Editor's Blog

Editor's Blog
Olga Kudriavtseva's picture

Russian Maslenitsa in London 2014 – the Cultural Splash

Maslenitsa, the Russian Sun Festival has long ago become an integral and very important part of London’s cultural life. It has been supported not only by the Russian speaking community in the UK, but also by British people together with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson who is learning more and more Russian words for his official video address to Maslenitsa lovers.

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Viva UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014!

I congratulate you with the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014 and proudly present this special issue of RussianMind magazine – the first and the only preview publication of the most important cross-cultural events in the UK, which are taking place throughout the whole year in 2014.


The Year of Culture is a celebration of the long and meaningful relations between Russia and the UK, it is evidence of the strong cultural alliance of our two countries and their intention to develop new creative projects together.

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Russian Parties – A Reflection of the National Spirit

Russians are distinguished by their social, financial or cultural levels, political views and religious beliefs but the passion for party has been attributed to every Russian person, becoming the common national trait of their character. There is even a phrase “party like Russians”, which means joyful partying and of course from dusk till dawn!

Very often Russians feel offended with such a perception, saying that they are not like that. Moreover, more and more Russians adopt Western traditions and holidays, considering that Western is better than native Russian.

However I believe that to celebrate in Russian style is a great idea. Russians by nature are very open, joyful and hospitable people. When Russians celebrate something, they put into the party a piece of their soul and a Russian soul knows no limits.

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Are Vodka, Bears and the KGB a thing of the past?

It seems to me that society adopts stereotypes on purpose – not going into any detail and therefore make life easier. Stereotypes themselves have a certain summary, which are used to describe specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things.

For instance, if you ask a foreigner what he knows about Great Britain, 99% of answers would be the Queen, Big Ben, 5 o’clock tea and the rainy weather. In the same situation I doubt that British people say the same things due to their knowledge, understanding and personal associations with their Motherland.

The same situation exits with Russians. If you ask me what comes to my mind when we talk about Russia, I would say anything except vodka, bears, frost, the KGB or whatever Europeans have to say about it. Russia is more than that.

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Viva Summer Olympics!

After years of preparation, London is hosting the most significant sporting and cultural event in the world –the Summer Olympics 2012.

For those living in London, the 2012 Olympics preparations have turned into a nightmare – constant road refurbishment, traffic disorder, building upheaval all around the city and the security - all of which have affected the daily life of thousands of citizens. But it’s worth it. Now with everything ready, the games  speak for themselves.

The main focus of the games is the new 200 hectare Olympic Park, constructed on a former industrial site at Stratford in the east of London. For the last few years East London areas have been developed to the highest standards to satisfy the demands of millions of visitors.

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Happy Birthday, RussianMind!

There are not that many things that leave an impression on our memory for a long time, probably only the most exciting and important moments of our life. For me one of the most remarkable was in May 2011, when Russian Media Solutions launched their new publication called RussianMind. I would even say “gave birth”, because since then we perceived the magazine as our ‘baby’ would grow!

The name of the ‘newborn’ was not chosen accidentally, it reflects in itself the approach to understand who Russian people are. The Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev said that “Russia cannot be understood with the mind”, but RM aimed to prove the contrary.

By looking at the background and history of the CIS countries, analysing their political, economic and business situations; observing the development of art and culture and the most important – communicating with prominent people, we have tried to understand the mindset of the Post Soviet people.

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Why is London such a ‘Honeypot’ for Russians?

It is difficult to say how many Russians live in the UK? Usually the statistics vary from between a quarter to half a million currently here. Whereas only 20-30 years ago, there was just a few thousand living in the UK. In the last century Russians settled in: Germany, Israel and the United States, but not so many went to the UK. However, in less than half a century, everything has changed and the UK and its capital have become one the most popular destinations for Russian immigrants.
I myself, came to London 5 years ago to get a British qualification and I expected then to return home. But I am still here, my diploma is still on my wall and I currently have no plans to leave this country. This makes me think, what motivates our progressive compatriots to stay here?

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Being Different is NORMAL!

In London people differ by race, religion, cultural habits and even dress preferences, but it seems they all feel comfortable living together in this big city.
To be honest, I hesitate as to whether the Brits consider new entrants as their peers, probably some even hate the international flow into their country, but they never seem to show their annoyance, seemingly tolerant to every single nation that finds their harbour on this island.
In Russia, the word “tolerance” came into use in the 2000s. Maybe it was used before, but at the beginning of the new century, we all went crazy, using it left, right and centre. The word itself isn’t the point, but it seems to me when it appeared in the vocabulary of the average citizen, only than did they start thinking about its meaning.

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Let’s Rock the Spring!

For some reason, people are sensitised to the changes in springtime more than any other. Once the season starts, it seems that human nature automatically switches to the regime of renewal and renovation. Perhaps because the days become warmer and longer and that makes us live in this strange elation, or like Eastern holidays’ relaxation, gives a strong charge of energy? Who knows what happens, but metamorphoses are seen on every single face.

In spring it is the time to commit to the revolution the soul is so asking for, both inside yourself and for outward things. Why not change your boring job for more exciting opportunities you had left unattended before? Why not try the activities you never had time for? Why not call those, who you wanted to say something very personal to, but were afraid to do so? Make your own “why not” list and enjoy making every point on it.

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The Unity of Spirit

Russians have an amazing trait – they like to huddle together when doing something. It can be a small company of close friends who attend yoga classes together or a large community that unites thousands of participants with a particular interest. Anyway, the core remains the same: Russians hate to do things on their own.

It all goes far back to the Soviet regime where people were obligated to do everything together. From early childhood till old age, people were participating in a variety of Soviet organisations, social activities and meetings. The truth is that the propaganda of “unity” was aimed at brainwashing society into supporting the Communist ideology. And it actually worked for almost a century. During that time people lived all together as one big country and one big community.

When the USSR collapsed, the philosophy of unity became redundant.