. He had abdicated his throne in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, but his…Details
HOLLYWOOD—HBO’s runaway hit “Chernobyl” captured the nomination for the best television movie or limited series category in the 71st annual Emmy Awards. The series’ actor Jared Harris also scored a nomination in the lead actor category in a limited series or TV movie. Rounding up the total of four nominations for “Chernobyl” are Emily Watson…Details
HOLLYWOOD—HBO’s runaway hit “Chernobyl” captured 19 nominations in the 71st annual Emmy Awards, including for the best television movie or limited series category. The series’ actor Jared Harris also scored a nomination in the lead actor category in a limited series or TV movie. Rounding up the total of four nominations for “Chernobyl” actors are Emily…Details
Alexander Luria was born into a Jewish family in Kazan, Russia. His father was a professor of medicine at the University of Kazan. Luria began his student years at Kazan State University in language and literature, but he was fascinated by psychoanalysis. He founded the Kazan Psychoanalytic Society and corresponded with Sigmund Freud before graduating…Details
The Zverev Center for Contemporary Art, a gallery which occupies half of a small wooden cabin nestled into a shady corner of a park, is generally locked, but a sign on the door gives a number for the determined to call for access to the latest exhibition. Last month, this space was taken over by…Details
On January 29, 1860 in the Russian city of Taganrog on the coast of the Azov Sea, one of the world’s most famous playwrights and short story writers, was born. Chekhov had a difficult childhood shaped by his physically abusive father and his family’s precarious financial situation. From his school days, Chekhov supported his family…Details
On this day in 1894, the writer, journalist and playwright Isaac Babel was born in Odessa, present-day Ukraine, to a middle-class Jewish family. Called “the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry” and considered one of the luminaries of 20th-century Soviet literature, Babel is best-known for the semi-autobiographical short story collections “Red Cavalry” and “Story of…Details
Set on the Kamchatka Peninsula, “Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips explores questions of gender and race ignited by the mysterious disappearance of two ethnically Slavic young girls, Alyona and Sophia. The novel follows different but interrelated female characters wrestling with these questions in their daily lives. A New Jersey native and graduate of Barnard College,…Details
Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims are travelling to Russia’s republic of Buryatia for the Kalachakra festival, celebrating world peace and harmony.
An estimated 1 million Buddhists live in Russia, many in the republics of Kalmykia, Tuva and Buryatia — where the religion is traditionally practiced.
The weather isn’t ideal, but cultural life, broadly defined, is hot this weekend in and around the Russian capital. Here is a troika of truly wonderful, unusual, and fun events you could join on Saturday. For love and peace On Saturday the 18th-century Apothecary Garden will be rocking a multi-format festival or electronic music, performances,…Details
HOLLYWOOD—With awards season around the corner, the mini-series “Chernobyl” continues to gain momentum in the entertainment world. Distributor HBO, now a unit of the AT&T telecom giant, is putting its muscle behind the series, giving it a competitive edge in the Emmy competition. Nominations will be announced on July 1 6. Jared Harris, who plays…Details
The history of the Mariinsky Theater began on July 12, 1783, when Empress Catherine II approved the establishment of an Imperial drama, opera, and ballet troupe in St. Petersburg. This decree led to the construction of the Bolshoi Stone Theater, the Mariinsky Theater’s predecessor, and placed the first stone in what would become St. Peterbsurg’s…Details
Russian poet and translator Yevgeny Baratynsky was born on March 2, 1800 and spent his childhood on his family’s estate in the Tambov region of southwest Russia. The son of a retired lieutenant general, Baratnysky attended the Page Corps, an elite military academy which prepared sons of noble families for military leadership. At age 15,…Details
Russian folklore performer Agrafena Matveevna Kryukova was born on July 10, 1855 in a small village northwestern Russian on the coast of the White Sea. Throughout childhood, her mother and uncle taught her Russian folktales known as byliny and stariny, which the storyteller chants to an audience already familiar with their plots. She stored the…Details
Seventeen unique buildings in the northwest Russian city of Pskov were among the latest cultural gems to join UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Pskov is one of Russia’s oldest cities, first mentioned in ancient annals of the 9th century. In the Middle Ages, it was the bustling, wealthy capital of the Pskov Republic, acting…Details
Sabantui is a summer festival celebrated by Russia’s Bashkir and Tatar ethnic minorities. Dating back to the 7th century, Sabantui — which translates to “plough’s feast” in Turkic languages — began as a festival celebrated by rural farmers ahead of the sowing season. As time went on, it evolved into a national festival for Tatars.…Details
Ralph Fiennes came to St. Petersburg to show the director’s cut of his film “Nureyev. The White Crow” to the local cast and crew. He spoke with The Moscow Times about talking on Russian trains, feeling like an outsider, and making internal shifts visible. An athletic young man walks along Ulitsa Rossi. Behind him at…Details
The Flacon Design Factory north of Moscow’s city center hosts some of Moscow’s most cutting-edge artists and exhibitions. This week one of the spaces is showing an exhibit that is sensational even by Flacon standards. Called “I’m Here. I’m With You,” it is a three-floor solo show of an artist who works in virtually every…Details
On July 5, 1943, the largest tank battle in history began near the southern city of Kursk. Over the course of the war, the Soviet lines had bulged into German-held territory near Kursk. This bulge or salient was 250 kilometers long from north to south and 160 kilometers wide. The Nazi army planned Operation Citadel…Details
The 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition ended this year with the largest pool of competitors, unquestionably brilliant performances, and one organizational error that a young pianist will never forget. This year’s Grand Prix winner was Alexandre Kantorow from France, a pianist of mesmerizing talent. He won the first prize and the gold medal in the piano…Details
Larisa Shepito was an actress, screenwriter and film director who was an integral part of the “new wave” of cinema in the Soviet “Thaw” period in the 1960s. A peer of Andrei Tarkovsky, her films were renowned for their strong naturalism, associative imagery, and their depth of meaning and emotion. She was a woman in…Details
Hundreds of people flocked to southern Siberia in late June to celebrate the ancient rituals and traditions of shamanism in one of Russia’s first shaman festivals. Some researchers consider Siberia to be the heartland of shamanism. Today, this ancient religious practice is still performed in Russia, with spiritual healing techniques and ceremonial rites passed on…Details
Each summer, Muscovites head to the city’s many parks to bask in the sun and enjoy the good weather with friends. The highlight of many of these outings is the cooking of shashlik, or meat kebab. Shashlik can be made with any kind of meat — or even tofu — either by itself or with…Details
You know him as Anton on “Killing Eve.” Or the Russian officer in “Red 2.” Or the murderous bodyguard in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” A tall, bald Russian actor who specializes in mean and threatening. Wrong. The actor is actually Andrew Byron. He was born in Bath, England to a French mother and an English…Details
This summer the Anatoly Zverev Museum is celebrating the work of four geniuses — one literary and three artistic. In the exhibition entitled, “The Flying Troika and Its Passengers,” Nikolai Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls” is interpreted by Marc Chagall, Anatoly Zverev and Vadim Kosmatschof. The non-conformist artist Anatoly Zverev (1931-1986) loved Nikolai Gogol, and over…Details
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…Details
Bolshoi and Moscow ballet 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…Details
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”),…Details
St. Petersburg is famous for its midsummer celebrations when the night skies never reach complete darkness due to the city’s northern location. The most spectacular celebration of them all took place this weekend: “Aliye Parusa,” or Scarlet Sails. Officially a celebration for high school graduates, the event has evolved into a celebration for the whole…Details
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),…Details
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.
Thomas Hammond, a professor at the University of Virginia and a specialist in Russian and Soviet history, made several trips to the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1991. During his travels, he visited many Soviet cities, taking more than 3,000 photos along the way. A newly presented series of his photographs taken from 1956…Details
The summer solstice is here! Get out your sleep masks and blackout curtains. In Moscow the sun rose on June 21 at 3:44 a.m. and will set at 9:18 p.m., giving the city 17 hours and 33 minutes of sunlight — a whopping 10 hours and 33 minutes longer than the amount of sunlight we…Details
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A new, expanded Tolstoy Theater Festival will take place in Yasnaya Polyana July 4-7. Yasnaya Polyana is the ancestral estate of Leo Tolstoy, which is now a museum that has kept everything exactly as it was in 1910, the year of the writer’s death. Tolstoy’s house, in a beautiful setting not far from Tula, is…Details
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…Details
This year’s winner of the Pushkin House Book Prize is Serhii Plokhy, whose book, “Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy” (Allen Lane) was announced at a ceremony in London on Wednesday. This was the second time Plokhy has won the award. The Pushkin House Book Prize is unique in the world of literary competitions. First, it…Details
Russians’ favorite cartoon is the Soviet-era cult favorite “Nu, Pogodi!”according to a new state-run poll published Thursday. “Nu, pogodi!” — which translates into English as “Well, just you wait!” — debuted in 1969 and centers on Wolf’s neverending, futile pursuit of Hare. The wolf resembles a typical Soviet ruffian: He has a low voice, wears…Details
On this day in 1991, Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the R.S.F.S.R. — the Russian republic within the U.S.S.R. In a March referendum the population in Russia had voted to create the office of the president and vice president. The Russian Congress of People’s Deputies then adopted legislation to authorize and organize the elections.…Details
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:
“The Spy and the Traitor” by Ben Macintyre is meticulously researched history narrated by a natural storyteller. Macintyre, a columnist and associate editor of The Times, is the author of ten books about 20th century wars, espionage, spies and a variety of strange and colorful characters. His grasp of the arcane world — and lingo…Details
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…Details
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.…Details
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:
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…Details
Muslims across Moscow came to the Cathedral Mosque at Prospekt Mira, one of the largest mosques in Europe, to celebrate the end of the religious holiday of Ramadan on June 4, 2019.
An estimated 200,000 to 320,000 people participated in the celebrations in Moscow.
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…Details
What’s one way to make running fun? By adding lots of color (literally) to your race. Runners flocked to Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Complex on Sunday for the city’s seventh annual color run. During the 5-kilometer dash, runners doused themselves and each other with brightly colored powder as they flew by. Here’s a look at the…Details
For most Muslims in the world, the month of Ramadan requires abstaining from all food and drink for around 12 consecutive hours, between sunrise and sunset. But what about for those Muslims who live in Russia’s northern city of St. Petersburg, where the sun dips below the horizon at 10:00 pm and already rises at…Details
Katja Petrowskaja has us mesmerized from the first page of her book, “Maybe Esther.” We have no hesitation leaping on the Berlin – Warsaw train with her on a voyage of discovery across Eastern Europe, back in time, and into the very concept of memory. Much of “Maybe Esther’s” immediate appeal is the ease with…Details