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[2006-07-27] If You Are Still Hungry...
Did you know what other foods were eaten in medieval Russia? Fish was a major staple, both because of its abundance and because of the numerous fast days in the Eastern Orthodox calendar in which all animal products were proscribed, including butter, milk, cheese. Fish, is not an animal, and Russians found a variety of ways of serving it. Close to twenty species of fish, mostly freshwater, have been identified as part of the medieval Russian diet. The list of vegetables is not as long, and includes the inevitable cabbage, onions, garlic, and turnips. It also comprises cucumbers, carr [...]
[2006-07-27] Facts on Moscow
Radiating outward from the Kremlin, first built of oak in 1156, Russia's largest city and capital has known its share of turmoil, fighting against Mongols and Tatars, Napoleon and Nazis. In the 19th century Moscow became a center for manufacturing and a railroad hub for the immense country. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Moscow has seen economic booms fueled in large part by oil exports, and busts from speculation and financial tremors. For visitors Moscow has become one of the world's most expensive cities. Even through unsteady recent times, massive rebuilding and infrastructure [...]
[2006-07-27] Facts on St. Petersburg
City of monuments and grand European-style facades, St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great on swampy ground along the Neva River to be a bulwark against Sweden, to serve as his "window on the West," and to become a splendid showcase for art, music, and literature. It was named capital of Russia in 1712 and remained so until after the Bolshevik revolution, when it was renamed Leningrad. During 1941-44 the city was besieged by the German Army, and nearly a million residents died. Restored in name and splendor, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Site of a nav [...]
[2006-07-27] Communications
Telephones - main lines in use: 39.616 million (2004) Telephones - mobile cellular: 74.42 million (2004) Telephone system: general assessment: the telephone system underwent significant changes in the 1990s; there are more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services; access to digital lines has improved, particularly in urban centers; Internet and e-mail services are improving; Russia has made progress toward building the telecommunications infrastructure necessary for a market economy; however, a large demand for main line service remains uns [...]
[2006-07-27] Transportationin Russia
Airports: 1,730 (2005) Airports - with paved runways: total: 640 over 3,047 m: 51 2,438 to 3,047 m: 199 1,524 to 2,437 m: 129 914 to 1,523 m: 109 under 914 m: 152 (2005) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1,090 over 3,047 m: 16 2,438 to 3,047 m: 30 1,524 to 2,437 m: 88 914 to 1,523 m: 135 under 914 m: 821 (2005) Heliports: 42 (2005) Pipelines: condensate 122 km; gas 150,007 km; oil 75,539 km; refined products 13,771 km (2004) Railways: total: 87,157 km broad gauge: 86,200 km 1.520-m gauge (40,300 km electrified) narrow gauge: 957 [...]
[2006-07-27] Military in Russia
Military branches: Ground Forces (SV), Navy (VMF), Air Forces (VVS); Airborne Troops (VDV), Strategic Rocket Troops (RVSN), and Space Troops (KV) are independent "combat arms," not subordinate to any of the three branches Military service age and obligation: Russia has adopted a mixed conscript-contract force; 18-27 years of age; males are registered for the draft at 17 years of age; length of compulsory military service is two years; plans call for reduction in mandatory service to 18 months in 2007 and to one year by 2008; 30% of Russian army personnel were contract service [...]
[2006-07-27] Russian Economy facts
Economy - overview: Russia ended 2005 with its seventh straight year of growth, averaging 6.4% annually since the financial crisis of 1998. Although high oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble are important drivers of this economic rebound, since 2000 investment and consumer-driven demand have played a noticeably increasing role. Real fixed capital investments have averaged gains greater than 10% over the last five years, and real personal incomes have realized average increases over 12%. During this time, poverty has declined steadily and the middle class has continued to expand. [...]
[2006-07-27] Governmental system
Country name: conventional long form: Russian Federation conventional short form: Russia local long form: Rossiyskaya Federatsiya local short form: Rossiya former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Government type: federation Capital: Moscow Administrative divisions: 48 oblasts (oblastey, singular - oblast), 21 republics (respublik, singular - respublika), 9 autonomous okrugs (avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug), 7 krays (krayev, singular - kray), 2 federal cities (singular - gorod), and 1 autonomous oblast (avtonomnaya o [...]
[2006-07-27] Populaiton facts
Population: 142,893,540 (July 2006 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.2% (male 10,441,151/female 9,921,102) 15-64 years: 71.3% (male 49,271,698/female 52,679,463) 65 years and over: 14.4% (male 6,500,814/female 14,079,312) (2006 est.) Median age: total: 38.4 years male: 35.2 years female: 41.3 years (2006 est.) Population growth rate: -0.37% (2006 est.) Birth rate: 9.95 births/1,000 population (2006 est.) Death rate: 14.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.) Net migration rate: 1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.) [...]
[2006-07-27] Russian Geography facts
Location: Northern Asia (the area west of the Urals is considered part of Europe), bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean Geographic coordinates: 60 00 N, 100 00 E Map references: Asia Area: total: 17,075,200 sq km land: 16,995,800 sq km water: 79,400 sq km Area - comparative: approximately 1.8 times the size of the US Land boundaries: total: 20,017 km border countries: Azerbaijan 284 km, Belarus 959 km, China (southeast) 3,605 km, China (south) 40 km, Estonia 294 km, Finland 1,340 km, Georgia 723 km, Kazakhstan 6,8 [...]
[2006-07-27] Useless facts about Russia! :-)
Standing in line (at Customs) to get out of the country is even worse than trying to enter. If you are a Westerner, you must pay double for anything It is considered cool to spend the most money possible for any particular item When crossing the street, cross only with the crowd The more cars in any one particular lane of traffic, the better Whoever gets there first – wins. Everyone else died trying to get there Sardines=any Metro Never Smile Don’t look at anyone in the eyes. You must pretend that they are not there More Vodka, please More beer, PLEASE!!! Always carry a $10 b [...]
[2006-07-27] Basic HIV facts about Russia
Prior to its dissolution in 1991, the Soviet Union was virtually isolated from the influences of the West. In the early years of the epidemic in the US, news about the “Western problem” of AIDS was frequent in the Soviet press. As homosexual activity was illegal under Soviet law, officials had confidence that HIV would never be a problem in their country. This changed in 1987, when 279 children were discovered to have been infected in hospitals through unsterilized equipment and reused syringes. By the end of 1994, there were 1,323 people who tested HIV positive on Russian soil. Four hundred [...]
[2006-07-27] Best time to visit Russia
The best time to visit Russia is May through September. Temperatures range from the 70’s-90’s in the day to the 50’s-70’s at night. Be aware that the spring and fall are unpredictable with flurries showing up in May and September, and mud ensuing. Take along waterproof shoes and a jacket. [...]
[2006-07-27] What are the best items to shop for in Russia?
The best items to shop for in Russia are wall plaques and tiles, sculpture, lacquerware, balalaikas and other musical instruments, caviar (buy only from an official store and keep your receipts), and vodka. Don’t miss Moscow’s markets and pedestrian malls! [...]
[2006-07-26] Seniors ready to play dating game
BETH CATION'S daughter calls her a "man magnet," and it's easy to see why. Beth was 76 when she lost her husband of half a century. Nine months later, she started dating Ted, a charming fellow who shared her love of dancing. He put a ring on her finger and they spent 10 wonderful years together before Ted died of colon cancer. Soon after, she met Erik. Like Beth, Erik loved line dancing and travel. They dated for six months before Erik, too, popped the question. The couple recently returned from Hawaii, where they celebrated their fifth anniversary. "When you're in retirement, you don't was [...]
[2006-07-26] I wish they all could be mail-order girls
But international matchmaking law meant to protect foreign brides from abuse has stepped on the seams of some American men’s dreams The climate is the only thing that’s frigid: I’m sorry, Solzhenitsyn, that you lived long enough to see Siberia go from poster child for chain gangs and gulags to an American-man’s bridal marketplace. ‘Ol Dissident Sol, now pushing 90, made it back to the Russia of his hard-labor-camp “youth” in 1994, after 20-years of exile in the West — a morally corrupt, materialistic, and vapid pop-culture he was happy to escape, he said (Sol never has a kind word [...]
[2006-07-26] From here to there and back
Did you know that medieval Russia was quite a cosmopolitan place? It was on the trading routes from Scandinavia to Byzantium, from Central Asia to the Baltic sea. Thus Russia was connected with the Far East, the lands of the Mediterranean, Western Europe, Scandinavia. This included merchants of the Hanseatic Guild which had a trading post in Novgorod. Russia imported silks, satins, brocades, wool and other rich fabrics, jewelry; goblets and other glass vessels; amphorae filled with wine, olive oil and naphtha; combs made out of boxwood; spices, fruits, nuts. Russia exported fur pelts (a wide [...]
[2006-07-26] Names, Names, and More Names
Did you know that surnames (family names) did not exist in Russia for most of the middle ages? The highest nobility (the Rurikid princes) began using them sometime in the XIV century, the boyars' surnames became established between the XIV and the XVI century, the middle-class Russians did not use them at all until the XVI century, but middle-class surnames were not established until the XVII century (out of the SCA period!). So someone considered gentry in Western Europe (something like middle-class in Russia) would not have used a family name before the 1700s. Now by family name I [...]
[2006-07-26] To be the Height of Fashion
Did you know that long, flowing, ground-sweeping, dust raising, mud gathering garments were never in fashion in medieval Russia? That's right, take a look at period illustrations, illuminations and other frescoes: most, they do not trail, and late-period clothing does not seem to drape much (it was probably made of heavy silk brocades and wools). In fact, fashion statements do not seem to have ever been... well, in fashion, in medieval Russia. In the early middle-ages, simple, tunic-like garments prevailed, not unlike those of other parts of Europe of that time, or similar to Byzantine clothes [...]
[2006-07-26] Precious and Shiny Adornments
Did you know that Russian women wore all sorts of fancy jewelry unlike anything you've ever seen? You expect to see a kokoshnik on a Russian woman, that is the high and/or wide headdress made popular by Russian folk ballets. And indeed, it existed in medieval Russia. But there's a lot more! Unfortunately, I don't have any information at hand on men's jewelry. But I'd say it's fairly safe to assume they wore some. As for women's jewelry, they wore a great variety of items. Beads: lots of glass beads of various shapes and colors, but also stone and precious stones, ivory (walrus tusk, probab [...]
[2006-07-26] Castles or no Castles?
Did you know that there were no castles in medieval Russia? All right, so I have to qualify that: there were military border outposts with villages around them, with fortifications and miscellaneous buildings. They were built mostly on rivers, that is on trade routes, and at strategic points against attacks by steppes nomads. So one could say that there were castles in medieval Russia, although I would prefer to call them fortresses. But there were no castles as centers of a fief, no castles as residences of the lord of the land. No lord of the manor, no baron entrenched in his barony (o [...]
[2006-07-26] Princess Olga: A Tale of Revenge
Legends and tales warn us that it could be very, VERY dangerous to aggravate a Russian woman, especially a Russian woman in power. Even the chronicles, historical documents that they are, give the same warning. Let me illustrate this. The greatly revered and later canonized Grand Princess Olga of Kiev, the grandmother of Vladimir I, took over the Kievan throne upon her husband's demise (in the X century). Her first action recorded in the chronicles was to avenge her husband's death. And she did it not once, but twice, and in a very creative fashion at that. Now it must be said, in all fa [...]
[2006-07-25] Are dating services worth the cost?
More single men and women are turning to dating services to meet that special someone. But what exactly do dating services promise and is it worth the cost? It's a lesson one man says he learned the hard way. Matchmaking is an exploding industry with more than 400 services nationwide promising to find the right person for you. But with any booming business, the Better Business Bureau warns there are complaints. "We're finding there are allegations that the dating club is overinflating the compatibility between the two folks," said Erin Jones, Better Business Bureau. Enrique Becerra is [...]
[2006-07-25] Americans crossing race lines more often
Despite its battles over immigration, affirmative action, racial profiling and other issues, America is finally becoming a melting pot. A powerful interracial tide has transformed friendships, dates, cohabitations, marriages and adoptions in just one generation. If the wave continues to grow, it could sweep away racial stereotypes and categorizations, as well as the rationale behind affirmative action and other broad minority protections. It remains to be seen, however, whether higher levels of social integration, especially among Asians, are benefiting blacks, the least integrated of U.S. m [...]
[2006-07-25] Chinese parks turned into marriage bureaus
There are 200 or so middle-aged men and women gathered in Beijing's Zhongshan park, and the refrain you hear repeatedly is: "Nan de, nu de?"'Boy or girl?' The question is uttered sometimes with a sheepish grin, at other times with a look of desperation. Under clusters of shady trees overlooking the Forbidden City's Tongzi moat, they huddle, debating the merits or demerits of a potential candidate. Some flit from group to group, scrutinising photographs, studying posters placed on the ground and placards hung around necks. A typical notice reads: "Girl, 28, 1.62m tall, university graduate, [...]
[2006-07-25] A couple of dating issues -- both are problematic
Dear Carolyn: A year ago my family discovered my mom had been having an affair with a married man for the past three years. Worse, the guy has two young sons. Naturally, this destroyed my family, but a year later I think we're all making it.I'm civil to my mom, but not much more. The man she is having an affair with continues to promise to leave his wife, but he still hasn't. My bet is that he never does. Anyhow, my mom wants me to accept and embrace this man and the life she leads. The very core of my being finds this sort of behavior disgusting. What can I do?Trying Not to Be SickDear Trying [...]
[2006-07-25] Judge Sides With Client In Matchmaking Case
LOS ANGELES A jury has awarded $2.1 million to a woman who claimed to have been disappointed by her matchmaker.Anne Majerik paid Orly Hadida, a Beverly Hills matchmaker, $125,000 and said at the time she was promised "a cultured gentleman" with an "estate of up to $20 million," the Los Angeles Times reported. Majerik, a 60-year-old widow and social worker who lives in Erie, Pa., said all she got were a few introductions to some inappropriate men. Orly, an Israeli beauty pageant winner who goes by her first name, told a far different story, according to The Times. She and her lawyer alleged tha [...]
[2006-07-25] Foreign citizens will not be allowed to adopt Russian children anymore
Russia apparently intends to put an end to the export of Russian orphans. The adoption of Russian orphans is likely to be stopped entirely in the nearest future against the background of recent scandals stirred up because of foster parents’ brutality. Spokesman for the Russian Ministry for Education Sergei Apatenko stated yesterday that the so-called independent adoption of Russian orphans would be outlawed in the country before the end of the year. Independent adoption implies the activities of adoption agencies providing their services to foreign citizens wishing to adopt Russian children. S [...]
[2006-07-25] Tourism gives opportunities for sexual adventures
It is known that for some men tourism includes not only sightseeing but also sexual adventures. Such men are eager to find out if women’s love and caresses are stronger and tenderer in other countries. Some novelist wrote in his book that all women in a foreign country seem mysterious because one cannot understand the language they speak. And men usually get disappointed as soon as the language of foreign women becomes clear for them. Men believe that women in different countries speak just about fineries, men and money. In all epochs, conquerors before plundering countries they conquered [...]
[2006-07-24] Korea greets new era of multiculturalism
Chae Jung-min, 31, regards herself as an open-minded person. After spending four years in the United States as an elementary school student, she quickly learned that the world was comprised of various races, nationalities and cultures. Nevertheless, Chae has an uneasy feeling about the rising number of foreigners and mixed marriages in Korea, which is making the nation increasingly multiracial and multicultural. "I don't know, I have always believed that Korea is a single-race country. And I'm proud of that. Somehow, Korea becoming a multiracial society doesn't sound right," she said. Li [...]
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