Who is Alyonka?

Alyoka chocolate bar

Although Russia’s main exports have for a long time been oil, gas and other natural resources, the iconic chocolate brand Alyonka (Алёнка) stands out for selling one of the few Soviet products which made it through the economic chaos following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, Alyonka is still the brand market leader of chocolate in the Russian Federation, as well as one of the most iconic Russian symbols. How it all started Moscow’s Red October factory started producing Alyonka chocolate bars in 1966, after being given a livestock subsidy by the government. The rise of the brand was also possible thanks to the political situation, the Brezhnev years (1964 – 82), embraced by many as a period of prosperity and stability. The factory was provided with good quality milk, thanks to whic ...

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Izmaylovo Kremlin

During your stay in Moscow a visit to the Izmaylovo Kremlin (Кремль в Измайлово) is a great opportunity to dive into the spirit of ancient Russia. This unique complex was inspired by the architecture of old Moscow and by drawings of Russian fairytales. It can easily be called the Disneyland of Russian history and handcraft. The Kremlin is located about 30 minutes far from the Moscow city center and is easy to reach by taking the metro line 3 and exit at the station Partizanskaya (Партизанская). From there it’s only a short walk by foot. It is opened daily but be aware that the opening hours may differ during rainy weather.   History The Kremlin complex was founded in 2003. Izmaylovo has always played an important part in history as well as culture. A long time ago there were already e ...

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E-visa to St. Petersburg (for free!)

The nightmare of getting a visa

Applying for a visa can sometimes be a nightmare. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the film “ The 12 tasks of Asterix”, but there’s a scene that marvellously depicts how I feel whenever I have to deal with this type of paperwork. I have done it several times already, but I still feel like poor Asterix trying to gather all the papers and fulfil all the requirements, going from one place to another.     And Russian visa is not any visa. Russia has a reputation of being a highly bureaucratic place where paperwork is common, difficult and longlasting. With that in mind, it is not surprising that the visa application can be quite long and boring. Apparently, it used to be much more complex before. I don’t even want to imagine that! Although in Liden & Denz they are always willing ...

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Port Sevkabel – a waterfront wonderland

Port Sevkabel is one of St Petersburg’s most innovative new projects. A multifunctional events space and creative centre situated in a cable factory on the seafront, it is one of the most popular sites in the city. I have been to numerous events and festivals at Sevkabel, but was until recently unaware of what goes on there day to day, and how Sevkabel is part of a much wider development of St Petersburg. Why was Port Sevkabel developed?   The development of Sevkabel in 2016 has kickstarted a wider plan to regenerate St Petersburg’s waterfront areas. One of Sevkabel’s developers characterised the project as returning seaside spaces to the public ‘in a city from which giant construction sites stole the sea’. The project was conceived in part by Хвоя Architectural Bureau. Si ...

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With mayonnaise everything is better!

Everything is better with mayonnaise

Life is better with Mayonnaise. At least that what Russians seem to think. Food is a great way into a culture and, by understanding the past and present of Russian cuisine, we might be able to get a grasp of this fascinating culture. Whenever I think of Russian food sour cream, condensed milk and dill come instantly to my mind. But, if there’s one ever-present ingredient in Russian food I would dare say it’s mayonnaise.  It’s very difficult to imagine Russian food without this condiment since many staple Russian everyday and holiday dishes contain it. It is necessary to cook the world-famous Olivier salad (оливье), the traditional Herring under a fur coat (селёдка под шубой) and it’s a must for a dish only related to France by its name: French-style meat (мясо по-французски). As you ...

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Interesting events during autumn and early winter in Moscow

Interesting events Moscow

Moscow is truly an amazing city with so many interesting things to see and experience; from classical museums and historical monuments to festivals and stunning green areas. In this article I have summed up a little list, of present and upcoming events and activities in the Russian capital for the last months of the year. Maybe you will find something to add to your to-do-list, I sure have when creating this list! • Night of the Arts (3 November) On November 3 an event called Nights of the Arts will be held in Moscow. For the seventh time museums, theatres, exhibitions, concert halls, libraries and other places around the capital will offer thematic events, live concerts, meetings with authors and musicians and other events. If you are a fan of art, both contemporary and classic, you shoul ...

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5 surprising facts about Russia’s cultural history 

Natasha's Dance

Russia is simply a fascinating country: Studying its long and diverse history and its rich culture makes us understand the country and its people better. However, neither in university, nor at school do we really learn to understand what Russia’s cultural history really used to be like. We often spend hours and hours learning about historical or economical facts (of course we also learned about their culture, but that information was always very limited). One time, while I was preparing for an exam, I accidentally came across a book that opened up new ways of thinking for me. It is called Natasha’s dance – A cultural history of Russia by Orlando Figes. I would like to share 5 facts that surprised me about Russian culture. 1. Longing for ‚Europeanness‘ and lack of patriotism Dur ...

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Russian natural health remedies that actually work

Russian health remedies

Russian winter is coming, and so are colds, tonsillitis and flu. But don’t be scared! Russians have the best solutions for these problems, and they mostly come from nature. Despite modernizations, in fact, Russia remains one of the powerhouses of traditional natural medicine, providing people with effective tips and tricks on how to survive their freezing winter. Here is a list of 5 self-treatments for flu symptoms that may help you face the Russian winter in the best of ways. Garlic as an ally against cold Other than being a widely used ingredient in Russian cuisine, garlic is also known for treating and preventing flu symptoms. It has been proved that this vegetable, which has a history of several thousand years of human consumption, is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that are extremel ...

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