Category: Architecture

  • In Photos: Russia’s Massive Patriotic Expo Draws Millions of Visitors to VDNKh

    In Photos: Russia’s Massive Patriotic Expo Draws Millions of Visitors to VDNKh

    At least 12 million people have visited the Russia Expo at Moscow’s VDNKh exhibition center. The exhibition, which opened in November 2023 and runs through July 2024, describes itself as “a large-scale projection of the entire country” and comes as the Kremlin pushes to increase public patriotism amid the invasion of Ukraine. In addition to…

  • Exiled Electronic Duo AIGEL on Viral Fame, Singing in Tatar and Independent Art

    Exiled Electronic Duo AIGEL on Viral Fame, Singing in Tatar and Independent Art

    On a recent Friday night in Warsaw, Poland, over 300 people filled a small university-run club to see exiled electronic duo AIGEL — but few, if any, spoke the language of the song they were eagerly awaiting. “I must not miss the song,” a woman in the crowd tells her friend in Russian as they…

  • Tom Parfitt’s ‘High Caucasus’ is Shortlisted for Pushkin House Book Prize

    Tom Parfitt’s ‘High Caucasus’ is Shortlisted for Pushkin House Book Prize

    Veteran journalist Tom Parfitt came up with the idea of a solo walk through Russia’s North Caucasus after reporting on the bloody Beslan school siege by Islamic militants in 2004. The undertaking was, as he puts it, his way of trying to “dilute” the memories of that horror. The result is a poignant, beautiful and…

  • In Between Russia and Finland Fish Are King

    In Between Russia and Finland Fish Are King

    Karelian cuisine is a kind of culinary time machine. It includes dishes and traditions not only of Karelians, but also of ancient Novgorodians from the 14th century, Veps, Izhors and other nationalities that only have a few thousand people. To eat Karelian food is to take a journey into the past. This marvelous forest and…

  • Russia Issues Arrest Warrant for Exiled Rapper Oxxxymiron

    Russia Issues Arrest Warrant for Exiled Rapper Oxxxymiron

    Authorities in Russia have issued an arrest warrant for the exiled anti-war rapper Oxxxymiron, the independent news website Mediazona reported Thursday. Russia’s Justice Ministry designated Oxxxymiron — whose real name is Miron Fyodorov — as a “foreign agent” in October 2022, several months after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The rapper has organized concerts in support of Ukrainian…

  • Writer Witold Szabłowski Spills the Beans in the Kremlin Kitchen

    Writer Witold Szabłowski Spills the Beans in the Kremlin Kitchen

    “I think cooking is very close to politics,” Witold Szabłowski told The Moscow Times. “And politics is very close to cooking. What do people eat before they send their soldiers to war? What do they eat before they set the world on fire?” “What’s Cooking in the Kremlin?” is the sixth book from the prolific…

  • Celebrate Spring With Kitchen Kebabs

    Celebrate Spring With Kitchen Kebabs

    Russians have always like meat roasted on a spit. But it was never called shashlyk or kebabs. Oddly, today shashlyk is considered by zealots of Russian cuisine as something borrowed. But when you look more closely, the technique was used by our ancestors many centuries — if not millennia — ago. Roasting meat over a…

  • Samovars, Tea and Something Sweet

    Samovars, Tea and Something Sweet

    What’s a tea party without a samovar! The samovar — chubby, steamy, shiny and imposing — has been the center of every holiday table and an indispensable part of Russian feasts. And the samovar has been a good friend to all regardless of class, honored equally by the poor man and the tsar. Russia has…

  • Russia Creates Book Censorship Body – Vedomosti

    Russia Creates Book Censorship Body – Vedomosti

    A union of leading Russian publishers and libraries has created an advisory body that would evaluate books for their compliance with the country’s increasingly repressive legislation, the Vedomosti business daily reported Tuesday. The Russian Book Union’s so-called expert center will issue recommendations on individual books, but leave the final decision to pull the books from sale…

  • Carpe Diem: A Spicy Carp for Fish Friday

    Carpe Diem: A Spicy Carp for Fish Friday

    In the traditional cuisine of Russia, where most people were Orthodox Christians, there are more than 200 days of fasting a year. During that time no meat is allowed, of course, but what about other products, like spices? They played an important role in Russian cuisine, although the roles were different from those used in…

  • The Year of Art Deco Artist Tamara de Lempicka

    The Year of Art Deco Artist Tamara de Lempicka

    The artist Tamara de Lempicka is having a moment. The glamourous aristocratic Russian refugee artist (1894–1980) best known for her Art Deco portraits, is the heroine of the musical “Lempicka,” which opened on Broadway on April 14. Starring Eden Espinosa, the show is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Rachel Chavkin. It is an extravagant production because,…

  • Russian Theater Director, Playwright’s ‘Terrorism’ Case Transferred to Military Court

    Russian Theater Director, Playwright’s ‘Terrorism’ Case Transferred to Military Court

    A Russian military court will hear the “terrorism” case against theater director Yevgenia Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk over their award-winning play about Russian women who fall in love with Islamist militants, prosecutors said Friday. Berkovich and Petriychuk were arrested in May 2023 on the accusation of “justifying terrorism” with their play “Finist the Brave Falcon.” Berkovich…

  • Russian Ballet Show in South Korea Canceled Amid Ukraine Tensions

    Russian Ballet Show in South Korea Canceled Amid Ukraine Tensions

    A ballet performance in South Korea featuring dancers from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet was canceled abruptly, the organizers confirmed to AFP Tuesday, amid growing tensions between Seoul and Moscow over Ukraine and North Korea. The Russian Embassy in Seoul expressed its “deep regret” over the cancelation of the show — scheduled to open April 16 —…

  • Russia Adds Theater Director Berkovich, Playwright Petriychuk to ‘Terrorists and Extremists’ List

    Russia Adds Theater Director Berkovich, Playwright Petriychuk to ‘Terrorists and Extremists’ List

    Russia’s state financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring on Monday added theater director Yevgenia (Zhenya) Berkovich and playwright Svetlana Petriychuk to its list of “terrorists and extremists.” Berkovich and Petriychuk were arrested in May 2023 over their award-winning play “Finist the Brave Falcon,” which tells the story of Russian women who correspond with Islamist militants, fall in love with them and…

  • ‘I Will Never Trust These People’: Poems About Russia’s Social Rift

    ‘I Will Never Trust These People’: Poems About Russia’s Social Rift

    The three poetry texts below explore the behavior of ordinary Russians in the context of war. All of them are based on real events. But the authors look at the situation in Russia from very different geographical locations and through different metaphysical lenses. Jamil Nilov is right in the thick of things: He lives in…

  • Bake a Cake That is Out of This World

    Bake a Cake That is Out of This World

    Space flights are definitely important and certainly exciting. But even cosmonauts (and astronauts) flying in space need to have lunch. Of course, when Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov blasted off the launchpads as the first and second Soviet citizens in space, they weren’t thinking about food. But later space nutrition became very important in longer…

  • Pushkin House Announces Short List for 2024 Book Prize

    Pushkin House Announces Short List for 2024 Book Prize

    The Pushkin House has announced six books shortlisted for its 2024 Book Prize. The books cover a broad range of topics, time periods and places, from the mountain ranges of the Caucasus in the south to the Arctic snowfields in the north, from Stalin’s labor camps to the war Russia is waging in Ukraine today,…

  • Russian Court Sentences Driver Who Struck Poet Lev Rubinstein

    Russian Court Sentences Driver Who Struck Poet Lev Rubinstein

    A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced the driver involved in a road accident that resulted in the death of poet and writer Lev Rubinstein to a suspended prison term of one year and eight months. The motorist, whose name was not given, was found guilty of violating traffic rules that led to the death of a…

  • Russian Cheese is More Than Cheese

    Russian Cheese is More Than Cheese

    Cheese in Russia is more than cheese. For some reason, throughout our history, it has always been some kind of symbol — either fealty to national values, or self-reliance, or even an example of free thinking. The thesis popular today in pro-Putin circles is that Russian cheese is the oldest and most delicious cheese in…

  • Russia’s Culinary Grains of Truth

    Russia’s Culinary Grains of Truth

    Not sturgeon or swans. Not solyanka soup or salad Olivier. The most enduring treasure of Russian cuisine is kasha — porridge made from grains. Many people consider it a simple or even primitive food. But over hundreds of years, grain porridges have evolved tremendously. Porridge is the main contender for the role of the Russian…

  • Always Say До Свидания, Never Прощайте

    Always Say До Свидания, Never Прощайте

    Последнее слово: last word I began to write The Word’s Worth in April 2002, the third writer (I think) to take up what was envisioned as a language column for expats. Since then I’ve written more than a thousand columns, touching on just about every aspect of language use and language change, and most of…

  • Riga’s Zuzeum Art Centre Celebrates Non-Conformist Art the Latvian Way

    Riga’s Zuzeum Art Centre Celebrates Non-Conformist Art the Latvian Way

    “Where to Hide” is a major new show of Latvian non-conformist art from 1945 to 1990 that opened in Riga. The name of the show is from a small drawing done by Roberts Stārosts in 1954. The drawing in India ink on yellowed paper is a scene at night: a sliver of moon hangs in…

  • Russian Music Goes East

    Russian Music Goes East

    Although Russian culture has not been cancelled around the world, there have been disruptions in schedules and repertories as venues and event organizers were concerned that hosting Russians artists would be perceived as condoning or endorsing actions contrary to their values. Non-Russian symphony orchestras dedicated to preserving classical masterpieces are also facing a dilemma. While…

  • Elena Skvortsova Hides Street Art in Plain Sight

    Elena Skvortsova Hides Street Art in Plain Sight

    If you happen upon a small ceramic statue tucked inside a drainpipe or half-buried in a pile of leaves, chances are it’s a work by Elena Skvortsova. Skovtsova is a ceramicist living in Moscow. She creates decorative plates, small statues, vases, and other works that she exhibits in galleries and on the street. She often tucks…

  • AUTO-GRAPH: Boris Akunin Asks Political Prisoners 13 Questions

    AUTO-GRAPH: Boris Akunin Asks Political Prisoners 13 Questions

    FROM THE COMPILER* There are many political prisoners in Russia, and their number is only increasing. It’s axiomatic: the less freedom there is in a country, the more people are imprisoned for their beliefs. Before February 24, 2022, the authorities usually sentenced political prisoners on far-fetched criminal charges. Now political repression has become blatant. People…

  • Cracking the Myth of the Russian Monastery Kitchen

    Cracking the Myth of the Russian Monastery Kitchen

    In Russia today there is a belief that the food served in Russian Orthodox monasteries is the apotheosis of Russian cooking. Some people insist that the monasteries preserved the very best that had survived from ancient Russian cuisine — beautifully prepared, delicious, healthy food. But isn’t there a contradiction here? On the one hand, Christianity…

  • Fake News and Other Fallacies

    Fake News and Other Fallacies

    Фейк: fake I have been remiss. Although I have mentioned the “Russian” word фейк in many columns, I’ve never really focused on it. I suppose it’s because, well, what’s there to say? Фейк is the standard Russian insult for anything purported to be false, particularly factual information from non-Russian sources. There are plenty of official…

  • When the LGBTQ+ Community Held a Kiss-In in Front of the Russian Duma

    When the LGBTQ+ Community Held a Kiss-In in Front of the Russian Duma

    “Kissing Day” is a short animated film based on an interview with the famous Russian journalist, writer and LGBTQ+ activist Elena Kostyuchenko. It tells the story of the “Kissing Day” event that Elena organized in front of the Russian State Duma in 2012 during the first hearings of the law against “gay propaganda” among minors.…

  • Artdocfest and the Power of Documentary Film

    Artdocfest and the Power of Documentary Film

    Documentary filmmaking has a long and illustrious history in Russia, with waves of popularity that have tended to correlate with changes in the political climate. Soon after Vladimir Putin became president in 2000 and his government began chipping away at media freedom, interest in documentary film began to rise. As television network news became more…

  • In Photos: Russians Celebrate Maslenitsa with Bonfires and Blini

    In Photos: Russians Celebrate Maslenitsa with Bonfires and Blini

    This past week Russians across the country celebrated Maslenitsa. The weeklong holiday marks Shrovetide, the last week before Lent begins, but has roots in Slavic pagan traditions. The holiday culminates in large bonfires and the burning of straw effigies — a symbolic funeral for the winter that has just passed. This is the last week…

  • The Sad Beauty of Russia’s Abandoned Villages

    The Sad Beauty of Russia’s Abandoned Villages

    Russia’s big cities may appear to be flourishing, filled with shops, restaurants, recently built apartment buildings, malls and entertainment venues. But many if not most of Russia’s villages are not enjoying the same economic boom. Infrastructure is in poor shape, job opportunities are scant, schools are closed as families move to larger towns and cities,…

  • Three-Layer Pancakes From the Mari People

    Three-Layer Pancakes From the Mari People

    When people think of the Orthodox Christian Maslenitsa (Shrovetide), they almost all think of one food: pancakes (blinis). But pancakes are not a purely Russian culinary achievement, and it’s silly to associate them solely with Orthodox traditions. Pancakes have been around for much longer.  The Mari people (in Russia once called Cheremis) live mainly between…

  • When It’s Time to Call the Junk Man

    When It’s Time to Call the Junk Man

    Хлам: junk In my part of the world, my neighbors seem to be doing some intensive early spring cleaning. Every day by the garbage bins there are new piles of tattered armchairs, ancient toilets, fake wood storage units, bags of baby clothes and (revoltingly stained) mattresses. In Russian, all this is хлам: junk, rubbish, old…

  • ’20 Days in Mariupol’ Brings First Oscar Home to Ukraine

    ’20 Days in Mariupol’ Brings First Oscar Home to Ukraine

    Ukraine won its first Oscar for best documentary with “20 Days in Mariupol,” directed by Mstyslav Chernov, on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The film chronicles the harrowing Russian siege of Mariupol, a once beautiful port city, by the only journalists still on the ground, Chernov and the photographer/journalist Evgeniy Maloletka. At the Academy Awards…

  • Yaroslav Trofimov Writes History as it Happens in ‘Our Enemies Will Vanish’

    Yaroslav Trofimov Writes History as it Happens in ‘Our Enemies Will Vanish’

    As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, the chaos and horror of its early months have already started to fade for many of those watching these events from abroad. Yaroslav Trofimov’s new book “Our Enemies Will Vanish” — its title coming from the third line of Ukraine’s national anthem — retells the first…

  • Free Women From Kitchen Slavery With Mimosas!

    Free Women From Kitchen Slavery With Mimosas!

    When it’s time to fry up some cutlets, women get called. But when it’s time to hand out awards — call a man! There is probably more inequality of the sexes in the kitchen than anywhere else on earth. Just take a look at the list of Michelin-starred chefs and see how many women’s names…

  • Hello, Goodbye and Other Expressions De Jour

    Hello, Goodbye and Other Expressions De Jour

    Дежурство: on call, on stand-by, duty In my post-Russian life, I’m trying to learn a new language. I can sometimes conjugate a few essential verbs and occasionally even get case endings right, but I can’t really talk to people. I realized that I don’t have that basic set of 50 or 100 standard phrases that…

  • Director Michael Lockshin on ‘Master and Margarita’ and Meaningful Work

    Director Michael Lockshin on ‘Master and Margarita’ and Meaningful Work

    “The Master and Margarita” was released in late January 2024 and quickly became one of the highest-grossing films in Russian history. The Moscow Times talked to the film’s director about his creative process and the backlash he faced from Russian state propagandists.  Andrei Muchnik: How did you first become involved in this project?  Michael Lockshin:…

  • Kidnap, Lies, and Propaganda: Documentary Film ‘Ukraine’s Stolen Children’ Comes to London

    Kidnap, Lies, and Propaganda: Documentary Film ‘Ukraine’s Stolen Children’ Comes to London

    A special screening of Shahida Tulaganova’s film “Ukraine’s Stolen Children” drew large audiences in London. The film is an exploration of one of the most insidious practices of Russia’s war: the mass abduction of children from occupied territory for adoption by Russian families. Veteran war correspondent Tulaganova has won multiple awards for her films, including…

  • Goulash, Ragu, Stew and the Problem of Soviet Meat

    Goulash, Ragu, Stew and the Problem of Soviet Meat

    Classic goulash is a soup so thick a spoon can stand up among the meat and vegetables. Eat a bowl of goulash and you won’t be hungry for the rest of the day. In Russia people will tell you that goulash is “just stewed meat with gravy” and that it’s the same thing as a…

  • ‘Judge Righteously; Show Mercy to One Another’

    ‘Judge Righteously; Show Mercy to One Another’

    Похороны: funeral If you have been following the the funeral of Alexei Navalny in Russian, you might be struggling to understand some of it. And no wonder.  The Russian language makes a distinction between a religious (in this case Orthodox Christian) funeral and a non-religious funeral. But for both, the general term for a funeral…

  • Quietly Take Queer Tours Through Moscow and St. Petersburg

    Quietly Take Queer Tours Through Moscow and St. Petersburg

    However impossible it might seem today, even during the Soviet period there were places where queer people could get together on dates. In fact, not long ago — in 2014 — two women got married in St. Petersburg. Some of Russia’s most famous writers, poets, artists, dancers, and other cultural figures were part of what is now…

  • The Food of War and Isolation

    The Food of War and Isolation

    The past two years of full-scale war are not only the most shameful time in Russian history. They also show how the entire Putin government is permeated with lies and hypocrisy. Attempts to create some kind of racially pure Russian culture or even cuisine to spite Western civilization turned out to be just the usual…

  • Russian Booksellers Remove Potentially Banned Books

    Russian Booksellers Remove Potentially Banned Books

    Earlier this week broadcast and print journalist Alexander Plyushev published a list of 252 books that could be considered to be in violation of the Russian law prohibiting “LGBT propaganda.” The list contained some books that might expected, such as Oscar Wilde’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray” and James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Rooms.” But it also included…

  • Vatrushka: The Ancient Russian Pastry That Wasn’t

    Vatrushka: The Ancient Russian Pastry That Wasn’t

    Vatrushki are one of the most popular and delicious little treats made of dough. They are made with different fillings — jam, fruit puree, or jelly — but the most popular are filled with sweet pot cheese. Everyone knows vatrushki. But the history of Russian cuisine is tricky, and it constantly breaks all our stereotypes about the…

  • Disgraced Russian Pop Star Kirkorov Returns to TV After Performing for Troops

    Disgraced Russian Pop Star Kirkorov Returns to TV After Performing for Troops

    Pop star Filipp Kirkorov has made his first TV appearance since he and other prominent Russian celebrities faced a powerful conservative backlash for attending a “nearly naked” party. In mid-December, the singer and other famous stars and bloggers sparked a major sc andal when they attended a “nearly naked” party at a Moscow nightclub, wearing only lingerie, mesh…

  • Thank the Persians for the Bazaar

    Thank the Persians for the Bazaar

    Сарай: shed All languages borrow words from other languages. Most of the time we borrow words for things or actions that we didn’t have in our own country/culture/language. This includes a lot of food, drink, handy phrases, or objects like expresso, borshch, tsar, ciao, or sushi. Sometimes it’s just a word the borrowers like, even if…

  • Art Critic Nina Moleva Dies at 98, Leaving Estimated $2Bln Collection to Putin

    Art Critic Nina Moleva Dies at 98, Leaving Estimated $2Bln Collection to Putin

    Russian art critic Nina Moleva has died at age 98, bequeathing a mysterious collection of works she claimed to be worth $2 billion to President Vladimir Putin. “Nina Mikhailovna Moleva — writer, outstanding scholar of history and art, journalist and war veteran — passed away on Feb. 11,” Russia’s Culture Ministry told Interfax on Wednesday. Moleva…

  • ‘The Master and Margarita’: From Favorite Novel to Blockbuster Film

    ‘The Master and Margarita’: From Favorite Novel to Blockbuster Film

    “The Master and Margarita” was only released less than a month ago but it has already become one of the highest grossing and most talked about films in Russia in recent years. In the first weekend alone the film amassed almost half a billion rubles. The film is based on the eponymous novel by Mikhail…

  • The Endless Catalog of Lev Rubinstein

    The Endless Catalog of Lev Rubinstein

    Lev Rubinstein, the legend of the Moscow conceptualist movement, the inventor of a unique way of writing, died on January 14, 2024. His life seemed as endless as his long poems and ended just as abruptly as they did — mid-word, on an ellipsis. This death devastated the Russian cultural community. Let us try to…

  • Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day the Traditional Russian Way, With Gingerbread

    Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day the Traditional Russian Way, With Gingerbread

    Many people think that Valentine’s Day — the holiday of love — came to Russia only in the early 1990s along with Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. Nothing of the sort! More than one hundred years ago, back in the 19th century, on February 14 girls from the Russian nobility sent Valentine cards to their…

  • The Kopek, the Poker and the Candle

    The Kopek, the Poker and the Candle

    Свеча: candle Here at the Word’s Worth we haven’t done a quiz for a long time. Put down your гаджеты (devices), put your books under your seat, and get out your pencils. What or who caused the great fire of 1493 in Moscow? A) a faulty chimney; B) a careless priest; C) a drunken cook;…

  • Fire Destroys Part of Famous Writers’ House in Moscow

    Fire Destroys Part of Famous Writers’ House in Moscow

    On late Thursday night a fire broke out in the “writers’ house” behind metro Aeroport in Moscow. According to initial reports, the fire started in one apartment on the top floor of 4 Ulitsa Chernyakhovskovo and almost immediately set the roof on fire. The fire spread across the roofs of two more houses before being…

  • Russia Expands Musician ‘Blacklist’ – Meduza

    Russia Expands Musician ‘Blacklist’ – Meduza

    Russian concert promoters in early February received an expanded list of musicians banned from performing in the country, the independent news website Meduza reported Thursday, citing two anonymous music industry sources. The names of 50 recording artists and bands reportedly include both vocal critics of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as those who have…

  • The Quiet Battle to Save Moscow’s Historical Architecture

    The Quiet Battle to Save Moscow’s Historical Architecture

    In a densely populated Moscow neighborhood intersected by two major highways and surrounded by high-rises is, improbably, a village. Right next to supermarkets, 8-lane roadways, noise and lights stand just over a hundred cottages on quiet tree-lined streets. It’s called the “artists’ village” possibly because the streets are named after famous Russian artists, or possibly…

  • Moscow Court Arrests Writer Boris Akunin in Absentia

    Moscow Court Arrests Writer Boris Akunin in Absentia

    A Moscow court has ordered the arrest in absentia of popular exiled novelist Boris Akunin over his criticism of Russia’s war against Ukraine, officials announced Tuesday. Authorities charged Akunin, who has not lived in Russia since 2014, with justifying terrorism and spreading “fake news” about the Russian army. Russian law enforcement officials issued a warrant for…

  • When Russians Dream, They Dream of Spinach

    When Russians Dream, They Dream of Spinach

    You can’t say that people in the USSR didn’t know what spinach was. But they had a very superficial knowledge of it — often just from pictures in their grandmothers’ cookbooks. We can’t remember a single spinach recipe from the Soviet period. But before socialism, spinach was the Russian dream. You might say your dream…

  • Burst a Pipe and Bust a Gut

    Burst a Pipe and Bust a Gut

    Теплоснабжение: central heating A couple of weeks ago there was a major accident in Siberia that left hundreds of homes in Russia without heat for weeks. It happened in particularly cold weather — of course it did, because закон подлости (Murphy’s law) is the only law that still works perfectly in Russia today. As a…

  • Ludmila Ulitskaya Is the Latest Russian Writer Under Fire

    Ludmila Ulitskaya Is the Latest Russian Writer Under Fire

    The writer Ludmila Ulitskaya is the latest Russian author to be banned in Russia. A few days ago Ulitskaya was the victim of a prank by Vovan and Lexus, pseudonyms of Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have been pranking celebrities and politicians by telephone since 2011. According to reports, they called Ulitskaya and pretended to…

  • Writer Dmitry Bykov on Being Banned and the Curse of Russian History

    Writer Dmitry Bykov on Being Banned and the Curse of Russian History

    Dmitry Bykov is not upset that his books have been banned in Russia. To the contrary, he is quite pleased.  “I’m grateful to [the Russian government] because I don’t want to have anything to do with them,” he told The Moscow Times via video call.  For years, Bykov has been one of Russia’s most celebrated…