Director Marlen Khutsiev Has Died

Marlen Khutsiev, one of the Soviet Union and Russia’s most innovative and beloved film directors, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 93. Khutsiev was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi, Georgia) in 1925. His father (ne Khutishvili) was a communist with a pre-Revolutionary socialist pedigree, who, after serving in high positions within the Soviet…

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March Music in Moscow

There is no need for an excuse to listen to chamber music, but with spring still around the corner, March can call for a cozy indoor evening to lift your mood. And by now you might be ready for a change from the mulled wine and electric radiator that kept you going for the past…

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How Many Blini Can You Eat?

Moscow is gearing up to celebrate Maslenitsa — the week before Lent begins  — in grand style with food, concerts and burning effigies. In recent years, Russia’s Mardi Gras or “pancake week” has seen a glamorous and all-frills revival in the large cities as municipal and regional administrations organize a week of public celebration. From…

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The Battle for Moscow

On a cold but sunny afternoon rare for Moscow in mid-winter, a dozen activists stand shivering but resolute on Ulitsa Bolshaya Nikitskaya. They hold up large banners: “Stop tearing down our city!” and “Vandals are at work here!” prepared by the volunteer architecture preservation group Arkhnadzor. Passersby continually stop to read the banners and ask…

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Enter Solzhenitsyn’s World

When you step into a courtyard just off Tverskaya Ulitsa, you will probably look puzzledly at your phone, thinking that Google Maps has led you astray.  But despite its unassuming character, this quiet residential enclave is home to the Apartment-Museum of the Soviet era’s most iconic dissident writer: Alexander Solzhenitsyn. At the very end of…

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A Soviet Oscar Winner Restored

There wasn’t a Russian film up for the Oscar this year, but a newly restored 1969 Oscar winner is an apt reminder of Soviet cinema’s impact on the sweeping Hollywood epic.  “War and Peace,” director Sergei Bondarchuk’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic, expanded the scope, scale and aesthetic ambition of what could play on the…

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The Definitive Beef Stroganov

One thing I never worry about is how to entertain out of town guests in Moscow.  After twenty-some years, the template has been honed and refined into a delicate balance of classic rubbernecking (the Kremlin, Red Square, the Tretyakov Gallery, Novodeyvichy Convent and Cemetery) and just enough off-the-beaten-track experiences (Danilovsky Market, Garage, Izmailovo) to make…

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The Definitive Beef Stroganoff

One thing I never worry about is how to entertain out of town guests in Moscow.  After twenty-some years, the template has been honed and refined into a delicate balance of classic rubbernecking (the Kremlin, Red Square, the Tretyakov Gallery, Novodeyvichy Convent and Cemetery) and just enough off-the-beaten-track experiences (Danilovsky Market, Garage, Izmailovo) to make…

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See Death and Life in Dzerzhinsk

In a famous essay written shortly after the Second World War, Martin Heidegger draws a distinction between ancient and modern technology. Ancient technology is “gentle” insofar as it exemplifies a certain harmony with the environment. Modern technology is “violent” to the extent that it exhibits little regard for life-sustaining ecosystems. And in his “Industrial Zone”…

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Get Out of Town! Go to Tula

The biggest change in Russia these days? Cool provincial cities. Wikicommons If you need a break from Moscow, hop on a high-speed train and find yourself in the newly cool-ified provincial city of Tula in just two hours.  Founded in late 14th century, Tula first belonged to the principality of Ryazan. But Tula’s famous kremlin…

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Celebrate Russia On Stage

Every spring Russia celebrates the best of theater with a three-month festival called the Golden Mask. This year theater-lovers are looking forward to a particularly vibrant festival, since it is celebrating its 25th year while the country celebrates its Year of Theater. The best productions of drama and comedy, opera, ballet, contemporary dance, operetta and…

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The Magical Light of Arkhip Kuindzhi

Come and be dazzled “Birch Grove” 1879 Arkhip Kuindzhi Courtesy of Tretyakov Gallery On January 27, Arkhip Kuindzhi’s exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery—a retrospective in honor of the artist’s 175th birthday—became a news sensation after a 31-year-old man stole the painting “Ai-Petri. Crimea” during the museum’s working hours. The heist, which made worldwide headlines, also…

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Moscow’s Chinese Pearls

Ten places to immerse yourself in Chinese culture The Perlov Tea House / Moskva News Agency February 5 marks the beginning of the Year of the Pig – the last Zodiac sign in the Chinese lunar calendar’s twelve-year cycle. China may be more than five thousand kilometers away from Russia’s capital, but you can still…

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‘DAU’: A Preview

“DAU” / Kinopoisk.ru At the end of January, parts of what is surely Russia’s most spectacular film project premiered in Paris. The project — something between a film series and an extended social and psychological experiment — is called “DAU” and directed by Ilya Khrzhanovsky, a filmmaker with only one major work before this pro…

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Restoring Repin

The Tretyakov Gallery describes work to repair the damaged painting “Ivan the Terrible and His Son, November 16, 1581” by Ilya Repin Tretyakov Gallery In May 2018, disaster struck in the Tretyakov Gallery. On a Friday evening just before closing time, a man ran into the almost empty hall of works by Ilya Repin, picked…

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Not Your Babushka’s Museum

If you’ve heard of the All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, it was probably from someone raving about embroidered Russian shawls or colorful enameled samovars from the 19th century. Indeed, the museum has an impressive collection of historical Russian decorative art. Last year, however, the museum opened the Center of Fashion and Design, whose exhibitions have been…

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David Burliuk Comes Back to Moscow

Last weeked to discover the most famous Russian art you’ve never seen “Woman With a Mirror” (1915-16) by David Burliuk Courtesy of Museum of Russian Impressionism Even if you don’t know the avant-garde poet and artist David Burliuk, you’d probably recognize his image instantly: a stocky man in a frock coat and top hat, with…

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Ode to a Preposition

При: very capacious preposition When Russians are learning English, they complain about articles, verb tenses, modal verbs and prepositions. Having listened to a lot of Russian ranting about my native tongue over the years, I can attest that they eventually accept that the difficulties of the first three categories are just part of the structure…

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Cool Moscow Bars

The best spots for a great night out in Moscow. Antiquarny Boutique & Bar Moscow is filled with cool bars for a tipple or two and a chat. Here are some of our favorites. Voda  Hidden in one of the maze-like courtyards on Ulitsa Petrovka, Voda is a magnet for Moscow’s so-called “creative class.” The…

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Mozaichist Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg Bystryakov. Drawing (Architecture), sketch mosaic “of the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.” Mixed media.

Russian Empire, 1912 Material and Equipment: paper, pencil and watercolor. Size: 75 x 50 cm, in mat – 82 x 60.5 cm in the field of religious art in the XVIII-XIX centuries. Imperial Academy of Arts was considered one of the supreme arbiters of artistic evaluation and the main contractor of large government contracts (construction,…

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