MOSCOW HIDDEN GEMS: MY HOME – RUSSIA

Have you ever wondered how people in the USSR REALLY lived? The daily reality of an average Soviet person was equally removed from the extremes of the ebullient propaganda posters and grim tales of totalitarian oppression. And you can take a trip back in time and into the homes of “ordinary Soviet people” thanks to…

THE IMMORTALS

Yesterday I had the honor of being a part of the 3 million-large Immortal Regiment that marched across Russia. Relatives and friends of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War carried their portraits through more than a dozen Russian cities. Around 400,000 people are estimated to have walked as part of the Immortal Regiment in…

MOSCOW WALKS: OLD ARBAT AT NIGHT

For many Moscovites the Old Arbat street is imbued with an almost mythical aura and a heavy dose of nostalgia. One of the most famed Russian bards, Bulat Okudzhava, even sang “oh Arbat, my Arbat, you are my Fatherland…” It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact source of this reverence. Arbat’s history is very layered. In the…

MASLENITSA MADNESS IN SUZDAL

What? Maslenitsa (“butter week”) is a half-Christian, half-Slavic pagan celebration of the soon-to-come end of winter that takes place for a week before Lent. Think Mardi Gras, or carnivals of Rio de Janeiro and Venice, but instead of ball gowns, beads and nudity you get traditional Russian games, folk music and dance concerts, a lot…

On the Edge of My Seat at VDNKh

VDNKh is one of those Moscow places I do not particularly enjoy yet keep going back to over and over for various half-baked reasons. What is VDNKh? Good question. Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva, (Exhibition of Achievements of the People’s Economy) is Moscow’s enormous exhibition complex and is one of those grand Soviet relics that seems more like…

CRIMEA: FOUR REASONS TO GO*

*I swear that neither the Russian government nor my place of employment have paid me a kopek for the 10,000 words I have written about how “Crimea is Awesome” – though on second thought they should totally comp me this vacation. So, why did I go? I had specific goals for this vacation: regain some…

CRIMEA, Day 16: Vorontsovsky Palace and the Sleeping Lion

Of all of Crimea’s palaces, the one that belonged to Count Vorontsov – the hero of Napoleonic wars and later the governor-general of Crimea – is probably the most peculiar and magnificent. I say “probably” because it’s the only major Yalta / Alupka palace that I got to visit, as my pre-purchased excursions to Massandra…