Resources for Students of Russian

This extensive list of web resources to assist students learning the Russian language was developed by SRAS and is now hosted on Folkways, part of the SRAS Family of Sites! Table of Contents: 1. Basic Dictionaries 2. Specialty Dictionaries and Resources 3. Online Russian Lessons     A. For Teachers & Adv. Students     B. Especially […]

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Cheburek: The Half-moon Pastry from Crimea

On streets throughout the post-Soviet space, you can generally find the чебурек (cheburek) — a juicy, fried, savory pastry — for sale. This tasty treat likely originated in Turkey or Crimea and its popularity slowly traveled north and eventually spread throughout what is today the former USSR. Почему они носят такое название? Чебурек was likely […]

Tarkhun: An Incredible, Natural Soda from Georgia

Тархун (Tarkhun) is a carbonated soft drink made from tarragon leaves. The drink is known for its typically distinctive green color and is especially popular in Russia and the Caucasus. Тархун was first concocted, like most western sodas, by a pharmacist. Mitrofan Lagidze, a Georgian, first mixed carbonated water with his original tarragon syrup in […]

Okroshka: A Cool Soup for Hot Summers

Окрошка is a cold soup that most often consists of finely-chopped raw vegetables with cooked meats and potatoes in a base of квас (kvass; a beer-like, carbonated, bread-based drink) or кефир (kefir; a buttermilk-like fermented milk drink). Okroshka has considerable versatility in its ingredients and is enjoyed in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet […]

Pelmeni: A Tasty History

Пельмени (Pelmeni) are Russian dumplings: small portions of ground meat and onion wrapped in a thin, unleavened dough and boiled. While Russians prize пельмени as a Siberian dish, рецепт русских пельменей может на самом являться измененной версией китайских пельменей (the recipe may actually be an adaptation of Chinese pot-stickers). Other ancient foods such as manti, […]

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 […]

Enyovden: Midsummer in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has been on my list of places to visit for a while. I had planned to visit it while enroute to somewhere else, as a long layover. I never really thought about it in terms of a multi-day destination. However, in June, 2019, an opportunity to spend a few days there appeared and I […]

New Year’s Eve: Student Observations

The New Year is, without doubt, the most important holiday on the Russian calendar. It equates if not outstrips the importance of Christmas in America, if to compare the two holidays in the two cultures. New Year in Russia is a time to be together with family and friends, for gift giving, major consumer spending, […]

Dacha and Banya: Day Trip from St. Petersburg

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 […]

Dacha: Day Trip from Moscow

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 […]

Russian MiniLessons: Международный женский день – International Women’s Day

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. or is one of Russia’s official holidays, but has a Western . It was originally championed in the US and Europe by those working for women’s suffrage […]

A Midsummer’s Introduction to Russian Mythology

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. To understand a culture’s folklore is to understand its roots. Folklore gives a glimpse into how the early participants of a culture saw the world around them […]

Wianki: Polish Midsummer: Student Observations

Wianki (or, in English, Wreaths) is a Polish holiday event that takes its roots in the pre-Christian tradition of celebrating summer solstice as a day of fire, water, fertility, love and joy. Wianki is celebrated each year in June and is a Midsummer festival marking the summer solstice. While it has analogues throughout Europe, in […]

Russian MiniLessons: День Ивана Купала – Ivan Kupala Day

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 (Ivan Kupala Day) or is a (folk holiday with pagan origins) celebrated in connection with , although not necessarily on the same day. It is today primarily […]

Holidays in Ukraine: A Guide

This resource provides a list of those holidays of cultural importance in Ukraine. Dates, days off, and histories of the holidays are all included. Long Weekends and Extra Days Off by Semester for 2020 Spring Summer Fall Winter March 8 April 19 May 1, 9, 31 June 28 August 24 October 14, 28 December 25 […]

Holidays in Poland: A Guide

This resource provides a list of those holidays of cultural importance in Poland. Dates, days off, and histories of the holidays are all included. Note that in Poland nearly everything closes for public holidays! Be aware and plan your holiday shopping in advance! Long Weekends and Extra Days Off in 2020 Spring Summer Fall Winter […]

Ukrainian for Russian Speakers

The following is a short Russian MiniLesson concentrating on the differences between Russian and Ukrainian. Words and phrases below (but not letters) shown in bold have annotation. Just hover your cursor over the text to see the annotation. Interested in really expanding your knowledge of the Ukrainian language and culture while also practicing your Russian […]

Dacha Wanna Be Russian? A Lesson in Culture and Language

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.   It’s in Russia. Dachas have existed for centuries, surviving revolutions, purges, and economic and political collapses. Dachas remain an integral, if at times hard-to-define part of […]

Quarantine Diaries: Poll on Distance Learning

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Карантин на даче

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Ukraine Constitution Day: Student Observations

Constitution Day in Ukraine is celebrated on June 28th. Celebrated since 1996, this day commemorates the anniversary of the approval by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) of the Constitution of Ukraine. Before 2014 and the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, the holiday’s importance and observance were minimal and around 10% of Ukrainians believed it should […]

Recommended Books for Learning Russian

From Folkways Editor-in-Chief Josh Wilson: With Internet access and apps now saturating even most of the post-Soviet space, books are becoming somewhat archaic in learning Russian, even for those studying abroad. I remember my new pocket dictionary and copy of 501 Russian Verbs becoming softened and gently stained fairly quickly on my first time abroad. […]

Quarantine Diaries: Выход из карантина в разных странах мира

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Как говорить о коронавирусе?

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

The Talking Ukrainian Phrasebook

The Talking Phrasebook Series presents useful phrases and words in side-by-side translation and with audio files specifically geared to help students work on listening skills and pronunciation. Each entry below, divided by category, features an English word or phrase in the left column and its Ukrainian translation in the right. The Ukainian is presented in […]

The Talking Russian Phrasebook

The Talking Phrasebook Series presents useful phrases and words in side-by-side translation and with audio files specifically geared to help students work on listening skills and pronunciation. Each entry below, divided by category, features an English word or phrase in the left column and its Russian translation in the right. The Russian is presented in […]

Quarantine Diaries: Путешествие домой во время карантина

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Victory Celebrations Online

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. The below entry, from Evgenia Obryadina, SRAS’ St. Petersburg Student Coordinator focuses on video content that will be available, live, on May 9th in […]

Самый лучший разговорник – The Best Phrasebook Ever

The following list of phrases are meant as educational humor. Some are just silly, some are useful, some will be understood by all, and some only by those who have spent time in Russia. Some of these have been around online as jokes for some time – others were added based on common experiences that […]

Quarantine Diaries: Добрые дела

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Будь как Петя

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. After the brief introduction, watch the Russian-language public service announcement about coronavirus and the importance of maintaining an effective quarantine. Below this is a transcript with a […]

Quarantine Diaries: Бессмертный полк

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. After the brief introduction, watch the Russian news report below and then read the side-by-side translation of the transcript as provided by First Channel. Then, answer the questions provided. […]

Quarantine Diaries: Учимся дома

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Ситуация в регионах

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Религия онлайн

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. After the brief introduction, watch the Russian news report below and then read the side-by-side translation of the transcript as provided by First Channel. Then, answer the […]

Quarantine Diaries: Настроение и принятые меры

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. The following bilingual text was created from a blog entry by SRAS Assistant Director Josh Wilson on SRAS.org. It has been reformatted here as a Russian MiniLesson. […]

Quarantine Diaries: Русские мемы о коронавирусе

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Чем закупаются москвичи в период коронавируса?

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Как русские проводят время дома

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Quarantine Diaries: Как изменилась жизнь в Москве?

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons from SRAS. Each lesson can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills.  Read the text and familiarize yourself with the new vocabulary (you can hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation). Then, watch […]

Resources for Students of Russian

This extensive list of web resources to assist students learning the Russian language was developed by SRAS and is now hosted on Folkways, part of the SRAS Family of Sites! Table of Contents: 1. Basic Dictionaries 2. Specialty Dictionaries and Resources 3. Online Russian Lessons     A. For Teachers & Adv. Students     B. Especially […]

Quarantine Diaries: Накануне самоизоляции

Quarantine Diaries is a series of free language lessons. Each can take a variety of forms but all focus on building intermediate and advanced vocabulary and listening skills. The following bilingual text was created from a blog entry by SRAS Assistant Director Josh Wilson on SRAS.org. It has been reformatted here as a Russian MiniLesson. […]

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 […]

Christmas Mass Celebrations, Poland

The Christmas holiday is the second largest holiday celebrated nationally in Poland, behind Easter. Lights strung up in the Old Town, carols humming in the stores, and Christmas trees dotting the streets: these were the festive sights I experienced throughout Warsaw while on study abroad during Christmas time. Personally, as a Catholic, going to Christmas […]

Russia Day: Student Observations

Russia Day is celebrated on June 12th. This holiday commemorates the adoption of the 1991 Declaration of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation which declared Russia’s independence from the USSR. However, many Russians are still unaware that this was ever done – and view Russia, instead, as a successor state to the USSR. In accordance with […]

Новый Год по-русски – A Russian New Year: Language Lesson

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 In most of the Western world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is one of the most popular holidays of the year. Families gather to . […]

Borsch: The Slavic Signature Soup

Борщ (borsch) is one of the most popular soups in Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is sweet and sour, healthy and can be eaten at any time of year. It has a complicated and very long history, with the soup changing over time within various geographic regions. Today, the broadly recognized “standard” […]

Solyanka: A Sour, Russian, Meaty Soup

Солянка (Solyanka), made from pickled vegetables, meat, and sour cream. It is considered traditionally Russian but is today enjoyed across the former Soviet space and Eastern Bloc, and particularly in East Germany. Having been served for hundreds of years in several countries, солянка has gone through a lot of modifications and now has many different […]

Okroshka: Refreshing Cold Summer Soup from Russia

Окрошка (okroshka) is a cold soup that probably originated in the Volga region of Russia. Because of its light, refreshing taste, it is popularly served in summer. The soup usually consists of diced vegetables, eggs, and meats in a base of either kvass or kefir and is often garnished with sour cream. Best known in […]

Holidays in Russia: A Guide

This resource provides a list of those holidays of cultural importance in Russia. Dates, days off, and histories of the holidays are all included. Long Weekends and Extra Days Off by Semester for 2020 Spring Summer Fall February 22-24 March 7-9 May 1-5 May 9-12 June 12-14 November 4 New Year / Новый Год December […]

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 […]

Polish Independence Day: Student Observations

Independence Day is celebrated in Poland on November 11th. Polish Independence Day commemorates the re-establishment of the state of Poland at the end of World War I in 1918. The holiday was abolished by the communists, but was instituted in 1989, after the fall of communism. Celebrations across the country include firework displays, concerts, and […]

A History of Russian Holiday Cards (Pre-Revolution)

The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. It is believed that first Christmas card was created by an English artist named “Dobson” in 1794. The […]

Catholicism in Moscow

In coming to Moscow, I understood that I probably wouldn’t be able to attend church every Sunday, but I was looking forward to exploring the Catholic Church in a different country. I figured there would be services available in both English and Russian, and so I planned on attending Mass in English first to get […]

An Armenian Abroad: Adjusting to Life in St. Petersburg

Studying abroad in Russia as an Armenian American was eye-opening. I am a Russian Studies major that has always been interested in Russian culture and history – which are deeply intertwined with Armenian culture and history. After a summer abroad, viewing life in St. Petersburg through an Armenian-American lens, I feel that I have come […]

Стрижка – A Haircut in Russia – Vocabulary Lesson

In Russia, there is no distinction between the words for “barber” and “stylist;” the word “парикмахер” in Russian refers a person who cuts hair for both men and women. A person visits a парикмахерская (barbershop; where the парикмахер works) to подстричься (have his/her hair cut), although some people do стригут себя (cut their own hair). […]

Chak-chak: A Glorious and Celebratory Fried Honey Cake

Чак-чак (chak-chak) is a dessert food made from deep-fried dough drenched in a hot honey syrup and formed into a certain shape, most commonly a mound or pyramid. It is popular all over the former Soviet Union. In Russia, чак-чак is especially associated with the Tatar and Bashkortostan republics, where it is considered a national […]

Victory Day: Student Observations

Victory Day is celebrated every May 9th in many countries across the former Soviet space. This public holiday gives often multiple days off and celebrates the end of The Great Patriotic War (which is WWII as experienced in the USSR). Estimates vary, but about 37 million Soviet people died in the war from causes ranging […]

Labor Day: Student Observations

Labor Day is celebrated in many countries of Eurasia every May 1st. Formerly International Worker’s Solidarity Day under the old Communist system, it seems that everyone calls this one something different now. “Labor Day,” “Worker’s Day,” and “Day of Spring and Labor” all seem to be used, often even in the same counrty, but everyone […]

Russian MiniLesson: День независимости США – America’s Independence Day

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. It is written for those students who may be interested in discussing with Russian friends the meaning and history of one of America’s most important holidays. is […]

Russian MiniLesson: День Победы – Victory Day

is . It is one of the most important holidays in Russia and of . on May 8 or 7th. This date marks the surrender at Reims on May 7 (or its delivery and announcement on May 8th), which ended the war in Western Europe. is celebrated on May 9th. Stalin had a separate in […]

Central Asian Evening in Moscow

During our weekend trip to Moscow organized by SRAS our time was filled with tours and events. These appealed to a wide variety of interests and represented a wide variety of aspects related to modern Russian culture. One of the most interesting excursions took place over the course of an evening—beginning with a visit to […]

Kulich: Mystical Russian Easter Bread

Кулич (Kulich) is a lightly sweet, yeast-risen bread baked with considerable amounts of egg and butter. It may also contain raisins, almonds, candied or dried fruit, lemon zest, and various spices including cardamom and even saffron depending on the recipe and personal preferences. Central to Easter celebrations in Orthodox Christian traditions, кулич is enjoyed in […]

Orthodox Easter – A Lesson in Language and Culture

The following is a dual-language article meant to teach you about history and culture while allowing students of Russian to expand their vocabularies. Orthodox Easter (Пасха) is sometimes referred to in Russian as “Christ’s Resurrection” (Христово Воскресение). According to polls, it is the third most popular holiday among Russians after New Year and birthdays. Easter […]

Russian MiniLesson: The Russian Soul and Related Russian Vocabulary

Many well-known people from various countries have acknowledged that Russia and the Russians have unique features that can be difficult to explain. For example, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said that “Россия – это головоломка, завернутая в тайнувнутри загадки” (Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma). A part of this mystery is […]

A Tour Through St. Petersburg’s Annenkirche: an Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. Petersburg’s Annenkirche is a sight worth seeing. An Evangelical Lutheran church built in the 1770’s, the building has seen many reincarnations throughout its life. During the time of the Soviet Union the building was used to house a cinema, then until the early 2000’s the space was transformed into a nightclub. The nightclub remained […]

Russian MiniLesson: Translation Challenges in Russian

Translating between any two languages can be difficult, and translating between Russian and English is no исключение (exception) to this pattern. Due to certain грамматические различия (grammatical differences), some meanings within the languages can be difficult to translate. While such differences between English and Russian are numerous, below are six of the most interesting in […]

Ukrainian Minilesson: As Different as Russian and Ukrainian…

The following is an article that originally appeared on Russian7.ru (Русская Семерка). The original can be read here. The following translation to English has been provided by SRAS Home and Abroad Scholar Lindsey Greytak.   Sharing common roots, Russian and Ukrainian, at first glance, look very similar. This is not so. In reality they have […]

Russian MiniLesson: Funeral Lunches and Related Russian Vocabulary

The following was written by Caroline Barrow, a former SRAS Home and Abroad Scholar now working in Kazakhstan. Through an acquaintance there, she was invited to a traditional Russian funeral lunch – and shares her experience here. Each culture has its own way of honoring those who have left this world. Russians do this in […]

Russian Idioms: A Lesson in Language and Culture

Very often, commonly used expressions in a language will have been in use for so long that their origins are now unclear. Sometimes there is clear origin. This new project from SRAS will help explain what some popular expressions mean in Russian and, where possible, where they came from. I. From the French The Russian […]

Bird’s Milk Cake: An Airy Russian Cake as Unusual as Its Name

Like the soft, meringue-filled candy on which it was based, торт «Птичье молоко» (Bird’s Milk Cake) consists mostly of filling. Thick but exceptionally airy layers of soufflé are separated by thin, fluffy slabs of cake, and the whole confection is covered in chocolate glaze. The cake’s fantastical name, connoting rare and wonderful luxury, is fitting. […]

Очки и окулисти – Glasses and Eye Doctors

An eye doctor is called an “окулист” or “офтальмолог” in Russian, or, sometimes and informally, a “глазной врач.” While the word оптика (ophthalmologic optics) is a common name for an eyeglass store in Russia, there is no exact Russian equivalent to the English word “optometrist,” which can be loosely translated as специалист по подбору очков. […]

Eurasian MiniLesson: The Hardest Languages in Russia Aren’t Russian

According to the All-Russian 2010 census, Russia is inhabited by speakers of more than 150 different languages. Most of these various languages can be divided into four language families: Altai, Indo-European, North Caucasian, and Uralic. The languages of some native populations of Russia amaze international experts with their complexity. Some dialects have similar features, while […]

The Russian Labor Market: Regulations, Common Practices, Vocabulary, and More

This resource is intended to serve as a map for the Russian labor market both in terms of official and unofficial labor practices and with general commentary on perspectives of these labor practices as taken from both the employee and employer. We have also tried to provide, wherever possible, commentary on Russian terminology and slang […]

Why do Russians Clap on Planes?

The Village is a Russian-language publication in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev that seeks to inform locals about their various cities, their upcoming events, changes, and history. The following are two interesting entries from a series of short articles geared to answer the “strangest questions about city life” in the cities covered by the publication. […]

Russian MiniLesson: A History of Sayings and Expressions about Moscow

Russian has many sayings and expressions that revolve around Moscow and places within or near Moscow. The most famous for foreigners is probably “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” but there are many others such as “to yell to the whole of Ivanovskaya” and examples that might not seem to refer to a specific place […]

Russian MiniLesson: Russian Greetings Through the Ages

The following information originally appeared as part of a larger article on Russkaya Semyorka, a Russian-language history and culture site. The information has been translated and adapted here by SRAS. According to one legend, the name “Slavs” comes from the verb “славить” (slavit’; to praise, to give a blessing). This seems unquestionable, actually, as nearly […]

Why Do Russians Shout «Горько!» (Bitter!) at Weddings?

The following information originally appeared as part of a longer article on The Village, a Russian-language lifestyle publication.  It has been adapted by SRAS and translated here by SRAS intern Mae Liou.   Gerda, a professional Russian wedding emcee: People often ask me about this, so for some time now I’ve been aware of several […]

Russian MiniLesson: 7 Secrets of the Russian Alphabet

The history of the Russian language and its alphabet is long and fascinating. Here are a few anecdotes from that history. The following is taken from a list that has been published in many places on the Russian Internet. One version can be seen on Russian7.ru. It has been translated to English and revised by […]

Kvass! The Other Fermented Russian Drink

Квас (Kvass) is sometimes referred to as “bread drink” or even “bread cider” in English. We recommend just sticking with the word “квас,” though. Brewed from black or rye bread, the drink may come with a range of consistencies similar to those found in beer and a distinctly “bready” taste. The first recorded mention of […]

Olivier Salad: A Russian Holiday Tradition

Салат «Оливье» (Olivier Salad) is a salad for which the recipe can vary widely, but which is typically made from chopped vegetables and meat in a mayonnaise base. Invented in Moscow, the salad is now popular throughout the countries of the former Soviet Union and beyond. In places like Turkey, Iran, and Greece, it is […]

Herring Under A Fur Coat: A Hearty New Year’s Tradition

Potatoes, herring, beets, and mayonnaise come together to create the beloved селёдка под шубой (Herring under a Fur Coat), served at nearly every special occasion in the post-Soviet space. It was first seen in the early days of the Soviet Union. However, what is most unusual about the salad is its bright purple color, which […]

Pryanik: The Spice of Russian Desserts

Пряник (pryanik), commonly described as “Russian gingerbread” or “Russian spice cookies,” is a sweet bread or cookie flavored with spices and sometimes filled with jam, sweetened condensed milk, or caramelized milk. Spices used can include cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cumin, and anise, but recipes can vary fairly widely and many Russian regions have specific пряник […]

Pickling Russian Style

The process of соление (pickling) is well-known in Russia, and any traveler visiting Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus will undoubtedly come across several traditional pickled dishes that seem strange and exotic. With a relatively short growing season, preserving food has always been of special importance in Russia, where you can easily find pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, […]

Vinegret: The Salad is in the Chopping

While most Westerners know vinaigrette as an oily dressing, often of the raspberry or balsamic variety, in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet bloc, the word has a very different meaning. In these countries, винегрет (vinegret) is itself a salad, composed traditionally of boiled, diced beets, potatoes, and carrots mixed with diced pickles, […]

Mors: When Life Gives You Berries…

Морс (Mors) is a traditional Russian drink typically made of fresh berries, sugar, and water. It is drunk and enjoyed across the post-Soviet space. Most often морс is made by boiling berries or similar small, juicy fruits such as cranberry, lingonberry, wild strawberry, or red currant with a sweetener such as honey or sugar. Морс […]

Żurek: The Soup that Makes a Man as Strong as a Wall

(The Soup that Makes a Man as Strong as a Wall: from the Old Silesian saying “Ze żuru, chłop jak z muru” (Literally: from żur, a man is like he’s made from wall) Żurek is a sour soup made from fermented rye flour with sausages, potatoes, eggs, and spices. It is popular across Poland in […]

All About Shashlyk (BBQ from the Caucasus)

Shashlyk is considered to be one of the very first dishes humans invented and most likely hails from the place the first modern human likely appeared – the area covering Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Caucasus. Почему он так называется? The word “шашлык” was adopted into Russian in the 18th century. It may have come […]

The SRAS Guide to Fermented Milk

Russia and Eurasia offer what can seem to be a bewildering selection of dairy products in their transnational food cultures. An area of special note, and often one of the strangest to Westerners, is the seemingly never-ending assortment of fermented milk drinks in the Russian gastronomic repertoire. To cut down on the brow-furrowing and sometimes […]

Maslenitsa, Blin! The Food and Celebration

Они хранили в жизни мирной Привычки милой старины; У них на масленице жирной Водились русские блины. А.С. Пушкин In peaceful life they protected Sweet olden-time traditions; With them on fatty Maslenitsa Was always the Russian blin. A.S. Pushkin Russians revere both блины and Масленица as being “truly Russian” although, ironically, neither is without multiple counterparts […]

Halva: Ancient and Nutritious

Халва, the rich, crumbly dessert well-loved across many cultures, is so densely filling it almost manages to feel like a meal – and not an entirely unhealthy one at that. There are more than one hundred types of халва, which is generally ground and sweetened nuts and/or seeds. Its role as a staple dessert extends […]

Zupa Ogorkowa: Traditional Polish Pickle Soup

Polish pickle soup is similar to pickle-based soups that can be found across the Slavic world. In Russia, for instance, soups like solyanka and rassolnik are popular. Solyanka, however, prides itself on stuffing as much and as many kinds of meat into the soup as possible. Rassolnik is much more similar to Polish pickle soup […]

Adzhika: The Hot Relish of the Caucasus

Adzhika is a spicy sauce. It is sometimes a thick red or green paste and sometimes more of a salsa or ketchup-like substance. Generally, thicker versions will be hotter and often considered more authentic. Аджика (adzhika) is an aromatic and spicy sauce native to the Caucasus that is popular throughout Russia and the former USSR. […]

Kulebyaka: The Refined Pirog

Кулебяка (kulebyaka) is one of Russian cooking’s refined delicacies. It’s also somewhat of a mystery to many, who know of it only from the works of great Russian authors such as Chekhov and Gogol. Chekhov, in “The Siren,” makes the dish sound sensual: «Кулебяка должна быть аппетитная, бесстыдная, во всей своей наготе, чтоб соблазн был.» […]

Pączki domowe: Polish Fat Thursday Donuts

Pączki domowe (pronounced pOHNch-kee, the singular form being pączek) are pastries similar to donuts. They are considered traditionally Polish, although they are enjoyed across Europe, in many places in North America, and beyond. They are deep-fried and filled with confiture or other sweet and/or creamy fillings, and are usually topped with a sweet icing, glaze, […]

Kluski Śląskie: Bouncy Polish Potato Dumplings

Kluski śląskie (KLOO-skee SHLOWN-skee) are soft, circular-shaped, flattened dumplings made from mashed potatoes and potato flour that typically have an indent in the center. This indent is their distinctive physical characteristic, and acts like a sauce-holder. They are traditionally served with goose, pork roast, gravy, or stew, or with caramelized onions and/or bacon cracklings. They […]

Syrniki: Not Your Average Cheese Cake

Сырники (Syrniki) are cottage cheese griddle cakes, sometimes called “cheese fritters” in English. They are generally fried in vegetable oil to create crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside medallions of warm, creamy goodness. Drizzled with sour cream, condensed milk, and/or jam, and served for breakfast or dessert, сырники are particularly beloved in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania. Сырники […]

Kasha (Sochivo, Kutya): Russian Porridge

Early on those cold autumn and winter mornings, there is nothing quite like a steaming bowl of каша (kasha) to prepare for a long day ahead. In Russia, каша is porridge typically made by cooking гречка (buckwheat), овсянка (oatmeal), or рис (rice) with молоко (milk) or вода (water). Porridge is not the first thing that […]

Maslenitsa: Student Observations

Maslenitsa is ancient holiday that still takes many Slavic nations by storm every spring. Celebrations are held to mark the imminent end of winter with mountains of hot, delicious blini and revelry. Originally a pagan holiday celebrated as early as the 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa has been somewhat folded into Orthodox Christian traditions and is […]

Being Catholic in Irkutsk

Staying religious abroad can be hard for many; I know it has been for me, especially in an environment where there is a language barrier and it takes a bit of effort to seek out the resources needed. Luckily, after visiting a few different churches, I found The Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral (Собор Непорочного […]

Going to Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland

Before I ventured over “The Pond” to Europe, I made a promise to my mom that I would go to at least one service in a Catholic Church while I was there. Keeping my promise, I traveled to the Warsaw Old Town where it seemed like my choices of services were plenty on a Sunday […]

Corpus Christi in Poland: Student Observations

Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday celebrating the Blood and Body of Christ. Since Poland is majority Catholic, most stores and eateries in the country are closed for this very popular day. As a participant in SRAS’ study abroad programs in Warsaw, I was given the opportunity to spend the day with my peers to […]

In Memory of the Warsaw Uprising

Walking around Warsaw on a daily basis, I have not become a stranger to witnessing memorials or places where something important in history has occurred. Everywhere in Warsaw it seems to be a reminder of the dark past. The oppression started on September 1st, 1939 when the German Nazis invaded Poland. The population was separated […]

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 […]

International Women’s Day: Student Observations

This holiday was initially instituted to honor women workers in USSR. On March 8, 1917, women marched in St. Petersburg, demanding bread, better working conditions, and an end to WWI. The march became violent, but soldiers refused to shoot at the women. It was one of the moments that eventually precipited the February revolution that […]

Heavenly Hundred Mourners In Kyiv

Hundreds of people came to Kyiv’s Independence Square, or, in Ukrainian, Maidan Nazeleznosti for the third anniversary of the day snipers killed 100 protesters during the EuroMaidan Revolution, on February 18, 2017. The deceased are commonly known as the “Heavenly Hundred.” The date of thier death is now marked every year by mourners returning to […]

Моя Россия 14: История новогодней ёлки в России

The following is lesson 2 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate words that have additional cultural/linguistic commentary below. Во многих странах мира — это традиционный атрибут празднования Рождества. Эта […]

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 10: Религия в России – Ислам

The following is lesson 10 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 прошлый раз мы говорили о Русской православной церкви и о язычестве в России. Сегодня же давайте […]

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 […]

The History of Russian Language Instruction in the US

Russian is recognized as a critical language in the US (web), essential for maintaining US diplomatic priorities. The US government sponsors various programs for learning the Russian language (e.g., Intensive Summer Language Institutes, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants, Teacher Exchange), and there are Russian programs at many US universities. Given the importance of the language, […]

Моя Россия 8: Москва глазами россиян, Россия глазами москвичей

The following is lesson 8 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Note that all bold words and phrases have annotation below. Any red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Москва – столица России, самый большой и густонаселенный город в стране (и в Европе). Москва – это […]

Моя Россия 7: Система здравоохранения в России

The following is lesson 7 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. У всех нас периодически возникает необходимость ходить по врачам. Может быть, вы простыли и хотите получить больничный, может у нас […]

Моя Россия 6: Как стать преподавателем в России

The following is lesson 6 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. Работать в российской школе может любой, кто получил высшее педагогическое образование, а также те, кто учился […]

Organ Concert at the Catholic Church in Vladivostok

On November 15, I had the opportunity to attend a pipe organ concert at the Mary Mother of God Catholic Mission in Vladivostok. I talked about the church itself, where I go on most weekends, in a previous entry. This past Sunday, I attended mass as usual, but I found out that soon after the […]

Exploring Russian Traditions in Vladivostok

The international department at VGUES has, throughout the semester, taken us on various excursions around Vladivostok. This week, we ventured back into time to explore some of the old Russian traditions. At a rather nondescript apartment building near the city center, a kind babushka beckoned for our group to come inside. We were then ushered […]

Моя Россия 5: Русские любят выходные 2 – Активный отдых

The following is lesson 5 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. Россияне, как и все остальные люди на планете, любят расслабляться. Отдыхать любят по-разному: кому-то нравится лежать […]

Моя Россия 4: Бедность в России

The following is lesson 4 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. Каким вы представляете себе лицо бедности? Лично для меня это плачущая у кассы старушка, отдавшая последние деньги за […]

Tiger Day in Vladivostok: Student Observations

The fourth Sunday of every September in Vladivostok is set aside for a local holiday called “День Тигра” (“Tiger Day”). The event celebrates the Amur (also called Siberian) Tigers, whose natural habitat is the Primorsky Krai Region of the Russian Far East. Vladivostok’s coat of arms prominently features the Amur Tiger, and there are quite […]

Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Vladivostok

For the past couple of weeks since I have been in Vladivostok, I have had the opportunity to attend mass at the Mary Mother of God Catholic Mission Church. It is located conveniently close to VSUES. I only have to walk about 15 minutes to get there. I am not actually Catholic, but since I […]

Моя Россия 3: Поехали в Санкт-Петербург, культурную столицу

The following is lesson 3 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. Этим летом я ездила в Санкт-Петербург. Санкт-Петербург – это второй по численности населения и значению город […]

Моя Россия 2: Русские любят выходные

The following is lesson 2 of the Моя Россия advanced Russian lesson series. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate words that have additional cultural/linguistic commentary below. Русские люди очень любят праздники. Наверное, они их любят даже больше, чем […]

Моя Россия 1: Гости и приезжающиe

The following is lesson 1 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. Меня зовут Роксана. Мне 23 года, и уже много лет я живу в Москве. Большую часть […]

Milk Bars: Warsaw’s Proletarian Food Culture

This is a quick introduction to both Warsaw’s milk bars, which are important cultural institutions as well as great places to eat, and to the Polish language needed to order in them. While English-speaking eating establishments can be found, they will typically be more expensive and less of an important local experience than a Milk […]

Old-World Music at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Vladivostok

Some of the more impressive structures that remain standing amongst the constant change brought along by modern man come in the form of churches. Beliefs aside, from a purely architectural standpoint these cultural time capsules, when well maintained, can transport us, if not to a different age, then at least into a different atmosphere. Key […]

Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad

On October 5, after visiting the Abramtsevo Artists’ Museum Reserve (музей-заповедник “Абрамцево”), as the second section of the day-long cultural excursion for its International School on Global Security for Young Specialists, PIR Center, where I intern as part of my program with SRAS, took school students and lecturers to the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius […]

The 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Leningrad

Jan 27, 2014 was the 70th anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII) German forces cut off the Soviet city of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) from the rest of the country with intense bombing raids and tank roadblocks. The siege lasted for 872 days: from September 8 […]

Keeping the Faith (Catholicism) in Kyiv

For some, traveling abroad can be as much a spiritual journey as a physical one, and tourists are often encouraged to visit religious relics and places of worship for their history, culture, and architecture. For me, a practicing Catholic who has now spent a couple of months living in Kyiv, this internship/study abroad experience has […]

St. Panteleimon Cathedral & Feofaniya Park in Kyiv

Tucked away in the outskirts of Kyiv, in the Holiivs’ki district, lies St. Pantelemion’s Cathedral and Feofaniya Park. This place makes for a great day away from the hustle and bustle of the city. First, be sure to step inside and admire the beauty of St. Pantelemion’s Cathedral. When looking at the gorgeous iconography, don’t […]

Dachas in Kyiv: Student Observations

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed in cabins in Indiana or the Great Smoky Mountains, we—like most Americans—were happy to return to our permanent home. Yet […]

Birthday Parties in Vladivostok

Besides the New Year, Victory Day and perhaps the 8th of March, the next biggest holidays on most Russians’ rosters are actually their birthdays! The sheer level of drama that they entail, and the full-scale productions that they become are most certainly worthy of them being labeled cultural events. While I have been a guest […]

Чьи эти прилагательные? Russian Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives form a class of their own in Russian grammar.[1] They can be formed with a variety of suffixes; moreover, with additional suffixes, it is possible to create entirely new possessive-relational adjectives, which cross categorical boundaries. Possessive adjectives replace the use of the genitive case for nouns denoting people, animals and names of professions. […]

Essay: My Assessment of Russian Culture

The following was written as a mid-term essay for an SRAS program in St. Petersburg. Students were encouraged to draw upon not only the program texts, but also on the impressions and experiences gained of Russia and Russians while on-the-ground in St. Petersburg. A select few of these essays have been chosen to be published […]

Essay: My Assessment of Russian Culture

The following was written as a mid-term essay for an SRAS program in St. Petersburg. Students were encouraged to draw upon not only the program texts, but also on the impressions and experiences gained of Russia and Russians while on-the-ground in St. Petersburg. A select few of these essays have been chosen to be published […]

Once Upon a Time in Eastern Europe: Memoirs of a Soviet Child

To the reader: These vignettes are a collection of personal essays of my childhood experiences growing up in the former Soviet Union and my later impressions based on travels to Ukraine and to Russia as a college student. Please be aware that since most of my childhood was spent in the Ukrainian SSR while it […]

How Russian Children Learn Russian

SRAS: You are currently majoring in Russian Studies and Psychology at Stetson University – what got you interested in Russia? Mark Lowry: I served a two year mission for the LDS church in Russia helping out church members there. While there, I became proficient in Russian and when I returned in 2008 I decided to major in […]

Olga’s Blog: Цирк (Circus in Russia)

This is Lesson 10, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons.Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson.  Привет всем! Наступили долгожданные каникулы. Чем […]

Olga’s Blog: Красный деликатес (Caviar in Russia)

This is Lesson 9, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson.  Многие американцы думают, что икра […]

Olga’s Blog: Национальная страсть (Traditional mushroom picking) Part II

This is Lesson 8, Part 2 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the the bold words and phrases to reveal their Russian translation – and note that all of them will have cultural annotations below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Однажды мы с […]

Olga’s Blog: Национальная страсть (Traditional mushroom picking)

This is Lesson 8, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Поздним летом и осенью на […]

Olga’s Blog: Как убить время (Card Games in Russia)

This is Lesson 7, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Describing complex processes and […]

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 […]

Olga’s Blog: Несбывшаяся американская мечта (Study abroad for Russians)

This is Lesson 6, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Дорогие друзья! Учеба в МГУ включает […]

Olga’s Blog: Самый первый день (First Day of School in Russia)

This is Lesson 5, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indiciate slang.  Дорогие друзья! […]

Olga’s Blog: Жаркие экзамены 2 (Exams in Russia)

This is Lesson 4, Part 2 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Привет! В прошлый раз […]

Olga’s Blog: Жаркие экзамены (Exams in Russia)

This is Lesson 4, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation (note that most of the highlighted words will have additional linguistic/cultural commentary below). Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Майская жара накрыла Москву. […]

Olga’s Blog: Сторожевой пес здоровья (Sickness and Health)

This is Lesson 3, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Дорогие друзья, Я долго не писала вам потому, что всю весну болела. Но у меня есть хорошие новости – […]

Olga’s Blog: Очереди, медкомиссия (Medical Examinations in Russia)

This is Lesson 2, Part 2 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Привет всем! В прошлый раз я обещала написать про медкомиссию. Как только закончились летние экзамены, поступившим сказали – “Пусть […]

Olga’s Blog: Предметы обучения (University Majors)

This is Lesson 2, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Привет всем! Сегодня я начну рассказывать вам про свои первые дни в МГУ. Американцам это может показаться необычным, ведь […]

Olga’s Blog: Вступительные экзамены (University Entrance Exams)

This is Lesson 1, Part 5 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Английский язык проходил легче и спокойнее. Нам выдали задание, которое состояло из трех частей: 1. перевести политический текст с […]

A History of Russian Holiday Ornaments

Ghosts of Holidays Past: Interview with Kim Balaschak by Josh Wilson The expat community in Moscow functions much like a smaller town in the US, where the degrees of separation between individuals rarely total more than two. So it was that my email address had crossed Kim Balaschak’s computer (through a mutual Russian acquaintance) and […]

Olga’s Blog: Вступительные экзамены (University Entrance Exams)

This is Lesson 1, Part 4 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Привет! Сегодня вы узнаете все самое интересное про вступительные экзамены в МГУ! Опишу все подробно, поэтому, мой рассказ будет […]

Olga’s Blog: Выпускной (High School Graduation in Russia)

This is Lesson 1, Part 3 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Привет всем! Сегодня я расскажу вам про свой выпускной, один из самых запомнившихся дней моей жизни! Выпускной – очень […]

Olga’s Blog: Экзамены (Exams and Grading in Russia)

This is Lesson 1, Part 2 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Дорогие друзья! Снова привет! Сегодня давайте поговорим про самое страшное и ужасающее –  экзамены. Экстернат дает опыт сдачи экзаменов […]

Olga’s Blog: Экстернат (“Home Schooling” in Russia)

This is Lesson 1, Part 1 of Olga’s Blog, a series of intermediate Russian lessons. All of the bold words and phrases have annotation below. Red words and phrases indicate the subject of this blog entry’s grammar lesson. Asterisks indicate slang. Дорогие друзья! Меня зовут Ольга, мне шестнадцать лет, в этом году я закончила экстернат и поступила в университет. Экстернатная […]

The Question of Genre in Byliny and Beowulf

While stories about Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, and Sadko were being sung in Kievan Rus’ – the Slavic state dominated by the city of Kiev from the ninth until the twelfth centuries – Anglo-Saxon, or Old English poetry had already extended from oral to written production in the form of Beowulf.[1] Beowulf is a Christian reworking of oral […]

Time Spent on the Trans-Siberian Railway

The Tran-Siberian Railway is the ultimate rail journey: the longest in the world – possibly the coldest if you go at the wrong time of year. A journey of almost mythical proportions that spans two continents while staying in a single country; without leaving your seat you clatter your way along almost a third of […]

Preservations: Ukraine in the Summer of 1999

In Kiev store signs and street markings are in Ukrainian, and although I could still read all of them, half the time, I could not understand what they meant. The drive from Borispol airport to T. Clara’s apartment deep inside Kiev was speedy, thanks to our driver who traveled well over the km/hr speed limit. […]

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