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 SHOPS: RUSSIAN CRAFTS AT IZMAYLOVO VERNISAZH

If you have been losing sleep over how to get your hands on all those amazing Russian crafts I wrote about last week, fret no more. Izmaylovo Vernisazh to the rescue! Vernisazh (derived from French “Vernissage” or a preview for an art show) is Moscow’s, if not Russia’s, biggest and best known market for all…

A PRIMER ON RUSSIAN FOLK CRAFTS

What kind of souvenir would you want from Russia? If your preference runs more toward traditional crafts than Soviet paraphernalia, you will probably go for one of those wooden nesting dolls, or a bright babushka scarf. Almost anyone can conjure up the images of those two objects in their mind – that’s how strongly they’ve…

MOSCOW’S MOST FESTIVE EASTER EVER

Moscow REALLY turned up Easter this year. Word on the street was, city officials have decided that with all the #sanctions, ruble woes, Ukraine and endless winter the people needed some extra cheering up this year. And so, Christmas decorations stayed up all the way through March, only to be immediately replaced by Easter decorations…

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…

LAND OF THE DEAD

With the snow gone and the sun bright and high up in the sky, the weeding-digging-plowing-fertilizing-and-planting season begins. Working the land over the May Holidays is a venerated Russian tradition. Just try getting out of the city after 6 pm on April 30th – every outbound highway is backed up with nature-starved and duty-bound Muscovites…