Showing posts from September, 2011

Nadezhda Durova

Her father was a cavalry captain and her mother the daughter of a small landowner who married against her parents’ will. Immediately following the wedding the family started a nomadic life travelling with the troops. Nadezhda’s mother desperately wanted to have a son, and giving birth to a daughter was a bitter disappointment. During the days the infant was taken care of by her mother’s servant and fed cow’s milk from a bottle, in the evenings she was breastfed by peasant women who acted as wet-nurses. In her memoirs Durova writes that she was one of those ever-screaming babies and once, early in the morning when the troops started a march, her mother was so exasperated with the girl’s screams, she simply threw the baby out of the carriage window. The hussars galloping by were shocked and took the girl to a doctor who was amazed to see the baby suffered no wounds – not even a bruise. Later the woman completely gave up on the child, and one of the soldiers was ordered to take full …

What The Legendary Beryozka Store Used To Sell

What The Legendary Beryozka Store Used To Sell: ‘Beryozka’ was a store in Moscow in the time of the Soviet Union. For those who don’t know, it was the only place in Moscow where one could buy unique goods and by the way, for foreign currency only. Here’s … Read more...

Daniil Trifonov, Chopin: 12 Etudes, op. 25


Grigory Sokolov: L. van Beethoven sonate op.14/1-2, op.28 "Pastorale"


Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev: Autumn Evening

THE LIGHT of autumn evenings seems a screen,
Some mystery with tender glamor muffling….
The trees in motley, cloaked in eerie sheen,
The scarlet leaves that languid airs are ruffling,
The still and misty azure, vaguely far,
Above the earth that waits her orphan sorrow,
And bitter winds in gusty vagrance are
Forerunners of a bleak, storm-driven morrow.
The woods are waning; withered is the sun;
Earth shows the smile of fading, meekly tender
As the high shyness of a suffering one,
In noble reticence of sad surrender.

Soviet novel scales UK bestseller lists

A brilliant novel by a Soviet writer Vasily Grossman, turned into a radio play on Radio 4, has stormed the British book market. Massive interest in the radio adaptation caused the UK residents go and buy the book. Life and Fate, which remained unpublished when the writer passed away, is finally getting the renown it deserves. After almost half a century it has been brought into daylight in a Radio 4 adaptation. Russian Jew Vasily Grossman was not only a writer, but also a reporter, who saw WWII, covered the tragic events in Stalingrad and witnessed the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. In Life and Fate the writer who had no other choice but to end up a dissident, exposed the horrors of the totalitarian Nazi and Soviet regimes and show the pain people endured. Scenes move from Moscow cabinets to Stalingrad bomb shelters. The novel was written in the 1950s, while Stalin’s iron hand was still holding Russia tight. Of course the authorities could not allow its publicati…

Ganina Yama

Ganina Yama is a place, located 15 kilometres from Yekaterinburg. In the middle of 19th century this area was bought by man named Gavriil (diminutively Gania) for the gold mining. It should be said that gold was never found, but iron ore had been produced until 20th century. Later this mine turned into the derelict territory, connected with the name of Russian emperor Nicholas II. In 1918 the bodies of the emperor and his family were secretly brought here after they had been killed at the Ipatiev House (now The Church on the Blood). The Bolsheviks tried to conceal the crime and throw the remains into the pit. In 1979 the burial was discovered by geologists. Today Ganina Yama is considered to be a holy site. A monastery dedicated to the royal martyrs is situated here and seven wooden churches built on its territory symbolize every member of the emperor's family. The main building in this architectural ensemble is the Temple of the Holy Imperial Passion-Bearers. The miraclous cros…

Baikal That Leaves Breathless

Baikal That Leaves Breathless: It seems that lake Baikal is created to be constantly photographed or painted as its views are just amazing. All the following pictures were made by a photographer Stanislav Savin. Golden autumn. The island Olkhon.

Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov: Conversations at Tea

There were three in the family--a papa, a mama, and a son. Papa was an Old Bolsehvik, Mama was an old housewife, and the son was an old Pioneer1 with close-cropped hair and twelve years of life experience.

On the surface, everything was just fine.

Nevertheless, everyday at morning tea, there were family arguments.

Papa usually began the conversation.

"Well, how are things in class," he asked.

"Not in 'class', but in the 'group'", the son answered. "How many times do I have to tell you, Papa, that 'class' is a reactionary-feudal concept?"

"Okay, okay. Group. What have you learned in the group?"

"We don’t 'learn', we 'work out'. You should know this by now."

"Fine. What have you worked out?"

"We worked out the questions of the influence of Lasalleism on the origin of reformism."

"Oh! Lassalleism? Did you solve any problems?"

"We did."

"Excellent! What ki…

Battle of Smolensk (1812)


The History of Volgograd in Pictures

The History of Volgograd in Pictures: The Russian city of Volgograd didn’t always have this name. From 1589 to 1925 it was called Tsaritsyn. From 1925 to 1961 – Stalingrad. Here we assembled the pictures of the heroic city belonging to different periods of time. Location: … Read more...

Giselle - Ballet Bolshoi Theatre


How Pelmeni Are Made

How Pelmeni Are Made: Today we’ll visit a plant of prepared food “Siberian Gourmet” and examine all production stages from the mincemeat making till the packing of ready products and their delivery to storehouse. Besides meat dumplings the plant produces pancakes, cutlets and khinkali. It … Read more...

Rare Pictures of The Romanov Family

Rare Pictures of The Romanov Family: Here is a set of unique photos of the tsar’s family from the archive of Anna Vyrubova. via mona_lisa_ru

Yevgeny Kropivnitsky: Two Poems

I like it very much when
the weather is wet and warm,
that rotten leaf smell. When
the distance is lit up by a haze
so sorrowful and silent. When
everything moves slowly.  And when
the fog is everywhere and water also.

I walk this world's hurly-burly
Toward some mysterious end
Above me the purple-clad stars
Strewn, spun by someone overhead.
Earthly comfort, dull and unpleasant.
Under my window the howls of dogs.
How could I possibly be connected
To this world's great mystery?

Pavel Krusanov: Bom-Bom

As it turns out eventually, fate gives an individual the right of choice, including the right to waiver the right of being chosen by it. But it does not allow him to become the director in this theater. At the same time it can allow itself everything – it’s aggressive, irresponsible, unprincipled and insolent. If it had the ability to be incarnated into human form, so that it could be spoken to in the language of medicine and jurisprudence, it would certainly be sent off to a mental clinic. That’s why all her intrepid “partners”, in the form of an average man, often look as if they are at least “out of their mind”. “But what is the metaphysical essence of fate?” Andrey began to use his brain again “Does it have a certain swarm nature and ascribes itself as an individual to every newborn, like a guardian angel or, on the contrary, a tempter? Or is it all around us, and, forgive me lord, like the divine breath, is omnipresent?” However his own question seemed too scholastic to Norushki…

Michaïl P. Artzybashev: The Revolutionist

I Gabriel Andersen, the teacher, walked to the edge of the school garden, where he paused, undecided what to do. Off in the distance, two miles away, the woods hung like bluish lace over a field of pure snow. It was a brilliant day. A hundred tints glistened on the white ground and the iron bars of the garden railing. There was a lightness and transparency in the air that only the days of early spring possess. Gabriel Andersen turned his steps toward the fringe of blue lace for a tramp in the woods. "Another spring in my life," he said, breathing deep and peering up at the heavens through his spectacles. Andersen was rather given to sentimental poetising. He walked with his hands folded behind him, dangling his cane. He had gone but a few paces when he noticed a group of soldiers and horses on the road beyond the garden rail. Their drab uniforms stood out dully against the white of the snow, but their swords and horses' coats tossed back the light. Their bowed cavalry le…

Ekaterina Dashkova - Biography

“She helps the masons to build walls, she assists with her own hands in making the roads, she feeds the cows, she composes music, she sings and plays, she writes for the press, she shells corn, she speaks out in church and corrects the priest if he is not devout. She speaks out in her little theater and steers the performers if they stray from their parts. She is a doctor, an apothecary, a surgeon, a veterinary, a carpenter, a magistrate, a lawyer. In short, she hourly practices every type of incongruity. She corresponds with her brother, with authors, with philosophers with poets with all her relations, and yet, appears as if she had time hanging on her hands.” - Catherine Wilmot (the Anglo-Irish cousin of Catherine Hamilton and the eldest daughter of Edward Wilmot of Cork, Ireland, whom Dashkova had met in England in 1776 and again in 1780) Ekaterina Dashkova was an outstanding figure and one of the most colorful and striking figures of the age of Catherine the Great. Through her e…

Anna Netrebko Documentary Part 1


Moscow From the Moscow Hotel

Moscow From the Moscow Hotel: Have a look at the pictures of the Kremlin and Manezhnaya Square taken from the roof of the Moscow Hotel. They will be included in a big album with Moscow views that is about to be published.  The dawn. It … Read more...

Dostoevsky's Study


Leonid Andreyev: Judas Iscariot

Jesus Christ had been frequently warned that Judas of Kerioth was a man of ill repute, a man against whom one should be on guard. Some of the disciples of Jesus who had been to Judea knew him well personally, others had beard a great deal of him, and there was none to say a good word concerning him. And if the good condemned him saying that Judas was covetous, treacherous, given to hypocrisy and falsehood, evil men also, when questioned about him, denounced him in the most opprobrious terms. "He always sows dissensions among us" they would say spitting contemptuously at the mere mention of his name; "he has thoughts of his own, and creeps into a house softly like a scorpion, but goes out with noise." Even thieves have friends, robbers have comrades, and liars have wives to whom they speak the truth, but Judas mocks alike the thieves and the honest, though he is a skillful thief himself, and in appearance he is the most illfavored among the inhabitants of Judea.…

Abramtsevo Museum

The Abramtsevo Museum is located near the town of Sergiev Posad 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the north-east of Moscow. The estate was laid out on the bank of the River Vorya in the middle of the 18th century and soon became famous due to its owners. The writer Sergey Aksakov purchased Abramtsevo in 1843. He created here his best works: notes on angling, hunting and autobiographical stories. In the days of Aksakov, writers Nikolay Gogol and Ivan Turgenev, historian Mikhail Pogodin, actor Mikhail Schepkin and other celebrated contemporaries were his guests in Abramtsevo. The railroad magnate and patron of arts Savva Mamontov bought Abramtsevo in 1870. The new owner played host to artists Vasily Polenov, Viktor Vasnetsov, Ilya Repin, Ilya Ostroukhov, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, Mikhail Vrubel and other creative personalities who united to an informal community known as the Abramtsevo Colony. Participants of the Colony created paintings, drawings, sculptures, …

Le Corsaire - Pas de Deux with Zakharova and Zelensky