Scaring the Russian out of you

It’s that time of the year again, where you dress up in a terrifying costume and scare your friends: it’s Halloween. Of course, you know that every country has its own creepy and scary characters; like how British people have Jack the Ripper or the Austrians have ‘Krampus’. But what about Russia? Do the people here have frightening stories or characters who raise their ugly heads at this time of year…? Водяной (Vodyanoi) Taking a swim or fishing at night? Or just crossing a river at night? Why not…? Водяной is already looking forward to it. Translated into English it means ‘the one in the water’. Russians believe that it is a terribly bad idea to do any activities in or even near water. This myth is very well-known here because Russia is full of lakes, seas, and rivers, the ideal loc ...

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A war of words: Nobel Prize winners for Russian Literature

Ivan Bunin in 1933 “for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”. It was the first time a Nobel Prize had been awarded to someone in exile, in essence honouring the value of literature as a median distinct from politics. Bunin, like may other Russians at the time, was living in France following the advent of the USSR. As immigrants in Europe, they had previously felt at the bottom of the ladder, but then one of their own was recognised with the most prestigious of internationally acclaimed literary awards. Moreover, it was not for mere political grumblings but for real prose. Although it was not Bunin’s wish to become involved in politics, he inadvertently became the poster boy for non-Bolshevik Russian values and traditions and re ...

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Typical sports in Russia

Every country has its own sports, like how Brazil has football or Austria has skiing. And Russia is no different. This blog is all about the wealth of sport that you can watch as a spectator or even take part in whilst in Russia. Sombo (Самбо) Sombo is a very popular material art which actually has its roots in Japanese Judo. It is also influenced by Jiu-Jitsu and shares some classic moves with wrestling. It was first recorded in 1923 in the Russian Army as a method of hand-to-hand combat fighting. The pioneers of this martial art were Viktor Spiridonow and Wassili Oschtschepkow. Unfortunately, Oschtschepkow was executed by Stalin, accused of being a Japanese spy. The word SAMBO is created out of 3 Russian words: Samozaschtschita bez oruzhija or Самозащита без оружия – translated this mean ...

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Birthday traditions in Russia

All over the world there are different birthday traditions. Every country has its twist on celebrating this special day. It is common around the world to give some presents and sing the “Happy Birthday” song, but Russia has some different ways of celebrating too. The length of the message All over Europe it is getting more and more common to just send a short text with “happy birthday” to the person celebrating. But in Russia this is completely different. Here it is a little rude to send such short texts to the person whose birthday it is. Russian friends will send you a really long text on your birthday and expect this from you on their birthday too. Песенка Крокодила Гены This is a special song sung to kids on their birthday. It is not that well known for people our age, but younger kids ...

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5 Russian movies you must see

Whether you’re learning the Russian language or are just a movie lover, have a read through these five suggestions – I’m only going to provide you with the best! Брат (1997) This film is a classic from 1997 as it should be. Translated into English it means brother. It is known all over the world and has also earned a few awards. There is also a sequel, but critics say that the first one is much better. Fun fact: The entire production of Брат was completed within 31 days and the budget was no more than $10,000. It started as a low budget movie where some actors didn’t even earn any money. They never imagined the success that this project was going to have. The story is about an ex-soldier from the Russian army who gets involved in the family crime business; but he has his own personal ...

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