Capturing Russia from white to black, north to south, east to west

Posts Tagged "history"

Vasily: Grammar School History Teacher

St. Petersburg: Vasily, 24, was dressed in a bow tie and sporting a curly mustache as he walked through the center of St Petersburg on his way to meet friends. A native of Bryansk, a town 400km southwest of Moscow, Vasily teaches history in a St. Petersburg grammar school. Vasily said 20th century history is his favorite as it gave rise to jazz, blues, Hemingway and Bulgakov. He plans to pursue a doctorate in history.

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Anna: Considering Move to Germany

TBILISI, GEORGIA: Anna, 19, is a history student who dances hip hop in her free time. She said her father and her uncle are both artists and that her uncle lives in New York City. Anna said she would like to live Tbilisi for Germany as feels her city is 'boring' and that it's hard to find work. She said students in Germany can study for free. Anna was just one of about 7 students I met that dreamed of moving or studying in Germany.

Alexei: Moscow Antique Seller

I have passed a small antique kiosk nearly every day for the past year as I walk to and from the metro station. I finally popped in to find out about the owner and the business. Alexei, 25, said he first set up a website with a friend to sell antiques four years ago. The business has grown…

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Ukraine: Tale of Family Love

She was born in 1926 in Western Ukraine into what would become a large family. WWII devastated her country and may have contributed to her mother's premature death in 1944 from pneumonia. She took one of her younger brothers under her wing and helped raise him in her home. But, she never had any children who could care for her in old age. So, nearly 70 years later, roles have reversed. Her younger brother has taken her into his home to care for her. ''It is my moral obligation,'' he told me. ''She did so much for me as a boy.''

Nastya: Middle Ages Enthusiast

Anastasia was walking through the center of Minsk in nearly all black, including Gothic-styled boots. I expected her to talk about an interest in some obscure hard rock genre. Instead, she passionately talked about her interest in recreating 15th century German life with a club she joined a few years back on the recommendation of a now ex-boyfriend. She said her group consists of about 30 people, nearly split 50-50 between men and women. She said they take part in Middle-Age festivals around Belarus and neighboring countries. I asked what attracts women like herself to such clubs. "It's romantic - knights, beautiful dresses, music. You leave all your problems behind. It's an unforgetable experience." The red 'scarf' she is wearing is a Middle-Age replica she made.

Islam: Afghan in Moscow

Islam grew up in Afghanistan in a family of 10 children. A good student, he was sent to study in Russia for six years during the 1980s just as USSR troops were in his country. He returned to Russia in the 1990s as the Taliban took power. He now works in trade at a massive Moscow market that feels like a Asian melting pot. He counted off several countries where his siblings live - Austria, Norway, Canada. Of the 10 children, only two are in Afghanistan. He says he is getting to the age where money is less important and the desire to do some good greater. Islam says he would like to return home someday to help young people looking to start their own business. 

Russia-NYC Photo Series 25

Moscow's population has grown rapidly over the past 50 years, meaning many of its inhabitants have shallow roots. Alexei, wearing a NYC t-shirt, said his family's Moscow roots go back to the time of Ivan the Great in the 16th century.

Brothers & Ozzy Fans

These brothers said they attended Black Sabbath's first Moscow concert in the days of Perestroika. They returned to see the groups 2nd gig this year. I asked them how the concert atmosphere differed today from 1989. "Everything is different - it was a different country {USSR}, different people. There was more cohesion among people then ...they were hungry for music. They came to such concerts because they were a kind of outlet.

Pyotr: Engineer Turned Portrait Drawer

It's a story I have heard hundreds of times over the years from Russians older than 40, but it still touches me nonethless.....I asked Pyotr how he began working as a portrait artist. He said he was working as an engineer in the late 1980s but "was forced to by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the economy" to find some other means of taking care of his family. Petr said he would take his son, then a small child, with him occasionally to the pedestrian street or park where he drew.