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[2006-09-11] Seniors dive into dating pool
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 Haak. 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 do [...]
[2006-09-11] Ivan IV Vasilyevich or Ivan the Terriblethe first formally proclaimed tsar of Russia
Ivan IV Vasilyevich or Ivan the Terrible(1530-1584),grandprince of Muscovy (1533-1584) and the first formally proclaimed tsar of Russia (1547-1584). One of Russia’s most brutal and notorious rulers, Ivan oversaw the vast expansion of his country and then brought it to near ruin. He was the penultimate ruler of the house of Ryurik, Russia’s first dynasty. Ivanwasthefirstchild of Grand Prince Vasily III of Muscovy (the official name of the Russian state at that time) and his second wife, Elena Glinskaya. Vasily died in 1533, leaving Ivan fatherless and nominally grand prince. Although Ele [...]
[2006-09-11] Moscow is the capital of Russia
Moscow is laid out in a series of concentric rings that center on the original medieval fortress, the Kremlin. The encircling wide thoroughfares—the Boulevard Ring, Garden Ring, and Outer Ring Road—delineate the historic expansion of the city’s fortifications. Like spokes of a wheel, 14 main transportation axes radiate from the center. The Moscow River winds its way from northwest to southeast through the city, reaching a width of 244 m (800 ft) in some places. The central and eastern parts of the city lie in the river valley, and in the southwest the Sparrow Hills (formerly the Lenin Hills) r [...]
[2006-09-11] Moscow population
Moscowproperhadapopulation (2002) of 10,101,500. The city’s annual growth rate slowed significantly between 1970 and 1990—from 1.21 percent to .26 percent—in part because of declining birthrates. The influx of people from other parts of Russia, and to a lesser extent from the adjoining successor states of the former Soviet Union, now accounts for most of the city’s growth. Moscow attracts people in search of jobs, better living conditions, and the excitement of the city; it also serves as a stopover point for many of those leaving the country. Russiansarethelargest ethnic group in Moscow. [...]
[2006-09-11] Moscow is the Educational and Cultural centre
Moscow State University (founded in 1755), the largest and most important educational institution in Russia, is one of more than 75 institutions of higher education in Moscow. The Russian Academy of Sciences and its affiliated research institutions have headquarters in the city. The Russian State Library has one of the largest collections in the world. Moscowhasseveralworld-renowned cultural institutions. The Bolshoi Theater, built in 1825, is home to one of Russia’s oldest ballet companies, the Bolshoi Ballet. Russia’s finest art collections outside of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg are [...]
[2006-09-11] Moscow history
HumansettlementonMoscow’s territory dates from the Stone Age, which began about 2.5 million years ago and lasted in this region until about 4000 bc. By ad 1100 Moscow was a small town at the confluence of the Neglinnaia and Moscow rivers. Records from 1147 show the city as a possession of Yuri Dolgoruki, prince of the Vladimir-Suzdal’ principality in Kievan Rus, the first significant East Slavic state. Still a relatively minor city, Moscow survived the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, when all of Kievan Rus fell under the rule of the Tatar khanate, or empire, known as the Golden Horde. [...]
[2006-09-11] Brezhnev Era
BrezhnevreplacedKhrushchev as first secretary of the party (the position was changed back to general secretary in 1966). Aleksey Kosygin, a longtime industrial administrator, became chairman of the Council of Ministers, or premier, while Podgorny was appointed chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Mikhail Suslov, the party’s chief of ideology, figured prominently in the leadership’s work. Its early announcements stressed collective deliberation and “businesslike” procedures. Brezhnevassertedhis primacy over his fellow leaders, but step by step and cautiously. Using his powers o [...]
[2006-09-11] Gorbachev Era
Brezhnev,aftermanyyears of poor health, died in November 1982. His successor as CPSU general secretary and head of state was Yury Andropov, a former chairman of the Soviet political police, the KGB. Andropov attempted a disciplinary approach to Soviet problems, but soon disappeared from public view and succumbed to illness in February 1984. After him, Konstantin Chernenko, a member of Brezhnev’s entourage for 35 years, lasted only 13 uneventful months before he, too, died in office. On March 11, 1985, the Central Committee appointed the 54-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, the youngest member of the [...]
[2006-09-11] Soviet Legacy
ThecollapseoftheSoviet Union paved the way for remarkable turmoil in the area. The CIS, to which all the post-Soviet countries except Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are signatories, has been a feeble presence. The newly independent states have for the most part gone their own way, choosing markedly different trajectories in the process. TheBalticStateshave by general agreement made the most rapid advances in the direction of a functioning market economy and democratic institutions. In most of Central Asia and in Belarus (formerly Belorussia), reforms have been much thinner and patterns of [...]
[2006-09-11] Socialist Realism
Throughthe1920s,arelatively broad range of literary groupings enjoyed official tolerance. This tolerance came to an end with the consolidation of power under Joseph Stalin and his decision to establish a planned economy and a collectivized, disciplined society. In 1932 the Communist government abolished all independent literary groupings and replaced them with a single, centralized Union of Soviet Writers. Independent journals and publishing houses also disappeared. At the first Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934, socialist realism was introduced as the only approved artistic method. Sociali [...]
[2006-09-11] The Thaw
ThedecadeafterStalin’s death saw several thaws, in which restrictions over literature were eased, and freezes, when they were reinstated and intensified. Political leader Nikita Khrushchev, in his efforts to cast off Stalin’s legacy, helped break the ice in 1956 and in 1961 by expanding the limits of what could be said in public. In doing so he encouraged writers seeking free expression. NovelssuchasOttepel’ (1954; The Thaw, 1955) by Ilya Ehrenburg and Ne khlebom edinym (1956; Not by Bread Alone, 1957) by Vladimir Dudintsev, while not of great literary merit, posed questions about Soviet [...]
Thelate1980sandearly 1990s saw the end of 60 years of state control over literature as the USSR moved toward its collapse in 1991. The Writers’ Union disintegrated under the impact of the policy of glasnost (openness) established by President Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. In 1990 official censorship ended and the government proclaimed freedom of the press. This new independence had profound effects on Russian literature. On the positive side, writers were now free to write as they pleased and about what they pleased without fear of reprimand or prison. They now had open access to [...]
[2006-09-11] Pushkin and the Golden Age of Poetry
Thefirstfewdecades of the 19th century saw an explosion of talent that propelled Russian literature to new heights. The advances of this period, which is known as the Golden Age of Poetry, are most vividly seen in the work of Aleksandr Pushkin. Pushkin knew the Western European literary movements of his time. He was educated in the tradition of 18th-century classicism, which set down strict rules for literary form and style. He later absorbed and then moved beyond romanticism, a movement that emphasized individual creativity and the imagination. At the same time, Pushkin captured the vitality [...]
[2006-09-11] Leo Tolstoy,
Leo Tolstoy,likehis contemporary Fyodor Dostoyevsky, was more than a novelist: He was a social and political thinker and an enormous moral force. In his writings, as in his life, he tried to uncover essential truths to give meaning to existence. His first published work, Detstvo (1852; Childhood), reveals at least two traits that run through all his fiction: penetrating psychological analysis of individuals and moral judgment of their behavior. These trends continue in various sketches of military life, such as Sevastopolskie rasskazy (1855-1856; Sebastopol Tales) and Kazaki (1863; The Cossack [...]
[2006-09-11] Fedor Dostoyevsky
Tolstoy’sworksdepict a world that seems ordered, comprehensible, and normal. The world created by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one of disorder and extremes of human behavior, a world in which characters act out dramas of ideas. Dostoyevsky’searlywritings include some remarkable psychological studies. It was only after 1860, however, when he returned from ten years of prison and exile in Siberia, that his works achieved real depth and power. Dostoyevsky’s novels examine the political and social issues of his day and explore eternal philosophical and moral problems. His Zapiski iz podpol’ia (1864; Not [...]
[2006-09-11] Anton Chekhov
Lateinthe19thcentury Anton Chekhov revolutionized the short story. Chekhov began as a humorist, churning out hundreds of brief comic stories for humor magazines and daily newspapers. Gradually he began to take his talent more seriously. He developed a coolly objective style that presents, in compact form, the specific circumstances of a character’s life and allows the reader to make final judgments about that character. The subject matter of his stories is the common and unexceptional in everyday life, related in ordinary yet poetic prose. The typical Chekhovian story has little external plot. [...]
[2006-09-11] Customs of Russia
Marriage and Family During the Soviet period, a secular "wedding palace" was the only place people could get married. Today some couples get married in a church after their official civil ceremony at a wedding palace. Housing is difficult to obtain, and young couples often live with their parents for some time. Due to the cost of living, urban couples have small families; rural families are larger. Both husband and wife usually work, but women are also considered responsible for housekeeping. Child care is available and is sometimes paid for by employers, but grandparents who live with [...]
[2006-09-11] Questions and Answers About Russia and Eastern Europe
Q: Some Muslim Slav nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina claim that the language they speak is totally distinct from any other language used in the former Yugoslavia. Do the Bosnian Muslims have their own separate language? A: Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs all speak variants of a single language, which most international linguists still refer to as Serbo-Croatian. As is the case with the differences between the Serbian and Croatian variants, there are specific accents and vocabulary items that are unique to the variant that the Bosnian Muslims speak. Bosnian Muslims are more likely [...]
[2006-09-11] Questions and Answers About Russia and Eastern Europe
Q: Some Muslim Slav nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina claim that the language they speak is totally distinct from any other language used in the former Yugoslavia. Do the Bosnian Muslims have their own separate language? A: Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs all speak variants of a single language, which most international linguists still refer to as Serbo-Croatian. As is the case with the differences between the Serbian and Croatian variants, there are specific accents and vocabulary items that are unique to the variant that the Bosnian Muslims speak. Bosnian Muslims are more likely [...]
[2006-09-11] Cyrillic Alphabet
Cyrillic Alphabet, alphabet developed in the 9th century for the use of Eastern Orthodox Slavs. It was based on Greek characters, and with modifications it constitutes the present Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian alphabets. A modified Cyrillic script is also used for writing the languages of the Central Asian republics and of many of the small nationality groups in Russia. Although it was traditionally ascribed to St. Cyril, scholars now believe that the Cyrillic alphabet was devised by one of Cyril's followers. It is related to the Glagolitic alphabet (also a [...]
[2006-09-11] Mariinsky Ballet
Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet, formerly Kirov Ballet, Russian ballet company located in Saint Petersburg, noted for its performances of classic works. The company dates from 1738, when French ballet master Jean-Baptiste Landé requested that Empress Anna Ivanovna grant him 12 students so that he could form a school in Saint Petersburg to promote the skills of Russian dancers. It became known as the Imperial Ballet School. Tsar Paul I invited French choreographer Charles Didelot to join the company in 1801. In 1828 Didelot laid the first foundations for a distinctly Russian style by creating a bal [...]
[2006-09-11] Bolshoi Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet, one of the oldest Russian ballet companies, famous for its dramatic performances and preservation of 19th-century ballet traditions. The Bolshoi Ballet originated in classes given at a Moscow orphanage in 1773. The company gave its first performance in 1776 and moved to the Bolshoi Theater in 1825. During much of the 19th century, the Bolshoi was overshadowed by the Imperial Mariinsky Ballet (later the Kirov Ballet, now the Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet), based in Saint Petersburg. However, the Bolshoi began to develop its own style and identity in the 1860s, when Italian choreograph [...]
[2006-09-11] Balalaika
Balalaika, Russian stringed instrument of the lute family. It has a triangular body, basically flat, with a small round sound hole near the narrow top of the belly; a long, narrow neck; and three gut or metal strings, normally plucked with the fingers (a leather plectrum is sometimes used with metal strings). Made in six sizes, from piccolo to contrabass, it developed in the 18th century from the similar domra or dombra of Central Asia and Siberia. The representative balalaika, the treble or prima, is usually tuned e1 e1 a1 (e1 = E above middle C). [...]
[2006-09-11] White Russians
White Russians, name given to members and supporters of the counterrevolutionary White armies, which fought against the Bolshevik Red Army in the Russian Civil War (1918-1921). Following the 1917 Russian Revolution that overthrew the monarchy, resistance was quickly organized against the Bolshevik forces commanded by Leon Trotsky. The White forces were initially led by former imperial officers, General Lavr Kornilov and General Anton Denikin, and was supported by socialist revolutionaries and right-wing social democrats. Fearful of the spread of Communism, Britain, the United States, Italy, an [...]
[2006-09-11] Some facts on Kazan
Kazan’, city in central European Russia, capital of the republic of Tatarstan, and a port at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers. Kazan’ is a major industrial, commercial, and cultural center. Manufactured products include machinery, refined petroleum, chemicals, building materials, processed food, footwear, soap, and textiles. Once a prominent Muslim city, Kazan’ remains a center of Tatar culture (see Tatars). It is the site of Kazan’ State University (founded in 1804), where Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Ilich Lenin studied, and several technical schools. Notable structures include the [...]
[2006-09-11] Communism in the Soviet Union
Communism,atheoryandsystem of social and political organization that was a major force in world politics for much of the 20th century. As a political movement, communism sought to overthrow capitalism through a workers’ revolution and establish a system in which property is owned by the community as a whole rather than by individuals. In theory, communism would create a classless society of abundance and freedom, in which all people enjoy equal social and economic status. In practice, communist regimes have taken the form of coercive, authoritarian governments that cared little for the plight [...]
[2006-09-11] Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War,armedconflictthat began in 1918 in the former Russian Empire between the newly formed Bolshevik (Communist) government and its adversaries, most notably the counterrevolutionary forces known as the Whites. Although the Whites were decisively defeated in late 1920, the Bolsheviks faced internal rebellion into 1921 and foreign intervention into 1922. The Bolsheviks’ ultimate victory in the Russian Civil War led to the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in December 1922. TheRussianCivilWar began after the Bolshevik Party took control of Russia’s govern [...]
[2006-09-11] Democracy Moves Forward in Russia
In a historic runoff election, incumbent Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin defeated his Communist challenger, Gennady Zyuganov, on July 3, 1996. More than just a personal victory for Yeltsin, the election was a boost for democracy in Russia. It marked the first time—in more than 1000 years of history—that an independent Russia has allowed the people to choose their head of government in an open, contested election. For centuries Russia was ruled by czars, who inherited their autocratic powers. Then, from 1917 to 1991, Russia was governed under a system of one-party Communist rule. Although de [...]
[2006-09-11] Moscow: The New Revolution
By David Remnick It was the summer of 1991. The Soviet regime was crumbling like week-old bread, and my wife and I were scheduled to fly home to New York for the last time, ending a nearly four-year stint in Moscow—mine for the Washington Post, hers for the New York Times. The flight was scheduled for August 18, a Sunday. A few days before, I had interviewed Aleksandr Yakovlev, who had been Mikhail Gorbachev's closest aide throughout the perestroika years. The "forces of revenge" within the party and the KGB, he said, were preparing a putsch. I didn't know what to make of his comment e [...]
[2006-09-11] Revolution of 1905
In1905itappearedthat a democratic revolution might happen in Russia. In January 1905 in Saint Petersburg, then the capital of Russia, the tsar’s troops fired on a peaceful labor demonstration of workers and their families. This massacre sparked a massive uprising of workers. Radical ferment, strikes, and insurgencies spread throughout the countryside, the towns, and the cities. All the revolutionary parties suddenly gained mass followings. The tsarist regime felt sufficiently threatened to offer a variety of concessions, which included an expansion of civil liberties and the creation of an e [...]
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