Elena Martilla: Artist of the Blockade

Elena Oskarovna Martilla came of age as an artist during WWII in Leningrad. She created haunting images of the suffering the residents of that blockaded city lived through as well as proud images of their perseverance. Today, she is 98 years old and still producing art. The Russian Museum, one of the St. Petersburg’s largest […]

Russian Protest Art that Isn’t Pussy Riot

When most think of Russian protest art today, they think immediately of Pussy Riot, the long-famous, all-female punk movement. These women have, since their “punk prayer” launched them to international notoriety, been heavily covered in the English-language press and heavily studied in English-language academia. However, Russian protest art is a diverse genre with a long […]

A Musicologist Recommends Three Russian Operas for You to Watch at the Mariinsky

I was so excited about studying abroad in St. Petersburg because I got the chance to see a lot of Russian operas that are not performed in theaters in the West. As a Russian musicologist, it was wonderful to have excess to the musical performances at the Mariinsky Theaters. Opera is one of the most […]

9 Recommended Theaters in Moscow

Russia is known for its theater and ballet. Take advantage and see all that you can while here. You can buy tickets at the theater or concert hall itself or from a reseller such as Parter or Ponominalu, which allow you to reserve tickets pick them up at location near you or even have them […]

Russian Vocabulary about Russian Literature

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. Structure and Classification Whether you’re studying in Russia or the US, if you’re learning Russian language, you’re probably also reading classic Russian literature. Here is some useful […]

Bulgakov’s Moscow: His House Museum and Other Sites to Explore

Many places in The Master and Margarita, Bulgakov’s cult-classic literary masterpiece, are real places (or based off real places) in Moscow. Furthermore, as Bulgakov lived and died in Moscow, there are many places to visit that are otherwise connected to the author’s life and work. For any Bulgakov fan, a visit to Moscow will not […]

The Leningrad Zoo: Under the Tsars, during WWII, and Today

The Leningrad Zoo was first found in August of 1865 as the private collection of Sophia and Julius Gebhardt. Although a small zoo, its history has been incredibly dramatic, surviving wars, revolutions, economic and political collapse and, perhaps most notably, the 872-day siege of Leningrad, when the whole city had to survive bombing and potential […]

The Muzeon and Art Market

Across the street from Gorky Park, on the territory of the New Tretyakov Gallery and the Central House of Artists lies Sculpture Park, which is known as “Muzeon” to locals. It is most famous as a graveyard of Soviet era statues, but also contains much modern art and several themed, sculpted landscapes all in an […]

Moscow’s Seven Sisters – A Short History of Stalin’s Skyscrapers

Moscow’s skyline is largely defined by the seven towering skyscrapers nicknamed “The Seven Sisters.” Also known locally as “Stalinskie Vysotki” (Сталинские высотки – Stalin’s Highrises), they are one of the leading architectural legacies of the Stalinist period. The Soviet Baroque architecture that The Sisters embody is seen by some as unattractive; the buildings themselves are […]

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