Old looking new, new looking new

In many cities with hundred or sometimes thousand years of history, modern skyscrapers have started mushrooming around historical buildings and monuments, often creating interesting and unexpected contrasts. In this case, though, Russia is once again a little "different" as looks can be very deceiving when trying to guess the age of what you are seeing.... Continue Reading →

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How vodka helps achieve a great erection

I don't want to know what you were thinking about, but I am obviously referring to the erection (the action of erecting) of a monument, more specifically the The Alexander Column (Russian: Алекса́ндровская коло́нна) in Saint Petersburg, to erect which vodka played an indispensable role! The Alexsandrovskaya Kolonna (also the "Pillar of Alexandria" , according to Alexander Pushkin’s... Continue Reading →

Live not by lies!

Ah, the irony! I stumbled by chance in this (at least to my eyes) very typical Russian scene. On the background you can see a large mural on the side of a house depicting the writer and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn with one of his famous quotes: “Live not by lies!” This is actually the... Continue Reading →

The unsung heroes of Chernobyl

In the last few weeks the world watched in amazement (with a potent mix of fascination and horror) HBO's new series Chernobyl, which tells the story of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in Pripyat, Ukraine, at the time part of the Soviet Union. The series received almost universal acclaim, both because of the... Continue Reading →

The Russian Economic miracle

Today, June 12, is Russia Day. The day when the nation celebrates its independence, the beginning of a new era after the dissolution of the USSR in 1990. An independence gained without firing a single shot, quite a remarkable achievement. Some shots were fired, but that actually happened a little over a year afterwards, in... Continue Reading →

Russian schools, education and values

The other day I was walking by a recently constructed apartment building. Like most new residential construction, it has a playground for the children who are going to be living in those apartments. What caught my eye is the "decoration" that was chosen for the playground. As you can see in the picture above, there... Continue Reading →

Victory Day and the Immortal Regiment

The 9th of May is a very important and heartfelt day in Russia. It's called Victory day and it's the day when the country commemorates the surrender of Nazis in 1945. The signing of the German Instrument of Surrender actually happened in Berlin, late in the evening on 8 May 1945 (thus after midnight, already on 9 May Moscow Time).... Continue Reading →

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