Friday, April 30, 2010

Unit 10 - International Women's Day

Since Mother's Day is on May 9th, it seems appropriate to have a blog entry about a Russian holiday in honor of women.

International Women's Day (Международный женский день) is celebrated on March 8th to coincide with two major events in Russian history.

First was March 8th, 1857 when women marched to complain about being left out of a recent legal reform. Men had won the right to 10 hour work days while women were stuck working 16 hour work days. The march gained international press and sparked further debated about women's rights.

Second was March 8th, 1917 when women began campaigning for greater rights from the Provisional Government; part of the argument stemmed from how much of the war effort women were shouldering (working in factories, raising funds, making care packages for soldiers, etc.).

Back in 1913, legislation had been passed to create a day in honor of women, but no official date for the holiday had been selected. Saint Petersburg celebrated the first holiday in 1913, but March 8th did not become the official date for the holiday until 1963.

Now, the day is a day off work where men are expected to have a gift - flowers, candy, a card, or something else - for the important women in their lives. Men usually do tasks that are typically seen as feminine in Russia such as housework or cooking for the day.

Visit for more information.

That little guy on the chalkboard

Here is a little bit on the little doll that we see on the chalkboard every Russian class. It's called a domovoi, at least that's what I think...
Traditionally, every house is said to have its domovoi. It does not do evil unless angered by a family’s poor keep of the household, profane language or neglect. The domovoi is seen as the home's guardian, and he sometimes helps with household chores and field work. Some even treat them as part of the family, albeit an unseen one, and leave them gifts like milk and biscuits in the kitchen overnight. To attract a Domovoi, go outside of your house wearing your best clothing and say aloud "Grandfather Dobrokhot, please come into my house and tend the flocks." To rid yourself of a rival Domovoi, beat your walls with a broom, shouting "Grandfather Domovoi, help me chase away this intruder." When moving, make an offering to the Domovoi and say "Domovoi! Domovoi! Don't stay here but come with our family!"
The favorite place for these spirits to live is either the threshold under the door or under the stove. The center of the house is also their domain. The Domovoi maintains peace and order, and rewards a well-maintained household. Peasants feed him nightly in return for protection of their house. When a new house was built, the Polish homeowner would attract one of the domovoi by placing a piece of bread down before the stove was put in, and the Russian one would coerce the old house's domovoi to move with the family by offering an old boot as a hiding place. People made sure they only kept animals the domovoi liked, as he would torment the ones he did not. Salted bread wrapped in a white cloth would appease this spirit, and putting clean white linen in his room was an invitation to eat a meal with the family. Hanging old boots in the yard was another way to cheer him.
The domovoi was also an oracle, as his behavior could foretell or forewarn about the future. He would pull hair to warn a woman of danger from an abusive man. He would moan and howl to warn of coming trouble. If he showed himself, it forewarned of death, and if he was weeping it was said to be a death in the family. If he was laughing, good times could be expected, and if he strummed a comb there would be a wedding in the future.
The domovoi does have a more malicious side. Although one's own domovoi could be considered an ally, the domovoi from a neighboring household brought no happiness. Russian folklore says that a domovoi could harass horses in the stable overnight, as well as steal the grain of a neighbour to feed his own horses. Still, domovie could befriend one another and were said to gather together for loud winter parties.
If a domovoi becomes unhappy, it plays nasty tricks on the members of the household. Those include moving and rattling small objects, breaking dishes, leaving muddy little footprints, causing the walls of a house to creak, banging on pots and moaning. If the family can determine the cause of their domovoi's discontent, they can rectify the situation and return things to normal. If not, the spirit's tricks may escalate in intensity, coming to more closely resemble those of a ghost, or he may threaten to stifle people in their beds. More often than not, however, families live in harmony with the spirits, and no problems arise.
Ineresting little side note. After the October Revolution the new Soviet government created the "domovoi komitet" or "House Commitee" to put poor people into tennament buildings. It was a standing joke in Russia at this time to imagine that the whole commitee to be made up of little domovoi

10 Things You Should Never Say Or Do In Russia: For Dummies

Etiquette is important. No one wants to make a faux pas, it's embarrassing both for the perpetrator and the people around them. Unfortunately, what constitutes a breach of etiquette varies from country to country so the best way to avoid an awkward mistake is to look up a few social dos and don'ts before you hit the road. For those of you interested in studying or visiting in Russia there are a few important things to keep in mind and according to, the website owned by the company that publishes the For Dummies book series, the are the most important ten.

1. Don't go to visit someone empty-handed. Bring a small gift of some kind.

2. Don't wear your shoes into someone's house. Remove them at the door.

3. Don't make jokes about parents. This is the Russian equivalent of an ethnic joke.

4. Don't toast with "Na Zdorov'ye!"

5. Don't be greedy. If you express an interest in a particular object traditional Russians will often offer it to you. Refuse. They will offer several times but you shouldn't accept.

6. Don't underdress. Russians tend to dress up to go out more than Americans.

7. Guys: don't expect Russian women to go Dutch. Don't even expect them to understand the concept.

8. Guys again: Don't let a woman carry something heavy if you're able to carry it for her.

9. Don't let an elderly person or pregnant woman stand on public transportation. Get up and offer them your seat.

10. Don't burp in public. If you do, don't acknowledge that it happened.

For the explanations behind these rules see the For Dummies website at:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Putin Kisses a Little Boy's Belly

This happened about four years ago, but it is too very bizarre not to share...

On June 28, 2006, Russia's then-president Vladmir Putin kissed the tummy of a 5
year-old boy who was visiting the Kremlin. Putin explained the kiss of the boy, named Nikita: "He seemed very independent and serious... I wanted to cuddle him like a kitten and it came out in this gesture. He seemed so nice."

When interviewed a week after the event, Nikita said he had not watched his stomach since. He really liked Mr. Putin, and explained "
I want to be president myself."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unit 10 post

In his annual report to the Russian Parliament on the Government’s handling of the economy, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared on Tuesday that the recession is over, that healthcare reforms are on the way, promising to restructure the financial management of the financial sector, while stating that optimism is fuelled by the provisional forecasts after Q1 of 2010.

Vladimir Putin stated that his Government avoided an economic collapse (such as the one in 1998). Admitting that some measures were more effective than others, he stated that the forecast for growth is now at 4% and that the results for the first quarter of the year fuel optimism.

While many countries reduced social allowances and froze pensions, he pointed out, Russia did not, while some countries decided to cut expenses arbitrarily, Russia chose a different and more humanitarian path. In fact in 2009, Russian budget expenditure grew by 27.3% over 2008 while accumulated reserves were invested and budget allocations rose by 50% for wages, pensions and social allowances.

Admitting that the more pessimistic forecasts had not proven true, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia had reacted to the currency crisis as a strong power should, “acting resolutely and decidedly”. He added that while the recession is over, “the situation is far from being trouble-free” and demands a continued “conscientious financial policy”.

Indeed, during 2009 real income rose by 2.9% over the previous year while the integration of the national economy, the Russian financial sector and the social sphere were protected and preserved.

Regarding the Government’s social initiatives, Vladimir Putin stated that rather than raise more money through increased taxation, the Government should concentrate on a more efficient distribution of existing revenue. However as from 2011, Social Security contributions for companies will rise from 26 to 34% and this will fund a financing of the health service. Pensions will continue to rise (by 45%) and the Government promises extra financial benefits for mothers and war veterans.

As far as the future is concerned, Vladimir Putin stated that there are tangible signs that the banks have restarted lending schemes and this can only fuel a sustained economic development and growth which will build on the positive indicators visible already today, namely an increase in retail sales, a rise of 7% in real income and a stabilization of the unemployment rate at 8%. With the feelgood factor provided by the economic setting and the increase in buying power, this rate can only continue to decrease, since economic security is translated into spending and investment which in turn generates jobs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Russian Proverbs

I was really interested in finding some typical Russian sayings and on Wikiquote, I found a few that seemed really interesting.

Бе́шеной соба́ке семь вёрст не крюк.
Translation: For a mad dog, seven versts (Russian mile) is not a long detour.
Moral: If you are passionate (or unreasonably driven) about something you will do all the extra work without noticing it.

Близо́к локото́к, да не уку́сишь.
Translation: [Your] elbow is close, yet [you] can't bite it.
Moral: It only seems to be easy.

Болту́н — нахо́дка для шпио́на.
Translation: A chatterbox is a treasure for a spy.
English version: Loose lips sink big ships.

Волк в ове́чьей шку́ре.
Translation: Wolf in sheep's pelt.
English version: Wolf in sheep's clothing.
Compare: В ти́хом о́муте че́рти во́дятся.

Вся́кому о́вощу своё вре́мя.
Translation: Every vegetable has its time.
Moral: Unlike English version, it means: It's ok if it isn't in good shape right now. Things need time to ripen.

And more a lot like this one at:
Enjoy :)
And remember: До́брое сло́во и ко́шке прия́тно.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unit 9 – Folk Health Traditions: Banya!!

Who knew bathing in temperatures exceeding two hundred degrees and beating each other with twigs was good for you?! Apparently, the Russians did over a millennium ago. One of their most beloved institutions is the banya, a steam bath that plays an integral role in many parts of Russian life, has many traditions connected to it, and provides great health benefits.

The banya has been a part of Russian culture for over a millennium. Two different sources created prior to 989 C.E. detail the use of the banya. A visitor to Russia mentioned how the Russians beat themselves to exhaustion with the branches. However, the story of Princess Olga of Kiev is illustrative of the dark side of the banya. The man who killed her husband demanded the Princess’ hand in marriage so the princess demanded he and his men wash in the banya before she saw him. Quickly, she had her subjects lock the murderers’ in the banya and had it set on fire.

Many traditions are linked to the banya. Every major event in a Russians’ life is connected to the banya in some way. The prospective bride and groom are expected to bath separately in a banya a few days before the wedding and go to the banya together immediately after the wedding. A new mother and her child are traditionally escorted to the banya after the birth for the child’s first bath. Banyas are used primarily on days of religious significance such as Clean Thursday, but never on Sunday as this disturbs the spirit who lives in the banya. Further related to this, is the tradition of removing all religious icons/symbols when entering the banya as the banya predates Russia becoming Orthodox Christian.

Now the health benefits are awesome – the heat opens up your pores to make you sweat thereby releasing toxins from the body. The heat also creates an artificial fever which kills viruses. The branches used for beating each other are meant to create healthier skin – plus it sounds like a great way to work off pent up frustration!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vladivostok road repair flashmob

I've seen Michael Jackson memorial flashmobs. I've seen MC Hammer Pants-clad flashmobs. Improv Everywhere has nearly perfected the art of getting large groups of people to suddenly show up in one place for all kinds of hijinks. But never have I seen a flashmob do something objectively useful. Not until now, anyway.

According to EnglishRussia, which is my new best friend, earlier this month a group of Vladivostok drivers upset with municipal authorities' neglect of the city roads came together to repair a single pothole and raise money for further efforts. EЯ has pictures of the process, with about 15-20 people--men and women alike--wearing bright orange vests. Some of them are working on the asphalt and a few of them are holding cardboard boxes marked "НА ДОРОГИ ГОРОДА" and "НА ДОРОГИ ВЕЗ ЯМ," meaning "For the city roads" and "for roads without holes." Based on the sheer number of pictures of people putting money in the boxes, I'd say they were at least mildly successful. They did a pretty good job of repairing the one pothole, and hopefully the stunt will call the municipal authorities' attention to the problem and force them to look into it.

Click here to see pictures.

Unit 9 1812 Overture

It is said that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture was the composers least favorite work. Yet, it has become one of his most enduring, and popular pieces. Though to many Americans it is just a song played on the 4th of July for a war and invasion that happened in the same year, the piece itself is a symphonic poem showcasing the hopes and dreams of Russia at the time of the invasion of the French. Tchaikovsky paints a background of a brave Russia who is confident in its look on the future. As I learned recently in 1960 an American Composer of Russian background Igor Buketoff at the behest of Eugene Ormandy reconstructed portions of 1812. Such as adding an a cappela choir in the fashion of the Russian Orthodox church. To me I especially like this version because the hymn sung in the beginning is "God Perserve Thy People." The most poignant and emotional driven part of this symphonic poem is when the French retreat is symbolized by a downward spiraling scale form the entire orchestra, that eventually leds in to a fortissimo re entry of the Hymn which then segues into the ever popular ending.

The Hymn is as follows:

Mighty Lord,
Preserve us from jeopardy.
Take thee now our fate
and glow bright in penitence,
And be with me
O'er trecherous and cruel and grand unease and to our land bring peace.
O mighty Lord hear our lowly prayer,
and by light, shinning Holy light,
Grant us, O Lord, Peace again.
O mighty Lord hear our prayer.

I should also note that because Tchaikovsky had not originally intended for a choir most recordings feature no choir at all. I however implore one should listen to recordings both with a choir and without. I feel that adding the choir does the piece more justice.

Monday, April 12, 2010

UNIT 9-- New Nuke Treaty

On March 26, Obama announced a new nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. He stated that it is "the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades" and will cut nuclear weapon production in Russia and the USA by "about a third." The treaty was signed by Obama and Medvedev on April 8 in Prague.

Here's an article and video:
Obama, Medvedev Sign Arms Reduction Treaty: 'An Important Milestone for Nuclear Security'


Unit 9: Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation

I found this a while back by accident. This lady's is amazing. The speed and precision with which she can manipulate the sand to create a story right in front of you is astounding. Kseniya Simonova won 2009's Ukraine's Got Talent with her sand painting act depicting occupied Ukraine during World War II. She had people in the audience in tears, but I'll let her art speak for itself.

Russian people are so cool!

Great Russian Military Heros Part 3

This is the final post on the three part series on great Russian military leaders
Georgy Konstaninovich Zhukov is one of the former Soviet Union's greatest military heroes, responsible for almost single handily saving the Soviet Union and the Allies from defeat at the hands of the German military.
Early life: Zhukov was born on December 1st 1896 in the Kaluga Oblast region of Russia. Not much is known about his early life except he was born into a poor family. He was apprenticed to work as a furrier in Moscow and was drafted into the Tsar's army when Russia entered the First World War.
Military career: During the First World War Zhukov served with the cavalry where he was awarded the Cross of St. George, Russia's highest military honor, twice. He was promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer for bravery. After the War he joined the Bolshevik Party where his poverty stricken background helped him immensely. He fought in the Russian Civil War where he recieved the Order of the Red Banner.
By 1930 he was in command of a full brigade. He began to write down theories on a new style of armored warfare, close to the same time the Nazi military leaders were developing ideas for the famed "Blitzkrieg". In 1938 he was placed in charge of the First Russian Mongolian Army in Siberia. Here he was able to conduct a swift and brutal campaign against the advancing Japanese Army in an undeclared Soveit Japanese war that lasted from 1938 to 1939. This culminated in a victory for Zhukov at the battle of Kalikan Gol and is one of the reasons why the Japanese never invaded the Soviet Union. It also helped him to survive Stalin's purges
At the start of the Second World War, known to the Russians as "The Great Patriotic War", he was promoted to a full general but lost his place on the General Staff after falling out with Stalin. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union Zhukov was an outspoken critic of Stalin's stubborn refusal to give ground resulting in massive losses thanks to German encirclements. He was responsible for stopping the German advance on Moscow in 1941 and a year later was assigned to command the entire southern front. His main task was to defend Stalingrad on the Volga River. He succeded in playing the same game the German Army had done and succeded in encircling the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. This was the first Soviet victory of the entire war and afterwards he was appointed command over all Soviet forces. He succeded in lifting the siege of Leninngrad in 1944 and eventually taking Berlin and ending the War.
After the War Zhukov was appointed as commander and military governor of the Soviet Occupation zone in Germany. However, it was thought that he could grow to challenge Stalin's power and he was replaced. Although he did direct the invasion of Hungary in 1956 his reputation made him a serious threat to retain any serious military command. Under Kruschev he was appointed Minister of Defence and Commander in Chief of all ground troops but he was too much of a critic of Krushev's policy and Krushev was paranoid that he was planning a coup. He was stripped of his Party rank and relieved him of his post. Although he was restored to Party favour by Brenshev in 1964 his days as a military officer were over. He died in 1974 and was buried with full military honors.
Legacy: Zhukov was one of the most recognizable leaders of the Second World War and is alomst single handedly responsible for defeating the German invasion of the Soviet Union. He was and still is a hero to the Russian people and even Dwight D. Eisenhower had an immense respect for him. He believed in an aggressive mobile form of warfare similar to the German Blitz and was never afraid to press the attack. The number of medals he obtained during his service is far to long to mention but some of them include the Cross of St. George, the Order of the Red Banner, and the Order of Suvorov (remember him?). In fact he is the only Soviet hero to rightfully earn the Order of the Red Banner four times. A monument stands in his honor in the capital city of Mongolia for his leadership at the Battle of Kalikan Gol. He had a medal named in his honor in 1995 during his 100th birthday. He is also one of the few military leaders who has a planet named after him, discovered by a Soviet astronomer in 1975.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Polish President and staff die in fatal plane crash in Western Russia

Yesterday, Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and nearly one hundred high ranking politicians and staff were killed as their plane crashed while attempting to land in heavy fog.
In a twist of bitter irony, the plane was en route to attend a memorial for the Katyn massacre, the first one openly supported by the Russian government. Medvedev and Putin offered their condolences to the families of the victims and the Polish people.
The accident is still being investigated, but is believed to be a pilot error due to heavy fog. The pilot was warned that the fog at the airport was too thick, and that he should divert to another airport. The pilot decided to attempt a landing anyways, resulting in everyone on board dying.

1948: The Great Tradgedy of the Russian Musician

For years prior, world renowned composers such as the great Dimitry Shostakovitch, had suffered career and life threatening destruction at the hands of the oppressive Communist Russia. During these darkest years of Russian Music History, the threat was so dangerously present that should any work dare to resemble those of their most hated western counterparts, the composer could very well be shot before Stalin himself. It was not, however, until the Resolution of the Central Committee in February of 1948 that the greatest atrocity of culture would be committed against Russia's own people.
On the surface the Resolution composed was a reaction to an Opera by second rate composer Vano Muradeli titled "The Great Friendship" that had three months earlier been blacklisted with criticisms such as "historically and ideologically incorrect" and "a confused muddle of sounds". This was not, though, the primary focus of the pages and pages of slander that followed. Virtually all soviet composers including those who had gained international acclaim including Shostakovitch (specifically for his 8th and 9th Symphonies), Prokofiev (specifically for his opera War and Peace), Khachaturin, and Miaskovsky were accused of the heinous crime of music "formalism" and pressured to denounce themselves wrong dooers of the state. Even critics of these composers were not spared from the vicious attacks, had they per chance given favorable reviews for blatantly anti-communist music.
Led by Andrei Zhdanov, spokesperson for cultural ideology and Khrennikov, who later became an all powerful figure in the Russian Music Bureaucracy, the draft of their Resolution had four cited goals:

1.To condemn the formalist trend in Soviet music as anti-social, and leading to the liquidation of music.
2.To propose to the Propaganda and Agitation Board of the Central Committee and to the Committee for Artistic Affairs: that they rectify the situation in Soviet music; that they liquidate the failures indicated in the present Resolution; and that they take steps to ensure that Soviet music develops in a realist direction.
3.To call upon Soviet composers to carry out the high demands made by the Soviet people regarding musical creation; everything that weakens our music and hinders its development should be swept away by composers, thereby ensuring an upsurge of creative work that would move Soviet music forward and lead, in all areas of composition, to the kind of valuable, high-quality works that the Soviet people deserve.
4.To approve all administrative measures of the responsible Party and Soviet organs directed towards the improvement of musical affairs.

In response to the reading the the entire Essay the composers were each asked to stand a apologize to their comrades for their deeds.

For example:
Muradeli spoke "How could it be that I failed to introduce a single folk song into the score of my opera?... I have before me a serious task, to realize fully and unequivocally the seriousness of my creative errors, and to correct these errors with ideological honesty in the future."
Shostakovitch spoke "I am deeply grateful for all the criticism contained in the Resolution and I shall still with more determination will work on the musical depiction of the images of the heroic Soviet people.

In a joint letter to Stalin for the public humiliation all the composers together wrote such degrading remarks as "We are tremendously grateful the the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party and personally to you, Comrade Stalin, for the severe and yet profoundly just criticism of the present state of Soviet music".

Obviously any sense of idealism in Russian art came to an abrupt halt for the decade following this event. Most unfortunately this obscene oppression lingered until after the death of Stalin when in 1957 the All-Union Congress of Music allowed for more artistic freedom. Thankfully a 1958 decree exonerated those Musicians attacked in 1948, restoring the honor they had been most unjustly stripped of.

Below I have included a link to access the entirety of "The Resolution" in case you are curious as to the extent of the public spanking. It's a long and insufferable document but can be insightful even if skimmed...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Russian Baby names

I am so used to hearing only a select handful of Russian names so I decided to research the top 10 Russian boy and girl names. I found a list!
Boy names:
1. Lev (which means Lion)
2. Aleksandr (defender of mankind)
3. Mikhail (who is like God)
4. Sacha (shorter version of Alex)
5. Nikolai (victory of the people)
6. Gavriil (God is my strength)
7. Konstantin (steadfast, everlasting)
8. Vasili (king)
9. Maksim (the greatest)
10. Luka (Lucania)

Girl Names:
1. Galina (Light)
2. Nikita (unconquered)
3. Raisa (rose)
4. Natasha (born at Christmas)
5. Kalista (most beautiful)
6. Nadiya (hope)
7. Tatiana (fairy princess)
8. Valentina (healthy or strong)
9. Veronika (victory bringer)
10. Zenya (well-born or noble)

New ideas for Russian novels! My favorite name is not listed on this though, Arkady.

Punk'd: Lenin

A series of pranks has been occurring all over Russia for the past few months. The Victim? Vladimir Lenin. Several statues have been defaced, disrespected, and downright abused. While most people have found it amusing if a bit immature there are a few older citizens and a few local communist groups who are up in arms.

The pranks have ranged from costumes to paint to explosives and the culprits have managed to get away with it all. I only have one question.

If we blame this on the Jackass guys do you think they'd be kidnapped by Putin's secret police before they can finish filming their third movie? Because that would work for me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Graffiti of Pripyat

All of the images shown above can be found scattered around the city of Priypyat. Most Russian graffiti is characterized by bright colors and cheerful, if often lewd, images. The graffiti of Pripyat on the other hand, is haunted by ghostly black and white figures, many of whom are in obvious pain.

The artists say their pictures symbolize the loss of innocence.

Most feature children, or at least the shadows they left behind, doing things like crying or playing or screaming. Others show the shadows of looters that ransacked the city after it was abandoned. Why was Pripyat abandoned?

Prior to April 26, 1986 it was a healthy, if not thriving, industrial city. It was home to the families who got their livelihood from the Chernobyl power plant, mothers and fathers and children. Lots of children.

There are no children in Pripyat anymore. Most left after the reactors malfunctioned. Some died.

It's their ghosts that haunt the walls of the city.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Unit 9 Blog

The World Will Never Surrender to Terrorism
The explosions that ripped through the Moscow metro on March 29 made us realize that the terrorist threat is not a matter of the past.
Terrorist acts do not have physical damage as their only goal. Terrorists follow their insane and perverted ideas to kill everyone who disagrees with them. They do not distinguish between old or young, military or civil, Orthodox, Christian or Muslim. Those, who send suicide bombers to explode their bombs and kill innocent people, pursue other goals.
A terrorist act is a method, which terrorists use to send their terrible messages to the world. It is a way to humiliate an enemy and demonstrate power. Even if special services have information about a terrorist act, it is very difficult to prevent an extremist attack. Every terrorist act strikes a serious blow on the state.
Any terrorist act is performed to entail a reaction from the general public, from the state and from those, who sympathize with terrorists. The state can make concessions to terrorists as a result of an attack. For example, it happened in Spain, when terrorists exploded a dozen of bombs in commuter trains in Madrid in March 2004. Over 190 people were killed in the attacks. A new government came to power in the country after the attacks and ordered to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. Many perceived it as a demonstration of weakness in front of terrorists.
State can show a different reaction and restrict democratic liberties within the scope of struggle against terrorism. If it happens, one can assume that terrorists have reached their goals and transformed the society which they chose to manipulate.
A terrorist threat does not limit itself to human losses only. It triggers xenophobia, suspicion and fear among people of different nationalities and confessions. People must unite in front of a terrorist threat and conduct a dialogue to decrease the efficiency of extremist activities. A dialogue between civilizations is supposed to touch upon the general public, young people, first and foremost, rather than political elites.
There is no universal recipe for the anti-terrorist struggle and there will not be. Terrorism changes all the time and meets the reality of today, not of the past. Blocking financial channels, destroying organized structures and terrorist communication networks is essential. However, a victory in the struggle against terrorist requires a lot more: it should be a victory for people’s minds. Terrorists must not see any conditions which they could use to find their followers.

Russian river Cruises UNIT 9!!!

These cruises typically last 12-16 days and port in cities for passengers to get off and explore. There are plenty of activities to do on board as well. This website gives you all the details, you can customize the trip you want as well.

Russia's two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, are featured on sailings that combine the Volga River, Moscow Canal and other waterways. In Moscow, visit the immense Red Square, which is bordered by colorful onion domes of St. Basil's Cathedral and the stylish 19th-century facade of the GUM department store. Highlights of St. Petersburg, Russia's cultural capital, include the world-famous Hermitage museum and the Peter and Paul Fortress.

Many Volga cruises visit Uglich, one of Russia's oldest towns, and Volgograd, formerly called Stalingrad and the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. See the unique wooden architecture of Kizhi Island, including a cathedral of 22 domes constructed without the use of a single nail.

Volga River cruises typically are part of longer itineraries that include hotel stays. They offer considerable savings over traveling the same itinerary on your own, because river cruise operators are able to negotiate low group rates on hotels, transportation and sightseeing excursions, passing the savings on to you. With so much included in one price, Volga cruises are easy to budget.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Russian Cakes

Ok, so since Unit 9 is on everyone's favorite subject, the Instrumental Case... I mean, food, here are some delicious-looking Russian pastries.

Корзина, or "baskets" are little meringue flowers in pastry baskets.... Clever, huh?

Картошка, or potato cakes, are named after the root veggie they resemble. But they aren't made with potatoes, unfortunately. Rather, they are a yummy mixture of walnuts, cocoa, breadcrumbs, and other cake-like ingredients.
Сметанник is a sour-cream cake. While sour cream in a dessert might sound a little weird to most Americans, my grandmother makes sour-cream cookies, and the sour cream makes them so very moist!

Should anyone choose to make any of these yummy things and bring them into class, I will be eternally grateful.

Random misspellings have been included for your viewing pleasure!

Bomber in Russian attacks is 17-year old Chechen widow

One of the suspects in last week's Moscow bombings is a 17-year-old widow of an Islamist militant from the North Caucasus. She is suspected of blowing herself up in suicide attacks that killed 40 people in Moscow.

More than 50 people were killed and another 100 injured in suicide bombings this week in the Moscow metro and in a town in the turbulent North Caucasus region of Dagestan, raising fears of a new bombing campaign against the Russian heartland.

She has been named as Dagestani-born Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, the widow of 30-year-old Umalat Magomedov, a prominent insurgent killed by Russian forces on December 31.

Abdurakhmanova also used the name of Dzhanet Abdullayeva, the source said.

Magomedov, who was shown in the photographs holding a pistol, styled himself as the "Emir of the mujahideen of the Vilayat Dagestan," a local Islamist group, the source said.

Officials said two female suicide bombers -- known in the Russian media as "Black Widows" -- killed at least 40 people on packed Moscow metro trains during the rush hour on Monday.

"Black Widows" is a term for the widows of Islamic militants killed by Russian forces.

The first bomb tore through a metro train just before 8 a.m. as it stood at the Lubyanka station, close to the headquarters of the FSB. A second bomb was detonated less than 40 minutes later in a train waiting at the Park Kultury metro station.

The suicide bombings in Moscow and Dagestan follow a surge of violence over the past year in the patchwork of North Caucasus republics, where Russia has fought two wars against Chechen separatists since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Islamist Chechen rebels claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the Moscow metro bombings and threatened further attacks against Russian cities.

Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, who calls himself the "Emir of the Caucasus Emirate," said he had ordered the twin suicide bombings in Moscow to "destroy infidels" and in revenge for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's policies in the North Caucasus.