Borsch: The Slavic Signature Soup

Borsch (Борщ) 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” borsch […]

Solyanka: A Sour, Russian, Meaty Soup

Solyanka (Солянка), is 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, solyanka has gone through a lot of modifications and now has many different […]

Okroshka: A Refreshing Summer Soup

Okroshka (Окрошка) 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Russian MiniLessons: Love and Relationships

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. If a man likes a woman, he can ask of her or, if he is more bashful, and she will understand that he is asking her on […]

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). […]

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 […]

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