Voices from Russia

Sunday, 8 March 2015

8 March 2015. 8 Марта… It’s International Women’s Day… с Праздником!

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Here’s one of the old Sov holidays that the people refused to abandon. Sadly, in the “Ukraine”, the Galician Uniate neofascists are trying to stamp it out. Trust me, the people in the DNR and the LNR are keeping it alive… the rest of Novorossiya is keeping it alive… mostly everyone else is keeping it alive. So, it’s our day, girls. 8 March… to the feast! Socialism IS good!

BMD

Thursday, 26 February 2015

26 February 2015. Taking the Snow Fort… An Established Part of Maslenitsa Fun

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One of the established parts of Maslenitsa fun is the storming of the snow fort. Here’s part of this year’s bash.

BMD

Monday, 19 January 2015

Russian Ice Bucket Challenge: Russians Celebrate Orthodox Epiphany

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Epiphany in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF

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Epiphany in Vorkuta (Komi Republic. Northwestern Federal District) RF… that be above the Arctic Circle, kids… that’s FAR North

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On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Christians across Russia marked Orthodox Epiphany, immersing themselves into freezing waters on a cold January night. Epiphany is on 19 January according to the Orthodox Church tradition. The Church teaches that St John the Baptist baptised Jesus Christ in the Jordan River on this day, so, Orthodox Christians mark the occasion by jumping into frozen rivers or ponds.

More than 150,000 Muscovites took part in the tradition this year. Russia’s capital offers A-one conditions for believers by constructing specifically designed areas for plunging. The authorities built 60 ice-dipping spots across Moscow, with medical personnel and volunteers present and ready to provide assistance at all specifically designated areas for the cold plunge. For those who truly believe in the holy powers of healing and blessing of the water on Epiphany, even extremely low temperatures in Arctic Siberia didn’t stop them from making the plunge. With temperatures being below -40 degrees in Norilsk (Krasnoyarsk Krai. Siberian Federal District), one of Russia’s most northern cities, hundreds of people showed up to test their faith, Norilsk TV reports. In Vorkuta, situated north of the Arctic Circle, where visibility was less than ten metres (33 feet) because of freezing fog, hundreds of people lined up for the plunge. As they walked out of the ice-hole cut out on the surface of the frozen Usa River, water droplets turned into ice a split second after reaching the ground.

Prior to Epiphany, the Orthodox Church holds a series of religious services that conclude with a blessing of the water. Those who didn’t jump into the icy waters took blessed water home with them. Epiphany concludes the traditional Christmas holiday season in Russia. Russian authorities built more than 3,000 plunging spots across the country. Last year, over 1.3 million people across Russia celebrated Orthodox Epiphany.

19 January 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/russia/20150119/1017076077.html

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Alaska: Starring

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Last week’s Russian Christmas in Unalaska looked a little different from elsewhere in the state. Over the years, the town evolved from a Native village into an industrial hub. Now, it has miles of roads and thousands of residents from countless different faiths. Therefore, the little congregation of the oldest Russian Orthodox Church on the continent has had to evolve, too. KUCB’s Annie Ropeik has more on how their Slaaviq became a community celebration. In Unalaska’s historic downtown, Christmastime means almost every building is strung with lights… all but the Orthodox Church, which sits at the back of the neighbourhood. Its green onion domes date back 200 years, standing out in a skyline of cargo cranes and seafood plants. Outside the church, you wouldn’t know it’s Christmas… until early January, when a rare sound rings out across the island. In the sanctuary, about 15 worshippers sing a set of Russian and English carols. They’re grouped around a pair of spinning wooden stars, each a few feet across and strung with lights, bells, and tinsel. This starring ceremony will repeat dozens of times in the next few nights, in kitchens and living rooms across town.

However, the biggest, newest, part of the holiday came earlier in the day. At least 100 people packed into the local senior centre for a community Slaaviq potluck. The meal only dates back about 15 years, designed to give the elders a starring in the daytime. Fr Evon Bereskin, the Orthodox priest for Unalaska and several nearby villages, said, “The meaning of the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, the starring, is that we’re going out to proclaim the birth of Christ. The stars that we’re spinning are the stars which the wise men followed. So, we’re spinning and singing and following the star, which leads us to Christ”. From here, Fr Evon said that they’d spend three days starring in people’s homes. These days, that can include long-time Unalaskans who aren’t actually part of the congregation. However, the list for the second night is all churchgoers. The group that will bring the star to them is bigger than the one at the church. They meet at Fr Evon’s apartment for coffee and brownies, then, try to figure out who’s next… and spread the word via text message. Lifelong Unalaskan Sharon Svarny Livingston is one of the starring group. She said that this part has changed a lot since she was little, when the town looked more like the villages that celebrate Slaaviq in the rest of Alaska. She told us, “In all those other places, you walk with the star all over the whole town, you know? So, that creates a different feeling. Here you gotta drive. If you’re working and you don’t get off until late, you’ve gotta try to find the star, which can be really difficult sometimes. It’s easier now with cell phones”.

The congregation’s also had to condense some over the years. With many parents now raising their kids to celebrate two Christmases… American and Russian… Livingston says that they’ve had to work harder to pass on the traditions, saying, “We kind of went through a period where we really had to teach the young kids the songs and stuff. We all started to go in one group and we just kind of stayed that way. That’s what’s really changed”. The single star they’re using now is thought to be their oldest… made about a century ago in the Native village of Kashega, abandoned during World War II. Tonight, that star… as big as a small child… gets a ride in one of the SUVs caravanning up the road to the first houses on the list. Then, it crowds into Vicki Williams’ living room with its entourage of carollers singing in Russian. The starring always ends the same way… with a blessing of long life. The choir sang, “Many years to all, many years to all, to the people in this house. (In Russian and English) Merry Christmas, merry Christmas!” Williams replied, “Thank you!” Williams wears a big smile, standing in the middle of the crowd and thanking all her friends for coming as they file out, saying, “I feel like I’m having my house blessed when they come here, you know, with the cross and the star and stuff”. She bid a “see you later” to a pair of young fishermen on their way out the door. Around her, the room emptied out as quickly as it filled. The starring group is heading back to their cars. They have lots more houses to get to before the night is over.

16 January 2015

Annie Ropeik

KUCB (Unalaska AK USA)

AK Alaska Public Media

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/01/16/ak-starring/

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