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Spotlight on Russia

Гипермаркет знаний>>Английский язык>>Английский язык 11 класс>> Spotlight on Russia

Spotlight on Russia

Spotlight on Russia

Our names are Ann and Bill and we want to welcome you to this edition of §3 Spotlight on Russia. We are both Year 11 students from Ridgeway Secondary School in Liverpool, England. We are very lucky to be living and studying in Russia this year as part of a student exchange programme.

Spotlight on Russia has invited us to work for the magazine as guest editors. This year we will be travelling across this amazing country and learning as much as we can about Russian culture, geography, environmental issues, free-time activities and much more. We'll share our impressions of life in Russia with you, and we hope you'll tell us more about different aspects of life in your great country!

Please send us your ideas about places we should see and things we should do while we are here. You can contact us by email at bill&anne@spotlightonrussia.ru Remember, teenagers from all over the world read this terrific magazine, so this is a great opportunity to let people know about your country!
We hope you enjoy our articles.
Bill                                                                                       Ann

поезд      балет


1    Life
Different ways of life in Russia
2    Culture
3    Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Crime & Punishment
4    Tradition
Old New Year
5    Luck
Russian superstitions
6    Space
Mir Orbital Complex
7    Success
Irina Kolesnikova achieved success against all the odds
8    Exploring Russia
Russia is a huge country so, of course, the way of life can be very different depending on where people live.

Spotlight on Russia looks at different ways of life in Russia

A quarter of the population of Russia, about 40 million people, live in villages. Russia's size means village life has hardly changed in centuries and is still very traditional, although quite hard. People's livelihoods depend on crops and livestock. They must work in the fields and tend to their animals. The summer harvest has to last through the winter and often the only way for people to make money is to sell their produce at the market in the nearest town or city. However, the isolation and simplicity that makes viilage life difficult is also what makes it wonderful. There are no factories or traffic, only fresh air, clear streams and beautiful forests.
The best stretch of coastline in Russia is in the south¬east on the coast of the Black Sea. This is where many Russians go for their summer holidays. It is a densely populated area and the people who live there make their living from the tourists who come for their holidays between May and October. Every house has rooms to rent and the streets and beaches are crowded with people selling all sorts of souvenirs and refreshments. There are also many different types of water sports available.

•    Where do you live?
•    Does your lifestyle depend on the place
        you live in? If yes, how? If no, why not?

In the far north of Russia, conditions are harsh and life is very difficult. This is where you will find large oil fields and mining operations. Big companies attract  people to work and live there by giving them high salaries and free housing. Even so, many people leave after a short time because they cannot cope with the freezing cold conditions and temperatures as low as - 50°.

Describe the place where you live. What is it like to live there? Write to Spotlight on Russia and tell us all about if


Taking a walk in the park in Moscow has never been so good now that the Tsaritsyno Estate has even more to offer.


Twenty minutes from downtown Moscow, you will find the Tsaritsyno Estate. It is a huge palace and park whose official name is the State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum Reserve Tsaritsyno. The park covers an area of over 700 hectares and has beautiful scenery. The waters of the Upper Tsaritsyno pond together with the Shipilovsky and Borisovsky ponds form the largest group of ponds in Moscow.

The palace was built as a royal residence for Catherine the Great by the famous Russian architect, Vasiliy Bazhenov in a romantic gothic style. However, after ten years of construction, the tsarina was unhappy and tore many of the buildings down when she saw them, in 1785. Another architect, Matvey Kazakov, was ordered to rebuild the palace, but it was not completed before Catherine's death.

Over the next two hundred years the palatial estate turned into majestic ruins. Although it was abandoned, it became a favourite place for Muscovites to spend time outdoors. Finally, in 1984 a decision was reached to completely restore Tsaritsyno's architecture and park, and make it the home of the State Museum of Arts and Crafts of the Peoples of the USSR. The majority of the architectural monuments have now been restored and the grounds have been renovated.

Today visitors can see collections of modern arts and crafts including porcelain, glass, ceramics, decorative textiles, tapestries, leather, jewellery and more. Original creations from leading artists of various generations, national schools, and artistic orientations are on display. Excursions, educational programmes, concerts, festive events as well as the beauty of the park and ponds also await visitors.

The restoration of the Grand Palace was completed by the end of 2007. Large-scale restoration and landscaping of the park and the ponds were also carried out. Tsaritsyno, a jewel of Russian culture, has a grand future.


•    Have you ever visited Tsaritsyno?
•    After reading this would you like to?
        Give reasons why (not).

Which famous Russian authors have you read? We learnt about the most famous Russian novelist and his best known work.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist whose work has had a huge impact on world literature. He is still the most widely read author in Russia.
"Crime and Punishment" (1866) is the story of a young man, Raskolnikov, who believes that he can commit any crime because he has something worthy to offer humanity. He commits murder to try and prove his theory, but then he has to struggle with his guilty conscience. He tries to help a man he sees get hit by a carriage, but the man dies. He gives all his money to the man's widow and becomes attached to his daughter, Sonia. He sympathises with her and sees her suffering as noble. He finally confesses to Sonia and goes to a Siberian prison for eight years. Sonia follows him and helps him to reform.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Part 4 Chapter 4
"What's to be done, what's to be done?" repeated Sonia, weeping hysterically and wringing her hands.

"What's to be done? Break what must be broken, once and for all, that's all, and take the suffering on oneself. What, you don't understand? You'll understand later....
Freedom and power, and above all, power! Over all trembling creation and all the ant-heap! ... That's the goal, remember that! That's my farewell message. Perhaps it's the last time I shall speak to you. If I don't come tomorrow, you'll hear of it all, and then remember these words. And some day later on, in years to come, you'll understand perhaps what they meant. If I come tomorrow, I'll tell you who killed Lizaveta.... Good-bye." Sonia started with terror.

"Why, do you know who killed her?", she asked, chilled with horror, looking wildly at him.

"I know and will tell... you, only you. I have chosen you out. I'm not coming to you to ask forgiveness, but simply to tell you. I chose you out long ago to hear this, when your father talked of you and when Lizaveta was alive, I thought of it. Good-bye, don't shake hands. Tomorrow!" He went out. Sonia gazed at him as at a madman. But she herself was like one insane and felt it. Her head was going round.

"Good heavens, how does he know who killed Lizaveta? What did those words mean? It's awful!" But at the same time the idea did not enter her head, not for a moment! "Oh, he must be terribly unhappy!... He has abandoned his mother and sister.... What for? What has happened? And what had he in his mind? What did he say to her? He had kissed her foot and said... said (yes, he had said it clearly) that he could not live without her.... Oh, merciful heavens!"

Sonia spent the whole night feverish and delirious. She jumped up from time to time, wept and wrung her hands, then sank again into feverish sleep and dreamt of Polenka, Katerina Ivanovna and Lizaveta, of reading the gospel and him... him with pale face, with burning eyes... kissing her feet, weeping.

On the other side of the door on the right, which divided Sonia's room from Madame Resslich's flat, was a room which had long stood empty. A card was fixed on the gate and a notice stuck in the windows over the canal advertising it to let. Sonia had long been accustomed to the rooms being uninhabited. But all that time Mr. Svidrigailov had been standing, listening at the door of the empty room. When Raskolnikov went out he stood still, thought a moment, went on tiptoe to his own room which adjoined the empty one, brought a chair, and noiselessly carried it to the door that led to Sonia's room. The conversation had struck him as interesting and remarkable, and he had greatly enjoyed it - so much that he brought a chair that he might not in the future, tomorrow, for instance, have to endure the inconvenience of standing a whole hour, but might listen in comfort.

•    How do you feel about reading Dostoyevsky in English?
•    Have you read 'Crime and Punishment'? If yes, what do you think of the novel? If no, why not?


Write a short biography of your favourite Russian author and describe their most successful novel. Send it to us
at// www.spotlightonrussia.ru

We all know when New Year is, right? Well, actually, it depends which calendar you use. Russians are lucky, they celebrate twice.

русские традиции
People counted time in many different ways until the Romans changed everyone to their system of counting time from the date Rome was founded. After Rome conquered Egypt, Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar based on a Babylonian model. It had 365 days divided into 12 months with an extra day every fourth year.

Then, in 527 AD, a Roman abbot, Dionysius Exiguus, brought in the Anno Domini calendar numbering the years from Jesus' birth. However, every 131 years the calendar would be out by one day, since the distance the earth travelled around the sun grew shorter from 365,2422 to 365,2419 days. Over the centuries this became a problem, as Easter was later and later in the year.

Pope Gregory XIII used the calendar of astronomer Christopher Clavius to make reforms. Clavius used mathematics and astronomy to calculate the new calendar. Most countries accepted the calendar straight away, but Britain only adopted the modern calendar, in 1752, and Orthodox Russia was forced to adopt the new changes when the Bolsheviks came to power, in 1917.

In many countries however, including Russia, both the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar are used. So, for the Russians, Christmas is on 7th January with Father Frost and other traditions and New Year is on 1st January, but they celebrate a second New Year on 13th January. The first one is the New New Year and the second one is the Old New Year.

New Year's Day on 1st January in Russia is a public holiday and is celebrated with fireworks and elaborate large meals and other festivities. The Old New Year by the Julian calendar is informally observed. For many this is a nostalgic family holiday ending the holiday season.

The Old New Year tradition also features in popular culture and art. Mikhail Roshchin wrote a comedy drama for the stage, in 1973, called The Old New Year, which played in theatres for many years. It was also a TV film released by Mosfilm studios in 1980 which featured famous actors and music by Sergei Nikitin, with lyrics by Boris Pasternak.

Describe how you celebrate the Old New
Year and the New Year to your partner.

•    Which celebration do you prefer? Why?
•    Would you like to celebrate Easter twice? Why (not)?

How superstitious are you? We decided to investigate to see how superstitious Russian people are.


Some Russian people are very superstitious. Some of their superstitions are the same as in other countries, such as black cats De -: t-, jCKy, while others are peculiar :O Russia. Who would imagine that TS untucky to give yellow flowers or an ccc number of flowers?

Most of these weird  superstitions come from folk stones or fairy tales. They are related to the pagan belief that there are spirits that live in woodlands, rivers, farmyards and houses. The house spirit is called Domovoy and he is supposed to live in the front doorway. There are many superstitions related to him, including the one that says it's bad luck to shake hands or kiss through a doorway because it will offend him.

Superstitious Russians are firm believers in knocking on wood and spitting to ward off bad luck and evil spirits. If anyone makes a comment hinting about something bad or unpleasant that might happen, some Russians believe that they are inviting bad luck and will rush to find some wood to knock on to counteract it. They may also spit over their left shoulder three times. They sometimes also do this if they receive a compliment in order to keep away the evil eye and avoid a change in their luck.

Apart from strange ways of avoiding bad luck, some of the things Russians believe to bring good luck are just as odd. For example, seeing a pig on the street is considered to be very good luck. Although that is quite rare these days!

•    Are you superstitious?
•    Which superstitions do you believe in?

Collect information about
superstitions from another
and write an article about them

It's 50 years since Russia sent the first artificial satellite into space. We decided to look at another milestone in space history.

Spotlight on Russia finds out about Mir

Prussia has a long and distinguished history imin space. It was the first country to send a satellite into space, the first country to send a man into space and the first country to launch a space station into space. Even now, as the International Space Station is still in its early days, the Russians have already 'been there and done that'.

The Mir Orbital Complex was in orbit for fifteen years, three times longer than initially planned. During that time, there were many manned missions to and from it and many spacewalks.

Mir took ten years to build. The main piece or module weighing 20 tonnes, was launched into space in 1986. A further six modules were launched individually and added to the main module making a total weight of 130 tonnes. The main module contained the living quarters for two cosmonauts in tiny cabins with windows. The first two crew members were Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Soloviev.

Each module had a special purpose. Kvant was used for x-ray and UV astronomy, Kvant 2 was used as an experimental manoeuvring unit for space suited astronauts. Kristall was a micro-gravity research laboratory. Spektr and Priroda were Earth observation platforms.

Mir was taken out of orbit in 2001 because of financial reasons. There just wasn't enough government or private funding to keep it in operation. What remains of the Mir Space Station is now somewhere at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, but it will remain a huge achievement in space technology and a landmark in spaceflight history.

Do some research and make a timeline
of f the Mir Orbital Complex.
•    With a partner, discuss anything you know about Mir that is not mentioned in the text.
•    What other landmark events in space has Russia been involved in?

Irina Kolesnikova is the prima ballerina for the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre and has won many Russian and international prizes.


What do you dream of becoming? Whatever it is, you must follow your dream and never give up, no matter what life throws in your way. That's what a young Russian woman called lrina Kolesnikova did, and now she is the brightest star in ballet today. She has captivated audiences around the world with her performances as Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Clara in The Nutcracker, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and many more.

 lrina grew up in St Petersburg and the moment she saw The Sleeping Beauty on TV, she decided she wanted to become a ballerina. She enrolled at the Vaganova School, but her teachers were unkind and made her lose faith in her beauty and talent. She lost all her confidence, and after graduation she couldn't find a ballet company to hire her. She was rejected by both the Kirov and the Mussorgsky Theatres, and didn't know what to do. Then unexpectedly, she met an old school friend who advised her to audition for the recently formed St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, and she was accepted.

 lrina quickly rose through the ranks and word of her talent and skill spread far and wide. People flocked to see her when the company toured England, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. She has also won many gold and silver medals in international competitions, and she was nominated by British critics for 'Best Female Dancer' at London's National Dance Awards.

lrina is a perfect example of why you should never give up on your dream. Success comes to those who keep on trying!


•    What do you most admire about Irina Kolesnikova?
•    What is your dream and how do you intend to achieve it?


Write to Spotlight on Russia aboi a hero/heroine of yours who has achieved success through hard work and determination.

There are thousands of natural and cultural attractions in Russia and no better way to see them than by train.


Many people say the only way to see Russia is by train. So, if you're going by train, you may as well go on the nicest and longest train journey there is - on the Trans-Siberian Railway. From start to finish the journey covers 6,000 miles, that's a third of the way around the Earth!

The best thing about this journey though, is that you don't have to make it continuous. There is a regular service, so you can get on and off the train to enjoy the many wonderful cities along the way. For example, you can stop at Yoroslavl, which is one of Russia's oldest cities and has many beautiful buildings to see. Then there is Krasnoyarsk, founded in 1628, where you can see the unusual cliffs at Stolby Reserve. Let's not forget Vladivostok, with its beautiful natural harbour and lively city centre.

The railway has three main routes. The Trans-Siberian line goes from Moscow to Vladivostock. The Trans-Manchurian line goes from Tarskaya to Beijing through China, and the Trans-Mongolian line goes from Ulan-Ude to Beijing through Mongolia. Whichever one you take though, you can be sure to pass through some of the most amazing landscapes in the world and visit some picturesque towns and cities. With the Trans-Siberian Railway, getting there is as much fun as being there!


•    Talk with your partner about a place in Russia you would really like to visit.
•    Have you ever been on the Trans-Siberian Railway? If yes, what was it like? If no, would you like to? Why (not)?

Write to Spotlight on Russia and tell us which Russian cities you have visited and which ones you would like to visit.

Английский язык. 11 класс : учеб. для общеобразоват. учреждений / [О.В. Афанасьева, Дж.Дули, И.В. Михеева и др.]. - 2-е изд., доп. и перераб. - М.: Express Publishing : Просвещение, 2009. - 244 с. : ил. - (Английский в фокусе).

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