Russian Culture: Past and Present
Moscow is the capital and the largest city of Russia with 12.2 million residents within the city limits and 16.8 million within the urban area. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city on the European continent. It is also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world and is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe; the Federation Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe; and the Moscow International Business Center.
Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia and is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals in Europe and the world, and is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists, scientists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums, academic and political institutions and theaters.
Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. St. Petersburg is Russia's 2nd largest city after Moscow with 5 million inhabitants and is a major European cultural center. It is often described as the most Westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. St. Petersburg is home more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art.
Ballet performances occupy a special place in the cultural life of Saint Petersburg. The Petersburg School of Ballet is named as one of the best in the world. Traditions of the Russian classical school have been passed down from generation to generation among outstanding educators.
With a packed cultural program and a large number of world heritage sites, as well as a developing tourist infrastructure, St. Petersburg has become among the world's leading centers of culture and tourism.
Russian Culture: Past and Present will be an exciting 16-day program that explores Russian culture and history in the country’s most important cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Professor Valentina Sanders, Program Director, will lead the program with help from a Program Assistant, Mr. Anton Buynovskiy, who studied abroad in this program in Summer 2017.
Professor Valentina Sanders studied at Moscow State University and teaches Russian language and culture at UB.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are the cultural, historical, political and economic capitals of Russia. Each city played a crucial role in Russian history and in the development of Russian culture. Everyday Professor Sanders and the Program Assistant will hold 3 hour lectures and guide tours around the cities. Undergraduate students will earn 3 credits for the RUS 311 course and graduate students will earn 3 credits for the RUS 539 course. Students will learn about Russian culture and history by visiting the very places where the historical moments happened. The course will satisfy the Humanities UB Area in the UB Curriculum or General Education. Expert guides will lead tours of specializing in certain elements of Russian culture. There will also be opportunities for students to practice using Russian language.
In addition, there will be excursions to the Kremlin, Tretyakov Gallery, Gulag Museum, Moscow University and many monasteries.
Please read the Russia Summer 2019 Study Abroad Program Guide for more information and note that this will be made available to students accepted to the program through the online application system.
Before embarking on the program, students should read and watch the following book and films in order to establish general knowledge about Russian Culture.
Land of the Firebird, Susan Massey – Background on Russian culture and history.
• “Russian Ark” by Alexander Sokurov –Brings the paintings of the Hermitage to life. Available on Netflix and YouTube.
• “Burnt by the Sun” – Russian film that depicts the period of Stalin’s Rule (available
on YouTube as well)
• “The Cranes are Flying” – a classic Russian film that portrays life in Russia during
the Second World War
• “Andrei Rublev” – Russian film that tells the story of Rublev, one of the greatest icon
painters. Students will see Rublev’s paintings in Moscow. (Used copies available on
Amazon for $3.00)
SUMMER 2019 PROGRAM ITINERARY
May 21: Students board flights and leave for Moscow
May 22: Students arrive in Moscow. Instructors meet students at airport and take students to hostel
May 23: Walking tour of downtown Moscow. Tour of Kremlin, Red Square, Lubyanka, Lenin’s5Mausoleum (History, Culture, Politics)
May 24: Subway tour, lunch, walking tour (Arbat and other locations not visited the previous day) On May 24, many people in Orthodox countries mark the Day of the Slavonic Alphabet and Culture. The holiday was established in commemoration of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the enlighteners of the Eastern Christian world who in the 9th century created the Slavic (Cyrillic) alphabet.
May 25: AM: Tretyakov Gallery (Russian culture and paintings), PM: Gulag Museum (Russian History). Evening: Russian dancing and music at Izmailovo Park
May 26: Buy Souvenirs at Izmailovo. Gorky Park (go to modern art museums: Garage and Dom Khudozhnikov) meal at a Georgian Restaurant, tour of Moscow State University and city overlook
May 27: Kolomenskoye (Russian churches and houses), Donskoy Monastery (History of Russian Orthodox Church), Tsaritsino (palace and museum)
May 28: Trip to the major Mosque (Muslim influence in Russia), Russian largest book market, afternoon:
May 29: Novodevichy cemetery (graves of important Russian politicians, leaders, cultural figures), VDNKh (exhibits of the former republics), Russian Space Museum
May 30 : TBA (will determine based on interests of students)
May 31: AM Sapsan Train to St. Petersburg, check into hostel, tour of main street
June 1: Downtown tour (Peter and Paul Fortress, famous churches, etc.). Visit the University.
June 2: Trip to Hermitage (students to rent English audio guide, Piskarevskoye Cemetary, lecture on WW2 and the siege of LENINGRAD
June 3: Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
June 4: Petergoff Palace, boat tour
June 5: Catherine’s Palace
June 6 : Free Day
June 7: Fly home
** Students who want to go to the Bolshoi (Moscow) or Mariinsky (St. Petersburg) theaters should buy tickets online as soon as possible in January or February. Instructors will provide further information when schedule is released.**
*** If Moiseev Ensemble is on tour in Moscow, instructors will bring students who want to attend (Russian ethnic dances and dances from the former Republics).***
Students and the Program Assistant will stay at Vagabond Hostel, a very clean and safe hostel in downtown Moscow, in the center of the city. Breakfast is included. There is also a full kitchen and the common area will be used for lectures.
Students, the Program Assistant and Program Director will all stay at Baby Lemonade Hostel. Breakfast is included and the common areas will be used for holding lectures. This hostel has double and twin rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Estimated costs for this program can be found at the top of this page next to Budget Sheets by clicking on Summer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please contact the Faculty Program Director or Program Assistant:
Professor Valentina Sanders
The Study Abroad Program Advisor, Olga Crombie, can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone (716) 645-6279. Walk-ins are welcome in 1Capen on M-F from 12:30-4:30pm and appointments can be scheduled M-F from 10am-noon.