Closed Cities – Discovering the secret Russia

Warning outside City 40

As a European citizen, I’m used to travelling wherever I want without much restriction. Of course, some specific buildings or areas might be off-limits, but I had never heard about Closed Cities (Закрытое административно-территориальное образование ЗАТО in Russian) until I came to Russia.  But what do they exactly mean by close city? The concept of closed city might be better understood if we imagine a military base with different levels of security. The location of this base might be known by the general public, but access to it is subject to certain limitations. You might be able to enter with a specific permit to some areas or access might be completely banned for those not belonging to the place. In a close city, only citizens might be allowed to enter and they might as well face restr ...

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Let’s dive into the world of Russian music

Russian music; photo taken from: https://www.wallpaperup.com/119543/city_music_moscow_russia.html

It has been almost two months since I moved to Russia and I can truly say how impressed I am with Russian’s love for music. There is a vast amount of songs, which any Russian person, regardless of their age, knows by heart. I am lucky, because two of my flatmates love singing, playing the guitar and they actually started to write their own songs and music. Since both of them are very musical, they taught me a lot about Russian music and showed me a lot of songs — we actually used to (now it is too cold) sit down on a bench in the center, they were playing and I was just enjoying Russian music and their company. It was during these moments that I realized how musical Russian people are — I often experienced situations, in which random people came up to us, started singing with ‚us‘ or just ...

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Goodbye is not forever. Farewell is not the end.

Liden & Denz

Так быстро время летит. Unfortunately three months have already passed and my time at Liden & Denz is coming to an end and this time for good. It is crazy to think that I in total have spent one entire year at the school. Four times, three months each time. I am terrible at goodbyes so one part of me has no clue of how to write this post, my last post as an intern. That part just wants to say “Thank you and goodbye” and make a discrete exit, while other parts of me are going through an emotional breakdown. I will try my best. At my first arrival in February 2018 I was a modest A1+ and I have then worked my way up and completed the B2 level. Taking the decision to go to Moscow to learn Russian turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. If talking strictly in educational term ...

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Mikhail Shemyakin and his art in Saint Petersburg

Mikhail Shemyakin

A black hat, a pair of thick-glassed wide eyeglasses and a scar along his right cheek: those are the three trademarks of Russian artist Mikhail Shemyakin, whose works of art are now displayed all over the world. Mikhail Shemyakin was born in Moscow, in 1943. Throughout his life he stood out for his quirky personality and rebel spirit, which has caused him to be suspended from the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad and, eventually, to be exiled from the URSS. However, despite the long time he spent abroad – he lived in Paris for ten years during the exile – his heart and soul are still in Saint Petersburg, which the artist himself describes as rapture and pain in one single city. In recent years Saint Petersburg has become the display of  some of Mikh ...

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Vegetarian Pelmeni from scratch

Russian Pelmeni; Photo taken from: https://milavie.eu/russische-pelmeni-mit-schmand/

Who would have known that it is so difficult to find a restaurant where you can actually get vegetarian Pelmeni. Since I have arrived here I am on this mission and it has not been going good so far. I tried out two Russian restaurants where they only had the regular meat-filled ones and my flatmate made some Pelmeni, however, it was the same situation again, they were filled with meat. Even my online research turned out to be unsuccessful, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Today I will try and make vegetarian Pelmenis from scratch using a mushroom filling. Let’s see how that goes! I was surprised, because you really do not need a lot of ingredients for this delicacy. Ingredients for the dough: 2/3 cups buttermilk 1 tbsp sour cream 2 large eggs (I used three because I only had ...

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Пока Питер, I’ll see you soon!

I can’t believe that three months have gone so fast! But as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun, and my time at Liden and Denz has been brilliant. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to continue studying Russian whilst exploring my favourite city. I have wholeheartedly enjoyed studying at Liden and Denz. A massive thank you to Lyubov and Zlata for making our classes fun and interesting every day. I have loved the discussions that we’ve had, the topics we’ve covered, and the funny anecdotes that we laugh at in class. My classmates have been so friendly and even though many people have arrived and gone since I joined the school, the dynamic in class has been great. In Liden and Denz’ classes we chat together for many hours each day, and my level of Russian and speaking ...

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Explore the Dvor – St Petersburg’s most Instagrammable courtyards

St Petersburg is a city of courtyards. All buildings large or small, intricate or plain, in the city centre or on the outskirts, have one thing in common – the двор (pronounced ‘dvor’). This is a word that anyone visiting St Petersburg should know! Delve into the двор and you’ll experience St Petersburg off the beaten tourist track, and see the city as the local people know it. These courtyards lend a sense of secrecy to St Petersburg’s streets, providing shortcuts from place to place for those who know how to navigate these labyrinthine spaces. The двор is a communal space shared by the houses’ residents throughout the centuries, a community within a community. It is a place for the babushkas to sit and chat with their friends (read: act as the local policeme ...

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Come together for Unity Day!

Unity Day

Russia’s most anonymous holiday is celebrated on the 4th of November. The holiday is named Unity Day (День народного единства) and despite the fact that the majority of Russian doesn’t know why or when it’s celebrated, it is still a national holiday with an interesting history. Let’s learn more about it! The origin of Unity Day dates back to 1612. During this period of time Poland and Lithuania were in union with each other and aspired to conquer Russia and to unify all Slavic’s under one single state. They invaded Russia and Moscow but the Russians, demanding their independence, got together and expelled the Polish-Lithuanian occupation forces from Moscow. What makes this day interesting, and is the reason why it is called Unity Day, is that despite being without a leader, Russia had no t ...

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