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“They say that it’s forbidden to visit a cemetery on Easter,” my grandmother told me recently. How should I respond? Of course, the Church teaches us to remember the deceased on Radonitsa, the ninth day after Easter, but it views Easter visits to the cemetery as something of a Soviet-era holdover. The practice does not contain anything specifically Soviet, however. More likely than not, it reflects on a rather archaic layer of human consciousness, an echo of the “people’s Christianity” that the government found so difficult to control. My grandmother has been going to the cemetery for more than 70 years....

28.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

It would seem that we have thought up all the possible “venues” for communicating with our fellow countrymen abroad – Russian theatres, museums, churches, libraries and foundations. But there are places and events that unite the youth abroad even more tightly than these. One example is Encounter, an international network of urban games. The idea for the game originated in 2001 in Minsk, when Ivan Maslyukov (known as im in the project) envisioned it as an international game, hence its name in English. In the end, however, the game found a rather curious niche, enjoying real popularity in very different countries, but only...

24.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Miscellaneous

For the first time this year, London’s traditional economic forum devoted to Russia attempted to distance itself from its previous name by taking the name Russ!a Investment Roadshow. Organizers from Sergei Kolushev’s company Eventica mentioned how Russian officials were strongly encouraged to boycott the London conference last year after President Putin’s Munich speech. Not only did state officials suddenly cancel their appearance, in the same way that frightened birds scatter for a tree at the sound of a gunshot, but many prominent businessmen also decided to show their solidarity. Eventica has recently been doing...

23.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Miscellaneous

The anniversary of Yeltsin’s death, perhaps, is one of those events that is simply impossible to avoid paying attention to. It might be possible in theory, and one might even want to, but it doesn’t happen. Why? Because fundamental changes in the life of the Russian world are connected with the Yeltsin name. To start with, we will refrain from defining these changes in any particular way. The events surrounding the anniversary of the death of Russia’s first president are interesting in their own right. A monument to Yeltsin, completed by the sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, was unveiled at the Novodevichy cemetery with...

23.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: History

On April 14, 1682 (Gregorian calendar), the archpriest Avvakum was burned at the stake in the Pustozyorsk prison. While the date has never been given special attention in Russia’s historical calendar, the event itself – the violent execution of one of Russia’s most prominent ideologues – unleashed a schism that has remained in historical and cultural memory. Avvakum is a colossal part of Russian life, one that is impossible to circumvent when trying to understand the twists and turns of Russian history. Outside Old Believer circles, part of the interest in Avvakum can be explained by the same sort of mechanisms that...

15.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: History

The first Soviet monument in Kaliningrad, apart from the obelisks marking mass graves, was not the monument to Stalin (1953) or the monument to Lenin that replaced it in 1958. It was a bust of General Alexander Suvorov erected in 1946 at the site of the demolished castle of the Masters of the Teutonic Order. The memory of Alexander Suvorov was very popular in the late Stalin years. However, for the population of Kaliningrad, the newly acquired part of the Soviet state, the famous military leader was not only a symbol of the triumphant traditions of Russian arms. After the Seven Years War, K...

09.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: History

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