Saturday, February 17, 2007

Russia, my love!

Some people get confused when others like me pay so much attention to the undemocratic developments in Russia, critisizing the lack of human rights. Has been assumed that we, the watch dogs, are Russophobics, hostile people hating Russia.

But it is NOT so. I love Russia. (As do many of my politically demanding friends, too.) The best trips ever I have done to that bizarre, enigmatic and huge superpower. Some of my best foreign friends are of course Russians. And even in Estonia I love to dig into the visible and lively Russian culture, too.

This is my list of some of the best things in Russia:

5) The amazing history. It can been seen and felt everywhere, even in ultra-modern Moscow, when you scratch the surface. Old ruins and kremlins, like in Nizhnyi-Novgorod, old churches, palaces, stupendous Stalinka blocks of flats, monstrous but eye-catching Soviet-style monuments...

4) The food. When it is good, it's really good! (Be aware: lots of bad food available!)
Blinys. Borsch soup. Shchi soup. Cabbage pies. Pickeld cucumber. Pelmeniy. Mustard (Dijon-like). Ketchup. You did know, didn't you, that in Russia ketchup is the best in the world? My favourite restaurant in Helsinki is Russian, too. It's Restoran Kazak.

3) The people. The good, nice people. Guys who like to sing until early morning. With whom to enjoy the bridges being lifted. Discussing the meaning of life and drinking sparkling Ukranian wine in a cosy bar. In the kind of bar, where everybody claims she is an artist. Everybody. Old ladies taking care of the museums (and taking care of me). Grannies cleaning public toilets, day by day. Selling hand-made goods at market places. Cleaning tables at cafes, run by girls looking like super models. Witty Russians, never running out of captivating jokes and anecdotes:

An inspecting commission came to a lunatics asylum. To greet them, a choir of the patients sang a song from a popular movie that says "Oh, how good it is to live in the Soviet land!"
The commission noticed that one of the men did not sing.
"Why are you not singing?"
"I'm not crazy, I'm a nurse here."

A frightened man came to the KGB, saying "My talking parrot disappeared."
"This is not our case. Go to the criminal police."
"Excuse me. Of course I know that I have to go to them. I am here just to tell you officially that I disagree with that parrot."

2) The Russian music. My favourites: Rakhmaninov, Mussorgsky, at times even Shostakovich. Tchaikovsky; especially the violin concert and some operas, like Eugene Onegin, the opera I find the best opera in the world! The second best is the Queen of Spades.

1) More culture. Arts. The wonderful paintings in the Russian museum or Tretyakov gallery. Or Hermitage. Films, like the ones of Tarkovskiy. Literature. Master i Margarita, Doctor Zhivago (= my favourite), anything written by Dostoyevsky, poems of Akhmatova. Solzhenitsyn. Wonderful.
And Krokodil Gena , the best children's character ever, enjoy!


Mane the Mean said...

It is just a pity that one cannot get a visa at the border. I would like to visit St. Petersburg on weekends, maybe monthly, but having to send passport to the embassy etc is just too much a hassle.

Would it be somehow possible to get a permanent visa to Russia?

Anonymous said...

Getting a multiple entry visa is really complicated, without so-called industrial necessity. And even then it could be expensive.

But you don't have to carry your passport and applications to the embassy yourself. The travel agency will take care of that. So going to Russia monthly is possible! (And a great idea!)

More information in here:


Anonymous said...

Hi nice blog. A Business russian visa is issued to travelers who wish to enter Russia a business visit, research, consulting with business associates, to attend a professional or business convention, to make commercial contacts or culture exchanges.