Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moika Palace

Spb 06-2012 Moika various 03.jpgThe palace was first built around 1770 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe. Over the years numerous well-known architects worked on the palace, producing a variety of architectural styles. A. Mikhailov reconstructed the building during the 1830s when the Yusupovs became owners of the building. This was the period that the palace achieved its present-day appearance. From 1830 to 1917, the palace belonged to the House of Yusupov, an immensely wealthy family of Russian nobles, known for their philanthropy and art collections. Thus in the time of Imperial Russia, the palace became known as the Yusupov Palace. The luxurious interiors of the palace were not inferior to those of contemporary royal palaces. More than 40,000 works of art, including works by Rembrandt, jewelry, and sculptures decorated the palace. Following the Russian Revolution, the Yusupov art collections were nationalized and relocated in the Hermitage and other museums. Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, who was the curator of paintings at the Hermitage, had earlier painted the curtain and ceiling of the palace theatre. The palace is most famous, however, because of the actions of Prince Felix Yusupov, heir to the vast Yusupov family estates including four palaces in St. Petersburg. The palace on the Moika was the prince’s favorite residence in the capital. The exact events surrounding Rasputin's death are still in dispute. What seems clear is that on 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916, Felix Yusupov, along with Vladimir Purishkevich and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich invited Grigori Rasputin to the Moika Palace. He took Rasputin to a small but lavishly furnished cellar room of the palace. There he served Rasputin red wine. When Rasputin was affected, Yusupov retrieved a revolver and shot Rasputin from the side. Taking him for dead, Yusupov went upstairs to where the other conspirators waited in a ground floor study/drawing room. Rasputin succeeded in fleeing through a side door into a gated courtyard which opened onto the street outside. Purishkevich then shot Rasputin in the back, on the doorstep. The body was taken inside and a third bullet, fired at close range, entered his forehead. The conspirators wrapped Rasputin in a broadcloth, drove outside the city and threw the body into the Malaya Neva.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Unit 10 Blog Post Chris H

Life Changing Inventions Made in Russia
  1. The Helicopter: Igor Sikorsky, in 1910 created the prototype of a rotor-driven device, which successfully got off the ground. In 1912, he created the first hydroplane in the world and then the first multiple-engine aircraft. After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, he had to emigrate to the US, where he established his own company, Sikorsky Aero Engineering Company, using a contribution from remarkable Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Sikorsky’s first experimental helicopter designed in the United States got off the ground in September 1939. The design of that machine, which has been considered a classic helicopter design for more than fifty years now, has been used for almost 95% helicopters built around the world. In 1942, Sikorsky created a two-seater helicopter. 
  2. Radio: Alexander Popov, a professor of physics, announced the invention of a system for wireless communications at a lecture at St Petersburg University in April 1885 and displayed the world’s first radio set. He was unable to publish his work though because he worked for a military institution. Italian Guglielmo Marconi conducted similar experiments at about the same time – his article was published in 1897. Unlike Popov’s, Marconi’s invention was commercialized fast, so they still argue in the West over who invented radio first.
  3. Video Tape Recorder: Alexander Poniatoff (Poniatov), a student of the founding father of Russian aviation Nikolay Zhukovsky, started the Ampex company in the United States and worked there in the 1950s. The company succeeded in producing the first quality video signal recorder. Ampex kept its lead in the market for professional magnetic recording of video for half a century and global electronics giants had to use Poniatoff’s patents to produce home video equipment.
  4. Solar Cells: It is owing to discoveries by Russian physicist Alexander Stoletov that we enjoy television today. In the late 1880s, he produced a theoretical justification of photoelectric effect through a series of experiments. Photoelectric effect formed the basis for the production of solar cells, which are broadly used in practice now. Stoletov created the first solar cell based upon outer photoelectric effect and discovered the proportionality between the intensity of light and photo induced current.
  5. Synthetic Rubber: The first commercially viable artificial rubber was polybutadiene resin, synthesized by the method developed by Russian chemist Sergei Lebedev. He obtained the first specimens of synthetic rubber in 1910. His book “Research in polymerization of by-ethylene hydrocarbons”, printed in 1913, provided the foundations for commercial artificial rubber synthesis.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

И́горь Фёдорович Страви́нский
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

Весна священная
The Rite of Spring

Ballet and orchestral concert work by Stravinsky.
Written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company.
The original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky, with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich.

Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes. The Rite was the third such project, after the acclaimed Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911). The concept behind The Rite of Spring, developed by Roerich from Stravinsky's outline idea, is suggested by its subtitle, "Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts."

Stravinsky's score contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance. Analysts have noted in the score a significant grounding in Russian folk music, a relationship Stravinsky tended to deny. The music has influenced many of the 20th-century's leading composers, and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire.

The premiere was May 29, 1913


Russian Ballet History

The formal start of Russian ballet began with a letter written by a gymnastics teacher to Empress Anne in 1737 asking to be given twelve students to create ballets and theater dances. The request was granted and the teacher was given two rooms in the Old Winter Palace. This school would  later become the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet School. Catherine  The Great also started a ballet school a little later in 1774.


Probably the most well known game of all time, tetris,  also had one of the most recognized themes of every video game. What most people do not know, is that it is actually based upon a russian folk song called Korbeiniki. While around the world it is known as tertis them A, in russia it is  avery popular song. Linked below is a version sung by the red army choir:

The Cranes are Flying

Letyat Zhuravli.jpg

The movie The Cranes are Flying is a 1957 Soviet film about World War 2 that depicts the harsh reality that was the Eastern Front (or Western Front for the Soviets) during World War 2, and depicts how the Soviet psyche was damaged by this very destructive war. For the Soviet Union, World War 2 was known as the Great Patriotic War because the Soviets had to push back the Nazis from Russian land after Operation Barbarossa, the mass invasion of Russia. It is the only Soviet film that won the Palme d'Or at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival. The film has been celebrated and praised throughout Europe for its heroine and complex characters.

Пáска- An Eastern Orthodox Tradition

Martiniouk Paska.JPG

Паска or Paska is a bread eaten during the Eastern Orthodox Easter. The word is derived from the Russian and Ukrainian word for Easter. Paska is eaten in various parts of Eastern Europe, as well as immigrant populations living in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Paska Recipe

Дом Книги

Bookstores are my jam. There's just nothing quite like being surrounded by shelves full of pages of words. My affinity towards books and bookstores led me to look up Russia's most popular.

I came across the House of Books chain and found it interesting that though it was a chain, each individual store kept a flavor of its own. One of its stores is in St. Petersburg at the historic landsite of Дом компании «Зингер». This building used to be for the Singer Sewing Company and was constructed parallel to the company's headquarters being simultaneously built in New York. It is now home to many books and is referred to as such by the people.

Bookstores are awesome places and when housed in historic buildings like Дом компании «Зингер», they are all the better.

The "Night Witches"

It was their enemies, the Nazis, who gave these women their nickname. Officially, they were the members of the Soviet Air Forces’ 588th Night Bomber Regiment. To the German pilots they fought, however, they were tormentors, harpies with seemingly supernatural powers of night vision and stealth. Shooting down one of their planes would automatically earn any German soldier the Iron Cross.
The legendary 588th was one of three all-female Soviet squadrons formed on Oct. 8, 1941, by order of Josef Stalin. The few hundred women who belonged to them — picked from thousands of volunteers — were the first of any modern military to carry out dedicated combat missions, rather than simply provide support.
The 80-odd Night Witches had arguably the toughest task of all. Flying entirely in the dark, and in plywood planes better suited to dusting crops than withstanding enemy fire, the pilots developed a technique of switching off their engine and gliding toward the target to enable them to drop their bombs in near-silence; they also flew in threes to take turns drawing enemy fire while one pilot released her charges. It was, quite frankly, awesome — as even their enemies had to admit. “We simply couldn’t grasp that the Soviet airmen that caused us the greatest trouble were in fact women,” one top German commander wrote in 1942. “These women feared nothing.”

Top Russian MP praises Trump’s pragmatism, readiness for cooperation

Recently, The head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Relations said that Donald Trump's approach to politics makes him a better presidential candidate then any other in the current race. He states that his approach is different from Obama and Bushes fixation on "spreading liberal ideology and values" 

The MP stated, "Overall, Trump looks less ideologically biased than [the incumbent US President Barack] Obama. He is a businessman who sees everything as a string of business deals. This is not the worst of approaches, especially if compared to the purely ideological, fundamentalist approach of Bush’s and Obama’s administrations. They destroyed the lives of whole regions and peoples in the name of some liberal chimeras and pseudo values,”

The head MP also criticized Clinton on her support of military interventions. "Clinton bases her actions on the suggestion that everything depends on the United States’ will. But she is mistaken. The Syrian crisis has shown that regardless of US desire to displace Syrian President Bashar Assad, Assad is likely to remain in his post after Obama leaves his,” Pushkov told the newspaper."

Sunday, May 1, 2016

10 things to never say or do in Russia!

I know many people who plan to study abroad in Russia and figured this will help. Here are some rules.
1. Don't come to a visit empty handed
A sign of respect is to bring a present
2. Don't leave your shoes on in someones home.
Russian homes often have nice rugs therefore outside shoes are not welcome. some even bring nice shoes to parties to change into
3.DO NOT joke about parents
Vulgar jokes are normal, but jokes about parents they will not get or be offended
4.Don't toast with "Na Zdorov'ye!"
This means in good health, but for a toast longer more extravagant speaches are expected.
5.Don't take the last shirt
Now this is a saying. When you are offered something refuse the first few timesexpecially if you are to leave soon. If they keep persisting then say yes.
6.Don't under dress
You only live once, dress nice and feel nice. Its normal to dressup for casual things.
7.Don't go dutch
Men are to pay for food when out or whoever invited you to the food occasion is expected to pay.
8.Don't let a woman carry something heavy
Don't cringe! Men are said to be physically stronger and should carry things if they see a woman carrying something heavy.
9.Don't overlook the elderly on public transportation
If you see an elderly person, offer them your seat.
10.Don't burp in public
Bodily functions are considered impolite in Russia.
Good Luck

Keeping Up with the (K)Lenins

So, last year, partially in response to their conflicts with Russia, the Ukrainian government banned all Soviet symbols, statues, flags, anthems, etc. This included over 900 statues of Vladimir Lenin, who had been positioned around various parts of Ukraine. As such, the statues were torn down; however, with these newly fallen statues, there became an issue of where to put them all. After all, 900 statues of one man is a lot, and they were taken down all across the country.

Needless to say, Lenin ended up in some interesting places. Most were taken to local junkyards, where they currently are just sitting there. Others were just dropped off in places, as after they were taken down, no one really wants anything to do with them. Some of the Lenins' were also defaced, such as the one which was dressed up as Darth Vader. Another was painted gold and beheaded with the Ukrainian flag painted beneath, I suppose as a symbol of power and revolution.

Darth Lenin
Overall, the Lenins used to be a symbol of the power of the Soviet Union, and now they are simply useless statues. It goes to show how much of an effect outdated symbols of power have upon the government which assumed control in its wake.