Olivia Kroth: Olympic Gold for Russia at Rio 2016 Summer Games

Olympic Gold for Russia at Rio 2016 Summer Games

by Olivia Kroth

280 Russian athletes went to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, 120 less than initially planned, due to a western smear campaign aimed at the Russian Federation and its athletes.Thankfully, IOC President Thomas Bach had not played into western hands by banning the Russian team entirely because of the doping smear campaign, but delegated the decisions to the international sports federations of each Olympic discipline. Upon arrival, Russia’s national team was greeted by Russia’s consulate general in Rio and compatriots in Brazil at the Galeao International Airport. The Russian diaspora had arrived in great numbers, celebrating the occasion enthusiastically with Russian flags and Russian songs. All in all, after so much excitement prior to the games, the Russian Olympic team proved to be very successful in Rio, winning 56 medals: 19 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze. Even without alleged doping, the Russians are excellent athletes, as Rio 2016 once more proved. 

On the 27th of July, President Vladimir Putin met with the Russian Olympic team at the Grand Kremlin Palace’s Alexander Hall. In his speech, he wished  everybody good luck and success,  “All of you here trained long and hard over the last four years to get ready for this big event, and you all deserved the right to defend Russia’s sporting honour. Sadly, not all of you will have the chance to make your dreams come true in Rio. We see that short-sighted politicians have started meddling in sport too, though sport was supposed to bring peoples together and smooth over the differences between countries. This current situation has gone beyond the legal pale now and has even gone beyond the bounds of common sense. This campaign that targets our country’s athletes includes the use of notorious double standards and the principle of collective responsibility, which is not compatible with sport and not compatible with justice or basic legal norms in general.”


Thomas Bach and Vladimir Putin:

On the 4th of August, the Russian flag was hoisted in the Olympic Village Rio de Janeiro, the home to athletes competing at the Summer Olympic Games. The ceremony was attended by the President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian delegation Igor Kazikov, as well as athletes and coaches of the Russian team in the village. “We are in great mood,” Alexander Zhukov saidVideos on youtube showed Russian athletes wandering along the beach of Copacabana and diving in the waves. Inhabitants of this lively Rio quarter said they were happy to see Russian sportspeople at the Copacabana, knowing that they are some of the strongest athletes worldwide. Russia and Brazil have close ties, last but not least, due to their membership in BRICS. Both nations pursue common goals in the spheres of politics, economics, culture and sports. According to Vladimir Tokmarov, the Russian Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, about 12.000 Russian fans traveled to Brazil to attend the Olympic Summer Games 2016. This was a great chance for them to applaud their fellow countrymen at the sports venues, but also to get to know Rio de Janeiro and travel in Brazil (TASS, 04.08.2016).

President of Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov:

The first sportsman to win Olympic gold for Russia was Beslan Mudranov (Беслан Заудинович Мудранов). On the 6th of August 2016, he became the winner of gold at judo. Russia’s Beslan Mudranov defeated Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov in the final of the men’s 60kg division. The International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer congratulated the Olympic champion for his feat. “I want to congratulate the Russian athlete for a great competition day. He is an Olympic champion. Congratulations to Beslan and good luck for the future.” Beslan Mudranov told journalists he was not anxious prior to the Olympic final in Rio. “I am very pleased that I have won the first gold medal. I am sure that this gold medal is not the last. I was calm and determined. If you are nervous, nothing will come of it. The state of mind is the most important thing,” the Russian judoka said. He also noted that his rival in the final had used a new tactics against him. “I used to fight against him before but today he started in an unusual style. I could not understand what to do and I had to readjust myself,” Beslan Mudranov said (TASS, 07.08.2016).

The victory of Russian judoka Beslan Mudranov in the under 60 kg weight category, the first for the Russian national squad, will not be the last, Khasanbi Taov, the head coach of the Russian wrestling team, told TASS. “We remember very well how Russian President Vladimir Putin once told a news conference that the Karbadians are even better than the Japanese. President Putin loves judo and cheers for it. I think that the president will be pleased with Beslan’s victory. I am sure that our wrestlers will continue performing well. The team is very well trained,” Taov said. The Russian judoka Beslan Mudranov was born in Baksan, Kabardino-Balkaria, on the 7th of July 1986. Previous to the Olympic gold medal, he had already won two gold medals in the European Judo Championships of 2012 and 2014. He started fighting, when he was 13, first as a freestyle wrestler, later at sambo, a Russian form of martial arts, before switching to judo. Beslan Mudranov is married and has a daughter.

Russia’s Republic Kabardino-Balkaria in the Northern Caucasus:

The champion’s wife Diana Mudranova reported how his home town Baksan celebrated the victory: “Here in the homeland, we all gathered, his relatives, friends and even former classmates. Once his name in Rio had been announced as the first Olympic champion, the sky lit up over Baksan with the bright lights of fireworks. We were all dancing, singing, shouting and crying. Even the kids were awake and watched how Beslan won! You cannot imagine how happy we are! We are so proud of our Beslan! There are no words, only emotions! We tried to reach him by phone, but he has not answered yet. We are waiting for the moment when we will hear his voice. His four-year-old daughter Samira had written a touching poem for Dad, hoping it would inspire him to win. As a result, the power of the spirit, the will to win, the years of training and warm words of love from home have done their job: Beslan Mudranov brought his country the first gold!” (KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA KUBAN, 07.08.2016). Finally, a video of Samira was shown on twitter, “My Dad is a champion, he is the strongest man in the world, one in a million, he is unique.” The little dark-haired beauty was heard saying, “Мой папа чемпион, он самый в мире сильный, oдин на миллион, tакой неповторимый.”


Beslan Mudranov, Olympic gold medal judo:

On the 8th of August 2016, Russia’s sabre fencer Yana Egorian won the second gold medal, defeating her Russian compatriot Sophia Velikaya in the final round (15:14). After her victory she said, “I do not know how I had the strength and nerves. I am so happy about this victory. Pity, there are no two gold medals for both of us, but these are the rules” (MATCH TV, 09.08.2016). “Russia’s Yana Egorian has won the women’s individual sabre competition, coming from behind to take home the gold. It wasn’t an easy quest for Yana Egorian who had to go through her own teammate and the number one fencer in the world, Sophia Velikaya. The rookie and the veteran. It was a hard fought battle with both fencers consistently trading points. Undeterred, Yana Egorian scored five consecutive points to put herself in a position to win. Down a point, she tied the match at 14 and registered the final touch to secure the top spot. Yana Egorian had worked her way up the ranks in the past few years, cementing herself in the top ten in sabre. She had been dubbed Russia’s most talented fencer” (NBC, 08.08.2016). After her victory, she was asked by journalists how she liked Brazil. She told them: “I like it very much. We live outside of the Olympic Village in a nice and solitary place,  a hundred kilometres from Rio. We have excellent facilities: a chef who cooks for us, a fitness room.  I was in the village, but after a few hours I got tired, with all the people and the noise there” (SPORT EXPRESS.RU, 09.08.2016). 

Yana Egorian, Olympic gold medal sabre fencing:

Yana Karapetovna Egorian (Яна Карапетовна Егорян) was born in Yerevan, Armenia, on the 20th of December 1993. She has been living and training in Khimki, Moscow Oblast, since 1999. Her mother lives in Khimki, her father in Yerevan. Yana Egorian is a two times Silver Medallist of the European Cadet Championships (2009 and 2010). She finished fifth at the 2010 Cadet World Championships in Baku, Azerbeijan. The 22-year-old sabre fencer is not married yet. She calls herself a crazy cat lady in an interview: “My mother is sitting at home, caring for our kittens. The cat recently gave birth to four kittens: two female and two male kittens. Please write in your article that I want to distribute them. Yes, kittens from the Olympic champion! I’ll give them into good hands for free” (LENTA.RU, 09.08.2016). In her spare time, Yana Egorian loves to travel. She takes summer vacations at the sea and in winter she goes to the mountains for skiing.  Playing street basketball with friends is another hobby. Later she wants to work as head coach for Russia’s national fencing team (CHAMPIONAT.COM, 09.08.2016).

Yana Egorian, Olympic gold medal sabre fencing:

The third gold medal for Russia followed on the 9th of August 2016, when the Russian judoka Khasan Khalmurzaev won Olympic gold in the men’s category up to 81 kg. “Russia climbed to the top of the judo medal table as Khasan Khalmurzaev earned his country’s second judo gold of the Rio Games in emphatic fashion, thrilling the crowd at the Carioca Arena. Ending his campaign with a bang, the European champion won his final two matches by ippon, judo’s equivalent of a knockout” (INDIAN EXPRESS, 10.08.2016).

Khasan Magometovich Khalmurzaev (Хасан Магометович Халмурзаев) was born in Nazran, Ingushetia, on the 9th of October 1993. The Russian judoka won the Summer Youth Olympic Games 2010 in Singapore and became champion of the Summer Universiade 2015 in Gwangju, South Korea.

Central mosque in Nazran, Ingushetia:

Khasan Khalmurzaev said being born in the Caucasus mountains had helped him win Olympic judo gold in Rio. The 22-year-old Khasan, whose twin brother Khusen is also a judo fighter, was born in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia. According to him, it is a region that breeds powerful sons, “It’s true, many people born there are physically strong and well prepared. Not just people in sports but also those on the streets — maybe it helps being born in the mountains. Wrestling is popular there.” It was his father who first introduced the twin brothers to judo. “We always train together. We were in the same category, but now Khusen is in a higher category, up to 90 kg. He’s number two in the Russian national team”, Khasan Khalmurzaev explained (YAHOO SPORTS, 10.08.2016).

Russian media revealed more details about the twins. As boys at school Khasan and Khusen were “constantly fighting with each other  and the parents were tortured to find out who is right. Therefore, they decided to send both to the place where their energy would find the right application. Fortunately, in their hometown Nazran they found such a possibility in the judo club. It is wellknown that twins have a special bond, many of them are in the world of sports. They feel attracted to each other and share energy from an invisible source. Years have passed, and now the two brothers are the pride of Ingushetia, with success in international competitions” (SPORT EXPRESS.RU, 10.09.2016).

Khasan Khalmurzaev, Olympic gold medal judo:

 On the 10th of August 2016, Russia’s fencer Inna Deriglazova won individual foil gold. This was the 4th gold medal for the Russian Federation. This fencer “ripped off her mask in triumph, the first Russian to win the event since Elena Novikova-Belova did so in 1968 for the Soviet Union” (NBC, 10.08.2012). It is clearly noticable that Russian fencing is going through a period of renaissance, as Russian fencing ladies are winning one gold medal after the other at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.

In an interview Inna Deriglazova told the press, “I’m so happy that it is difficult to convey in words. I could have been more confident to win the final, but I was very nervous towards the end, this is my disease. In the decisive battle, I often cannot bring the case to a good ending. After losing the first round, my coach told me to relax and carry out my tactical mission.” Her trainer Ildar Mavlyutov said, “We believed in Inna. Youth defeated experience. She defeated an older opponent. The ending was very exciting for the fans but very disturbing for the coaches. I had a very strong headache, it must have killed a lot of my nerve cells. This is an absolute success and Inna is not going to stop. I am sure that a lot of big tournaments are waiting for her. She’s a workaholic and always keeps herself in great shape” (IZVESTIA, 11.08.2016).

Inna Deriglazova, Olympic gold medal foil fencing:

Inna Vasilyevna Deriglazova (Инна Васильевна Дериглазова) was born in Kurchatov, Kursk Oblast, on the 10th of March 1990.  She began fencing at the age of 8 in her hometown Kurchatov. When her potential became apparent, she got used to fence with athletes who were much older than her. The Russian foil fencer became team World champion in 2011, won Olympic team silver in 2012 and gold at the World Cup 2015 in Moscow. In 2012, she was awarded the Order “For Services to the Motherland” for her great contribution to the development of physical culture and sports in Russia. Inna Deriglazova has a degree in jurisprudence from the Kazan State Technical University. She is married and has a daughter.

“Diana is waiting for my return home. My daughter is now seven years old. in September, she will go to school and on to fencing. This victory at the Olympic Games, the gold medal, I dedicate it to her. When I started fencing, my parents tried to dissuade me, saying that it is a male sport. But now their opinion has changed. I am proud of my parents and very grateful to them. When Diana looks at me, she also wants to engage in fencing. I have a great desire to see my daughter become a successful foil fencer as soon as possible!” (SPORT.RU, 11.08.2016).

Inna Deriglazova, Olympic gold medal foil fencing:

The 5th Olympic gold medal in Rio was won by the Russian men’s foil fencing team, on the 12th of August 2016. “The Russian foil fencing team has scored a stunning victory in the final of the team tournament at the 2016 Olympics, its head coach, Ilgar Mamedov told the media. In the final, Russia’s Timur Safin, Aleksei Cheremisinov and Artur Akhmatkhuzin won the gold. It was the Russian foil fencers’ first team victory since the Olympics in 1996. Ilgar Mamedov himself was one of those who won gold in this team for Russia, 20 years ago” (TASS, 13.08.2016).

Aleksey Borisovich Cheremisinov (Алексей Борисович Черемисинов) was born in Moscow, on the 9th of July 1985. The Russian foil fencer became European champion in 2012 and World champion in 2014. Now he won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with the Russian men’s foil fencing team. Artur Kamilevich Akhmatkhuzin (Артур Камилевич Ахматхузин) was born in the Krasnokamsky District of Bashkortostan, on the 28th of May 1988. The Russian foil fencer became silver medallist in the 2013 World Fencing Championships and gold medallist with the Russian foil fencing team in the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games. Timur Marselevich Safin (Тимур Марселевич Сафин) was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the 4th of August 1992. He currently resides in Ufa, Bashkortostan. This young Russian foil fencer was bronze medallist in the 2014 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, where he also won the foil fencing team gold medal.


The 6th gold medal came to Russia with the victory of Russian sabre fencers Sophia Velikaya, Yana Egorian, Yulia Gavrilova and Yekaterina Dyachenko in the team event at the Rio Olympic Games, on the 13th of August 2016. Yana Egorian earlier won gold in the individual sabre event, while Sophia Velikaya earned silver for the second time in her career. Russia’s women’s team had already been 2015 world champions in the team event.

Sophia Aleksandrovna Velikaya (Софья Александровна Великая) was born in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, on the 8th of June 1985. The Russian sabre fencer, Olympic champion in the 2016 Olympics team competition, had already received silver medals in the Olympic Games of 2012 and 2016 in the individual. She is also a seven-times World champion and nine-times European champion. Sophia Velikaya is married to the 2004 Olympic champion wrestler Akeksey Mishin. They have two children together. Yekaterina Vladimirovna Dyachenko (Екатерина Владимировна Дьяченко) was born in Saint Petersburg, on the 31st of August 1987. The sabre fencer represented Russia at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Yulia Petrovna Gavrilova (Юлия Петровна Гаврилова) was born in Novosibirsk, on the 20th of July 1989. This Russian sabre fencer won two medals (gold and bronze) as a member of the Russian team at the 2011 World Fencing Championships.

The 7th gold medal for Russia was won by two female tennis players. Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina received gold in the women’s double at the Rio 2016 Olympics, on the 14th of August 2016. The Russian pair cruised to victory in two sets, which they took with the same score of 6-4. The captain of the Russian women’s tennis team and former world No.2, Anastasia Myskina, said that the success of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina came as no surprise to her, “We’re very happy. The girls did what we were trying to achieve for a long time. Frankly speaking, we were expecting gold in the doubles” (RUSSIA TODAY, 14.08.2016).

Elena Sergeyevna Vesnina (Елена Сергеевна Веснина) was born in Lvov, on the 1st of  August 1986. The Russian professional tennis player is a three-time Grand Slam champion in doubles competition. Her career-high rankings are World No. 21 in singles and World No. 3 in doubles. She married businessman Pavel Tabuntsov, in November 2015. Ekaterina Valeryevna Makarova (Екатерина Валерьевна Макаpова) was born in Moscow, on the 7th of June 1988. The professional Russian professional tennis player achieved her career-high ranking of number 8, in April 2015. She is a three-time Grand Slam champion in doubles competition.

Olympic gold medal for Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova in tennis doubles:

On the same day, August 14, the Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina (Алия Фаргатовна Мустафина) won Russia’s 8th gold medal in women’s uneven bars at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by scoring 15.900 points. She was born in Yegoryevsk, on the 30th of September 1994, in a Russian-Tatar family. Her younger sister Nailya is also a gymnast and former member of Russia’s junior national team. Aliya Mustafina’s trademarks in gymnastics are her elegance, all-around abilities and focused demeanor. She is known for her strong non-acro elements on the floor, which notably increase her difficulty. Her best event however is the uneven bars, where she displays a high level of difficulty and originality.

“Aliya Mustafina has been a stalwart for the Russian women’s gymnastics programme since her first all-around and team victories at the 2010 World Championships. From a teenager with four Olympic medals in 2012 to a team captain with bronze, silver and gold in Rio 2016, Aliya Mustafina has earned a reputation as one of the fiercest competitors in the sport of gymnastics. Born about 70 miles southeast of Moscow, Aliya Mustafina began gymnastics around six years old. She has athletic genes: her father Farhat is a Greco-Roman wrestler who won bronze at the 1976 Olympics. Between 2012 and 2016, Aliya Mustafina won eight European championships medals and six world championship medals” (NBC, 14.08.2016).

Aliya Mustafina, Olympic gold medal gymnastics:

On that same lucky day, August 14, Russia’s Roman Vlasov won the 9th Olympic gold medal for Russia in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 75 kg division. The reigning world and Olympic champion scored Russia’s first wrestling medal.  At the 2012 Olympic Games, Roman Vlasov had earned gold in the comparable 74kg division. He also won a world title in 2015 and entered Rio ranked as the world No. 1 in the 75kg weight class. Overall Russia had been the strongest country in wrestling at the Olympic Games four years ago and was expected to lead the medal count again this year. “Despite of the situation, the unfair decision for our athletes from the side of WADA, it’s very important to get the biggest quantity of medals that we can,” Roman Vlasov said, according to the Associated Press.

Roman Andreyevich Vlasov (Роман Андреевич Власов) was born in Novosibirsk, on 6th of October 1990.  The Russian Greco-Roman wrestler is a very successful double Olympic Champion, winning gold in 2012 and 2016. He is furthermore a double World Champion, winning in 2011 and 2015. He is also a double European Champion, winning in 2012 and 2013. That same year, he won the gold medal at the 2013 Summer Universiade. It is noteworthy that Roman Vlasov has achieved double successes in the major events he competed in, just like a tailor might stitch a double seem to make sure it will hold.

Roman Vlasov, Olympic gold medal Greco-Roman wrestling:

The 15th of August 2016 was another lucky day, bringing two gold medals for Russia. First, Russian Greco-Roman wrestler Davit Chakvetadze brought his country’s Olympic squad its 10th gold medal at the Rio Games. Next, Russian bower Evgeny Tishchenko won the 11th gold medal for Russia in the 91 kg Olympic event in Rio.

Russia earned gold in Greco-Roman wrestling for the second day in a row, with Davit Chakvetadze topping in the final round of the 85 kg tournament. Davit Chakvetadze entered the day ranked third in the world. Two weight classes were contested each day during the Greco-Roman phase of Olympic wrestling, Russia won gold medals in half of the divisions. The nation led the medal count in wrestling by far at the 2012 Olympic Games and had another strong showing in Rio” (NBC, 15.08.2016). Davit Gochaevich Chakvetadze (Давит Гочаевич Чакветадзе) was born in Kutaisi, Georgia, on the 18th of October 1992. The Georgian-Russian Greco-Roman wrestler won a gold medal at the 2015 Russian National Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships and was gold medalist in the Greco-Roman 85 kg event at the 2015 European Games. Davit Chakvetadze also won the European Nations’ Cup (Moscow Lights) in 2015.

Davit Chakvetadze, Olympic gold medal Greco-Roman wrestling:

The Russian boxer Evgeny Tishchenko won the gold medal in the 91 kg Olympic event in Rio by unanimous decision of the judges, receiving 29-28 on all three scorecards. It was the 11th gold medal for Russia. Evgeny Andreyevich Tishchenko (Евгений Андреевич Тищенко) was born in Krasnodar Krai, on the 15th of July 1991. The Russian amateur in the heavyweight category is a two-time Russian national champion. The athlete started boxing early in his life and built up an impressive career.

Evgeny Tishchenko actively began boxing while studying in the 5th grade. He became a member of the Russian National Team in 2009, achieving national and international results. He won the light heavyweight weight category in the Youth Championship of Russia, took the first prize at an international tournament in Croatioa, then won the Youth European Championships. He began competing seniors in 2010 and twice received bronze medals at the Russian National Championships. In addition, he took gold in the Youth European Championships U23 in Kaliningrad. In 2012, Tishchenko became the Russian National champion in the heavyweight category. In 2013, he won the gold medal at the 2013 Summer Universiade. Evgeny Tishchenko competed at the 2015 European Championships and got gold in the heavyweight category. In October 2015, he repeated his success, winning gold at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Evgeny Tishchenko, Olympic gold medal boxing:

On the 16th of August 2016, Russia’s famous ladies’ synchronized swimming duet got their obligatory gold medal again. Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina grabbed gold, becoming four-time Olympic champions. In the final duet free routine they scored 98.5333. The combined score of the free routines and technical routines is 194.9910. This was the 12th gold medal for the Russian Federation.

The five-time Olympic champions Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina might retire after Rio 2016. After their victory in duets, both swimmers said they would make serious career decisions after the Olympics. “I think that we have a very good substitutes’ bench. Russia is the leader in world synchronized swimming, including juniors and youth teams. They win European and world championships. Therefore, we will have a good replacement even if Sveta and I retire,” Natalya Ishchenko said. “I feel great. I am overwhelmed with emotions when I realize that Sveta and I are five-time Olympic champions. We controlled our feelings for so long for fear of splattering our emotions but now we can give vent to our feelings and enjoy our victories in full measure,” the synchronized swimmer said.

“When we got out of the water and saw the scores, we understood that we had won. We had a huge lead after the technical routine and scoring more points was simply impossible,” Natalya Ishchenko went on to say. The Russian women presented their Olympic free routine called “Molba” (prayer) at the World Championships in 2015. It was slightly modified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. “It’s always easier for the audience to watch a funny and cheerful performance rather than a prayer. It is much more difficult to convey these feelings to the viewers. But I think that we coped with the task,” Natalya Ishchenko stressed (TASS, 19.08.2016).

Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashino, Olympic gold medal synchronized swimming duet:

Russian synchronised swimming stars Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina’s flawless routines have long had fans joking they are secretly mermaids or have gills. In their free routine final at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the duet at least pretended to. Wearing scale-inspired swimsuits and batting their lean legs out of the water, feet sticking out to look like tails, they collected gold – as expected – and came even closer to sealing their status as sirens. “Sometimes everyone calls us mermaids and asks us if we have gills, so we are really comfortable in this performance,” said Svetlana Romashina after their routine, as she took bobby pins out of her heavily gelled-back hair. Russians, bringing a tradition of ballet to the pool, have taken home the Olympic gold for duets since 2000, earning a reputation for extreme precision and ever more creative choreographies. The mermaid routine was so special for the Russian pair, which also won gold at the Olympics in 2012, that they had the enticing music specially written for the Games (Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS, 16.08.2016).

Natalya Sergeyevna Ishchenko (Наталья Сергеевна Ищенко) was born in Smolensk, on the 8th of April 1986. The Russian competitor in synchronized swimming is a five-times Olympic champion and nineteen-times world champion. She has announced to retire on the 1st of January 2017. Svetlana Alekseyevna Romashina (Светлана Алексеевна Ромашина) was born in Moscow, on the 21st of September 1989. This Russian competitor in synchronized swimming is also a five-times Olympic champion and nineteen-times world champion. She might also retire on the 1st of January 2017.

The “mermaids”, Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina:

On the 19th of August, Russian women won the Olympic synchronized swimming gold in the team competitions. This was the 13th medal for Russia. Vlada Chigiryova, Natalya Ishchenko, Svetlana Kolesnichenko, Alexandra Patskevich, Yelena Prokofieva, Svetlana Romashina, Alla Shishkina, Maria Shurochkina and Gelena Topilina scored a total of 196.1439 points after two programs with technical and free routines. Svetlana Romashina and Natalya Ishchenko won their fifth Olympic title, two times in duets and three times in team event, repeating the record of their compatriot Anastasiya Davydova. The Russian national synchronized swimming team had already won Olympic team events in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Alexandra Patskevich, Alla Shishkina, Natalya Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina had won the Olympic team event in London, in 2012 (TASS, 19.08.2016).

The 20th of August 2016 was a golden day for Russia in Rio de Janeiro. In great triumph the Russian Federation won four gold medals. The Russian women’s handball team won gold medal number 14. They had already been the silver medalist of the 2008 Olympic Games, furthermore world champion in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2009, the bronze medalist of the 2006 European Championship and the silver medalist of 2000 and 2008. This 2016 Olympic golden medal crowns their efforts. “Russia won in a tight, fast-paced final in front of a rapturous crowd. They fell to the ground and embraced. ‘We did what we wanted … everything for me is like a dream,’ Russia’s beaming Anna Sen, 25, told reporters. The team sang ‘We came here to win’ in the locker room” (Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS, 20.08.2016). The head coach of the Russian Women’s handball team, Evgeniy Trefilov, praised his athletes, “I think this victory will give a great boost to the development of handball and sports as a whole,” he said (RUSSIA TODAY, 20.08.2016). 

As was to be expected, Russia won a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics as well. Ever since Irina Viner-Usmanova has been training the Russian team, they have won one Olympic gold medal after the other. On the 20th of August 2016, it was Rita Mamun’s turn to snatch gold, winning the 15th Olympic gold medal for Russia. “A display full of grace and elegance allowed Margarita Mamun to capture the individual all-around gold and stretch Russia’s dominance in rhythmic gymnastics into a fifth straight Olympics. A total score of 76.483 carried Mamun to the top of the podium. Chants of ‘Rus-si-a, Rus-si-a’ echoed around the arena. The gymnast known as “The Bengal Tiger”, because her father hails from Bangladesh, knew that the gold would be hers if she avoided any glaring errors and so it proved to be” (Pritha Sarkar, REUTERS, 20.08.2016).

Born to a Bangladeshi father and Russian mother, rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun showed off her exquisite balancing and twirling skills as she captured what she called “a victory for two countries” in the individual all around event at the Olympics. The 20-year-old Russian goes by the nickname of ‘The Bengal Tiger” but rather than knocking over her rivals with brute force, she simply left them chasing shadows as she produced four dazzling routines with the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon to win her first global all around title.

Margarita Mamun, Olympic gold medal rhythmic gymnastics:

Margarita “Rita” Mamun (Маргарита Мамун) was born in Moscow, on the 1st of November 1995.  The Russian-Bangladeshi rhythmic gymnast  is a three-time (2011–2013) Russian National All-around Champion. She is also the current record holder under the 20-point judging system with the highest all-around total of 77.150 points, which she scored at the 2016 Baku World Cup.

Rita Mamun, who had represented Bangladesh as a junior, was delighted that her victory was also being celebrated in her father Abdullah Al Mamun’s homeland. “I’m really happy knowing that I have a lot of fans in Bangladesh, who have been supporting me,” added Rita Mamun in Russian. “I can count from one to ten in Bengali. When I was younger, my dad used to teach me Bengali but I have forgotten it all.” And why did she chose to represent Bangladesh as a junior, considering she was born and raised in Russia, her mother’s homeland? “I had dual citizenship so that’s why I decided to represent Bangladesh in one competition as a junior. I came back to represent Russia, as I always lived and trained in Russia.” Bangladesh, a very small country in Central Asia, has never won an Olympic medal yet (THE STAR ONLINE, 21.08.2016).

“Bengal Tiger” Margarita Mamun in Rio:

The 16th gold medal for Russia came in wrestling again, as Russia’s Abdulrashid Sadulaev won the Olympic freestyle wrestling men’s 86 kg. Abdulrashid Sadulaev, 20, born in Dagestan, is a two-time world champion. He lives in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala. Abdulrashid Bulachevich Sadulaev (Абдулрашид Булачевич Садулаев) was born in the Charodinsky District of Dagestan, on the 9th of May 1996. The Russian freestyle wrestler of Avar descent has been nicknamed the “Russian Tank”. He is a two time World Champion (2014, 2015) and two time Cadet World Champion (2012, 2013).  Abdulrashid Sadulaev became the 2014 World Champion in the 86 kg class at age 18, and Olympic Champion at age 20. He has been undefeated in competition since November 2013 and is considered by many to be the most dominant wrestler worldwide. As of August 2016, Abdulrashid Sadulaev is the top ranked 86 kg wrestling competitor in the world.

The correspondent of “Championat” talked with the Dagestani wrestler after the final match. “The Olympics has been a dream since my childhood. Today, I am happy that I met the expectations of the coaches, our fans and those who are worried about us”, Abdulrashid Sadulaev said. When asked, why he jumped over the barrier of the podium, he said, “There were my friends and brothers, all my loved ones. They have come here to support me, I am very grateful to them all. I would also like to thank the Vice-President of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Omar Murtuzaliev” (CHAMPIONAT.COM, 21.08.2016).

Abdulrashid Sadulaev, Olympic gold medal free-style wrestling:

Last but not least, Alexander Lesun won the 17th gold medal for Russia, on the 20th of August 2016. He reached his victory in modern pentathlon at the Summer Olympics in Rio with 1,479 points. Alexander Lesun said he was going to win in Rio de Janeiro even before departing there. “I am not going to look at the statue of Jesus Christ in Corcovado, I am going to win”, Alexander Lesun promised. He further plans to participate in the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. “I am eager to perform there, not merely in a personal competition but also in the mixed one with Donata Rimshaite,” Alexander Lesun said. Russia’s gold winner in modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Rio told reporters that he also wants to win gold at the next games in Tokyo, “I have such a dream. Why not? The next Olympics will be in Tokyo, where I have never been before” (TASS, 21.08.2016).

Alexander Leonidovich Lesun (Александр Леонидович Лесун) was born in Barysaw, Belarus, on the 1st of July 1988. Today, he has dual Belarus-Russian citizenship. The Russian pentathlete is a multiple-time medalist at the World Championships. At the World Championships in Chengdu, China, he won two medals for the individual and relay teams. He also added his first ever gold medal at the 2010 World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. Then he led a strong Russian team to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Moscow.  He won his first individual gold medal at the 2012 World Pentathlon Championships. The gold medal 2016 in Rio is his first Olympic gold medal. 

Alexander Lesun, Olympic gold medal modern pentathlon:

The final triumph for Russia happened on the last day, August 21, with two more gold medals. Russia’s rhythmic gymnastics team won the 18th gold medal in the group competition. “The Russians outperformed their rivals. Vera Biriukova, Anastasia Bliznyuk, Anastasia Maksimova, Anastasia Tatareva and Maria Tolkacheva of Russia pulled themselves together to do the best and not to give any chance to their opponents. The five-woman team displayed a brilliant finish during the second rotation – an intricate set of dancing and gymnastics with tossing clubs and hoops that would look right at home in Cirque Du Soleil – to claim a fifth straight Olympic gold” (RIO2016.COM, 21.08.2016).

Irina Viner-Usmanova was surely proud of her girls. Her efforts as main trainer of the team have shown golden results, just like her husband’s sponsoring of the fencing team proved to be very effective, too. The Russian Federation may be grateful to the combined input of Irina Viner-Usmanova and Alisher Usmanov. They have invested a lot of time, money and hard work to help the Russian fencers and rhythmic gymnasts.

Russian freestyle wrestler Soslan Ramonov won the 19th gold medal for Russia at the 2016 Olympics in the weight class of up to 65 kg. His fight lasted only two minutes. He dedicated his victory to his countryman Besik Kuduhovu, who died in a car accident, in 2013. The wrestler Soslan Ramonov talked to Sport Express, “Victory came easy, my mood probably helped. The most important thing is to tune in well. Then all will go by itself. The head is not thinking, the hands work by themselves. The ambiguity in the question of Russia’s participation in the Olympics was the most horrible thing. Our team was tense and worried, watching the news every day. Of course, getting to the Olympics became a victory for us. This motivated us. We had to prove that we had not come in vain” (SPORT-EXPRESS, 21.08.2016).

Soslan Lyudvikovich Ramonov (Сослан Людвикович Рамонов) was born in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, on the 1st of January 1991. The Ossetian-born Russian freestile wrestler won a national and a world title in the – 65 kg category, in 2014. He is coached by Anatoly Margiyev and by his uncle, Stanislav Ramonov. His elder brother Alan is also a competitive wrestler. In his native city Tskhinvali, the capital of the Republic of South Ossetia, fireworks were lit to celebrate Soslan Ramonov’s Olympic victory. “It is very symbolic that today there were fireworks in honor of the champion in his native land. Soslan was born in Tskhinvali, in the first night of 1991. South Ossetia was restless then, and almost the entire male population was armed. Soslan’s father and uncle greatly rejoiced in the birth of the boy and decided to celebrate it with a cannonade that many neighbors took to be New Year’s fireworks. It was the first ceremony in the life of the champion, today was the second” (CHAMPIONAT.COM, 21.08.2016).

Soslan Ramonov, Olympic gold medal freestyle wrestling:

At the closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, the five-time Olympic champions in synchronized swimming, Russian stars Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina, carried the flag for Russia. All in all, the Russian Federation may be proud of its wonderful athletes who triumphed in Rio de Janeiro with bravura, although the situation was certainly very difficult for them. Things will get better at the next Summer Olympics, to be held in 2020 in Tokyo.

Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Southern France. Her blog:


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Olivia Kroth: Ehrung des russischen Dichters Gawrila Derschawin 200 Jahre nach seinem Tod

Ehrung des russischen Dichters Gawrila Derschawin 200 Jahre nach seinem Tod

von Olivia Kroth

Der Lauf des Flusses Zeit
Wird alle Menschentaten mit sich tragen
Und in Versenkung tauchen
Die Völker, Reiche und ihre Herrscher. 

Und wenn es etwas gibt, das uns noch bleibt,
Durch Hörnerschall und Harfenton,
So wird es auch im Schlund der Zeit verschwinden
Und allgemeines Schicksal teilen. 

Dieses schöne Gedicht stammt aus der Feder des russischen Poeten Gawrila Romanowitsch Derschawin (1743-1816). Seine Aussage könnte auf gewöhnliche Menschen zutreffen, aber nicht auf ihn selbst. Seine Dichtung bleibt, so frisch wie eh und je, in russischen Anthologien erhalten. Auch hat “der Lauf des Flusses Zeit” nicht alle “Völker, Reiche und ihre Herrscher” in Versenkung getaucht. Zarin Katherina die Grosse (1729-1796) ist immer noch im Gedächtnis der Russen als eine grosse Herrscherin über das Zarenreich lebendig. Gawrila Derschawin war ihr Lieblingsdichter. Er lebte an ihrem Hof und schrieb ihr zu Ehren Gedichte.

Zarin Katharina die Grosse (Екатерина II Великая):

Gawrila Romanowitsch Derschawin (Гаврила Романович Державин) wurde am 14. Juli 1743 in Kasan, Tatarstan, geboren. Er starb am 20. Juli 1816 als einer der höchstgeschätzten russischen Dichter seiner Zeit und als Staatsmann am Hof von Katherina der Grossen. Seine Werke werden der klassischen Literatur zugeordnet. Am Zarenhof in Sankt Petersburg stieg er vom einfachen Soldaten zu hohen Staatsämtern auf. Weil er politisch klug handelte, ging es mit seiner Karriere aufwärts, als er das Militär verliess und in den Staatsdienst eintrat. So wurde er 1784 der erste Gouverneur der Provinz Olonez. Das Gouvernement Olonez im Nordwesten des russischen Zarenreichs erstreckte sich vom Ladogasee bis zum Weissen Meer. Im Westen reichte es bis Finnland, im Norden und Osten bis Archangelsk und Wologda, im Süden bis Nowgorod und Sankt Petersburg. Das Gebiet umfasste über 57.000 Quadratkilometer. Davon waren 6.800  Quadratkilometer Seengebiet.  

Seenlandschaft in der russisch-karelischen Provinz Olonez:

Der Gouverneur von Olonez

Dreizehn Jahre nach der Unterdrückung des Bauernaufstands von Kisi (1769-1771) wurde Gawrila Derschawin  Gouverneur von Olonez. Er verlangte von den Bauern strikte Beachtung und Durchführung aller Aufgaben, die ihnen zugeteilt waren. Der Gouverneur erinnerte sie stets daran, dass “Ruin und Armut sehr oft Anlass für grössere Zügellosigkeit und Verbrechen sind”. Gawrila Derschawin war der erste, der die Schonung des natürlichen Tierbestands und der karelischen Wälder forderte. Als Gouverneur setzte er viele Reformen der Zarin Katherina II. um. Nachdem er die Grenze zwischen Russland und Schweden geklärt hatte, wurden Pläne der Distriktstädte und Karten des Gouvernements Olonez gezeichnet (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA).

Im Sommer 1785 ging der Gouverneur auf Tour durch die Provinz. Er reiste 2000 Kilometer per Boot und Pferd. Während dieser strapaziösen und gefährlichen Reise schrieb er ein Tagebuch, in welchem er wichtige Daten über das Leben in der Region im 18. Jahrhundert festhielt. Seine Themen waren Beschreibungen von Provinz- und Distriktstädten, die Originalität karelischer Sprache und Kultur, das fünfseitige Psalter, der karelische Abschnitt, die alte Religion des Nordens und vieles mehr. Als erster Gouverneur der Provinz Olonez leistete Gawrila Derschawin eine enorme Menge Arbeit bei der Organisation des öffentlichen Gesundheitswesens, der staatlichen Schulen sowie der Wohltätigkeit in der Region. An die Zeit seines Aufenthalts in Petrosawodsk, Karelien, erinnert seine bekannte Ode, “Die Wasserfälle”. Sie bildet den Ausgangspunkt des Themas Karelien in russischer Dichtkunst (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA).

Russisch-karelische Volkstracht:

Der Höfling und Ehemann

1791 wurde Gawrila Derschawin persönlicher Sekretär der Zarin. 1794 avancierte er zum Präsidenten des Handelsinstituts. 1802 ernannte man ihn schliesslich zum Justizminister. 1803 zog er sich auf sein Landgut Swanka bei Nowgorod zurück, wo er Gedichte schrieb. In seinem Haus in Sankt Petersburg hielt er monatliche Treffen der konservativen Vereinigung “Liebhaber des russischen Worts” ab. Privat war er zweimal verheiratet, aber beide Ehen blieben kinderlos. 1778 nahm er das 16jährige Mädchen Jekaterina Jakowlewna Bastidon (Екатеринa Яковлевнa Бастидон) zur Ehefrau. In seiner Dichtung nannte er sie “Plenira”. Sechs Monate nach ihrem Tod im Jahr 1794 heiratete er Darja Alexejewna Djakowa (Дарья Алексеевна Дьякова). Sie heisst “Milena” in den Gedichten, die er für sie schrieb. Als er starb, erbte sie das Landgut Swanka bei Nowgorod und liess dort ein Kloster einrichten.

Russischer Patriot

Gawrila Derschawin schrieb als russischer Patriot Gedichte zu Ehren von Russland und seiner Zarin Katharina der Grossen:

Гром победы, раздавайся!
Веселися, храбрый Росс!
Звучной славой украшайся.
Магомета ты потрёс!

Славься сим, Екатерина!
Славься, нежная к нам мать!

Воды быстрые Дуная
Уж в руках теперь у нас;
Храбрость Россов почитая,
Тавр под нами и Кавказ.

Уж не могут орды Крыма
Ныне рушить наш покой;
Гордость низится Селима,
И бледнеет он с луной.

Стон Синая раздаётся,
Днесь в подсолнечной везде,
Зависть и вражда мятется
И терзается в себе.

Мы ликуем славы звуки,
Чтоб враги могли узреть,
Что свои готовы руки
В край вселенной мы простреть.

Зри, премудрая царица!
Зри, великая жена!
Что Твой взгляд, Твоя десница
Наш закон, душа одна.

Зри на блещущи соборы,
Зри на сей прекрасный строй;
Всех сердца Тобой и взоры
Оживляются одной.

Katerinas Sieg

Siegesdonner, erklinge! / Freu dich, tapferer Russe! / Bewundere dich in deinem Ruhm! / Du hast die Muselmanen geschlagen!

Refrain: Ruhm dir, Katherina! /Ruhm dir, unserer fürsorglichen Mutter!

Die schnellen Wasser der Donau / Sind nun in unsren Händen. / Die Tapferkeit der Russen achtend / Sind Krim und Kaukasus in unsrer Hand.

Türkische Tatarenhorden / Nicht länger stören unser ruhig Land. / Der stolze Selim verliert an Kraft. /  Der Türkenmond verblasst.

Ischmaels Stöhnen wiederholt / sich auf der ganzen Welt. / Neid und Feindschaft sind besiegt, / In Gift verwandelt an der Quelle.

Mach das Beste aus jedem Sieg! / Für unsere Feinde ist es an der Zeit zu sehen: / Russland greift weiter und höher / über Bergesgipfel und Meere.

Brilliante Zarin, betrachte deine Vision! / Und sieh, grosse Frau: / An deinen Gedanken und Urteilen / Nehmen wir alle teil wie eine einzige Seele.

Schau die Pracht der Kathedralen, / Schau wie schön gebaut sie sind! /
Alle Herzen wenden sich dir zu, / Freuen sich mit dir.

Russisch-Türkischer Krieg (1768-1774):

Unsterbliche Dichtung

“Die Krim in unserer Hand”: Heute könnten sich Zarin Katherina die Grosse und ihr Lieblingsdichter Gawrila Derschawin erneut darüber freuen, dass die Krim seit dem Frühjahr 2014 wieder in russischer Hand ist nach dem Referendum ihrer Bewohner, die zum Mutterland Russland zurückkehren wollten. Die “brilliante Zarin” war eine Visionärin. Sie konnte voraussehen, dass die Krim damals wie heute sehr wichtig für Russland war und ist als wirtschaftlicher und militärischer Stützpunkt am Schwarzen Meer. “Mach das Beste aus jedem Sieg!” Jetzt baut Russland eine gigantische Brücke vom Festland zur Halbinsel Krim gegen feindliche Transport- und Energieblockaden.  “Russland greift weiter und höher über Bergesgipfel und Meere”: Unter Präsident Putin stellt die Russische Föderation wieder eine Weltmacht dar. Sie reicht ihren Partnerstaaten in Asien, Afrika und Lateinamerika die Hand.

Freude auf der russischen Krim:

“Gawrila Derschawins Dichtung und Memoiren präsentieren ein reiches und komplexes Porträt seiner Zeit. Es kommen eine verschiedene Themen zur Sprache, zum Beispiel Krieg und Frieden, Liebe und Essen. Er war offen für zeitgenössische Strömungen und vertraut mit unterschiedlichen philosophischen Perspektiven. Man erinnert sich an ihn als Dichter mit unabhängigem Geist, der die Wahrheit liebte und die Gerechtigkeit verteidigte. Politisch blieb er jedoch ein standhafter Monarchist” (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA). 

Gawrila Derschawins Dichtung ist ein Universum von erstaunlicher Fülle. Sie übte grossen Einfluss auf Dichter der Folgegenerationen aus, zum Beispiel auf Nikolai Nekrassow und Fjodor Tjutschew. Mit Schwerpunkt auf der Ode repräsentiert Gawrila Derschawins Werk den Gipfelpunkt russischer Klassik. Seine Oden werden auch jetzt noch in russischen Schulbüchern gedruckt. Die meisten sind seiner Zarin gewidmet, Katharina II., die er in seinen Gedichten “Feliza” nannte, die Glückliche.

Gawrila Derschawins Porträt auf einer russischen Briefmarke (links):

Das Denkmal

Ich  baute mir selbst ein Denkmal, ewig und wunderbar,
Es ist höher als die Pyramiden, sein Metall ist härter;
Schnelle Winde und Donner können es nicht umwerfen,
Der Flug der Zeit kann es nicht zerstören.

So werde ich nicht wirklich sterben! Der grösste Teil von mir
Wird dem Tod trotzen, der Verwesung entgehen,
Mein Ruf wird wachsen und niemals  verwittern,
So lange Slawen geehrt werden in dieser Welt.

Und mein Wort soll sich verbreiten vom Weissen Meer zum Schwarzen Meer,
Wo Wolga, Don, Newa und Ural fliessen,
Jedes Mitglied zahlloser Stämme wird wissen,
Wie ich den Weg fand von Obskurität zum Ruhm,

Indem ich als erster wagte, in lebendig russischer Sprache
Die Tugenden von Feliza zu feiern,
Mit Gott zu sprechen in intimer Einfachheit,
Und lächelnd Königen Wahrheiten zu verkünden.

Oh Muse! Sei stolz auf deine wohlverdienten Preise,
Verachte all jene, die dich verachten,
Und mit leichter, sicherer Hand
Kröne deine Brauen in ewiger Morgenröte.

Die Newa in Sankt Petersburg:

Gawrila-Derschawin-Museum in Sankt Petersburg

In Sankt Petersburg lädt das Gawrila-Derschawin-Museum Besucher ein. Dieses grosse Anwesen besteht aus drei Gebäuden an der Fontanka. Der Dichter kaufte das Land am Fontanka-Fluss 1791 für seine Vorstadtvilla. Der Hof war von einer Galerie frei stehender Säulen umgeben. Eine andere offene Kolonnade verband die beiden Flügel am Ufer. Das Land hinter dem Haus wurde als  Landschaftsgarten mit künstlichen Bächen und Teichen, Brücken und Pavillons angelegt. Von 1791 bis zum Tod des Dichters war dieses Haus eines der kulturellen Zentren Sankt Petersburgs, ein Fokus für kreatives Leben in der Hauptstadt. Hier versammelte sich die künstlerische, literarische und politische Elite Russlands, auch der berühmte russische Fabeldichter Iwan Krylow kam hierher.

 2003 wurde das Haus als Museum für Gawrila Derschawin geöffnet. Es präsentiert Manuskripte, Illustrationen, seltene Bücher aus dem 18. Jahrhundert, Journale, Möbel, Ornamente, Gemälde und Drucke vom späten 18. bis frühen 19. Jahrhundert, auch Porträts des Dichters und seiner Zeitgenossen. Man gab sich grosse Mühe, die Räume genau so zu gestalten, wie sie zu Zeiten von Gawrila Derschawin aussahen: sein Schreibzimmer, das gelbe Wohnzimmer, den Liebessitz und sein Haustheater. In dem Museum werden regelmässig Konzerte und Literaturabende veranstaltet, ausserdem wird hier jedes Jahr am 3. Juli eine Feier für die russische Dichtung des 18. Jahrhunderts abgehalten.

Adresse: 118, Nabereschnaja Reki Fontanki

Garten der Dichtervilla in Sankt Petersburg:

Olivia Kroth: Die Journalistin und Autorin von vier Büchern lebt in Südfrankreich. Ihr Blog:


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Olivia Kroth: Honouring the Russian poet Gavrila Derzhavin 200 years after his death

Honouring the Russian poet Gavrila Derzhavin 200 years after his death

by Olivia Kroth

The current of time’s river
Will carry off all human deeds
And sink into oblivion
All peoples, kingdoms and their kings.

And if there’s something that remains
Through sounds of horn and lyre,
It too will disappear into the maw of time
And not avoid the common fate.

This is a beautiful poem, written by Gavrila Derzhavin (1743-1816). Its contents might be true for the ordinary man, but not for himself. His poetry remains, as fresh as ever, in Russian anthologies. Also “the current of time’s river” has not sunk “into oblivion all peoples, kingdoms and their kings”. Empress Catherine the Great is still very much alive in Russian people’s minds as one of the great rulers of tsarist Russia. Gavrila Derzhavin was her favourite court poet. He wrote beautiful verses for her.

Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin (Гаврила Романович Державин) was born in Kazan, Tatarstan, on the 14th of July 1743. He died on the 20th of July 1816 as one of the most highly esteemed Russian poets of his time as well as a statesman at the court of Empress Catherine the Great. His works are considered as literary classicism.  At the Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg, he rose from the ranks as a common soldier to the highest offices of state. Politically astute, his career advanced when he left the military for civil service. He rose to the position of Governor of Olonets, in 1784. He was the first Governor of this province. The Olonets Governorate of north-western Imperial Russia extended from Lake Ladoga to the White Sea, bounded west by Finland, north and east by Arkhangelsk and Vologda, south by Novgorod and Saint Petersburg. The area included more than 57.000 km², of which 6.800 km² were covered by lakes.

Russian peasants of the Olonets Governorate:

The Olonets Governor

Gavrila Derzhavin “became the Olonets Governor 13 years after the suppression of the Olonets peasant uprising in Kizhi (1769-1771) and demanded from peasants strict performance of all duties assigned to them, remembering that ‘ruin and poverty quite often are the reason for greater impudence and crimes.’ He was one of the first to address the problem of wildlife preservation and protection of the Karelian woods. Gavrila Derzhavin fulfilled many of the provincial reforms of Catherine II. As a result of his work on the ascertainment of borders between Russia and Sweden, plans of district cities and maps of the Olonets Province were made” (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA).

“In the summer of 1785, Gavrila Derzhavin left to review the Olonets Province. He traveled about two thousand kilometres by boat and by horse. Throughout this difficult and dangerous journey, he kept a journal with valuable data on life in the region, in the 18th century, including the first descriptions of provincial and district cities, the originality of the Karelian culture and language, the ‘five-string psaltery’, the Karelian cantle, the northern Old Belief religion and much more. As first Governor of Olonets Province, Gavrila Derzhavin also accomplished a tremendous amount of work on the organization of public health services, national education and charity in the region. The period of his residence in Petrozavodsk, Karelia, was remembered by the poet in a well-known ode, The Waterfalls, which marks the beginning of the Karelian theme in Russian poetry” (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA).

Karelian village near Petrozavodsk:

Courtier and Husband

Gavrila Derzhavin became personal secretary to the Empress, in 1791, then President of the College of Commerce, in 1794, and finally Minister of Justice, in 1802. One year later, he retired to his country estate at Zvanka near Novgorod, writing poetry. At his home in Saint Petersburg he held monthly meetings of the conservative society ” Lovers of the Russian Word”.

Gavrila Derzhavin married twice during his lifetime. In 1778, the 16-year-old girl Ekaterina Yakovlevna Bastidon (Екатеринa Яковлевнa Бастидон) became his first wife. In his poetry he called her “Plenira”. Six months after her death, in 1794, he took Darya Alekseevna Dyakova (Дарья Алексеевна Дьякова) as second wife. Her name is “Milena” in his poems. When he died, she inherited his estate Zvanka near Novgorod and had a convent built in this place.

Empress Catherine the Great (Екатерина II Великая, 1729-1796):

The Russian Patriot

Gavrila Derzhavin was a Russian patriot, writing verses to praise Russia:

Гром победы, раздавайся!
Веселися, храбрый Росс!
Звучной славой украшайся.
Магомета ты потрёс!

Славься сим, Екатерина!
Славься, нежная к нам мать!

Воды быстрые Дуная
Уж в руках теперь у нас;
Храбрость Россов почитая,
Тавр под нами и Кавказ.

Уж не могут орды Крыма
Ныне рушить наш покой;
Гордость низится Селима,
И бледнеет он с луной.

Стон Синая раздаётся,
Днесь в подсолнечной везде,
Зависть и вражда мятется
И терзается в себе.

Мы ликуем славы звуки,
Чтоб враги могли узреть,
Что свои готовы руки
В край вселенной мы простреть.

Зри, премудрая царица!
Зри, великая жена!
Что Твой взгляд, Твоя десница
Наш закон, душа одна.

Зри на блещущи соборы,
Зри на сей прекрасный строй;
Всех сердца Тобой и взоры
Оживляются одной.

Catherine’s Triumph

Triumph’s thunder louder, higher!
Russian pride is running high!
Russia’s glory sparkles brighter!
We have humbled Moslem might.

Hail to you for this, o Catherine!
Gentle mother to us all!

Danube’s swiftly flowing waters
Are at last in our firm hands;
Caucasus respects our prowess,
Russia rules Crimean lands.

Turkish-Tatar hordes no longer
May disturb our calm domain.
Proud Selim won’t be the stronger
evermore, as Crescent wanes.

Groans by Ishmael repeated
‘Round the world are heard perforce.
Envy, enmity — defeated! —
Turn to poison at the source.

Make the most of every triumph —
For our foes it’s time to see:
Russia reaches farther-higher
Over mountain peaks and seas.

Brilliant Empress, gaze at visions,
And behold, a woman great:
In your thoughts and your decisions
As one soul we all partake.

Look at grand cathedrals’ splendor,
Contemplate our strength and grace;
See your subjects’ hearts surrender
To rejoice before your face!

Immortal Poetry

“Russia rules Crimean land”: today Empress Catherine the Great and her favourite poet Gavrila Derzhavin might “rejoice” once more because Russia rules Crimean land again, after Crimea joined the Russian Federation, according to the wish of the Crimean people expressed in the referendum of 2014. The “brilliant Empress” was a visionary, she was able to “gaze at visions”, knowing that Crimea would always be very important to Russia as an economic and military outpost in the Black Sea. “Make the most of every triumph”: Russia is building a gigantic bridge from the mainland to the Crimean peninsula, triumphing against food and energy blockades of its enemies. “Russia reaches farther-higher over mountain peaks and seas”: under President Putin the Russian Federation has become a world power once more, reaching out to its Asian, African and Latin American partner states.

“Gavrila Derzhavin’s poetry and memoirs present a rich and complex portrait of his time, employing a diverse range of topics from war and peace to love and dining. Open to the influence of all contemporary currents and at ease with various philosophical perspectives, he is remembered as the poet who loved truth, defending justice and an independent spirit. Politically, however, he remained a staunch monarchist” (RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIAPEDIA). Gavrila Derzhavin’s poetry is a universe of amazing richness and exerted a lot of influence on Russian poets of following generations, for example on Nikolai Nekrasov and Fyodor Tyutchev. With its emphasis on the ode, Gavrila Derzhavin’s poetry represents the culmination and expansion of Russian Classicism. His odes are still widely quoted in Russian schoolbooks, today. Most of them are dedicated to his Empress, Catherine the Great, whom he calls “Felitsa”, the happy or lucky one, in his poems.

Gavrila Derzhavin’s estate Zvanka:

The Monument

I built myself a monument, eternal and miraculous,
It’s higher than the Pyramids, than metal it is harder;
Swift winds and thunder cannot knock it down
The flight of time cannot demolish it.

Thus I won’t really die! The part of me that’s largest
Will baffle death, and will escape decay,
My fame will grow, and never wither,
As long as Slavs are honored in this world.

And word of me shall spread from the White Sea to the Black,
Where Volga, Don, Neva and Ural rivers flow,
Each member of the countless tribes will know
How from obscurity I found my way to fame,

By daring first in lively Russian speech
To celebrate the virtues of Felitsa,
To talk of God with intimate simplicity,
And with a smile announce the truth to kings.

O Muse! take pride in your well-earned rewards,
Disdain all those who show disdain for you,
And with an easy and unhurried hand,
With dawn eternal crown your brow.

Gavrila Derzhavin Museum in Saint Petersburg

In Saint Petersburg the Gavrila Derzhavin Museum is open to visitors. The estate consists of three buildings on the banks of the Fontanka River. Gavrila Derzhavin bought the plot of land next to the Fontanka River for his suburban villa, in 1791. The courtyard was enclosed with a gallery of free-standing columns, and a similar open colonnade joined the two wings on the embankment. The space behind the house was laid out as a landscape garden, with artificial streams and ponds, bridges and follies. From 1791 until the poet’s death, this house was one of the cultural centres of Saint Petersburg, a focus for the creative life of the capital. It was a gathering point for the artistic, literary and political elite of Russia, including the famous Russian fabulist Ivan Krylov.

In 2003, the house was opened as the Museum of Gavrila Derzhavin. It displays manuscripts, illustrations and rare books from the 18th century, journals, furniture, ornaments, paintings and prints from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, also portraits of the poet and his contemporaries. Great effort was made to recreate the exact interiors of Gavrila Derzhavin’s era, including the poet’s study, the yellow drawing room, the love seat and his home theatre. The museum regularly hosts concerts and literary evenings, as well as an annual celebration of Russian 18th century poetry, on the 3rd of July.

Adress: 118, Naberezhnaya Reki Fontanki

Inside of the Gavrila Derzhavin Museum in Saint Petersburg:

Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Southern France. Her blog:


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Olivia Kroth: Der Juni ist die Zeit der Filmfestivals in Russland

Der Juni ist die Zeit der Filmfestivals in Russland

von Olivia Kroth

In der Russischen Föderation ist der Juni 2016 ein Glanzlicht für Freunde des Kinos. Jedes Jahr werden in diesem Monat zwei Filmfestivals veranstaltet. Kinotawr in Sotschi findet in der ersten Juniwoche statt und das Moskauer Internationale Filmfestival  in der letzten Juniwoche. Beide haben ihren besonderen Schwerpunkt: Kinotawr (Кинотавр) ist ein nationales Festival, das nur russische Filme zeigt. Das Moskauer Internationale Filmfest lädt bekannte Regisseure aus der ganzen Welt ein, ihre neuesten Produktionen zu präsentieren. Russisches Kino ist generell konkurrenzfähiger geworden, sowohl im In- wie im Ausland. Kinofreunde achten jetzt besonders auf russische Filme, weil 2016 von Präsident Wladimir Putin zum “Jahr des russischen Kinos” ausgerufen wurde. Nikita Michalkow, Russlands prominentester Regisseur und Produzent, der auch als Präsident des Moskauer Internationalen Filmfestivals fungiert, sagte in einem Interview: “Das (russische) Kino tendiert jetzt mehr zur visuellen Attraktion und ist unterhaltsamer geworden, als es vor 20 Jahren war, als die Kinobesucher in Filmen Antworten auf dringliche Fragen suchten. Geld zu verdienen und das Kinopublikum zu faszinieren sind zwei unterschiedliche Aufgaben …” (Interview mit Tatjana Saizewa, AEROFLOT.RU, Juni 2016). Das russische Kino versucht heutzutage, vier Aufgaben zu erfüllen – ein ziemlich ehrgeiziges Ziel! Es will Antworten auf aktuelle Fragen geben, Filmfreunde ansprechen, visuell attraktiv sein und ausserdem Geld bringen.

Nikita Michalkow:

Kinotawr findet in dem Bade- und Kurort Sotschi an der russischen Schwarzmeerküste statt. Sie ist eine Touristenattraktion und zieht während des Filmfestivals viele zusätzliche Besucher an, russische Filmschauspieler, Drehbuchautoren, Regisseure und Produzenten. Nach der eindrucksvollen Eröffnungszeremonie am 6. Juni 2016 begann Kinotawr mit dem Film “Petersburg – Nur mit Liebe”. Präsident Wladimir Putin begrüsste die Gäste und Teilnehmer zu diesem feierlichen Anlass. In seiner Rede betonte er, dass Kinotawr ein “Treffpunkt für berühmte Filmschauspieler sowie unbekannte Neulinge” geworden sei. Die Geschichte von Kinotawr begann 1991. Ab 1993 war Oleg Jankowski der Präsident des Filmfestivals. Er bekleidete dieses Amt bis zu seinem Tod im Jahr 2009.

Oleg Iwanowitsch Jankowski (Олег Иванович Янковский; 1944-2009) war ein russischer Filmschauspieler, der zu Zeiten des Sowjetkinos Karriere machte. Er wurde am 23. Februar 1944 in Jeskagan, Kasachstan, geboren. 1965 ging er zum Dramatheater in Saratow. Seine Filmkarriere begann 1967 mit Filmen über den Grossen Vaterländischen Krieg (1941-1945). Oleg Jankowski spielte in sehr vielen Filmen mit, insbesondere in russischen Klassikern. Er war auch in Fernsehverfilmungen von Theaterstücken zu sehen. 1984 erhielt er den Staatspreis der Sowjetunion und später einige Male den Nika-Preis der russischen Filmakademie. Oleg Jankowski starb am 20. Mai 2009 in Moskau.

Oleg Jankowski:

Alexander Rodnjanski, der Präsident des Minotawr Film Festivals 2016, sagte, dass man dieses Jahr “dem Publikum zeitgenössische Filme weiblicher Regisseurinnen präsentieren” wollte (RUSSKIY MIR, 07.06.2016). Er besitzt selbst viel Erfahrung als Regisseur und ist seit 2004 Präsident von Minotawr. Alexander Jefimowitsch Rodnjanski (Aлександр Ефимович Роднянский) wurde 1961 in Kiew geboren. Nach seiner Ausbildung als Regisseur von Dokumentarfilmen mit Diplom von der Nationalen Hochschule für Film, Theater und Fersehen in Kiew arbeitete er zunächst in einem Filmstudio seiner Heimatstadt. Er produzierte im Lauf seiner Karriere mehr als 30 Filme und über 20 TV-Serien. Zudem drehte er 10 Dokumentarfilme und gewann mehr als 40 Preise, inklusive den Nika-Preis der russischen Filmakademie.

2013 publizierte Alexander Rodnjanski sein Buch “Was macht ein Produzent”. Im selben Jahr wurde es ein Verkaufsschlager im Bereich der Sachbuchliteratur. 2015 kam die zweite Auflage heraus, welcher er einige neue Kapitel hinzugefügt hatte. Sie beschreiben Geschichten aus dem Hintergrund der Filmszenen seiner Filme “Stalingrad” und “Leviathan”. Der erfolgreiche Produzent und Regisseur ist auch in professionellen Vereinigungen der Filmindustrie sehr aktiv, unter anderem als Jury-Mitglied verschiedener Filmfestivals. Überdies gehört er der Nationalen Russischen Filmakademie an, die den Preis “Goldener Adler” vergibt, ausserdem dem nationalen russischen Filmpreiskomitee “Nika” und der russischen Fernsehakademie.

Alexander Rodnjanski:

Vierzehn Filme nahmen an dem Wettbewerb von Kinotawr teil. Der Film “Ein guter Junge” von Oksana Karass gewann dieses Jahr den Grand Prix. Kolja, ein Schuljunge, verliebt sich in eine seiner Lehrerinnen, während sich die Tochter des Schuldirektors in ihn verliebt. So muss Koja sich entscheiden, welche der beiden weiblichen Personen er lieber mag. “Der Film ist eine Komödie über menschliche Schwächen und Illusionen. Sein Held Kolja wird in eine Dreiecksgeschichte verwickelt. Er muss lernen, sein Liebesleben wie auch sein schulisches Leben zu meistern” (KINOTAVR.RU, June 2016).

Die Filmregisseurin Oksana Karass sagte: “Mich interessieren Charaktere, die sympathisch sind. Als ich den Film vorbereitete, konzentrierte ich mich auf unser gutes altes sowjetisches Kino. Ich liebte es wegen seines einfachen Tons und seiner Schlichtheit. ‘Ein guter Junge’ ist ein Film, in dem die Schauspieler im Mittelpunkt stehen. Er ist sehr einfach, ohne Arroganz, ich verzichte auf das Moralisieren und bin an Charakteren interessiert, in die man sich einfühlen kann. ‘Ein guter Junge’ ist eine ehrliche Geschichte über einen Jungen, der heranwächst” (EDESNEWS.COM, June 2016). Oksana Karass (Оксана Карас) wurde am 19. Juli 1979 in Charkow geboren. Sie erhielt 2009 ihr Diplom von dem Filminstitut Gerassimow in Moskau. Es ist die älteste Filmschule der Welt, Oksana Karass eine seiner jüngsten Absolventinnen in Filmregie und ein neuer Star am Firmament des russischen Kinos.

Konstantin Chabenski gewann dieses Jahr den Preis von Kinotawr als bester Darsteller in dem Film “Der Sammler” von Alexei Krasowski. Natalja Pawlenkowa erhielt den Preis als beste Darstellerin für ihre Rolle in dem Film “Zoologie” von Iwan Twerdowski. Kirill Serebrjannikow wurde mit seinem Film “Der Student” zum besten Regisseur gekürt. Der Kurzfilm “Hypothekendarlehen” von Wadim Waliullin wurde zum besten Kurzfilm des Jahres 2016 gewählt. Er handelt von einer Frau, die gleichzeitig erfährt, dass sie an einer unheilbaren Krankheit leidet und dass ihr Ehemann in einem Verkehrsunfall gestorben ist. Als sie eine Geldsumme erhält, kann sie ihr Hypothekendarlehen zurückzahlen (RUSSKIY MIR, 10.06 2016 und 14.06.2016).

Das 38. Internationale Filmfestival Moskau wurde vom 23. bis 30. Juni 2016 abgehalten. Der Hauptpreis ist die Statue des Heiligen Georg, wie er den Drachen tötet, das gleiche Motiv wie auf dem Wappen der Stadt Moskau. Nikita Michalkow fungiert seit 2000 als Präsident dieses Filmfestivals. Seitdem hat es seine Bekanntheit gesteigert und ist zu einer prestigeträchtigen Veranstaltung geworden, wo Weltpremieren stattfinden. Das Programm wurde nach und nach erweitert. Es umfasst jetzt mehr Vorführungen von Retrospektiven wie auch aktuellen Filmen. Die Teilnahme am Internationalen Filmfestival Moskau ist zu einem Gütesiegel geworden. Dieses Jahr kamen 12 Filme aus 11 Ländern in den Wettbewerb.

Nikita Michalkow sagte in einer Befragung: “Wir haben eine generelle Richtung der Suche im Kopf. Wir wollen uns Filme aus Lateinamerika und Asien ansehen, um etwas zu entdecken, das bisher unbeachtet geblieben ist. So werden wir dieses Jahr eine Retrospektive von Filmen aus arabischen Ländern präsentieren. Ich bin gespannt, was dabei herauskommt. Vielleicht wird es unser Verständnis der Konflikte im Nahen Osten vertiefen. Kino ist immer auch eine Spurensuche. Es ermöglicht, viele neue Phänomene zu interpretieren” (Tatjana Saitsewa, AEROFLOT.RU, Juni 2016).

Wiktoria Issakowa (Виктория Евгеньевна Исаковa) ist das russische Mitglied der internationalen Jury. Die Schauspielerin wurde am 12. Oktober 1976 in Dagestan geboren. Mit 13 Jahren zog sie mit ihren Eltern nach Moskau. Sie studierte an der russischen Akademie für Theaterwissenschaften und an der Moskauer Hochschule für Theaterkunst. Von 1999 bis 2001 arbeitete Wiktoria Issakowa für das Moskauer Tschechow-Theater, wo sie die Rolle der Nina in Anton Tschechows “Die Seemöwe” spielte. 2001 trat sie dem Moskauer Puschkin-Theater bei. Seit 1998 ist die Schauspielerin auch auf dem Bildschirm zu sehen. 1998 gab sie ihr Fernsehdebüt in der Serie “Tschechow & Co”. Ihr Durchbruch beim Kino kam 2005. 2013 erhielt sie den russischen Preis “Goldener Adler” als beste Fernsehdarstellerin.

Dieses Jahr gewann ein iranischer Film den Grand Prix de Internationalen Filmfestivals Moskau. Die Jury zeichnete den Film “Die Tochter” aus, der von Resa Mirkarimi gedreht wurde. “Die Tochter” erzählt die Geschichte einer traditionellen iranischen Familie, in welcher der Vater alle Entscheidungen trifft. Diese Tradition wird jedoch gebrochen, als die 15jährige Segareh alleine nach Teheran fliegt, statt an der Verlobungsfeier ihrer jüngeren Schwester teilzunehmen. Segareh will sich von ihrer Freundin verabschieden, die auswandert. Farhad Aslani stellt den Vater des iranischen Mädchens dar. Er wurde beim 38. Internationalen Filmfestival in Moskau als bester Darsteller ausgezeichnet (TASS, 01.07.2016).

Resa Mirkarimi:

Resa Mirkarimi wurde schon zum zweiten Mal mit diesem angesehenen Preis ausgezeichnet. Das erste Mal erhielt er ihn für “So einfach ist das” im Jahr 2008. “Ich bekomme zum zweiten Mal einen goldenen Sankt Georg in Moskau. Beide Male gewann ich ihn für Filme über Familienwerte”, sagte der iranische Regisseur bei der Preisverleihung in Moskau. Resa Mirkarimi wurde am 28. Januar 1966 in Teheran geboren. Er ist ein bekannter iranischer Drehbuchautor, Regisseur und Produzent, der seine Ausbildung in graphischer Kunst an der Universität für Schöne Künste in Teheran absolvierte. Seine Kinokarriere begann 1987. Nun hilft er auch jungen iranischen Regisseuren bei der Filmproduktion. Ausserdem war Resa Mirkarimi bereits als Jurymitglied für verschiedene internationale Filmfestivals tätig.

Der Stanislawski-Preis wurde an Marina Nejolowa verliehen “für herausragende Leistungen in der Schauspielkunst und Verbreitung der Prinzipien der russischen Stanislawski-Schule für Schauspieler”. Konstantin Sergejewitsch Stanislawski (18xx -1938) erfand das Schauspielkonzept des inneren Erlebens der Rolle. Er näherte das Bühnenspiel an das reale menschliche Ausdrucks- und Kommunikationsverhalten an durch Beobachtung, Nachahmung und Erinnerung. In seiner Schauspielvorstellung geht es um das Zusammenwirken von Körper und Seele. Die Schauspieler drücken Gefühle und Gemütsbewegungen durch Haltung und Auftreten sowie Mimik und Gestik aus. So entwickelte Konstantin Stanislawski psychotechnische Schauspielmethoden und propagierte das Identifikationstheater. Er gründete das Moskauer Künstlertheater und war auch auf Tourneen im Ausland erfolgreich.

Marina Nejolowa:

Marina Nejolowa (Марина Мстиславовна Неёлова) wurde am 8. Januar 1947 in Leningrad geboren. Die Schauspielerin spielte während ihrer langen Karriere in mehr als 70 Filmen mit. Sie verkörperte Charaktere mit äusserer und innerer Schönheit. Sie erhielt Tausende von Zuschauerbriefen, in denen immer wieder diese Zeilen vorkamen:  “Wie haben Sie es geschafft, mein Leben so akkurat zu beschreiben?” Marina Nejolowa war besonders brillant in Nikolai Gogols “Der Mantel” und Anton Tschechows “Der Kirschgarten” (38. MOSKAU FILM FESTIVAL.RU, Juni 2016).

Das Moskauer Internationale Filmfestivel fand im Rossija-Theater am Puschkin-Platz statt. Es ist ein Architekturmonument aus dem Jahr 1961 und das grösste Theater in Moskau. Mittlerweile wurde es mehrfach umgebaut als Schauplatz für grosse Ereignisse wie das Moskauer Internationale Filmfestival. 1997 wurde es vermietet und später an den Filmverleiher Karo-Film verkauft. Heute kann das Theater 1.750 Gäste aufnehmen. In der letzten Juniwoche 2016 war es die Bühne für den Auftritt vieler berühmter Kinoleute, ein “Sternenweg” des russischen und internationalen Kinos.

Olivia Kroth: Die Journalistin und Autorin von vier Büchern lebt in Südfrankreich. Ihr Blog:


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Olivia Kroth: June is the time of film festivals in Russia

June is the time of film festivals in Russia

by Olivia Kroth

In the Russian Federation, June is a highlight for cinema fans. Each year, two cinema festivals are held at the beginning and the end of this month: the Kinotavr Film Festival in Sochi, during the first week of June, and the International Moscow Film Festival, in the last week of June. Both have their special outlook: Kinotavr (Кинотавр) is a national festival, showing only Russian films, while the International Moscow Festival invites renowned film directors from around the world to present their newest productions. Russian cinema is generally becoming more competitive at home and worldwide. Cinema fans are paying special attention to Russian films in 2016, since President Vladimir Putin named it the “Year of Russian Cinema”. Nikita Mikhalkov, Russia’s most prominent film director, producer and president of the International Moscow Film Festival, said in an interview: “Russian cinema has drifted towards visual appeal and become more entertaining than twenty years ago, when people used to turn to films for answers to pressing questions. Making money and getting through to the audience are two different tasks …” (Interview by Tatiana Zaitseva, AEROFLOT.RU, June 2016). Nowadays, Russian cinema tries to fulfill four tasks, which seems to be quite an ambitious project: answering pressing questions, getting through to audiences, offering visual appeal and, last but not least, making money. 

Kinotavr takes place in the beautiful seaside town of Sochi, located on Russia’s Black Sea coast, which is a tourist attraction for itself, apart from the annual Kinotavr Film Festival, a highlight for Russian actors, directors producers and script writers. After the impressing opening ceremony, on the 6th of June 2016, Kinotavr began with the movie “Petersburg – Only With Love”. President Vladimir Putin greeted guests and participants on the occasion, saying that Kinotavr had become a “meeting point, both for famous actors and novices alike”.  The history of Kinotavr began in 1991. It was headed by Oleg Yankovsky as president from 1993 until his death, in 2009.

Oleg Ivanovich Yankovsky (Олег Иванович Янковский; 1944-2009) was a Russian actor who excelled in Soviet cinema. He was born, on the 23rd of February 1944, in Jezkagan, Kazakhstan. In 1965, he joined the Saratov Drama Theatre. His film career began in 1967 with movies about the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Oleg Yankovsky had a prolific screen career, appearing in many film classics. He also starred in TV versions of theatre productions. In 1984, he was awarded the USSR State Prize. Later, he received several Nika Awards from the Russian Film Academy. Oleg Yankovsky died in Moscow, on the 20th of May 2009.

Oleg Yankovsky:

Alexander Rodnyansky, President of the Minotavr Film Festival 2016, said that this year they wanted to present “contemporary women’s films to the audience” (RUSSKIY MIR,  07.06.2016). He is a seasoned film director and has served as Minotavr’s President, since 2004. Alexander Yefimovich Rodnyansky (Aлександр Ефимович Роднянский) was born in Kiev, in 1961. After graduating from Kiev’s National University of Film, Theatre and Television as documentary director, he first worked at a film studio of his home town. During his career, he produced over 30 films and more than 20 television series. He has directed 10 feature documentaries and won more than 40 prestigious awards, including the Russian National Film Award Nika.

In 2013, Alexander Rodnyansky published his book, “What makes a producer”. It became one of the non-fiction bestsellers of that year. In 2015, a second edition was published, including several new chapters describing behind-the-scene stories of his films “Stalingrad” and “Leviathan”. The film producer and director is very active in professional film industry associations and has served in the juries of various film festivals. He is also a member of the National Academy of Film Sciences of Russia (Golden Eagle), a member of the Russian National Film Award (Nika) as well as the Russian Academy of Television.

Alexander Rodnyansky:

The main competition of Kinotavr included 14 films, of which “A Good Boy”, directed by Oksana Karas, was chosen as this year’s winner of the Grand Prix. The main character of the movie, Kolya Smirnov, is a schoolboy in love with one of his teachers, while the headmaster’s daughter falls in love with him. So Kolya must decide which of them he likes better. “The film is a comedy about human foibles and illusions. Its hero Kolya gets involved in a love triangle and must sort out his love life as well as his school life” (KINOTAVR.RU, June 2016).

Film director Oksana Karas said, “I am interested in characters than you can empathize with. When I was preparing for the filming, I focused on our good old Soviet cinema, which was loved for its sincere tone and simplicity. ‘A Good Boy’ is an actors’ movie. It is very simple, without any snobbery or moralizing, a sincere story about a young person growing up” (EDESNEWS.COM, June 2016). Oksana Karas (Оксана Карас) was born in Kharkov on the 19th of July, 1979. She received her diploma from VGIK, the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, in 2009. While VGIK is considered as the oldest film school of the world, Oksana Karas is one of the youngest female film directors, a new star on the firmament of Russian cinema.


Konstantin Khabensky won this year’s Kinotavr prize as Best Actor in the film “The Collector” by Alexey Krasovsky. Natalya Pavlenkova received the prize of Best Actress for her role in the movie “Zoology” by Ivan Tverdovsky. Kirill Serebryannikov with his film “The Student” was announced as Best Director. “The Mortgage Loan”, directed by Vadim Valiullin, was chosen as best short-length film of the Kinotavr Film Festival 2016. It deals with a woman who learns that she has an incurable disease and hears about her husband’s death in a traffic accident, at the same time. When she gets a sum of money, she can pay back her mortgage loan (RUSSKIY MIR, 10.06 2016 and 14.06.2016).

The 38th Moscow International Film Festival was held from the 23rd to 30th of June, 2016. The festival’s top prize is the statue of Saint George slaying the dragon, as represented on the coat of arms of Moscow. Since Nikita Mikhalkov became the festival’s president in 2000, this festival has gained considerable reputation as a prestigious venue for world premieres. The programme has been gradually expanded to include more showings, both retrospective and modern. Participation in the Moscow International Film Festival has become a kind of quality stamp. This year, 12 films from 11 countries were shortlisted.

Nikita Mikhalkov said in an interview: “We have a general direction of search in mind. We want to take a closer look at the new films from Latin America and Asia to discover what has been unnoticed so far. This year, for instance, we will have a retrospective of cinema from Arabic countries. I am excited to see what will come out of it. Perhaps it will broaden our understanding of the nature of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Cinema is always an investigation, it allows one to interpret many new phenomena” (Tatiana Zaitseva, AEROFLOT.RU, June 2016).

Nikita Mikhalkov:

Viktoria Isakova (Виктория Евгеньевна Исаковa) is one of the jury members at the Moscow International Film Festival. Born in Dagestan (12.10.1976), the Russian actress moved to Moscow with her parents, when she was thirteen. She entered the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, and one year later, the Moscow Art Theatre School. From 1999 to 2001, Viktoria Isakova worked for the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre, appearing as Nina in Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”. In 2001, the actress joined the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre. On screen, she debuted in the TV series “Chekhov & Co”, in 1998. Her cinema breakthrough followed, in 2005. She received the Russian Golden Eagle Award as Best Actress on Television, in 2013.

At this year’s festival, an Iranian film was the big winner. The jury awarded the Grand Prix to “Daughter”, produced by Reza Mirkarimi. “Daugther” is a drama telling the story of a traditionalist Iranian family, where a conservative father takes all the decisions. The customary system of life collapses, when the fifteen-year-old Segareh takes a flight to Teheran to see off her friend emigrating, instead of taking part in the celebration of her younger sister’s engagement. Farhad Aslani, who plays the girl’s father, was named Best Actor at the 38th Moscow International Film Festival (TASS, 01.07.2016).

It is the second time that Reza Mirkarimi won this prestigious prize, the first time was for “As Simple As That”, in 2008. “This is the second time I get a Golden St George in Moscow, and I received both prizes for films about family values,” the Iranian film director said at the award ceremony in Moscow. Reza Mirkarimi was born in Teheran, on the 28th of January 1966. He is a renowned Iranian film writer, director and producer, who graduated from the Teheran Fine Arts University in Graphic Arts. His cinema activities started in 1987, and he also helps other young Iranian directors by producing their films. Reza Mirkarimi furthermore sat on several international film festival juries.

Reza Mirkarimi:

The Stanislavsky Prize was given to Russian actress Marina Neyolova for her outstanding achievement in the career of acting and her devotion to the principles of the Russian Stanislavsky School of actors. The Stanivslavsky system of acting is a progression of techniques used to train actors to create believable characterizations for their performances. The system was originally used by Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863-1938), a Russian actor and director at the Moscow Art Theatre. The system is based on the concept of emotional memory, for which an actor focuses internally to portray a character’s emotions onstage. Later, between 1934 and 1938, a method of physical actions was added, in which emotions are produced through the use of these actions. The complex system is the result of Stanislavsky’s many years of efforts to determine how someone can control in performance the intangible and uncontrollable aspects of human behavior. Today, the Stanislavsky system is considered a classical acting philosophy in Russia.

Marina Neyolova (Марина Мстиславовна Неёлова) was born in Leningrad, on the 8th of January 1947. The actress appeared in more than 70 films during her long career. She played characters whose outer and inner beauty were outstanding. Marina Neyolova received thousands of letters from her fans during her lifetime, all sharing the same line, “How did you manage to describe my life so accurately?” She was especially brilliant in Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat” and Anton Chekov’s “The Cherry Orchard” (38TH MOSCOW FILM FESTIVAL.RU, June 2016).

The Moscow International Film Festival was held at the Rossiya Theatre on Pushkinskaya Square. It is a monument of architecture, the largest theatre in Moscow. Built in 1961, it underwent several reconstructions. The Rossiya Theatre has always hosted major events, such as the Moscow International Film Festival. In 1997, it as leased and later sold to the large Russian film distributor Karo Film. The theatre has a capacity of 1.750. During the last week of June 2016, it was the backstage for many famous movie people, a “star walk” of Russian and international cinema.

Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Southern France. Her blog:


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Olivia Kroth: Der Ural – Russlands Gebirge zwischen Asien und Europa

Der Ural: Russlands Gebirge zwischen Asien und Europa

von Olivia Kroth

Russlands Uralgebirge (Уральские горы) erstreckt sich über Tausende von Kilometern von Norden nach Süden, vom Arktischen Ozean bis Zentralrussland. Der Ural teilt den Kontinent in zwei Teile: Asien und Europa. Das Gebirge entstand vor etwa 300 Millionen Jahren durch tektonische Aktivität. Sein höchster Gipfel ist die Narodnaja (Гора Народная) in der Oblast Tjumen, mit einer Höhe von 1.894 Metern über dem Meeresspiegel. Der im Mai 2000 gegründete Föderationskreis Ural umfasst sechs administrative Regionen: die Oblast Kurgan, Oblast Swerdlowsk, Oblast Tjumen, Oblast Tscheljabinsk, den Autonomen Kreis der Chanten und Mansen und den Autonomen Kreis der Jamal-Nenzen. Der Ural ist ein Gebiet, wo viele Ethnien Seite an Seite Leben: Russen, Tataren, Ukrainer, Baschkiren, Chanten, Mansen und Nenzen von der Halbinsel Jamal. Die Chanten und Mansen sind ugrische Völker, die ihre eigenen Sprachen sprechen. Die Nenzen (ненцы), ein indigenes Volk aus dem arktischen Norden Russlands, sprechen die Dialekte der Tundra- oder Taiga-Nenzen. Zudem ist der Ural ein Gebiet der Immigration. Wegen der guten Arbeitsmöglichkeiten in der Industrie zieht er viele Menschen aus verschiedenen Teilen der Russischen Föderation und den ehemaligen Sowjetrepubliken an. Am 18. Mai 2016 fand im Föderationskreis Ural ein Seminar über Fragen der Einwanderung mit Vertretern der Russischen Föderalen Institution für ethnische Angelegenheiten statt.  

Die Narodnaja (1.894 Meter ü.d.M.):

“Der stellvertretende Leiter des Präsidentenbüros, Magomedsalam Magomedow, und der Bevollmächtigte Repräsentant des Präsidenten im Föderationskreis Ural, Igor Cholmanskich, veranstalteten ein regionales Seminar zur ethnischen Politik der Regierung in diesem Föderationskreis. Igor Cholmanskich berichtete detailliert über die gegenwärtige Situation. Magomedsalam Magomedow stellte eine positive Entwicklung in den ethnischen Beziehungen des Föderationskreises fest. Er sprach auch zum Thema der Einwanderung, die im Moment aktuell ist, und forderte die Verwaltung des Föderationskreises auf, die Interaktion zwischen den Ethnien zu fördern. Die Agenda der Strategie für die Ethnik-Politik des Staates bis 2025 solle umgesetzt werden, um die Beziehungen der Ethnien untereinander zu verbessern und die Einheit des russischen Vielvölkerstaates zu stärken. Auf dem Seminar sprachen auch der Gouverneur der Oblast Kurgan, Alexei Kokorin; der Gouverneur der Oblast Tjumen, Wladimir Jakuschew; der Gouverneur der Oblast Tscheljabinsk, Boris Dubrowski; die Gouverneurin des Autonomen Kreises der Chanten und Mansen, Natalja Komarowa; der Gouverneur des Autonomen Kreises der Jamal-Nenzen, Dmitri Kobylkin.”


Igor Cholmanskich, Bevollmächtigter Repräsentant des russischen Präsidenten im Föderationskreis Ural:

Igor Cholmanskich aus Nischni Tagil

Igor Rurikowitsch Cholmanskich (Игорь Рюрикович Холманских) wurde am 29. Juni 1969 in  der Industriestadt Nischni Tagil (Нижний Тагил) im Ural geboren.  Sowohl sein Vater als auch seine Mutter arbeiteten bei der Maschinenbau- und Rüstungsfirma UralWagonSawod (УралВагонЗавод). Sein Halbbruder ist Arzt in der Klinik von Nischni Tagil. In den 1980er Jahren diente Igor Cholmanskich als militärischer Instruktor der russischen Streitkräfte. 1994 schloss er sein Studium am Politechnischen Institut des Urals als Ingenieur für Mechanik ab. Schon während des Studiums hatte er als Belader bei UralWagonSawod gearbeitet. Nach der Abschlussprüfung blieb er dort als Ingenieur fûr Mechanik. 2006 wurde er zum stellvertretenden Direktor befördert. Igor Cholmanskich nahm aktiv an der Walkampagne für die Präsidentschaftswahl 2012 zur Unterstützung von Wladimir Putin teil. Nach dem Wahlsieg ernannte der Präsident Igor Cholmanskich am 18. Mai 2012 zu seinem Bevollmächtigten Repräsentanten im Föderationskreis Ural.

Igor Cholmanskichs Heimatstadt Nischni Tagil liegt in der Oblast Swerdlowsk, 25 Kilometer östlich von der Grenze zwischen Asien und Europa. Der Name setzt sich zusammen aus “Nischni”  (russisch: “nieder”) und “Tagil” (mansisch: “Wasser”). Dieser Ort am Fluss Tagil ist eine natürliche Lagerstätte für seltene Steine. Mit 362.000 Einwohnern ist Nischni Tagil das industrielle Zentrum des Uralgebirges. Die Stadt ist bekannt für ihre Werke zur Eisengewinnung und -verarbeitung, weiterhin für Maschinenbau und Chemie. Hier sind mehr als 600 Firmen angesiedelt, die grösste und bedeutendste ist UralWagonSawod, heute der weltgrösste Hersteller von Panzern.

Nischni Tagil:


UralWagonSawod wurde in der Fünfjahresperiode von 1933 bis 1937 gegründet und nach Felix Dserschinski benannt. Die Fabrik steht in Nischni Tagil auf einem Gelände von 827 Hektar. Während des Grossen Vaterländischen Kriegs (1941-1945) wurden elf Firmen aus dem westlichen Teil der Sowjetunion hierher evakuiert, inklusive der Lokomotivenfabrik Charkow. Während des Kriegs produzierte UralWagonSawod Bomben, Flugzeuge und Panzer. Nach dem Krieg wurde die Produktion erweitert. Das Werk stellte auch Baumaschinen, Landmaschinen und sonstige militärische Güter her.  Heute ist die Palette weit gefächert, von militärischen Produkten wie Panzern bis zu Schienenfahrzeugen, Traktoren und Baumaschinen. UralWagonSawod ist berühmt für die Panzer T-54A, T-55, T-62, T-72, T-90, T-95 und T-14.

Die Oblast Swerdlowsk und die Oblast Tscheljabinsk sind die am stärksten industrialisierten Regionen des Föderationskreises Ural, der 27 Prozent aller Gold- und Erzvorkommen Russlands birgt. Von hier kommen 42 Prozent aller russischen Metallprodukte, 68 Prozent der russischen Erdöl- und 90 Prozent der russischen Naturgasproduktion.  Insbesondere in der Oblast Tjumen befinden sich umfangreiche Öl- und Gasreserven, während die Oblast Tscheljabinsk die Hochburg der Metallurgie darstellt. Eine herausragende Bedeutung haben die Unternehmen im Rüstungsbereich, vor allem aus dem nuklearen Sektor. Die industrielle Produktion pro Kopf ist im Föderationskreis Ural 2,5 Mal höher als im Rest der Russischen Föderation. Der Föderationskreis bringt der Regierung 40 Prozent der russischen Einkommenssteuern, insbesondere aus dem Bereich der Industrie.

Mansenfrau aus der Oblast Tjumen:

Das Holzidol aus dem Schigir-Moor

Trotz Industrialisierung hat der Ural seine natürliche Schönheit und charmanten Geheimnisse behalten. Das Gebirge ist eines der ältesten dieser Welt, wo bereits vor 11.000 Jahren menschliche Wesen hausten. Das Holzidol aus dem Schigir-Moor (Шигирский идол) ist circa 11.000 Jahre alt. Es stammt vom Beginn des Holozän, des jüngsten Zeitabschnitts der Erdgeschichte, welcher bis heute andauert. Das Holzidol wurde 1890 in einer Goldmine gefunden, die auf halbem Weg zwischen Nischni Tagil und Jekaterinburg (Екатеринбург) liegt. Man holte die Einzelteile dieser Holzstatue Stück für Stück heraus und setzte sie wieder zusammen. Insgesamt ist die Skulptur 5,3 Meter hoch. Graf Alexei Stenbok-Fermor, der Besitzer jener Goldmine, schenkte das Holzidol der Gesellschaft für Naturwissenschaften im Ural, heute bekannt unter dem Namen “Naturkundemuseum der Oblast Swerdlowsk”. Dieses Museum, für Einheimische und Besucher gleichermassen interessant, steht in der Malyschewa-Strasse Nr. 46 in Jekaterinburg.


Russische Wissenschaftler begannen 1997, das Holzidol aus dem Schigir-Moor zu untersuchen. Mit der Radiokarbonmethode konnten sie sein Alter bestimmen. Dies ist ein Verfahren zur radiometrischen Datierung kohlenstoffhaltiger, organischer Materialien. Der zeitliche Anwendungsbereich liegt zwischen 300 und etwa 60.000 Jahren. Im August 2015 wurde das Holzidol aus dem Schigir-Moor offiziell als älteste Holzskulptur der Welt anerkannt. Dies bedeutet, dass die Entwicklung europäischer Kultur in Russlands Uralgebirge ihren Anfang nahm. “So ist es an der Zeit, über die Geschichte erneut nachzudenken. Vor 11.000 Jahren gab es Jäger und Sammler im Ural. Sie zeigten eine hohe Stufe der Entwicklung, lebten in Harmonie mit ihrer Umgebung und wussten viel mehr über sie, als wir modernen Menschen uns vorstellen können”, meint  Michail Silin, ein leitender Wissenschaftler des Instituts der Archäologie an der Russischen Akademie für Wissenschaften (RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES, 23.10.2015).

Das Holzidol aus dem Schigir-Moor:

Dolmen, Felsen und Petroglyphen

Der Ural ist wahrscheinlich das älteste Gebirge der Welt. Hier können Besucher auf den Spuren vergangener Zivilisationen wandeln. Im mittleren Ural gibt es einige Dolmen, welche älter als die ägyptischen Pyramiden sind. Nördlich von Jekaterinburg wurden 1958 in der Nähe des Flusses Iset megalithische Gräber gefunden. Sie weisen verschiedene Dimensionen auf, von Menschen gemacht. Ein Kultplatz namens “Teufelssiedlung” liegt 25 Kilometer nordwestlich von Jekaterinburg, ein Haufen von Felsen auf dem Gipfel eines Bergs. Dies war ein Opferplatz für die Menschen der frühen Eisenzeit. Archäologen fanden in der “Teufelssiedlung” verbrannte Knochen, Keramik und Kupferteller.

Ein anderer interessanter Ort für Besucher sind die Petrogrom-Felsen (Скалы Петрогром), 30 Kilometer nordwestlich von Jekaterinburg. Sie türmen sich gleichfalls auf einem Berggipfel auf. Archäologen entdeckten hier 18 Öfen, die von Schmieden der Itkul-Kultur zum Schmelzen von Kupfer verwendet wurden. Etwa 27 Kilometer westlich von Jekaterinburg stiess man in der Nähe der Kleinstadt Sewerka auf Petroglyphen, eine Art von Kunstgalerie des Steinzeitalters mit Darstellungen von menschlichen Wesen, Rentieren und Wasservögeln. Sie wurden 1985 entdeckt (RUSSIA & INDIA REPORT, 05.03.2015).

Die Petrogrom-Felsen (Скалы Петрогром):

Gold, Edel- und Halbedelsteine

Der Ural war schon immer bekannt für seinen Reichtum an Gold, Edel- und Halbedelsteinen: Alexandrit, Amethyst, Beryll, Diamanten, Granat, Malachit, Rhodonit, Smaragd, Topas und Turmalin. Im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert wurde Russlands Schmuckindustrie mit Rohmaterialien aus dem Uralgebirge beliefert. Die Goldminen von Beresowski (Берёзовское месторождение), 13 Kilometer nordöstlich von Jekaterinburg, liegen im Herzen von Russlands Goldgebiet. In diesen Minen wurde mehr als 260 Jahre lang Gold gefunden und sie sind immer noch aktiv. Touristen können an der Goldsuche teilnehmen oder die zwei Museen von Beresowski besuchen. Eines ist privat, das andere staatlich. Sie zeigen Ausrüstungsgegenstände und Geräte, Goldwaren, Karten des Goldhandwerks aus dem 19. Jahrhundert sowie eine Sammlung schöner Mineralien und Golderze. “Niedrige Häuser säumen die Strassen, unter denen sich Hohlräume befinden. Schon im Jahr 1745 wurde hier eine Goldader entdeckt. Das Beresowski-Goldbergwerk ist bis heute das am längsten ununterbrochen betriebene Bergwerk der Welt” (RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES – DEUTSCH, 20.04.2014).

Russische Smaragde stammen aus den Minen von Malyschewo in der Nähe des gleichnamigen Dorfes, 60 Kilometer von Jekaterinburg entfernt. Diese Smaragdminen sind die grössten in Russland wie auch im gesamten Kontinent Europa. Sie sind sogar die drittgrössten der Welt nach den Smargdvorkommen in Lateinamerika. Besucher sind eingeladen, die Smaragdfelder zu erkunden, wo die ersten Smaragde des Uralgebirges gefunden wurden. Sie können auch auf die Aussichtsplattform steigen oder eine Werkstatt besuchen, wo Meisterklassen für Edelsteinbearbeitung abgehalten werden (RUSSIA & INDIA REPORT, 21.04.2014). Im Jahr 2011 wurde in Malyschewo ein neuer, bis dahin unbekannter Edelstein von leuchtend grüner Farbe entdeckt und “Mariinskit” getauft. Er zeichnet sich durch einen sehr hohen Brechungsindex aus, der etwa dem von Smaragden entspricht. Der Mariinskit ist ein dem Chrysoberyll sehr nahe verwandtes Mineral.

Smaragd aus Malyschewo:

Das Mineralienlager bei Resch, 83 Kilometer nordöstlich von Jekaterinburg, gilt als Zentrum des “Edelsteingürtels” im Ural. Dieses erstaunliche Mineralienlager birgt über 60 alte und neue Mineralienvorkommen. Es gibt in Resch auch zwei Museen für Touristen. Der kleine Ort Mursinka, auf halbem Weg zwischen Resch und Nischni Tagil, hat eine Edelsteinwerkstatt. Rund um Mursinka liegen 70 Minen mit Aquamarin, Beryll, Granat, Rauchquarz, Rubin, Topas und Turmalin. Einige dieser Minen können besichtigt werden. Das Fersman-Mineralienmuseum in Mursinka zeigt alle Sorten von Edelsteinen, die aus dem Ural stammen. Alexander Jewgenjewitsch Fersman ( Александр Евгеньевич Ферсман, 1883-1945) war ein russischer  Geochemiker und Mineraloge.

Beryll aus Mursinka:

Der Tscheljabinsk-Meteor

Nicht nur Touristen kommen in den Ural, sondern auch ausserirdische Besucher. Im Februar 2013 erreichte ein Meteor die Region von Tscheljabinsk. Er war 4,5 Milliarden Jahre alt. Der Himmelskörper stammte aus dem Asteroiden-Gürtel zwischen Mars und Jupiter. Er brauchte 1,2 Millionen Jahre für seine Reise in den Ural, wo er bei der Bevölkerung für grosses Staunen sorgte. Der Meteor leuchtete so hell wie 30 Sonnen, während er am russischen Himmel zu sehen war. Durch die intensive Hitze verflüchtigten sich etwa drei Viertel des Meteors. Nur etwa 0,05 Prozent der ursprünglichen  Masse wurden gefunden. Eine Gruppe russischer Wissenschafter sagte, dass der Meteor in abschüssigem Winkel mit einer Geschwindigkeit von 19 Kilometern pro Stunde in die Atmosphäre der Erde gefallen sei. Er war 20 Meter breit und wog 10.000 Tonnen. Im Oktober 2013 wurde sein grösstes Fragment aus dem See Tschebarkul geborgen (DIE STIMME RUSSLANDS05.12.2013 und 15.02.2014).

Wissenschafter untersuchen immer noch den Tscheljabinsk-Meteor, der seine Geheimnisse nicht gerne preisgibt. In ihm wurden Nanopartikel natürlicher Herkunft gefunden. Der russische Wissenschaftler Dmitri Pawlow sagte: “Die Nanokristalle im Meteor haben eine Kristallstruktur und sind einen Nanometer gross. In der Nanotechnologie versucht man, solche Objekte künstlich zu erzeugen. Aber dieses Objekt ist aus dem Weltraum gekommen. Die Ursache für die Entstehung seiner Nanokristalle bleibt unklar. Sie bestehen aus einem Mineral, das aus Magnesium, Eisen und Sauerstoff zusammengesetzt ist. Diese Nanokristalle haben eine ideale sphärische Form. Objekte mit Nanokristallen sind auf jeden Fall in Bezug auf ihre physikalischen Eigenschaften sehr interessant, denn sie entstehen aus der Quantennatur kleiner Einschlüsse. Dort ändert sich das Energiespektrum des Festkörpers. Die Nanokristalle des Meteors strahlen infrarotes Licht im Wellenbereich zwischen 675 und 800 Nanometern ab. Diese Entwicklung kann die Entwicklung von Systemen mit optisch aktiven Medien fördern” (DIE STIMME RUSSLANDS, 07.04.2014).

Der berühmte Tscheljabinsk-Meteor hat sein neues Zuhause in dem Tscheljabinsker Museum für regionale Studien gefunden. Andere Fragmente sind in das Moskauer Planetarium gewandert. Sie können alle von interessierten Touristen besichtigt werden.

Olivia Kroth: Die Journalistin und Autorin von vier Büchern lebt in Südfrankreich. Ihr Blog:


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Olivia Kroth: Russia’s Ural Mountains between Asia and Europe

Russia’s Ural Mountains between Asia and Europe

by Olivia Kroth

Russia’s Ural mountains (Уральские горы) stretch for thousands of kilometres north to south, from the Arctic Ocean down to central Russia, dividing the continent into two parts: Asia and Europe. They appeared nearly 300 million years ago as vestiges of long-gone tectonic activity. Their highest peak is Mount Narodnaya (Гора Народная), at 1?894 metres above sea level, in Tyumen Oblast. There are six administrative regions in the Urals Federal District, which was created in May 2000:  Kurgan Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The Urals are an area of great ethnic variety. Russians, Tatars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs, Khanty, Mansi and Nenets from the Yamal Peninsula live here, side by side. The Khanty and Mansi are known collectively as Ob Ugric people, speaking their own languages. The Nenets (ненцы), an indigenous people of northern arctic Russia, speak the tundra or forest varieties of the Nenets language. Furthermore, the Ural mountains are an area of migration, attracting many people from different parts of the Russian Federation and former Soviet republics, due to its industrialization with great job opportunities. On the 18th of May 2016, a seminar on migration issues was held in the Urals Federal District by representatives of the Russian Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs. 

“Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Magomedsalam Magomedov and Presidential Envoy to the Urals Federal District Igor Kholmanskikh chaired a regional seminar on the implementation of the state ethnic policy in the Urals Federal District.  In his report, Igor Kholmanskikh gave a detailed account of the current situation, Magomedsalam Magomedov noted a positive trend in inter-ethnic relations in the Urals Federal District and touched upon the migration issue, which is currently essential for the district. Mr Magomedov called on the top officials in the Urals Federal District to boost interaction with the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs in implementing the agenda of the Stragey for the State Ethnic Policy until 2025, in harmonising inter-ethnic relations and enhancing the unity of the multi-ethnic Russian nation. Speaking at the seminar were Kurgan Oblast Governor Alexei Kokorin, Tyumen Oblast Governor Vladimir Yakushev, Chelyabinsk Oblast Governor Boris Dubrovsky, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug Governor Natalya Komarova and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor Dmitry Kobylkin.”


Igor Kholmanskikh from Nizhny Tagil

Presidential Envoy to the Urals Federal District Igor Rurikovich Kholmanskikh (Игорь Рюрикович Холманских) was born in the industrial Urals town of Nizhny Tagil (Нижний Тагил), on the 29th of June 1969. Both, his father and mother worked at UralVagonZavod (УралВагонЗавод). His half-brother is a doctor in the clinic of Nizhny Tagil. In the late 1980s he served in the Russian Armed Forces as military instructor. In 1994, Igor Kholmanskikh graduated from the Urals Politechnic Institute as mechanical engineer for wheeled and tracked vehicles. While studying, he had already begun to work as loader at UralVagonZavod. After graduating he continued as mechanical engineer and was promoted to deputy director, in 2006. Igor Kholmanskikh took an active part in the campaign for the Russian presidential elections, supporting Vladimir Putin, in 2012. After the election, President Vladimir Putin appointed him as Presidential Envoy to the Urals Federal District, on the 18th of May 2012.

Igor Kholmanskikh’s home town Nizhny Tagil is a city in Sverdlovsk Oblast, located 25 kilometres east of the border between Asia and Europe. The city is one of the rare natural store rooms in the Ural mountains. Many mineral deposits containing 63 elements of the periodic table have been found there. With a population of 362.000, Nizhny Tagil is an industrial centre of the Middle Urals. The power-intensive industries of ferrous metallurgy, engineering and metal working are located here. More than 600 manufacturing companies operate in Nizhny Tagil, which developed as one of the early centres of Russian industrialization, in the 19th century, and has been a major Russian producer of cast iron and steel since then. Nizhny Tagil Iron and Steel Plant and UralVagonZavod are the biggest plants in the city, today.

UralVagonZavod (UVZ) 

UralVagonZavod was created during the five-year period 1933 to 1937 and named after Felix Dzerzhinsky. The plant occupies 827 hectares in Nizhny Tagil. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), eleven companies from the western part of the Soviet Union were evacuated to Nizhny Tagil, including the Kharkiv Locomotive Factory. During the war, UralVagonZavod produced aircraft, bombs and tanks. After the war it was expanded to produce machinery for the agricultural, railway, aviation and space sectors. Today, there is a wide range of products from military and railway vehicles to containers, road-building machinery, tractors and tanks. UralVagonZavod is the world’s largest producer of battle tanks. It is especially famous for its battle tanks T-54A, T-55, T-62, T-72, T-90, T-95 and T-14.

Sverdlovsk Oblast and Chelyabinsk Oblast are the most industrialized regions in the Urals Federal District, which provides about 90 percent of Russia’s natural gas production, 68 percent of oil and 42 percent of metal products. Industrial production per capita in the Urals Federal District is 2.5 times higher than the average value in all of the Russian Federation. The district provides 40 percent of Russian tax incomes, mostly from industry, with its major branches of fuel mining and production, metallurgy, metal processing and engineering. Sverdlovsk Oblast and Chelyabinsk Oblast together constitute 80 percent of Russian metallurgy and 70 percent of Russian metal processing and engineering.

The Shigir Idol

Despite this heavy industrialization, the Ural mountains have retained their natural beauty and mysterious charm as one of the world’s ancient places, where human beings already lived 11.000 years ago. The Shigir Idol (Шигирский идол) is about 11.000 years old, dating to the start of the Holocene period at the end of the last Ice Age and beginning of present era. It was found in a gold mine half-way between Nizhny Tagil and Yekaterinburg( Екатеринбург), in 1890. The wooden parts of the statue were retrieved, piece by piece. When assembled, the sculpture was 5,3 metres tall. The owner of the gold mine, Count Alexey Stenbok-Fermor, handed the Shigir Idol over to the Urals Natural Sciences Society, today known as the Sverdlovsk Oblast Museum of Local Lore. This museum is an interesting spot for locals and tourists alike. It is located in Yekaterinburg, Malysheva Street 46.


Russian scientists began to study the Shigir Idol, in 1997. With radiocarbon analysis they were able to establish its age. In August 2015, the Shigir Idol was officially recognized as the world’s oldest wooden sculpture, which means that the development of European culture came from the Ural mountains in Russia. “So it is time to rethink history. The hunters and gatherers living in the Ural mountains 11.000 years ago  exhibited a high level of development. They lived in harmony with the environment and knew far more about it than modern people can imagine”, according to Mikhail Zhilin, a leading researcher at the Institute of Archeology in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES, 23.10.2015).

Shigir Idol in the Sverdlovsk Oblast Museum of Local Lore, Yekaterinburg:

Dolmens, rocks and petroglyphs

The Ural mountains are probably the oldest mountain range of the world, where visitors can follow the traces of past civilizations. In the Middle Urals some dolmens are older than the pyramids of Egypt. In the north of Yekaterinburg, some megalithic tombs were  found, in 1958. They are close to the Iset river. These dolmens in various dimensions are manmade. A cult place called “Devil’s Settlement” is located 25 kilometres northwest of Yekaterinburg. It looks like a pile of rocks on the top of a mountain. This was a place of sacrifice for the people living here in the early Iron Age. Archaeologists found burnt bones in the “Devil’s Settlement”, also some ceramics and copper plates. Another interesting place to visit are the Petrogrom rocks, 30 kilometres to the northwest of Yekaterinburg. These are high granite rocks on top of a mountain. Archaeologists discovered 18 furnaces in the Petrogrom rocks. They were used by blacksmiths of the Itkul culture, who smelted copper in these furnaces. About 27 kilometres west of Yekaterinburg, near the town of Severka, some petroglyphs have been found. The Severka petroglyphs look like an art gallery of the Stone Age, showing images of human beings, reindeer and water birds. They were discovered in 1985 (RUSSIA & INDIA REPORT, 05.03.2015).

Severka petroglyphs:

Gold, coloured and precious stones

The Ural mountains are famous for gold, coloured and precious stones: alexandrite, amethyst, diamonds, emeralds, malachite, rhodonite, topaz and tourmaline. In the 19th and 20th century, the Urals were the main suppliers of raw materials for Russia’s jewellery industry. The Berezovsky gold mines (Берёзовское месторождение), 13 kilometres to the northeast of Yekaterinburg, are the heart of Russia’s gold homeland. For more than 260 years, gold has been found here, and the mines are still active. Tourists can take part in gold panning or visit the two Gold Museums of Berezovsky. One is private, the other public. They present charts, miners’ tools, gold wares and a collection of beautiful minerals as well as gold-bearing rocks. Russian emeralds come from the Malyshevo emerald mines near the Malyshevo village, 60 kilometres from Yekaterinburg. They are the largest in Russia as well as Europe. Tourists are invited to visit the place, where the first Urals emerald was found. They may walk around the quarry observation deck and the diamond-cutting workshop to watch a master class in working gems (RUSSIA & INDIA REPORT, 21.04.2014).

Emerald from the Malyshevo mines:

The Rezhevskoy Mineral Reserve near Rezh, 83 kilometres northeast of Yekaterinburg, is the centre of the Urals Jewel Belt. This amazing natural mineral reserve protects more than 60 old and new mineral mines containing agate, amethyst, beryl, chalcedony, emerald, opal, smoky quartz and topaz. There are also two museums open to visitors. The Urals diamond cutting centre is located in Murzinka, halfway between Rezh and Nizhny Tagil. Over 70 mines are grouped around Murzinka with aquamarine, amethyst, beryl, garnet, ruby, smoky quartz, tourmaline and topaz. Some of the mines may be visited by tourists. The Fersman Mineralogical Museum houses every kind of Urals gems (RUSSIA & INDIA REPORT, 21.04.2014).

 Blue topaz from the Murzinka mines:

Topaz (old classic) ex Larry Krause - Murzinka Mine, Ekaterinburg, Middle Urals, Russia

The Chelyabinsk Meteor

Not only tourists visit the Urals but extraterrestial entities, too. A meteor came to earth and hit the Chelyabinsk region, in February 2013. This visitor was 4,5 billion years old. “The celestial body was formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It took the meteor over 1.2 million years to reach the Ural mountains, where he produced great astonishment among the population. It burnt as bright as thirty suns, while traveling through the Russian sky. The intense heat evaporated three quarters of the meteor, leaving six tons of space matter that represented only 0.05 percent of the original rock. A team of Russian scientists said that the rock entered the atmosphere at a speed of 19 kilometres per hour. It was 18 to 20 metres wide and weighed 10.000 tons. In October 2013, the biggest fragment of the meteorite, weighing 1.430 pounds, was recovered from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul (THE VOICE OF RUSSIA, 05.12.2013 and 23.05.2014).

Scientists are still researching the Chelyabinsk meteor, which remains full of mysteries. Natural magnesium-iron nanocrystals were found in the fragments, revealing new information about the nature of nanomaterials and the conditions of their natural formation. The Russian scientist Dmitry Pavlov said, “The meteor’s nanocrystrals consist of ferropericlase. This material can be found in magnesium, iron and oxygen. It is formed only in the upper layers of mantle under extremely high pressure and temperature. When the celestial body fell to Earth, it could have reached thousands of degrees. One of the fragments was taken to Chelyabinsk for further examination. Objects with nanocrystals are extremely interesting in terms of their physical qualities. The meteorite nanocrystals are luminescent. They emit visible and infrared radiation in the wavelength range of 675 to 800 nanometres” (THE VOICE OF RUSSIA, 07.03.2016).

Today, the Chelyabinsk Museum of Regional Studies houses the famous Chelyabinsk meteorite, while some other of its fragments moved to the Moscow Planetarium.

Chelyabinsk meteorite at the Chelyabinsk Museum of Regional Studies:

Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Southern France. Her blog:


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