Voices from Russia

Sunday, 13 December 2015

“In the Forest Grew a Yolochka (Holiday Tree)”

00 Ded Moroz. 09.12.12


Here’s a sweet little song from Dede… he’s not Santa Claus… he’s the New Year’s Wizard.


In the forest grew a Yolochka, 
In the woods it grew up tall. 
It grew both winter and summer, 
It grew so green and tall.

The lyrics for this song date before the Revolution. Raisa Adamovna Kudashyova, née Gidroyts, was the author of many beloved holiday verses, loved over many generations. Raisa Adamovna grew up in a family of a Moscow postal official. She graduated from the M B Pussel Girls’ Gimnaziya, later working as a governess, a teacher, and a librarian. She wrote poems from her early childhood, but only dared to send one of them (entitled Rucheiku (Brook)) to Malyutka (Little One) magazine in 1896. She was only 18-years-old when the periodical published it. After that, her poems began to appear in many children’s magazines, such as Malyutka, Svetlachok (Firefly), and Podsnezhnik (Snowdrop), using pseudonyms such as “A E”,”A Er”, and” R K”. Yolochka saw its first publication by Malyutka in its 1903 holiday issue (the one right before New Year’s and Christmas). Instead of her name, it appeared under the modest alias “A E”. interestingly, it doesn’t contain a single “holiday” verse, yet it became a staple of children’s holiday celebrations.

13 December 2015

Fairy-Tale Map of Russia


Thursday, 1 January 2015

ITAR-TASS Presents… Memories of Soviet New Years

00 Soviet New Year 01. 1963 Moscow. 01.01.15

New Year celebration in 1963 in the Dom Profsoyuzov, Moscow (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) USSR


00 Soviet New Year 02. 1977 Moscow. 01.01.15

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka entertain children in the Kremlin Palace of the Soviets, Moscow, 1977


00 Soviet New Year 03. 1977 Moscow. 01.01.15

New Year celebration in the Kremlin Palace of the Soviets


00 Soviet New Year 04. 1977 Moscow. 01.01.15

New Year celebration in the Kremlin Palace of the Soviets


00 Soviet New Year 05. 1977 Moscow. 01.01.15

Queue at Detsky Mir (Children’s World) toy store, Moscow, 1983


00 Soviet New Year 06. Tbilisi. Georgian SSR. 01.01.15

New Year celebration in the Tbilisi Palace of Sports, Tbilisi (Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic) USSR


00 Soviet New Year 07. new TV set, 1963. 01.01.15

Buying a new TV set ahead of the New Year holiday, 1963


00 Soviet New Year 08. estonian SSR 1982. 01.01.15

New Year programme on Estonian TV, 1982


00 Soviet New Year 09. Moscow 1964. 01.01.15

New Year celebration in a kindergarten, Moscow, 1964


00 Soviet New Year 10. Moscow 1985. 01.01.15

Sale on the Arbat ahead of New Year, Moscow, 1985


00 Soviet New Year 11. Moscow Oblast 1984. 01.01.15

Ded Moroz at a winter Pioneer camp in Moscow Oblast, 1984


00 Soviet New Year 12. Uzbek SSR 1965. 01.01.15

Antonov An-2 aircraft delivered New Year trees to residents in Bukhara Oblast, Uzbek SSR, 1965


00 Soviet New Year 13. Altai Krai 1980. 01.01.15

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka in Altai Krai USSR, 1980


00 Soviet New Year 14. 1985. 01.01.15

New Year celebration, 1985


00 Soviet New Year 15. Moscow, 1985. 01.01.15

Ded Moroz leads gymnastics class in Moscow, 1985


00 Soviet New Year 16. RIga Latvian SSR. 01.01.15

Ded Moroz in Riga, Latvian SSR, 1986


The first official New Year performance for children in the USSR was in the Column Hall of Moscow’s Dom Profsoyuzov (House of Trades Unions) in 1936. These images recall Soviet New Year celebrations and activities.

29 December 2014




THIS is the “Evil Empire” that pigs like Victor Potapov and Patrick Buchanan expostulated about. Living standards in the USSR were lower than in the USA because the Soviets had to spend huge amounts on armaments to defend against Western aggression and rebuild their war damage, all at once. The USA suffered NO war damage… so American boasting about the Cold War is wrong, not to the point, and mendacious in the extreme. The main Sov forces were in the Western Military District in Byelorussia, that’s where all the most-modern stuff was… the forces in Germany and Czechoslovakia were meant to absorb the impact of a Western attack. The history of the last twenty-odd years proves that wasn’t paranoia… the Anglo Americans are violent and peevish toddlers… ask the Serbs, Afghans, Yemenis, Palestinians, Iraqis, and Novorossiyans… and the Native Americans and Filipinos before them (a Filipino said, “The Spaniards were bad, the Americanos were worse, the Hapons were worse than that, but the worst of all were the New Americanos”).

The USSR was done in by Gorbachyov’s incompetence, not the “superiority” of the West. VVP is right… the fall of the USSR was a historical tragedy. These photos prove it. One last thing… this image set is NOT anti-Soviet… fancy that… it proves that Russians do NOT despise their past, as Anglo Americans do. I think that a new socialism is arising in Russia. A spectre haunts the country clubs and Tea Party haunts… methinks that the prideful rightwing obituaries for socialism were a bit premature…


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year is On Its Way… Do Ded Moroz and Snegurochka KNOW Where YOUR House Is? Perspirin’ Minds Wanna Know…

00 New Year 01. The Littlest Hussar. 31.12.14


00 New Year 02. The Littlest Lamb. 31.12.14


At midnight tonight, it’s NEW YEAR! It’ll be 2015, kids… I’ll be 61 in April. I’ve made it this far, I’ve a good run of innings ahead… after all, only the good die young! Pass the jug and cheer! Get ready… it’s almost here!


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sputnik International Presents… Soviet Nostalgia: Vintage Holiday Decorations

00 Soviet New Year 01. 27.12.14   

Many people around the globe wonder why New Year in Russia seems to be more popular than Christmas. The answer lies in the Soviet period.


00 Soviet New Year 02. 27.12.14

A set of decorations based on The Fire Horses made by the Moscow Holiday Tree Decorations Factory.


00 Soviet New Year 03. 27.12.14

Christmas tree decorations made during the Great Patriotic War shown at the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War at the Poklonnaya Gora as part of the Victory Holiday Tree exhibition.


00 Soviet New Year 04. 27.12.14

Decorations from the Ariel Factory.


00 Soviet New Year 05. 27.12.14

Ceramic holiday tree ornaments created by 20th-century craftsmen on display at the Exhibition of Holiday Tree Decorations.


00 Soviet New Year 06. 27.12.14


00 Soviet New Year 07. 27.12.14

In contrast with traditional Christmas decorations… angels and the Child Jesus… Soviet decorations mirrored the daily life and achievements of the people. Glass tractors, satellites, cosmonauts, and airships hung together with baby hares, bears, and icicles.


00 Soviet New Year 08. 27.12.14

During the Great Patriotic War, decorations pictured planes, soldiers, tanks, guns, and dogs.


00 Soviet New Year 09. 27.12.14

A set of tree decorations base on Russian fairy-tale figures from the beginning of 1950s, made by the Moscow Holiday Tree Decoration Factory.


00 Soviet New Year 10. 27.12.14

Items at the Back to Childhood exhibition of Soviet holiday tree decorations in Vladivostok objectively portray the epoch.


In the USSR, Christmas and New Year traditions mingled. Although the ruling Communist Party enshrined atheism as the official ideological party line, Christmas celebrations went through the test of time and survived. How? Let’s plunge into the history and find out. Surprisingly, after an unexpected U-turn in Communist Party policy in 1935, Christmas had a revival in the form of New Year festivities. The fir tree came back, but now as the symbol of the New Year, not Christmas. Thus, it isn’t surprising that Russians usually call it a “New Year Tree” rather than a “Christmas Tree”. The Soviet five-pointed star replaced the Christmas Star, and former Christmas presents under the tree became New Year gifts. Tree decorations of the Soviet period weren’t fancy and luxurious, as the country went through harsh conditions. However, the decorations, often hand-made by family members for each other, were full of heartfelt love. New Year is the most important family holiday in Russia. In 1935, the state put on the first New Year festival with a decorated fir tree. In 1938, a 15-metre-tall fir adorned with 10,000 decorations stood in the centre of Moscow. This tradition survived, and the Moscow tree is the country’s main holiday tree.

27 December 2014

Sputnik International


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