Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Russian Nesting Dolls

Everyone knows about Russian Nesting dolls, or otherwise called Matryoshka dolls. These dolls were first made in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin, who's wife then presented these dolls at the Expositiong Universelle. They were inspired by a doll from Honshu who portrayed a portly bald monk. Matryoshka dolls are often themed, such as peasant girls in traditional dress.Traditionally they were themed from fairy tale characters and tradition to hold with the traditional craft. But since the 20th century they have incorporated a wider range such as soviet leaders. Other themes can include holidays, religions, portraits of politicians, etc... 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Andrew Gansler makes dumplings!

On Saturday my grandmother and I made what my family calls puhdahu.  These are Ukrainian potato dumplings. These are similar to Russian pelmini. Most people in the United States call them pierogi, their Polish alias. My grandmother, who is 90 years old, was born in America but her parents were Ukrainian-born. Her parents only spoke Ukrainian at home. The neighborhood was made up of mainly Ukrainian and Polish immigrants, so she had a very Ukrainian upbringing.
My great-grandmother would make these dumplings regularly, and taught my grandmother how to make them as well. My mother recalls how these dumplings were the highlight of her visit to her grandmother’s house. My mother almost never got them at home, because they took a great deal of time to make.
To make these dumplings, we boiled and mashed potatoes. Then we mixed in a can of rinsed and drained sauerkraut. This created the filling of the dumpling. To make the skin, we made a simple dough consisting of flour, egg, water, and a dollop of sour cream. Then we let the dough rest until it was ready to roll out. Once it was rolled thin, we cut it in circles and put a large spoonful of the potato mixture in the middle. After crimping the sides, we boiled them until they floated to the top of the pan. After they were done boiling, we sautéed them in butter and onions. They were magnificent!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Rosselhoznador transit through Russia has banned poultry shipments from Germany and USA.  The employees of Rosselkhoznadzor banned transit through the territory of Russia with 375 tons of poultry meat from the United States.  Also, shipments have stopped of 420 tons of poultry from Germany into Uzbekistan.  According to the agency, in the veterinary certificates, Unites States lacked information on epizootic welfare exit-site production, as well as its safety and suitability of food.  Furthermore, production date does not match the information found in certificates.  As for the German meat, the physical inspection revealed that part of the boxes have the labels missing.  On the other part of boxes, it was applied in such a way that opening the packages will be impossible without compromising its ingtegrity.  In August, Russia decided on an embargo on the supply of food products from the United States, Canada, Australia, EU Member States and some other countries.  This decision was taken in response to the tightening of EU sanctions related to the Ukranian conflict.

The Rosselhoznador transit through Russia has banned poultry shipments from Germany and USA.  The employees of Rosselkhoznadzor banned transit through the territory of Russia with 375 tons of poultry meat from the United States.  Also, shipments have stopped of 420 tons of poultry from Germany into Uzbekistan.  According to the agency, in the veterinary certificates, Unites States lacked information on epizootic welfare exit-site production, as well as its safety and suitability of food.  Furthermore, production date does not match the information found in certificates.  As for the German meat, the physical inspection revealed that part of the boxes have the labels missing.  On the other part of boxes, it was applied in such a way that opening the packages will be impossible without compromising its ingtegrity.  In August, Russia decided on an embargo on the supply of food products from the United States, Canada, Australia, EU Member States and some other countries.  This decision was taken in response to the tightening of EU sanctions related to the Ukranian conflict.

The Kremlin Armory Museum in Moscow

The Moscow Kremlin Armory Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world. It holds a vast collection of Tsarist artifacts as well as other pieces of Russian history. The museum is located in the Armory of the Kremlin in Moscow. It is composed of two floors. The first floor holds artifacts belonging to Russian rulers, including Catherine the Great’s coronation gown and a beautiful collection of thrones and carriages. The second floor holds a collection of jewelry and other pieces of artwork, including the collection of Faberge eggs, magnificent bejeweled eggs that were given as gifts on Easter by Tsars between 1885 and 1916. There is also a large collection of weaponry, divided between Russian weapons, and foreign weapons within the museum.

Russians New New Year and Old New Year

For the Russians there are two holidays known as "New Years" there is the Old New Years or preferably called the Orthodox New Year and the modern day New Year's that is celebrated in the United States. The New Year is an informal traditional holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar. The Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendarAlthough the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. The New Year from then on became a holiday which is celebrated by both calendars. As in most countries which today choose to use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day in Russia is a public holiday celebrated on January 1st. It is on that day that, joyous entertainment, fireworks, large meals and other festivities are common to see celebrated in public and in family homes. The tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year twice in Russia is widely enjoyed: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year) have both become days of celebration for the people. Although, the Old New Year is usually not as festive as the New New Year, because for many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the New Year holiday cycle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

*In a Southern Accent* 15 Things Russians Do That Us Americans Might Find Weird

     Americans do things that many cultures would find odd; we eat too much junk food, our women are too skinny, the majority of us are unhealthy, we wear inappropriate clothes, etc. However, that is just how life is. Everyone from every cultural background will find somebody or something abnormal if they are not used to it. For instance here I have found 15 things that Russians do that Americans might find weird:
1) They dress up to go to the store - the perfect attire for a casual walk for a woman in Russia, no matter the weather, would be a nice dress and a pair of high heels
2) They sit down for a minute before heading on a trip - once everything is packed and ready to go a Russian will typically pause to sit quietly for a minute before getting back up to go. It is said the reason they do this is to trick the Devil; the Devil sees they are getting ready to go on a trip and so they sit down to trick him into believing they are not going anywhere.
3) They make really long toasts - If you sit down at a celebration with food and drinks expect to be there for a long time once someone lifts their glass in a toast
4) They tell anecdotes as often as possible - A Russian may be in the middle of telling you a story when all of sudden they mention how what they are speaking of reminds them of something that may or may not be completely irrelevant 
5) They congratulate each other on getting out of the shower or a sauna - When a Russian gets out of the shower or sauna they are highly likely to hear another say "С лёгким паром!" which basically means, "Congratulations on a light steam!"
6) They answer the question, "how are you?" honestly, and fully - In America, we tend to blow this simple question off and just say "good, thanks" but in Russia if you did that it would be a complete shock if you just kept walking after being asked that. In Russia this question demands an actual answer with all your feelings and activities whether they be bad good.
7) They do not smile at strangers - Even though we do not stop to talk to people when they ask us how we are doing, we do smile and people even when we do not know them. However, in Russia smiling at strangers you cross paths with on the street is abnormal because a smile is supposed to be genuine and to only be shared with friends and family.
8) They celebrate New Year's more enthusiastically than Christmas - New Year's is way bigger than Christmas in Russia, the New Year is for giving presents and the tree is even for New Year's too!  
9) They constantly re-watch old Soviet cartoons -Ну Погоди (The Russian version of Tom and Jerry), Временски Музыканту (The Musicians from Bremen), and Шнежная Королева (The Snow Queen) are just few popular ones.
10) They call all females "girl" -Every single girl or woman is called by "Girl" or in Russian, "Девушка". In order to get a female's attention you call out "Girl!" but there is a sad moment in a woman's life when she becomes so old that the general populace begins to call her "Бабушка" or in English, "Grandma."
11) They sit down at the table for a meal and stay there for hours - When groups of Russians get together for dinner, they will sit down, have dinner, and talk, and some more, and more, and more until it is about midnight... Unlike Americans, Russians like to sit and have long conversations with their family and friends much more often.
12) They always keep their bags - You never know when you might need a bag for a gift, trash, to cover something up, etc. So Russians keep all the bags they ever acquire for the most part.
13) They prepare more food than is necessary for when friends come over - They prepare so much food that there are always leftovers to have for the next day!
14) They live with their parents -It is often the case that entire Russian families (including Девушка, Бабушка, Дейти, мама, и папа) live all together under one roof.
15) They never show up to someone's house without a gift in their hand - It can be a dessert or a wine if it’s dinner, or it can be chocolates or flowers. It’s not really that important what it is, as long as you bring something to your hosts home.

Russian Youtuber

When I learn a language, I like to watch YouTube videos of people who speak that language. This is Sonya Esman, she does fashion videos in Russian. This video is of a "typical" girl on instagram.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWfipGsTMXw

Russian Figure Skating

Currently many of the best figure skaters are Russian. 
In the 2014 Olympics held in Sochi, the Russian team won the gold. For the ladies singles, Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal. For the pair skating, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov placed first, and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov placed second. Some other Russian figure skaters include Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev.
This is a video of Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev. 

All bark and no bite?

The US is stepping in it again, or at least putting up a very good front about doing so. Ukrainians and Russians alike are both unimpressed with the aid and response from NATO, and I don't blame them. While the Baltic states and Poland have been working hard to keep the issue in the news and in the forefront of what's going on today, they seem to be brushed off with a light answer and a bit of cash for their problems.
Opinion piece titled: For all NATO's words, Ukraine still faces Russia alone
by Marcin Zaborowski

link attached below

A snapshot of late 1940s US-Soviet Relations: Adding Complexity to the popular historical depiction of dire Cold War geopolitics

While doing research for my senior research late last night, I came across an interesting snapshot that suggests the usually historically depicted early Cold War mutual hatred between the Soviet Union and the United States was not prevalent as is usually understood. In my Senior Research I'm exploring the extent of Eleanor Roosevelt's contribution and leadership of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and specifically the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Johannes Morsink, in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Drafting, Origin and Intent explains that Eleanor Roosevelt was able to cross ideological boundaries and work fairly well (to some extent) with the Soviets because the Soviet leadership had access to her daily "My Day" columns and appreciated her urging the American public to seek more understanding of the Soviet Union in the name of peace.* I think the fact that the former First Lady's daily column was able to permeate the Soviet Information monopoly, if only with the elites, and they did not entirely hate it says a lot about the not entirely antagonistic relationship between Post-War American liberalism and Soviet Socialist ideology. I do not mean to imply that this one instance made much of a difference or that there was not extreme animosity between the US and the Soviet Union at the time, just that the world was not so divided into white hats and black hats as history has traditionally depicted. Eleanor Roosevelt would prove able to cross the Iron Curtain again in 1956 when she toured the Soviet Union as an honorary Ambassador for the United Nations and sat down for a one-on-one discussion with Khrushchev. In fact, Khrushchev later briefly visited her Val-Kill Cottage home in Hyde Park, New York in 1959. I was able to visit her cottage in Hyde Park with a Sure Grant his past summer and do archival research for my Senior Research at the FDR Presidential Library.

*Johannes Morsink, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Drafting, Origins, and Intent, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), pp. 31

Anastasia: The Ugly Truth v. Children's Movie

When I was a child, the movie Anastasia was constantly playing on my Barbie t.v. Now, as I watch it with a basic understanding of Russian history, I realize the movie is really a representation of a common 20th century Russian conspiracy theory.
During the Russian Revolution, Czar Nicholas II abdicated from the throne and took his family into hiding. The family was executed but many believed that one of the Czar's daughters, Anastasia, had escaped and fled. Many people attempted to impersonate the Grand Duchess and one, Anna Anderson, had her case heard by German Courts. After testing her DNA, it was reported that she had no relation to the royal family. It wasn't until 2009 that Anastasia's remains had been officially identified and tested.

This is a quick summary of the movie:

In 1916, Tsar Nicholas II hosts a ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the Romanov tricentennial. His mother, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, is visiting from Paris and gives a music box and a necklace inscribed with the words “Together in Paris” as parting gifts to her youngest granddaughter, eight-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia. The ball is suddenly interrupted by Grigori Rasputin, a sorcerer who was banished by the Tsar for treason. Rasputin sells his soul in exchange for an unholy reliquary, which he uses to place a curse on the Romanov family, sparking the Russian Revolution. Only Marie and Anastasia are able to escape the siege of the palace, thanks to a young servant boy named Dimitri, who shows them a secret passageway in Anastasia's room. Rasputin confronts the two royals outside, only to fall through the ice and freeze to death. The pair manage to reach a moving train, but only Marie climbs aboard while Anastasia falls, hitting her head on the platform.
Ten years later, Russia is under communist rule, and Marie has publicly offered 10 million rubles for the safe return of her granddaughter. Two con men, Dimitri and his friend and partner Vladimir thus search for an Anastasia lookalike to present to Marie in Paris and collect the reward. Elsewhere, Anastasia, now using the name "Anya", leaves the rural orphanage where she grew up, having lost her memory prior to arriving there. Accompanied by a stray puppy she names "Pooka", she turns down a job at a fish factory in favor of going to Saint Petersburg after her necklace inspires her to seek out her family in Paris. In the deserted palace she encounters Dimitri and Vladimir, who—impressed by her resemblance to the "real" Anastasia—decide to take her with them.
Bartok, Rasputin's albino bat minion is nearby and notices his master's dormant reliquary suddenly revived by Anastasia's presence; it drags him to limbo, where the soul of Rasputin survives. Enraged to hear that Anastasia escaped the curse, Rasputin sends demonic spirits from the reliquary to kill her; despite two attempts, the trio manage to (unwittingly) foil him, forcing Rasputin and Bartok to travel back to the surface.
Anastasia, Dimitri, and Vladimir eventually reach Paris and go to meet Marie, who refuses to see her, having been nearly fooled numerous times before by impostors. Despite this, Sophie—Marie's cousin—quizzes Anastasia to confirm her identity. Dimitri and Vladimir had taught Anastasia all the answers, but when Anastasia independently (though dimly) recalls how Dimitri saved her ten years ago, Dimitri finally realizes that she is the real Grand Duchess, and later informs Vladimir at the Russian Ballet. Dimitri, however, insists they do not reveal this truth to Anastasia. Sophie, convinced as well, arranges for Anastasia to meet Marie after a Russian ballet. However, Marie wants nothing to do with Dimitri, having heard of him and his initial scheme to lie to her. As Anastasia overhears that Dimitri was using her all along, she then slaps him across the face and storms out. Dimitri, having fallen in love with Anastasia, manages to change Marie's mind by presenting her with Anastasia's music box, which he had found after their escape. Anastasia's memory returns upon meeting Marie, and grandmother and granddaughter are reunited at long last.
The next day, Marie offers Dimitri the reward money, but to her surprise he refuses it and leaves for Russia, convinced that he cannot be with Anastasia. That night, at Anastasia's return celebration, Marie informs her of Dimitri's gesture and leaves her to her thoughts. Anastasia then wanders through a garden and onto the Pont Alexandre III, where she is trapped and attacked by Rasputin. Dimitri returns to save her, but is injured and knocked unconscious. Anastasia manages to kill Rasputin by crushing the reliquary under her foot, avenging her family. With Rasputin's soul having been tied to the reliquary, he promptly dies and dissolves.
Afterwards, Dimitri and Anastasia reconcile; the two then elope and Anastasia sends a farewell letter to Marie and Sophie, promising to return one day. The film ends with the couple finally kissing on a riverboat, and Bartok shares a kiss with a female bat.

Discrepancies with Actual History

The Czar's mother is not mentioned in connection to the murder or even rumors of Anastasia's escape. There is no jewelry box, locket, or mention of fleeing to Paris anywhere in history. The family had been in hiding for many years during the Bolshevik revolution and was not overthrown by Rasputin at a ball in any palace. 

Perhaps the most interesting point of view presented in this movie is that of Rasputin. He is depicted as an evil ghost and serves as the villain that tries to prevent Anastasia from regaining her name. . In 1910, scandal broke out among the royal family and their association with Grigori Rasputin. He was accused of rape by one of the Governesses, molestation of the children and devil worshiping. The children and their mother had a very close relationship with the "holy man" and were devastated when the Czar ordered him to leave.

It is important to note that this movie was produced in 1997, before Anastasia's body had been found and confirmed. There was still a lingering hope that the Duchess had escaped execution and had lived a happy life. History now confirms that Anastasia was, in fact, murdered a long with the rest of her family, though it is unclear how she was killed. The guard that wrote about killing her was inebriated that the time of the attack and though he said he shot her in the head, there are not bullet holes or any kind of damage to the scull for that matter. There will always be an air of mystery as to what happened to the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II but unlike the movie, we know she did not live past 17 years old.

Lake Baikal: Unit I

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume.  It also happens to be located in a fairly interesting country which happens to be the place where the language we are studying in this class is spoken the most. Written, о́зеро Байка́л, the lake happens to contain 20% of the world's unfrozen, surface freshwater.  Also an astonishing 3,587 feet at its deepest it remains very clear.  It is thought by many scientists to be one of if not the worlds oldest lake.  For so long as humans have inhabited the area the lake has provided for them.  Ancient tribes such as the Kurykans and the Buryat thought the lake a great sea.  On a more modern note, the site's extreme biodiversity draws researchers from around the world.

Korean Pop in Russia

 The Korean Wave has spread world wide and Russia has also been soaked. The Korean wave also known as the Hallyu is the spread of Korean pop culture around the world. It is most popular with High schoolers and college age students. The Korean wave has been in Russia for a while but 2011 it grew. Kpop dance festivles and other special Kpop events began to be hosted. There have also been multiple flash mobs around Russia of kpop dances.
 There have also been a great number of Russian kpop cover groups who have participated in Korean events. Many have came to win them as well.
Russia has grown so much that even the kpop companies have taken notice. Russia has hosted multiple concerts and even special events in which kpop idols perform and have meet and greets with fans.  There are even auditions for Russians who want to join the Korean Wave. There has yet to be a Russian to join it. Which has me personally looking forward to the day when it comes.

My Trip To Russia: Dacha

    The summer before my 8th grade year, I traveled to Russia with my mother and sister. One of the things we did was go to our friend's dacha. It was about an hour, by bus, outside of Voronezh, which is about twelve hours, by train, south of Moscow. We stayed in a small house with four other people. It was simple. There was an outhouse and an outdoor shower but no running water. They had a beautiful garden with many flowers and an apricot tree. My sister and I would sit in it and eat apricots. On the top floor of the house, you could open the window and see fields of sunflowers. We ate delicious food and drank compot. There was a lake within walking distance that everyone in the area swam at. I met children that were acrobats in training because their parents were acrobats in the circus. I also met other girls who were named Rita and Margarita.

The Secret Town of Zheleznogorsk

Zheleznogorsk (Russian: Железного́рск) is a closed town in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, with a developed nuclear industry. It was a secret city, established in 1950 for the purpose of researching nuclear weaponry and producing massive quantities of plutonium, the facilities for which were hidden inside a hollowed-out mountain. It appeared on no maps, and had no census data. Although more than 100,000 people lived there at one point, satellite imagery would have shown only a fairly small mining town. The mountain complex contained 3,500 rooms and three plutonium reactors. The space had been excavated by tens of thousands of gulag slave laborers, who removed more rock from inside the mountain than was used to build the Great Pyramids. Protected under the granite peak of the mountain, these facilities would survive a direct nuclear attack.

No one called it “Zheleznogorsk.” Officially, it was “Krasnoyarsk-26,” which is something like naming a city ‘Arizona-17.’ Residents traveling outside the city called it Iron Town, if they had to refer to it at all. They were under strict instructions never to reveal to anyone the actual business of Krasnoyarsk-26. As is the tradition with Soviet towns containing secret facilities, "Krasnoyarsk-26" is actually a P.O. Box number and implies that the place is located some distance from the city of Krasnoyarsk. The town was also known as Soctown, Iron City, the Nine, and Atom Town.
And life there was amazing. People living and working in the secret city received some of the best wages in the Soviet Union. There were sports stadiums, public gardens, a movie theater, and the shortages notorious in the rest of the USSR were unknown. The best nuclear scientists in Russia lived in a sealed-off utopia. A third of all the nuclear weapons produced in Russia during the Cold War were powered by fuel from Zheleznogorsk.

Their flag and coat of arms is a bear splitting the atom:

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zheleznogorsk,_Krasnoyarsk_Krai

Interesting facts about Russia

Russia is a transcontinental country. It extends halfway around the northern hemisphere. It covers parts of North-Eastern Europe and all of Northern Asia. Russia alone makes up around a 7th of the total land of the entire world and neighbors 15 countries. The Russian river Volga is with 3700 kilometers the longest one in whole Europe. The Ural mountains in Russia are the oldest in the world and lake Baikal is the world’s largest reservoir of fresh water. Russia is the world’s biggest country, but only the ninth most populated country in the world.
Russia’s capital, Moscow, is located in Western Russia and serves as home for around 10.5 million people. Moscow inhabits 74 billionaires, which is a higher percentage of billionaires than in any other city on the globe.
Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet and is one of the five most spoken languages in the world. Russia is the second biggest oil exporter of the world. Russians celebrate New Year twice, on the 1st of January and on the 14th of January.  Russians do not shake hands over doorways, as they think that this might lead to arguments.

Works cited
"100 Interesting Facts about Russia." HostCMS RSS. Tsar Events DMC & PCO, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2014. <http://tsar-events.com/intersting-facts-about-russia/>.

Russian Animation

Having grown up in a Russian background I had watched many of the same Russian animations that my parents and even grandparents watched when they were children. When I was younger I did not understand much of the Russian, now that I am older I find it entertaining to watch those animations and see how much more I understand. One animation that I found particular is Чиполлино, which came out in 1961.  I remember that when I was younger I hardly understood anything due to the high vocabulary content.  Now that I am older I find it interesting that this animation seems to highly support communism.  The basic plot is that Чиполлино stepped on Prince Lemon's foot and while looking for Чиполлино, Чиполлино's father took the blame and went to jail.  Чиполлино went after his father trying to free him as well as make some friends that helped him, in the end, to overthrow the Prince and his guards.  I found it interesting that this animation was permitted to be released to the public which probably means that it tried to reaffirm to the public that communism was for the better.  It was a remainder to the people that to create the society that currently existed the proletariat revolted and re-established a "better government" that was to be run by the people (which obviously did not work).  That being said there were many times that Russian animations contained hiding meanings that were not obvious on the onset.  Perhaps this is not supposed to show the revolution of the people against tsar and the royal family, but rather against the people that were currently in power (Nikita Khrushchev)