Manti, Pozi, Bauzi: More Than Just Another Dumpling

Манты (manti) are steamed dumplings consisting of ground meat and spices in an unleavened pastry shell. Манты are a popular dish across Central Asia, Pakistan, Northern China, Turkey, and Russia. They are considered native to Central Asia, but are also thought to have descended from a still-older Chinese dish. Почему они носят такое название? It […]

Dacha and Banya: Day Trip from Irkutsk

Dacha – a summer house with rich cultural and economic history – is an integral part of Russian life. To help students get familiar with its peculiarities, regular visits are organised by SRAS to dachas outside of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Irkutsk. Here, we asked our students from all of those locations to share their […]

Guide to Religion in Russia

The following resource is meant to quickly but thoroughly overview the subject of religion in Russia. It includes statistics on membership, information on major organizations and institutions, and links to sites offering histories. Mention of religion in other FSU countries is made as well. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome! Contact the Author Table […]

High Holidays in Saint Petersburg

This year was the first year I spent the High Holidays away from my home temple in Seattle, Washington. While I am not the most observant Jewish person, I have always enjoyed the High Holidays, as well as other Jewish celebrations. I started the High Holidays with the Erev Rosh Hashanah (evening services) at The […]

National Unity Day in Russia: Student Observations

National Unity Day is celebrated on November 4th. Russia’s absolute newest holiday, created in 2004, celebrates the liberation of Moscow from Polish troops in 1612 and the subsequent end of the “time of troubles.” This is the first time in nearly 400 years, however, that an official state holiday has marked the occasion, leading many […]

Korean Sparzha: The Soy Dish That Took the USSR by Storm

Спаржа по-корейски (Korean Sparzha; also called соевая спаржа; Soy Sparzha) has a misleading name. First, this unusual and beloved salad has nothing to do with спаржа, which means “asparagus” in Russian. Also perhaps misleading is the fact that, while invented by Koreans, it was not invented in Korea. Like морковь по-корейски (Korean carrot salad), спаржа […]

Korean Carrot Salad: A Simple Salad, Full of Flavor and History

Морковь по-корейски (also called корейская морковь/морковка) was a Soviet-era invention of the Корё-сарам (Koryo-Saram), ethnic Koreans living in the territory of the former Soviet Union. The salad was inspired by traditional Korean cuisine, and was shaped by the shortages and circumstances of life in the Soviet Union. It originated in Central Asia but became immensely […]

Buryats on Buryatia

The Republic of Buryatia is located in South Central Siberia sharing Lake Baikal with Irkutsk Oblast. Roughly 500,000 people identify as Buryat making the Buryats the largest indigenous group in Siberia. The Buryat people are descents of several different ethnic groups including Mongolian and indigenous Siberian. Because of this, Buryat culture is an interesting and […]

Poles on Poland

While on SRAS’ Security and Society study abroad program in Warsaw, Rebekah Switala, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, stayed very active. Here, she sat down with two Polish friends to discuss what it was like to grow up in Poland, their thoughts on Polish culture, and what advice they may […]

Buryat Cooking Lesson at Ulus in Irkutsk

One of my favorite things about living in/traveling to other countries is getting to know the national cuisine. Irkutsk is located right next to the (Russian) Republic of Buryatia, and as such has a large population of ethnic Buryats (they’re closely related to Mongolians). I also love cooking, though with a minimum of skill, so […]

Моя Россия 13: Религия в России – Религия в СССР

The following is lesson 13 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. В предыдущих уроках мы обсудили историю некоторых религиозных конфессий, имеющих большое значение для истории и культуры […]

Моя Россия 12: Религия в России – Иудаизм

Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Words in bold red are examples of grammar explained in the grammar focus section below. История иудаизма в России неразрывно связана с историей российского еврейства, так как евреи – это не только этническая, культурная, но и религиозная группа. Большинство евреев в российской истории были иудеями. Когда же они иудеями не были (а были, к […]

Моя Россия 11: Религия в России – Буддизм

The following is lesson 11 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Мы уже успели поговорить о православии, язычестве и исламе. Настало времени поговорить и о буддизме, который […]

Моя Россия 9: Религия в России – Христианство и язычество

The following is lesson 9 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Россия – многонациональное и многоконфессиональноегосударство. Россия –  светское государство, а конституция РФ гарантирует «свободу совести, свободу вероисповедания». Федеральный закон «О свободе совести и о […]

Jewish Bishkek: A Brief History and Guide

My experience with the Jewish community in Bishkek began on a weekday evening in September. I did not really expect to find a synagogue on Suyumbayev Street. I had been following the gradually narrowing road for blocks, eventually across the wide Jibek-Jolu Avenue. On the other side of this thoroughfare, Suyumbayev was sidewalk-less, and full […]

Tengeri Shaman Center in Irkutsk

Shamanism is the common name for the traditional religions of a number of native Siberian peoples; the word describes a system of beliefs in which a large number of spirits, gods, and ancestors affect daily life on earth and can be called upon and influence by specially gifted individuals called shamans. While groups such as […]

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective

I first became aware of the Evenki reindeer-herding nomads of the Siberian Far East as an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology. Fascinated by the idea of an entire culture based on fur hunting and reindeer husbandry, I began to research the history of the Evenki from the prehistoric domestication of the reindeer […]

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective

I first became aware of the Evenki reindeer-herding nomads of the Siberian Far East as an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology. Fascinated by the idea of an entire culture based on fur hunting and reindeer husbandry, I began to research the history of the Evenki from the prehistoric domestication of the reindeer […]

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