Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A Lady with Experience

Filed under: domestic life,inspirational,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

In the past few years, women in Russia have become much more independent in judgement and are noticeably in better command of their lives. A glamorous representative of the new generation of independent-thinking ladies is Maria Gorodova, who has quite a lot to say on how to survive in a crisis and make the most of the worst of situations to prosper in the future.

“I’ve struck on a new understanding of life”, Maria said. “No one owes us anything, be it our parents or the government. I can rely on myself only. This understanding came to me along with the new historical era in Russia a few years ago. For some, this historical turn entailed a grandiose inner transformation. But, as at any time, the future of an individual depends very much on their own efforts. We were promised a happy life and a bright future in the old days. But, it has turned out to be far more complicated. We cannot expect life to confer presents on us all the time because, as the advertisers assure us, we deserve them. To accept your life as it is is very difficult and costs a tremendous inner effort”.

Maria became aware of this about six years ago, when her husband died in an accident saving another person’s life. All of a sudden, Maria, a housewife then, found herself on her own with her two children, no means of support, and with no one to rely on. “We lived in Kursk then, and it was 1998”, Maria recalled. “I was a housewife with a university degree in biotechnology. Tragedy struck overnight. My husband, a reporter for the Krestyanka (Peasant Woman) Publishing House, died in an accident and I was confronted with the problem of how I was going to carry on and raise the kids. That was a devastating personal drama that I went through. I soon came to realise that I ought to build up my life so as to spare the children the emotional stress they were suffering in the wake of the tragedy. I knew I had to protect them against this evil, to protect their fragile inner worlds against the shocking realities of the world around them”. The tragedy in which Maria’s husband died, in his attempt to save an 18-year-old orphan and dying with him as a result, struck those close to her as the greatest unfairness. It was a model family by every standard, solid and flourishing, but, it was hit by a crippling crisis.

“When we hear of a tragedy, we all secretly hope that it’ll spare us”, Maria said. “It’s a psychological trick of sorts and it often goes back on us. So, we come to realise eventually that it may happen to any of us. What becomes important after you’ve been caught by a disaster is your idea of survival. In my case, I think, a devastating psychological blow did not prevent me from taking the right decision”.

Psychologically, the decision Maria went for under the circumstances couldn’t be better, at least for the time right after the tragedy. To spare herself and the children the emotional stress of living in an environment closely associated with the memories of her late husband, she chose to move. A dramatic turn in her life proved the only effective remedy. “At the funeral, I was approached by the president of the Peasant Woman Publishers my husband had worked for”, Maria said. “Shattered at what had happened, she inquired what she could do for me. I said, ‘I can try to write for you, if you don’t mind’. That was an bold decision on my part, of course, because I didn’t have the proper qualifications for the job. I had tried my hand at writing short reports for a newspaper on two occasions. But, I was not a professional. To ask for such a favour was a risky stab that sprang from despair. What I knew for sure then was that from now on I ought to provide for my children”. To make things worse yet, the 1998 banking crash made every single rouble of Maria’s scarce savings worthless. But, she has always been too proud to ask for help.

“As I look back on what happened to me, I am sure I was right not to ask anyone for money”, Maria said. “You have to rely on your inner reserves at times of crisis. After I got a journalistic job at the Peasant Woman Publishing House, I rented a flat in a suburban town near Moscow. All of a sudden, I discovered that life was not treating me badly after all. Even though I had two children on my hands and had yet to secure myself a stable position with the publishing house, I felt lucky on many occasions, because people I had never seen before showed the utmost understanding and compassion towards me and my children”. The knowledge that she was not the only one surviving such a tragedy provided Maria with additional strength and willpower.

“When you meet someone you’ve never known before and this someone shows so much understanding of you, it inspires you with optimism. I commuted to Moscow for a year with my children because they wouldn’t stay alone, I kept bumping into people who helped me a lot and did so expecting nothing in return. I think they helped because they too had been helped before and they paid their dues by helping someone in their turn. There is a circulation of good and evil, I think. If someone has done you good, you have to return it”.

Maria lives in Moscow now. In the years that have passed since the tragedy, she has established herself with Peasant Woman Publishers and her rating as a journalist is very high. She replaced her late husband in his job and has succeeded in it. Her interviews with pop music celebrities and church hierarchs have earned undisguised praise and have been reprinted by a number of influential publishers.

“Journalism is a tough business”, Maria said. “I think it’s more for men than women because of the severe competition. The glossiness we all admire is no more than a veneer. But, I am happy in it, because it gives me the chance to test myself. As long as I get to do something fascinating and do it well, I don’t care about whether I have to sleep on a camp bed in the kitchen or live in other, equally uninviting, conditions. This is a concept of life that I am trying to get across to my children. Money doesn’t make much difference as long as you enjoy your work. It would be preferable, of course, to do what you like and get paid for it well. But, difficult as it is, you have to work towards it, because the feeling of self-fulfilment gets your mind off the meaningless daily worries that mar our lives. I wouldn’t say that my story has a happy ending, but, I did come out of the crisis with my head up, proud for myself and the kids. I just hope that one day my children will understand what it cost me to survive, raise them, and build up a new life for us from scratch”.

When things go badly, Maria always smiles. A smile, she said, helps you to keep yourself together. Because when people take pity on you, you find it harder to control your feelings. Keeping calm and having confidence in the future is a must when you have kids. A reassuring smile is better than any remedy, especially with children, who are so vulnerable to stress.

“A child should not see you cry. ‘You carry your smile to people and you leave your tears to God’, a popular saying goes. What is also important for children with a working mother is that they should see none of her worries when she comes home. Whatever bad an experience a mother may suffer in the process of work, she should leave it behind, so that the children should in no way be affected by it. Otherwise, they may suffer psychic or mental disorder. This is the kind of harmony I set my mind on when I am at home. The world has become much more aggressive and I see many children crack under the pressure. Ideally, a mother should stay home full-time, so that she’ll always be available to offer the kids a satisfactory explanation as to the true values of life. Explanation is vital in the age of television and advertising. But, if you work, you have fewer chances of creating such a comfortable microclimate at home. As for me, I think I am managing on both fronts”.

But, the major challenge, of course, is personal development, without which all other achievements would be just beyond access. “Progress is vital in the development of an individual”, Maria said. “I first wrote a couple of reports, then I learned to interview people, next, I went on to accumulate knowledge, and, now, I am thinking of publishing a collection of my interviews and in my mind I can see clearly how to do that. Progress stimulates you in your further development. When you see a new peak after you’ve conquered the previous one, it whips you up to scale it too. You move up step-by-step, and the steps you make keep you afloat, preventing you from going down. Being involved, feeling involved in something that takes your breath away, gives you the support you need from within. To secure your own place in the bustling world we are living in is vital to survive.

I can see many people now rushing to and fro caught in the grips of ever-changing values, not knowing where they belong. As a result, they lose their selves. But, when you address the eternal values, values that have proved true by centuries of human experience, you hit a different dimension in life and all the rest becomes secondary. This is what provides you with the potential for personal growth and helps you to survive”.


Tamara Murzina

Ladies of Character

Voice of Russia World Service


Basketball Player Andrei Kirilenko Is Chosen To Carry the Russian Colours in Beijing

Filed under: China,Olympics,patriotic,Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

Andrei Kirilenko (“AK-47”) (1981- ), star basketball player for the NBA Utah Jazz, captain of the Russian Olympic men’s basketball team. Ura, Andryusha!

Basketball player Andrei Kirilenko, the captain of the Russian men’s basketball team, will carry the Russian colours at the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games. “I am glad that my old dream has come true… to bear the Russian colours at the opening ceremony. This is an enormous honour to any sportsman”, Kirilenko said.

Andrei Kirilenko swiftly broke into the world of basketball, not only Russian, but, international as well. The ease with which he conquers one professional peak after another is impressive. At sixteen, as a player of St Petersburg’s Spartak club, he became the youngest member of the Russian super-league. A year later, in 1998, he joined the Moscow-based TsSKA (Central Sports Club of the Army) team. Another year went by, and Andrei Kirilenko became the youngest European player to be drafted by the Utah Jazz club of the American NBA. He has repeatedly been honoured as the best and most effective player of the month, joined the symbolic teams of Europe, the world, and the American Basketball Association. Furthermore, as a member of the Russian team, he won this year’s championship of Europe. Today, he aims to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games.

In his view, “We are going to Beijing to fight and conquer the field. Very strong adversaries are facing us, such as the 12-man team of the United States of America, all of whom play for the NBA. There will be the champions of the previous Olympics, the Argentineans, and the present world champions, the Spaniards. It will be extremely difficult to win the gold medal. Each game will be important. We will focus on doing our best to win each game, instead of thinking of the final result”.

There will be no easy-to-win games because the field includes such tough teams as the winner of the Athens games, Argentina, the fairly strong Lithuanians, and the dark horses, Australia, Croatia, and Iran, which may turn out to be aggressive and persistent players. Kirilenko sees “America, Spain, Lithuania, and Argentina as our strongest adversaries. The Spaniards are quick and fast-moving, they like to hold their adversaries under pressure; the Americans prefer the power play; they have more individually-trained players who prefer one-on-one standoffs. The fairly aggressive Argentines are good in team effort. Each team boasts a style of its own, and no game is a repetition of a previous meet. We must win all of them, too”.

The Olympic basketball matches will begin in Beijing on 10 August. The best teams of this planet have sixteen days to prove their worth. As it always happens, the strongest team has the best chance to win. Which exactly? This question will be answered on the last day of the Olympic basketball season… on August 24.

28 July 2008

Svetlana Andreyeva

Voice of Russia World Service


President Medvedev Gave a Pep Talk to the Russian Olympians Going To Beijing

Filed under: China,Olympics,patriotic,Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

URA! It’s hip, hip, hooray for the home-team! Let ‘er rip! President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ), gives his good wishes to the Russian Olympians in the State Kremlin Palace.

Today, Russia is seeing its team off to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. President Medvedev received the Olympians in the Moscow Kremlin. He wished them every bit of luck in the games which are scheduled to begin on 8 August. In his view, “All of you who are going to defend the honour of Russian sport in Beijing have already proven you are worthy of international recognition. There is good reason to expect you to score impressive victories, because many Olympic records bear your names. In the past few years, quite a few awards have been won by Russian sportsmen. Obviously, I cannot predict the outcome of the Beijing games, but, I want all of you to know that all of us will root for you with our whole heart; we know that you will give your all, so, we believe in your victory. Be assured that we all support you. I am convinced that you will show the true meaning of sport in Beijing. Forward, Russia! It is your shining hour! Good luck and success to all of you!”

The Beijing games are due to begin within a few days. Russia is sending one of the largest delegations to the games. Amongst them are previous champions of European, world and previous Olympic competitions. They will compete in 244 of 302 Olympic events. They really hope to win in boxing, wrestling, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming, track and field, weight-lifting, and fencing, as well as the tennis, volleyball, and basketball tournaments. Because Russia did very well in the previous Athens games, the Russian National Olympic Committee expects its team count to be one of the three highest in Beijing. 457 Russian sportsmen took part in the Athens games. They competed in 38 sports, winning Olympic medals in 24 and gold medals in 13. They won 27 gold, 27 silver, and 38 bronze medals in Athens.

The captain of the men’s basketball team, Andrei Kirilenko, will carry the colours of Russia at the opening ceremony. A contingent of 5,000 Russian fans going to China will be led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The opening of the 29th Olympic Games is scheduled for 8 seconds after 20.08 (that is, 8 in the evening) on 8 August at the main Olympic stadium in Beijing, the “Bird’s Nest”.

29 July 2008

lada-korotunLada Korotun

Voice of Russia World Service


Russian DSRVs Set World Record

Filed under: Russian,science — 01varvara @ 00.00

The DSRVs Mir-1 and Mir-2 set a new world record in deep sea descent, diving to a depth of 1,680 metres (5,511 feet). Therefore, the DSRVs have now established the depth of Lake Baikal at 1,680 metres (5,511 feet) instead of the previously thought 1,637 metres (5,370 feet). The scientific experiments involving both DSRVs will last for 2 years, during which time the DSRVs will dive several times in different parts of Lake Baikal, checking its plant and animal life and the tectonic process occurring on Baikal’s lakebed. Setting a world record is but a step in the study of the world’s deepest fresh-water lake, said Anatoly Sagalevich, leader of the current expedition. “Our programme includes the study of Baikal’s geological structure, slopes, and base. We will thoroughly study the known hydrothermal discharge on the lakebed in the form of methane emissions, Professor Sagalevich said. “Quite possibly, we will find something else. We have talked about gas hydrates; it is an interesting topic; it has vast reserves. It will also be among our items of study”, he said.

The Russian DSRVs descended to the bed of the fresh-water lake for the first time ever, but, they have made more than 800 dives in the open sea, examined 20 hydrothermal fields, and discovered about a 1,000 hitherto-unknown animal species as well as plants. The DSRVs have also taken part in the filming of several movies and helped in the investigation of the hulk of the Titanic lying at a depth of 3,800 metres (12,467 feet). The picture of the ship, which went down a century ago, was used in James Cameron’s film Titanic.

Last year, as part of the Arctic-2007 expedition, the DSRVs descended for the first time ever to the seabed of Northern Arctic Ocean, going down to a depth of 4,200 metres (13,779 feet). This year, they will make 60 dives in Lake Baikal and about a 100 more next year. Scientists from the Prince Albert II Scientific Foundation in Monaco, UN representatives, and scientists from institutes in America and Japan will be joining their Russian colleagues for this year’s expeditions.

29 July 2008

Svetlana Andreyeva

Voice of Russia World Service


Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.