Culture and History »

[8 Jan 2010]

One of the 20th century’s greatest ballerinas was born on this day in 1910. Theaters all over Russia host celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the legendary Galina Ulanova. [More]

Culture and History »

[7 Jan 2010]

Boris Godunov was the most famous member of an ancient, now extinct, Russian family of Tatar origin. He was the brother-in-law and closest advisor to the last Rurik Tsar Feodor Ivanovich, and upon Feodor's death, Godunov was elected by a Great National Assembly. [More]

Culture and History »

[6 Jan 2010]

It’s Christmas Eve again in Russia, with many preparing to celebrate the holiday according to the Julian calendar. [More]

Culture and History »

[17 Dec 2009]

The legendary movie "The Irony of Fate" was first released on New Year’s Eve in 1975 and is regularly shown and religiously watched each year by millions. [More]

Random Stuff »

[7 Dec 2009]

Besides your favorite Russian ladies, you may know of more Russians than you think. Learn which American actors have Russian ancestry. [More]

Culture and History »

[24 Nov 2009]

The Golden Ring of historic Russian cities provides an escape from Moscow's busy city life. [More]

Culture and History »

[12 Nov 2009]

There are beer museums in Germany, cognac museums in France, whiskey museums in Scotland, and there's word of a tequila museum opening in Mexico City. A trip to Moscow, Russia wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Vodka Museum. [More]

Culture and History »

[9 Nov 2009]

Victory Park is a popular sightseeing stop in Saratov, Russia. Located at the top of Mount Sokolovaya, this picturesque park is a green, fragrant oasis in the city, complete with a monument, fountain, museum, and more... [More]

Culture and History »

[27 Oct 2009]

A controversial new Russian holiday was created only a few years ago in 2005. National Unity Day, also called People’s Unity Day, is celebrated on November 4th. There are several historical events surrounding this date, but some Russian citizens wonder about its true meaning and necessity, and choose to protest rather than celebrate.   It was in November of 1612 that Russian heroes Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky led Russian troops to victory by evicting Polish invaders from Moscow and ending the Time of Troubles. During this period of Russian history, there was no tsar or patriarch to guide the people. The remarkable way that all classes of Russian society worked together and fought the invasion was the basis for the name of the holiday.   There is also another significance to the date of November 4th in Russian history. It was this day in the year 1721 that the St. Petersburg Senate voted to grant Peter the Great the status of “Father of the Nation and the Emperor”, effectively creating the Russian Empire.   This new holiday replaced a November 7th holiday known during the communist era as the Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which honored the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and which was renamed Accord and Reconciliation Day after the fall of the Soviet Union. Many communists boycott the new November 4th holiday and still demonstrate and protest on November 7th.   Since Unity Day is only a few years young, not many Russians fully celebrate it. A movie titled 1612 was made in 2007 to raise awareness about the new holiday and explain the history behind it. The film is based on the historical events but does feature fantasy elements such as unicorns. Despite the promotional efforts, the average Russian citizen still does not understand why this new holiday was created, although I’m sure they enjoy the day off from work.  

Culture and History »

[9 Oct 2009]

No romantic evening with your beautiful Russian bride would be complete without a bottle of wine. Naturally, when you think of wine, you likely think of its most famous places of origin – Italy, France, etc. But did you know that the practice of cultivating wine actually began in Georgia? For thousands of years, in fact, the lush green valleys of the South Caucasus mountains have been a prime location for grape-growing, toasting and of course wine drinking. The earliest wine cultivation in Georgia is thought to have taken place between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago. Archeologists have unearthed ceramic jugs in southern Georgia that indicate that the region was involved in wine cultivation well before the European countries. Today, growing conditions remain perfect for wine cultivation – with fertile soil, warm summers and mild winters. Wine is a symbol of national pride for the Georgian people, who include wine as part of nearly every meal and use it to mark just about every occasion – from weddings to funerals to childbirth. During the Soviet era, the wine industry suffered losses due to a national government crackdown on alcohol consumption. Many wineries and grape farms were shut down. Recent years, however, have seen the Georgian wine industry on the rebound as wine drinkers the world over can’t get enough of the wine from its original source.

Culture and History »

[7 Oct 2009]

The Cathedral of the Assumption, located in Moscow’s Kremlin, has a long and intriguing history behind it. Being the oldest church in the city, this church has been built and rebuilt many times. Known as the protector of Russian Orthodoxy when first built in 1326, today’s church has five aesthetically pleasing domes to one’s eyes on the outside and just as pleasing decorative lime walls inside. This particular church replaced more ancient churches, one being made of wood and the other being made of stone. Again becoming worn down in the late 1400s, Ivan III demanded that a new church be built, which would be representative of Moscow’s new rank in the world as a place of power and strength.  The church is where the 1’st Russian Czar was crowned. Ivan the Terrible was also crowned here, as well as all of the emperors from 1721 onwards. In addition, kings and queens are buried on the church’s grounds, and Napoleon’s army housed his horses on the property in 1812. The church maintained a sense of dignity remaining undamaged by Bolshevik and White Troops as shots were fired between the two groups in 1917. The following year, the church was once again opened for Mass. The mass took place when the Bolshevik government came under the control of Moscow. Shortly afterwards the church was officially shut down under Lenin. However, it was up and running again in 1989. During this year, a mass was held to celebrate the Russian Patriarchate, which at that point had been intact for 300 years. This place of worship became even more popular in the 1990’s when a museum was added for the purpose of displaying the church’s clear and dynamic history. A must see place in Moscow, this church’s captivating beauty with a sense of historical significance is sure to have something for everyone to enjoy!