An Apricot Cake for All Seasons

Expats develop oddly obsessive attitudes towards food. After a few months in a foreign country, spot something that screams “I’m from your home country!” on the shelves of a cash-and-carry and chances are you’ll scoop it up and carry it home regardless of whether you need it or even like it. In my Moscow flat,…

What’s On in Moscow June 18-20

New coronavirus restrictions As Moscow experiences another surge in cases, the city has implemented a series of restrictions. Outdoor theaters, playgrounds, food courts, children’s playrooms in malls, and zoos will remain closed through June 29. Restaurants and bars must close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Theaters, movie theaters, museums and other cultural venues will…

What’s On in Moscow June 12-15

Russia Day A holiday since 1992, Russia Day marks the day in 1990 that Russia ratified the Declaration of State Sovereignty, which provided certain freedoms to Russia within the Soviet Union. In recent years it is usually celebrated most vibrantly at the city’s historical museums, where key moments in the country’s past are acted out…

Arts Played a Starring Role at ‘Russian Davos’

Creative industries, culture and the arts found themselves in the spotlight of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) this year. For the first time in the history of the forum, the event incorporated a special Creative Business Forum, featuring more than 200 speakers representing leading museums, galleries, arts fairs, cultural foundations from Russia and…

The Svekolnik Smoothie

And just like that — it’s summer. It caught me unawares. I haven’t put my winter clothes away and I still reach for socks in the morning. Until the hot weather began in earnest this week, I was still firmly in hot soup mode, so much so that I lugged home from the market a…

What’s On in Moscow June 4-6

Music among the stars On Friday night on the 90th floor of one of the Moscow City towers, Ian Maksin will perform a concert on his cello accompanied by his group Zaria. The Russian-American musician sings and plays a fusion of music inspired by the Balkans, South America, the Middle East, Mongolia and other places…

Children Are Celebrated Throughout Russia Today

Children’s Day, like several other Soviet holidays, actually began in the U.S. In 1857, Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard held a special service dedicated to children in his Chelsea, Massachusetts church. He first called it Rose Day, and later Flower Sunday, and finally Children’s Day. In 1925, the World Conference of Child Welfare in Geneva founded…

What’s On in Moscow May 28-30

Season premiere in the Green Theater This Saturday night the outdoor Green Theater at VDNH Park opens their summer season with a unique program of music for harps. The program will be performed by the much celebrated musician Alexander Boldachev accompanied by the Russian Ministry of Defense Orchestra. It will be conducted by Fabio Mastrangelo,…

Celebrating the Life and Work of Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov was born on May 21, 1921. After a career developing Soviet atomic and hydrogen bombs, he began to speak out for nuclear proliferation as early as the 1950s. In 1968 he published in samizdat his ground-breaking essay “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom.” After publication he was banned from military research…

What’s On in Moscow May 21-24

A walk in a lilac park This weekend is the first peak of lilac season in Moscow’s most famous park for lovers of these sweet-smelling and beautiful bushes. Founded in 1954 by Leonid Kolesnikov, the country’s most accomplished lilac breeder, the Lilac Garden began with 2,000 bushes of 32 sorts of lilacs. Today you can…

What’s On in Moscow May 14-16

Night in the Museum Moscow began to celebrate a Night in the Museum not long ago, but the event quickly became a favorite of Muscovites of all ages. There is something delightfully transgressive about being in a public place after hours, when the lights are usually off and the doors shut tight. Last year it…

Open a Window to Films From the East

Every year audiences in Wiesbaden, Germany come together to watch films from their neighbors to the East. The GoEast Film Festival shows about 100 films from almost 40 countries in Eastern and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. This year the festival audiences on- and offline saw an enormous variety of films in every…

Building the Perfect Fish Solyanka

“Do you have a decent recipe for solyanka?” “Yikes,” I thought. The request came from a friend who is firmly in the “I need recipes to be precise” camp. Tell her to use a bell pepper, and a barrage of texts from the supermarket invariably ensues demanding to know how much the individual pepper should…

Film Award Season Comes to Moscow

The NIKA Awards The Russian film community holds their big awards ceremony every spring, except in 2020 when Moscow was on lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, this year’s ceremony gave out awards for two years: 2019 and 2020.  The best film of 2019 was “The Frenchman,” the story…

The ‘Other Worlds’ of Teffi

This Translation by Robert Chandler Teffi is difficult to translate. I have said a little in the foreword about her Pushkinian grace and deft use of repetition. She also makes the most of two freedoms—the freedom to omit words and an extreme freedom of word order—that are available only in a highly inflected language like…

Try Smetannik: Russia’s Sour Cream Cake

One of life’s great indulgences is a mid-afternoon tea break. At 4:00 each afternoon, my phone trills the high-pitched, reedy “Tea” melody from “The Nutcracker,” signaling that it is time for a cup of tea and perhaps a slice of something sweet. During lockdown, my family members have folded this habit into the rhythms of…

Discover Painter Ilya Repin Anew

Ilya Repin is best known as a realist painter, whose portraits of writer Leo Tolstoy and canvases such as “Barge Haulers on the Volga” and “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks” represented Russia to the world. But the show “Ilya Repin: Known and Unknown” at the State Tretyakov Gallery invites you to forget all that —…

What’s On This Weekend

“The Cherry Orchard” at Mossoviet Film and theater director Andrei Konchalovsky has put on a trilogy of plays by Anton Chekhov at Mossoviet Theater, starting with “Uncle Vanya” in 2009, “Three Sisters” in 2012, and ending with “The Cherry Orchard” this year. “The Cherry Orchard” is something of a family affair, starring Konchalovsky’s wife, Yulia…

Let Pkhali Steal the Show

I am an inveterate hoarder of dark leafy greens. I consume baby spinach nearly every day, and the hardier winter spinach invariably finds itself in some cooking project or other, be it soup, smoothie, or spanakopita. I am helpless to resist the vibrant jewel tones of rainbow chard, kale, and my beloved beet greens. But…