Education in Russia

Russia – education

Educational conditions in Russia are characterized by the country’s extent and highly composed population, representing a large number of ethnic groups.

From ancient times, a centralist administration and an economic-political structure of society, including serfdom, have been unfavorable to the building of a general primary school in Russia; in the late 1800’s. illiteracy must thus have had an extent of almost 80%.

From the October Revolution to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc around 1990, education was considered an important tool in the efforts to create a communist society. Already the first five-year plan 1929-32 showed the need for a tightening of the requirements in the field of education. Therefore, in 1930-31, centrally established curricula and examinations as well as a four-year compulsory schooling were introduced.

In 1958, in order to strengthen ties with working life, the Supreme Soviet introduced the so-called polytechnic school, which sought a closer link between education and production: education should be practice-oriented at all levels, and compulsory schooling followed by up to four years of vocational training. Talent care took place in special schools for language, art and sports.

Since 1992, there have been against the background of the desire to continue the polytechnic tradition, there has been a strengthening of the teaching of environmental issues, democracy and human rights. Unity with regard to culture and education is a high priority, at the same time as there has been an organizational decentralization of decision-making levels and a democratization of management relations. In addition, private schools are increasingly being set up.

The Russian education system in the 2010’s includes a unitary school for 6-15-year-olds with a four-year elementary school level and a five-year advanced level that ends with an exam. The content and objectives of the education are decided decentrally in the Russian states on the basis of national standards. After the 9-year compulsory schooling, you can continue on to a vocational education or a two-year youth education, which since 1992 has included high school, where predominantly humanities subjects are taught, and lyceum, which is oriented towards further education.

Higher education takes place at the country’s universities and other colleges, the vast majority of which have been founded since 1930; the oldest are the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg (grdl. 1725) and the University of Moscow (grdl. 1755). In 2012, there were 653 state and 462 non-state higher education institutions in Russia.

OFFICIAL NAME: Rossiyskaya Federatsija, Russian Federation


POPULATION: 143,700,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)

AREA: 17,100,000 km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Russian, over 100 other languages, including Slavic, Turkish, Mongolian, Uralic and Finno-Ugric languages

RELIGION: Russian Orthodox 70%, Muslims 5%, Catholics 2%, others (Protestants, Buddhists, Jews) 3%, none or unknown 20%

COIN: rubles


ENGLISH NAME: Russia, Russian Federation

POPULATION COMPOSITION: Russians 81%, Tatars 4%, Ukrainians 1%, Thieves 1%, Bashkirs 1%, Chechens 1%, Moldavians 1%, others 10%

GDP PER residents: 14,247 USD (2012)

LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 63 years, women 75 years (2009)



INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ru primarily; in

Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area; the country is located in both Europe and Asia. Russia is both formally and effectively the heir to the Soviet Union.

Within the country’s borders, there is a significant share of the world’s resources, including oil, natural gas, metal ores, forest and agricultural land. Russians make up over 80% of the population, but in addition there are approximately 100 different minorities.

  • Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as RU which stands for Russia.

Russia converted in 988 to Byzantine (Orthodox) Christianity, which has since had a very strong hold on the population. After approximately 200 years of Mongol rule re-established the Russian Empire in the 1400’s. with Moscow as its core country and the Prince of Moscow as ruler, and Russian rule has since been marked by a strong concentration of power.

Peter the Great’s extensive reforms in the early 1700’s. pressured the upper class to adopt Western cultural norms in art as well as administration and daily life. This created a cultural divide between the general population and the social elite, which still, albeit in other forms, characterizes Russian society. Western elite culture on a Russian basis flourished in the 1800’s. and produced some of the finest works of world art in literature as well as visual art and music.

In the Soviet Union, the communist modernization project created at great cost a modern industrial nation with a well-functioning education system and a fairly developed welfare society, but also a very expensive Soviet empire with a costly pursuit of superpower status.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has had great difficulty finding new forms of life and organization, and the 1990’s were marked by political instability, economic crisis and lack of investment, but also by a search for a new Russian identity, nationally and internationally. Since 2000, Russia has enjoyed increased stability, but at the same time under Vladimir Putin’s leadership has become increasingly authoritarian.

Regarding Russia in the 1900’s, see also the Soviet Union.

Russia – language

Official language is Russian, which is the mother tongue of approximately 120 mio. Russians and approximately 7.5 million of other ethnic origin; in addition, over 100 languages ​​are spoken. Many are written in Russian with the Cyrillic alphabet, except for Polish, German, Armenian, Georgian, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian, which have their core area outside Russia. 32 national groups, Chechens, North Ossetians, Tatars and Yakuts, have autonomy within their own territory, where the local language is to some extent used as a language of instruction. Russians make up the majority of the population in almost all regions, and knowledge of Russian is widespread. Russian-language schools are found everywhere, and Russian is predominant in higher education as well as in the state administration and the military.

Languages ​​spoken within the borders of the Russian Federation

The number of people who speak the languages ​​is only to some extent calculated after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. For some languages, e.g. German and Yiddish, later emigration has caused a decline.
· Indo-European languageso Slavic languages

§ Russian is the mother tongue of approximately 115 million Russians and approximately 7.5 million from other ethnic groups; it is also widespread as a second language.

§ Ukrainian is spoken by approximately 3 mio. (2002), in particular in the regions of Krasnodar, Belgorod, Voronezh and Volgograd.

§ Belarusian is spoken by approximately 800,000 (2002), especially in the Pskov region.

§ Polish is spoken by approximately 75,000 (2002), especially in the border areas with Poland.

§ Bulgarian is spoken by approximately 35,000 (2002), especially in the westernmost regions.

o Germanic languages

§ German and Yiddish were spoken in 1989 by resp. approximately 600,000 and approximately 500,000 spread in both European and Asian Russia.

o Iranian languages

§ Ossetically spoken by approximately 500,000 in North Ossetia and adjacent areas; in addition, Tajik (approximately 120,000, 2002) and Tati (approximately 3000) are spoken.

o Other Indo-European languages

§ Armenian is spoken by approximately 1.1 million (2002) in the Caucasian and Central Asian regions; Romanian is spoken by approximately 180,000, novels of approximately 155,000, Greek of approximately 90,000, and the Baltic languages Lithuanian and Latvian of respectively. approximately 45,000 and approximately 30,000.

· Altaic languageso Turkish languages

§ Tatar is spoken by approximately 6 mio. Tatars and Bashkir in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Siberia.

§ Chuvash is spoken by approximately 1.8 million (2001) in Tjuvasjien.

§ Bashkir is the mother tongue of almost 2 million. (2001) in and around the Russian republic of Bashkortostan west of the Urals.

§ Kazakh is spoken by approximately 640,000, especially along the border with Kazakhstan.

§ Yakut is spoken by approximately 365,000 in Sakha-Yakutia.

§ Azerbaijani and Karachay-Balkar are spoken by resp. approximately 335,000 and approximately 245,000 in the North Caucasus.

§ Kumykisk is spoken by approximately 280,000 in Dagestan.

§ Tuvinian or Urian shark is spoken by approximately 200,000 in Tuva.

§ Ojrotic or Altaic is spoken by approximately 50,000 (2000) in the Gorno-Altaic Republic.

§ Nogajisk is spoken by approximately 70,000 out of an ethnic group of approximately 75,000 in Dagestan.

§ Khakassisk is spoken by approximately 65,000 in Central Asia; in addition, Uzbek (60,000), Kyrgyz and Turkmen (about 40,000) as well as Chorean, Tjulymic and Tofalarian of smaller groups.

o Mongolian languages

§ Burjati is spoken by approximately 320,000 and khalkha by quite a few, while Kalmyk is spoken by approximately 175,000 in Kalmykia.

o Tungusian languages

§ Evenkish, also called solon or tjapogir, is spoken by approximately 10,000 from Central Siberia to the Pacific Ocean.

§ Evensk or Lamutian and Nanajisk or gold are spoken by resp. approximately 7500 (1997) and approximately 6000 (1997) in Eastern Siberia, where also ultja, orotji, udehe and negidal are each spoken by a few hundred, and orok by quite a few.

· Uralic languageso Finno-Ugric languages

§ Murderous wine is spoken by approximately 815,000 in Mordova.

§ Udmurt or votjakisk spoken by about 600,000 (1995) in Udmurtia.

§ Mari or tjeremissisk is spoken by approximately 550,000 in Mari-el.

§ Komi or Syrian is spoken by approximately 350,000 in Komi.

§ Karelian is spoken by approximately 130,000 in and around Karelia. Other Baltic Finnish languages ​​in NW Russia are Finnish (approximately 45,000) and Estonian (approximately 45,000) as well as Veps, Lydian and English, all spoken by small groups. Votically extinct in 2002.

§ Khanti or Ostjakisk and Mansi or Vogul are spoken by resp. approximately 12,000 and approximately 3000 in the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Circle.

§ Sami or Lappish is spoken by approximately 800 on the Kola Peninsula.

o Samoyed languages

§ Nenetsisk is spoken by approximately 25,000 (1995) in Western Siberia, while selkup, nganasan and enetsisk are not spoken by over 2000 each.

· Caucasian languageso Apart from Georgian, spoken by approximately 130,000 in Dagestan, the Caucasian languages ​​of Russia are spoken only within the borders of the federation; see text box for Caucasian languages.
· Paleo-Siberian languageso These languages ​​are all spoken in Russia; see text box for Paleo-Siberian languages.
· Eskimo-Aleut languageso Siberian yupik, Chaplin, Naukan, Sirenik, and Aleut are spoken by a total of a few hundred in northeastern Siberia.

Russia (Religion)

Russian law guarantees religious freedom and lists Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism as religions that must be respected by the state; however, only denominations that have been recognized by the authorities for 15 years benefit from the statutory right to freedom of religion. Other religious groups are subject to strict restrictions.

Based on opinion polls in 2012, the number of followers of the various denominations is estimated to be Russian Orthodox: 41-74% (2013: 64%), Muslims: 6.5-7%, Catholics: 1%, Protestants: 1%, Jews : 1%, Buddhists: less than 1%. Check youremailverifier for Russia social condition facts.

Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church, with approximately 150 mio. followers (2011) the world’s largest national church. Orthodox publications often mention significantly higher membership numbers. The Russian Orthodox Church was formed in 988, when the Kyji Empire at the behest of Grand Duke Vladimir I, the Holy One, passed over to the Byzantine form of Christianity (see Orthodox Church). There had already been contact with Christianity through the Greek colonies by the Black Sea, but decisive was the influence of the Bulgarian Empire, where since the 800-t. had developed a Slavic Christian culture with parts of the Bible and the liturgy in Slavic language.

The Russian Orthodox Church had 1037-1448 status as a metropolis (archdiocese) under the patriarch of Constantinople. During the Middle Ages, the political center of gravity in Russia shifted from Kyiv to Moscow, as from the 14th century. was the leader among the Russian principalities. The metropolitan made this move and settled in Moscow in 1326. In 1448, the Russian Church declared itself an autocephalus (autonomous), detached from Constantinople.

When the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottomans in 1453, the church began to view the Grand Duke as the emperor’s heir and Moscow as the Third Rome. The Grand Duke took the title of tsar (’emperor’), and in 1589 the metropolitan was elevated to patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia. In the following time, as in the Byzantine Empire, church and tsarist powers were united in an ideally equal relationship (symphony). But with the reforms of Peter I the Great, this changed. He deprived the church of its independent position of power by making it part of the state apparatus. With its Spiritual Regulations of 1721, drawn up by the ecclesiastical counselor Feofan Prokopovich, gave Peter the Great a new constitution. The emperor became the head of the church, and the patriarchal rule was replaced by the Holy Synod, which served as the church’s top leadership until 1917.

In the days around the October Revolution of 1917, the patriarchal rule was re-established and Tikhon was elected patriarch (1917-25); after Tikhon’s death in 1925, however, a new patriarch was not elected until 1943. The separation of the church from the state was codified in the constitution of 23.1. 1918. With this, freedom of religion was introduced, but at the same time all religious instruction was banned, and the church was deprived of the right to property. For two decades, anti-church policies led to significant persecution. Churches and monasteries were closed in large numbers. Bishops and thousands of clergy and laity were imprisoned or sent to camps. Nationwide anti-religious campaigns were organized. Throughout this period of hardship, however, the church maintained its loyalty to the government.

With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the situation changed. Stalin needed the church’s moral support in the Great Patriotic War, and in 1943 an understanding was reached between state and church: the church supported the government both domestically and foreign policy. In return, permission was granted for the opening of two clerical academies, eight seminaries, some monasteries, and a four-digit number of churches. As a liaison body between state and church, a state council was established for the affairs of the Orthodox Church. In Khrushchevperiod (1957-64), state control of the church was tightened again. The party resumed its anti-religious propaganda activities, and thousands of churches were closed again. Yet the church succeeded in strengthening its external position through its international engagements in the peace movement, the pan-Orthodox movement, and the ecumenical movement. By 1961, the Moscow Patriarchate had thus joined the World Council of Churches. A new opening with significant relief for the church came with GorbachevLaw on Freedom of Conscience and Freedom for Religious Organizations 1.10.1990, which ensured the legal status of churches. The permitted ecclesiastical activity had hitherto been limited to worship and cult. The new law opened up hitherto forbidden areas such as social (philanthropic) and educational activities, and a large-scale reconstruction and reopening of churches and monasteries began.

The Law of the Russian Federation on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations of September 24, 1997 lists Christianity along with Islam, Buddhism and Judaism as religions that must be respected by the state, and especially the Orthodox Church is highlighted as having “made a special contribution to creation. of the Russian State “. See also Russia (religion).


The core of the Russian Orthodox Church in Denmark, which is part of Alexander Nevsky’s Church in Copenhagen, consists of descendants of Russian emigrants who came here after the October Revolution in 1917, as well as others with a Russian background. In 1921-82 the congregation belonged to the Russian Orthodox metropolitan of Paris, which from 1931 was under the patriarch of Constantinople. Since 1982, however, the congregation has joined the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, headquartered in New York; the supervising archbishop is based in Munich.

Russia – Constitution

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Russia is from 1993. The division of tasks between the Federal Government and the local units is not clearly defined. The 21 republics are based on ethnic minorities, and the republics have their own constitutions and state languages.

The utilization of natural resources, the management of health care, education, housing and the protection of the culture of ethnic minorities are common tasks for the federal government and the local unit. Since 1994, taxation has become more locally available to curb dissatisfaction with the central government.

Legislative power lies with a bicameral parliament. Until 2005, the First Chamber, the Federal Council, had 178 members, two from each of Russia’s 89 administrative units and republics, namely the regional leader (governor or president) and the chairman of the regional parliament.

In 2000, President Vladimir Putin passed a law requiring the Federal Council to consist of representatives appointed by the executive and legislative powers of the regions. Since 2005, several regions have been merged, so that in 2008 there are 83 regions and thus only 166 members of the Federal Council.

The Second Chamber, the State Duma, has 450 members, elected by direct election for four years. Until the election in December 2007, 225 had been elected in single-member constituencies, the others by party lists in proportional representation elections. In December 2007, all members were elected on party lists in proportional representation elections, as the election in the single-member constituencies was replaced by an intricate system of regional electoral groups.

In addition, the threshold was raised from 5 to 7%, there was no minimum turnout requirement to make the election valid, and it was no longer possible to cast your vote “against all candidates”. At the election in 2011, parties with resp. However, 5-6% of the votes obtain one seat and 6-7% two seats, despite the actual threshold of 7%. The same election was also the first ever in Russia with the opportunity to vote by mail.

The Duma submits proposals for federal laws, which are then submitted to the Federal Council and the President; these can suggest changes that can be outvoted by the Duma by 2/3 majority.

The executive power is vested in the president, who is elected by universal suffrage for four years. He can be re-elected once. He appoints the Prime Minister after the Duma’s approval and, in consultation with the Prime Minister, appoints the other ministers of the government; he may remove Deputy Prime Ministers and other Federal Ministers.

The constitutional amendment in 2008 extended the president’s term to six years with the entry into force of the 2012 presidential election.

If the Duma rejects three nominations for the post of Prime Minister, the Duma is automatically dissolved, and if it twice casts a vote of no confidence in the Government, the President can either dissolve the Duma or demand the resignation of the Government. If the Duma rejects a vote of confidence in the government, if the Prime Minister so requests, the Duma may also be dissolved. A newly elected Duma must be convened no later than four months after the dissolution of the previous one.

The President has the right to chair government meetings. He can come up with bills for the Duma, just as he can come up with amendments to the proposed laws, and he can print referendums. The overall responsibility for foreign policy rests with the President; he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and may, under special circumstances, declare a state of emergency.

If the President is unable to perform his duties, these shall be taken over by the Prime Minister with limited powers. The president can only be removed from office if the Duma raises serious charges against him. If this happens, it is the Federal Council that then decides whether the case should go to the Constitutional Court.

The government under the leadership of the Prime Minister must present a federal budget to the Duma and implement it in practice, as well as ensure a uniform policy at the federal level; also ongoing foreign policy affairs sort under the government.

The Constitutional Court, which has 19 members appointed for 12 years, decides cases on the constitutional validity of the general federal law, of the federal members’ legislation and of ordinances issued by the president and the government.

Russia – political parties

The political landscape of post-Soviet Russia is determined by two historical factors: on the one hand the general ban on political organizations in Tsarist Russia (repealed in 1907), on the other the political monopoly that the Communist Party had in the Soviet Union.

Against this background, during the perestroika era in the late 1980’s, a democratic movement emerged that had its roots in party and dissident circles and was primarily aimed at the communist monopoly of power.

In the field of tension between these two outer poles, a number of political parties and movements emerged in the 1990’s. Characteristic of them is that they arose primarily as groups around individuals in connection with parliamentary and presidential elections; they therefore lacked political organization and anchoring in social life.

Among the more enduring party formations were: Russia’s Communist Party, which has stood for a nationalist policy facing reforms, Russia Is Our Home, which is a conservative reform party, and Jabloko, which stands for a social liberal policy. The nationalist and person-centered Liberal Democratic Party, led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is difficult to place in the Russian political spectrum.

In 2007, Russia Is Our Home no longer existed, but the other three parties ran in the Duma elections in December, where Jabloko did not pass the 7% threshold. The Communist Party still considers itself the successor to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It has branches in all regions of the country and 547,000 members.

The Liberal Democratic Party has become the Russian populist protest party par excellence and is in opposition to all those in power. The party has branches in all regions and over 500,000 members. Jabloko has not changed policy, but stands weak among the parties in opposition, which have not managed to unite.

Here it is particularly pressured by the Union of Right-wing Forces, which presents itself as a consistent defender of liberal principles in politics and economics, but was not represented in the Duma in the elections. It has 60,000 members and is represented in all regions.

The largest party is the right-wing centrist United Russia, which former President Putin supports. It was formed in 2001 by a merger of the parties Unity and the Fatherland and now has 1.6 million. members in all regions.

The party’s program is called “Putin’s plan”; it consists of an effort to reverse the negative population growth, an effort against corruption and the creation of an innovative economy. The party will improve the conditions of pensioners, the health care system and the education system and develop industry and agriculture.

The Justice Russia party was formed in 2006 as a kind of official left-centered opposition to the United Russia. Its purpose is to create a strong, socially oriented and just state and a society in which traditions are upheld.

The newest party is the Party for the Freedom of the People, PARNAS, a right-liberal party, which was formed in 2012 by Boris Nemtsov. The party emphasizes private property rights and wants to renew the political system. The party is led by former Prime Minister (2000-2004) Mikhail Kasyanov.

Russia – economy

As part of the Soviet Union, Russia was a centrally controlled planned economy that was closely integrated with the other Soviet republics and other COMECON countries.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, an economic reform program began. Trade and price formation were liberalized, a comprehensive privatization program was launched, and increasing economic and political orientation towards the West was given significant priority.

The transition to a market economy was rapid and problematic. In 1997, the private sector accounted for about 70% of total economic activity, which, however, had plummeted due to weak competitiveness, falling real wages and the collapse of COMECON. In 1992-97, GDP fell by almost 40%, and unemployment rose from zero to over 10%.

In the first years of reform, large government budget deficits had to be financed through increased banknote issuance, which greatly contributed to Russia having to go through a period of hyperinflation. 1992-93, consumer prices rose by approximately 1200% on average per year, and the currency, the ruble, was written down significantly in value.

Inflation was a major reason why income distribution developed very unequally; in 1997, almost 40% of the population lived in poverty, just as inflation led to a marked capital flight out of the country. Therefore, despite the surplus on the trade and payments balance, Russia had to borrow finance interest and installment payments on the foreign debt.

Russia had assumed the entire Soviet Union’s foreign debt of 67 billion. dollars, but had to inform creditors as early as 1992 that the obligations could not be met. Against the strict demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), of which Russia became a member in 1992, to shape economic policy to ensure stability and to implement rapid structural reforms, Russia negotiated a debt restructuring agreement with its creditors in 1993-95, which entered into force in 1997.

The long negotiation period was partly due to widespread political aversion to economic reforms. Furthermore, an inadequate tax collection system and the deep economic recession meant that the government was constantly experiencing deficits in public budgets and liquidity problems, which made it impossible to meet budgetary requirements.

However, monetary policy had tightened considerably in recent years, and the exchange rate had stabilized so much that in 1995 the ruble was pegged to the dollar. The stabilization policy seemed robust. For the first time since the system change, GDP did not fall in 1997, when inflation had also come under control.

Consumer prices rose by just 15% compared to the previous year. Against this background, a money exchange was carried out in 1998, whereby new rubles replaced rubles in the ratio 1: 1000. Foreign investors showed increasing confidence in economic and political developments. The value of foreign direct investment increased significantly in 1997, just as financial investors were largely attracted by the free movement of capital and expectations of high returns on bonds and equities.

In August 1998, however, the bubble burst. The financial crisis in Asia, which had begun in the summer of 1997, spread to Russia, which continued to be plagued by large government budget deficits and sharply rising external debt. The development was reinforced by the fact that during 1997, for the first time since the system change, Russia experienced deficits on the current account of the balance sheet due to falling oil prices.

Foreign financial investors sold back their Russian securities and the stock and bond markets collapsed. The currency had to be devalued dramatically and a suspension of payments was inevitable. Russia may again ask its foreign creditors on a restructuring of the foreign debt, which had grown to an amount equal to about 2/3 of GDP and 200% of annual export earnings.

The financial sector, which was characterized by insufficient regulation, was paralyzed by suspension of payments, and inflation rose again dramatically as the central bank increased the money supply significantly to prevent the money economy from collapsing completely. Towards the end of 1998, it was estimated that approximately 2/3 of all business transactions were funded by barter or modkøbsaftaler.

The crisis brought about a change of government, and the new government sought to counteract hyperinflation by e.g. to reintroduce a temporary price adjustment of a number of goods and wage control. Although the IMF provided significant financial support of over 20 billion. dollars available to Russia, GDP fell by more than 5% in 1998, halving imports compared to the previous year. Among the IMF’s counterclaims was a significant tightening of fiscal policy, which should be secured through cash payments of taxes from the country’s natural monopolies and export taxes on important export goods such as oil and gas.

In 1999, a period of strong economic growth began (on average 7% per year), as devaluation had boosted exports and hampered imports, favoring domestic production and, at the same time, rising oil prices, resulting in large trade surpluses. The capital flight reversed and foreign investment began to show up.

The state budget has shown a surplus since 2000, and public debt has been sharply reduced. Vladimir Putin’s government has proclaimed that it wants to attack the so-called oligarchs’ positions of power, especially in the raw materials and finance sectors, but the first steps in that direction (against media groups and an oil company whose director supported the opposition) were rather interpreted as maneuvers against freedom of expression or attempts to re-establish state control of the economy.

Russia is still plagued by corruption, and although poverty has been reduced, it is calculated to be Europe’s most unequal in terms of income.

These conditions, together with deficient business legislation and a bureaucracy that is far from reformed, are hampering the growth of smaller companies, and the country is still characterized by rather low-tech production in large units.

Low-processed goods dominate exports; oil and gas alone account for over 50% of Russia’s total export earnings, which is why the economy is heavily dependent on developments in both the world market price of energy and the dollar exchange rate, as the dollar is used as the invoicing currency for oil and gas trade.

Russia’s main trading partners are among the EU countries (especially Germany), with which Russia signed a trade and cooperation agreement in 1994, the United States and the CIS countries (especially Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan).

After 18 years of negotiations, Russia was approved in December 2011 as a member of the World Trade Organization at a ministerial meeting in Geneva. Russia had already applied for membership in 1994, but negotiations were slowed by disagreements with the United States, while Georgia, after the short-lived war in 2008, vetoed membership; a dispute settled in November 2011.

Membership of the World Trade Organization entered into force on 22.8.2012. Despite membership, Russia has committed itself to lowering the highest import duty rates on industrial products to an average of 7.8% compared to the current 10%.

Russia – social conditions

Russia’s crisis has caused extensive social problems. Since 1992, attempts at societal reforms have been marked by economic determinism, in which social policy plays a secondary role; approximately 10% of the Finance Act’s expenses go to social purposes. The social insurances are financed primarily through contributions from the companies.

The amount of sickness benefit amounts to 60-100% of the monthly salary depending on the individual’s seniority, but most often corresponds to an average salary. Unemployment benefits are paid for a maximum of one year by a public employment fund and depend on previous income and seniority. Hidden unemployment is widespread; Among other things, Many wage workers have been sent on extraordinary leave without holiday pay since 1992, or the working week has been arbitrarily shortened.

Retirement pension can generally be obtained by women from the age of 55 and by men from the age of 60. The pension paid depends on industry and seniority. The public pension fund is financed by companies with employer contributions (1% of the monthly salary). The pension barely covers the subsistence level, and payments have been delayed in several regions since 1992.

Disability pension is calculated on the basis of seniority, but not in connection with occupational accidents. Over 5 million residents are declared disabled; however, there are only 65,000 places in sheltered workshops. Since 1991, more than 2,000 social service centers have been opened in collaboration between the state and regional administrations. Due to a lack of resources, work on new social problems such as street children and the homeless takes place only to a limited extent under municipal auspices. A number of cities have set up hostels.

Russia completely lacks income equalization and does not have progressive income tax either; the income tax is 13% for everyone, while the tax on capital income is a maximum of 20% (2011).

Russia (Health conditions)

The number of births has dropped dramatically, from approximately 17 pr. 1000 residents per years around 1985 to 9 in 1996. Child mortality has fallen slightly from 22 per. 1,000 live births in 1980 to 17 in 1996.

From the early 1980’s, life expectancy has undergone sharp fluctuations, most pronounced for men. In 1996, it was 72.5 years for women and 59.8 years for men, probably the largest gender difference in the world. The increase in life expectancy until the mid-1980’s is partly due to Gorbachev’s restrictive alcohol policy. The rising mortality rate of the following years has several causes, one of which is the partial collapse of the health care system. A sharp increase in alcohol consumption has led to increases in the incidence of violent death and poisoning deaths, including sudden cardiac death in younger and middle-aged men probably caused by cardiac arrhythmias due to acute alcohol poisoning. Mortality in men due to heart disease was in the early 1990’s 2-3 times higher than in Denmark and for violent death 30 times higher. Mortality due to In the period 1985-96, cancer has been approximately 10% below the Danish. The frequency of lung cancer in men in the same period was slightly higher than in Denmark, while Russian women had a breast cancer frequency of approximately half of the Danish.

One result of the decline in health care is the increase in the incidence of infectious diseases. Syphilis increased from 4 cases per 100,000 population in 1988 to 263 cases in 1996, while diphtheria increased from 0.4 cases in 1988 to 27 cases in 1994.

The Soviet health care system was characterized by central control and financing. It had an oversized hospital system, many doctors, especially specialists, as well as a weaker primary health service, which also used needy trained doctors.

With a new legislation in 1992, large parts of the responsibility for the health care system were decentralized. In the following years, reforms were implemented that allowed the creation of private insurance schemes, which were supported by a federal health insurance fund and similar regional funds. Private clinics were also allowed to be set up.

It is stated that in 1996 Russia spent 2.2% of GDP on health care, which in the late 1990’s remains in financial and professional crisis. It has thus had to reduce the number of hospitals, but with 1157 beds per. 100,000 residents in 1996, however, there are still more than twice as many hospital beds as in Denmark. In 1996, there were 407 doctors per. 100,000 residents, approximately 35% more than in Denmark. The number of nurses is slightly higher than in Denmark.

Russia – legal system

Russian law has twice in the 1900-t. underwent a radical change. The law that prevailed before the October Revolution of 1917 built on Roman law and maintained an estate-divided society with privileges for the upper class and an in many respects lawless peasantry. This right was abruptly abolished in 1917 and gradually replaced by a socialist legal system that abolished the division of estates, and where society took over the means of production, and private property was largely abolished. Freedom of contract was replaced by a planned economy, so that the companies entered into agreements for the supply of goods and services according to dictation from above.

The second upheaval occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s. The Russian government then immediately set about replacing socialist law with a legal system adapted to a market economy. The new Russian Civil Code was introduced in three stages. The first was adopted by the Duma in 1994 and entered into force in 1995, the second was adopted in 1995 and entered into force in 1996, and the third was adopted in 2001 and entered into force in 2002.

The civil law book, in its structure, language and ideology, bears a strong imprint on the continental-European civil law books. However, the law, which is divided into six sections, is written in a style that makes its content more accessible than the content of the German PGI. Like the BGB, it puts the general rules before the more special ones and begins with a general section in the first section, which contains the rules that apply to all the following sections.

Second section regulates property relations, third section debt relations in general, ie. the general part of the bond law, and the fourth section the individual contracts and non-contractual damages. The fifth section contains inheritance law and the sixth international private law. A 2001 law on working conditions is based on the principles of freedom of employment, the right to education, health at work and medical care, all of which are enshrined in the Constitution.

The Civil Code highlights private property rights and freedom of contract as fundamental principles of law. As in the communist era, it is common for creditors to demand fulfillment of the promised benefit itself, ie. on performance in kind if a debtor breaches a contract. Compensation for default is usually given only where the debtor has acted negligently or intentionally, see culpa, but there are many exceptions where the liability is strict and does not presuppose guilt.

The rules on family law can be found in the Family Code of 1995 with later amendments. Here, husband and wife’s equality in marriage is established with joint responsibility for each other’s and children’s well – being. Marriage must be entered into and registered with the Office for Registration of Civil Status Acts, ZAGS. In addition, the parties may be consecrated at a religious ceremony, but this has no legal effect. Russian law does not attribute special marital-like legal effects to actual marital relationships; registered partnerships are also not known.

The spouses have a duty to support each other and the joint children, but they can decide in the marriage contract how the family’s expenses are to be divided between them. Children born out of wedlock have the same rights as children, and the father may be required to pay maintenance until the child reaches the age of 18. Unless otherwise agreed in the marriage contract, the spouses have joint ownership of property which they acquire during the marriage. On the other hand, property that a spouse acquires before marriage or by inheritance or gift during marriage is separate property.

If the spouses agree, and they do not have minor joint children, they can obtain a divorce from ZAGS. Here, divorce can also be granted at the request of a spouse if the other spouse has been declared underage or missing or has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or more. Incidentally, divorce can only be granted by judgment, and here it is only required that the judge is convinced that a continued cohabitation is impossible. If the spouses do not agree on the terms of the divorce, including who is to have the children with them, the decision is made by the judge.

In addition, on 28 July 2011, Russia acceded to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Effects of International Child Abduction (see Hague Conventions on Private International Law) with varying dates of entry into force. On 7 September 2000, the country also signed the Convention of 29 May 1993 on the Protection of Children and on Cooperation in International Adoption with effect from 1 November 2013.

Russia (Military)

Russia’s armed forces remain under restructuring and reduction after being the core of the Soviet Union’s military forces. Where and when this development will lead to a stable result is still (2006) unclear. It depends not least on the extent to which the country’s economic and political development in the coming years leads to the development of responsible structures for financing and controlling the state’s power apparatus and bureaucracy. The current official, strategic basis for the defense is that the country is not threatened by a massive invasion from outside in the next few years. Therefore, it must concentrate its efforts on forces that can support internal security as well as safeguard and defend the country’s regional and global interests.

The strength is approximately 1,037,000. Not least the army of 395,000 of still dependent on conscripts (50% of the force). The conscripts who succeed in being called up despite the brutality and unpopularity of the service serve for up to 24 months. The fleet is 142,000 and the air forces 170,000. The reserve is estimated at approximately 20 million, of which 2 million is educated within the last five years. Russia gives very high priority to maintaining strategic nuclear forces. These still include submarine missiles, land-based, intercontinental missiles and a bomber equipped with cruise missiles. The majority of nuclear weapons are located on land-based missiles in silos or on railway wagons.

The equipment of the forces is mainly from the 1970’s and 1980’s and produced by the very extensive military industry of the Soviet Union. Most of this industry is within Russia’s borders, but its production is now limited to the country’s own forces. The companies seek to make money for survival and equipment development by exporting the latest types of equipment, while the country’s own forces, until now, have mainly had to make do with the equipment heritage from the Soviet era. This contributes to making military reforms difficult and slow, as, for example, the army continues to be dominated by heavily armored units that are not very suitable for action in the most probable and necessary operations.

The navy and air forces have maintained their balanced composition, but all three conventional defenses have very limited opportunities for realistic exercise activity, as there is still a lack of money for fuel and spare parts, just as the units are very weak, many are only cadre units. There are no financial opportunities to replace conscripts with well-paid, contracted personnel with the modern housing infrastructure required by these personnel. During the conversion of the land forces to contract staff, the highest priority is given to the airborne units. The country’s security forces now comprise 415,000.

Russia (Trade Union Movement)

The first smaller unions emerged in St. Petersburg in the 1890’s. Several flourished during the 1905 revolution, based on strike committees, aid funds, and reading clubs. In 1918, the first nationwide trade union congress was held, which established what later became the Central Council of the Soviet Trade Unions (VTsSPS). Their ideology was to train the workers to be able to manage the young Soviet state and mobilize the population for “socialist contest”. The unions achieved a degree of organization of over 90%.

In the post-war period, trade unions played an important role in the Soviet social welfare system. During the perestroika period, a reorganization began, which led to decentralization within the unions. In 1989, the VTsSPS declared independence from the leadership of the Communist Party, and in the same year the trade unions gained parliamentary representation in the newly elected Soviet People’s Congress. But even though the unions were the Soviet Union’s largest interest group, they managed, neither politically nor through information work, to influence Russia’s transition to a market economy.

During the Soviet era, collective agreements were concluded for each company and included social conditions as well as production and working environment conditions. Now they are also entered into at industry level and also include wage conditions, but as the state is not able to pay salaries regularly, these innovations have not had any real significance. Agreements have only been reached on quite a few private companies and on less than half of the state-owned companies and institutions.

In Russia, the main channel of influence for trade unions is the tripartite negotiations that take place at national and regional level. The agreements from here should act as a framework for social and environmental change, but are not fully fulfilled.

The rights of trade unions are regulated by the Constitution, by a special trade union law and by a labor code (KZOT). In general, however, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the insight and co-determination of trade unions has diminished, and trade unions can neither prevent wage withholding nor the violation of other social workers’ social rights.

In 1992, VTsSPS was transformed into VKP, a professional international organization for the CIS countries. Russia’s Trade Union Confederation (FNPR) was formed in March 1990 as a member of VTsSPS. Although professional membership has not been a prerequisite for receiving sickness benefits since 1990, most wage earners have retained their membership. With approximately 45 mio. members include the 43 FNPR unions in the late 1990’s approximately 70% of all Russian employees.

While the FNPR still includes both wage workers and many managers of state-owned companies, the alternative unions only organize wage workers. Russia’s alternative unions have not gained much support or influence since they emerged in 1989 in the wake of a major miners’ strike. Their attempt to outcompete the FNPR with the support of the US trade union AFL-CIO has failed.

Russia – Library Service

Two national libraries have existed since 1994, both with a duty to collect, store and make available a copy of everything published in Russia. The Russian State Library (1925-91, Lenin Library) in Moscow, grdl. 1862, contains approximately 40 mio. units (1999).

The Russian National Library in St. Petersburg (1925-92, Saltykov-Sjtjedrin Library), grdl. 1795 as the first with national duty delivery, was opened to the public in 1814 and holds a total of approximately 30 million units incl. the country’s largest manuscript collection.

After the October Revolution, all libraries were nationalized and many private collections were seized. The Soviet regime placed great emphasis on developing the library system, both academic and popular. The number of libraries grew from approximately 13,000 in 1914 to approximately 130,000 throughout the Soviet Union shortly before its dissolution in 1991.

The libraries of the academies of science, which are of great importance for research, suffered a great loss, as the largest of them (in Leningrad/St. Petersburg) lost DKK 3 million. bind by a fire in 1988.

Russia (Archives)

The oldest preserved records are from the 1000’s. With Russia’s expansion, the government was centralized, and Moscow and St. Petersburg in particular were given extensive archives, which are largely preserved to this day. During the Soviet era, systematic staff training and preservation of local records began; the republics got archival beings like the Russian. In 1991, archive access was liberalized.

Russia – mass media

The first Russian newspaper was Vedomosti (‘Tidender’), which began to be published in 1703 to promote the reforms of Peter the Great. In 1759 came the first private magazine, and after that especially the socially critical Truten (‘Dronen’) contributed to the formation of public opinion. Under the impression of the French Revolution in 1789, private printing houses were closed and sharp censorship was introduced. From the late 1800’s. published numerous underground publications in addition to more than 120 official and private newspapers (1900).

The Russian Telegram Bureau, RTA, was founded in 1866, and after the February Revolution of 1917, a free press flourished, which, however, became unidirectional during the 1920’s. Regular radio broadcasts began in 1924, television in 1945.

From 1931 radio and from 1934 television came under the state committee Gosteleradio. The Soviet Union’s Telegram Bureau, TASS, was a state body from 1925 and was responsible for the central news dissemination. In 1961, the agency APN Novosti (‘News’) was set up. The leading newspaper was the Central Committee’s Pravda with a circulation of approximately 10.7 million (1980), which had affiliates in the republics, regionally and municipally. The state published Izvestija (7 million in 1980), while the trade union body was Trud (‘Virke’) with a circulation of 12.3 million. (1980).

The media served the agitation and propaganda of the Communist Party. Independent publications were fought, imports of newspapers and books were restricted, and Western radio programs were at times drowned out by noise transmitters. Control was softened during “periods of thaw” such as under Nikita Khrushchev, but was first seriously challenged under Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost. From the late 1980’s, the media led the political upheavals. Freedom of the press was ensured and censorship was banned resp. in the Soviet Union in 1990 and in Russia in 1992. After marked growth, circulation has fallen sharply due to economic crisis and political downturn.

Leading daily newspapers are Komsomolskaya Pravda (1.6 million), Izvestija (611,000), Trud (1.6 million) and the weekly Argumenty i Fakty with a circulation of 3.4 million. (1998). Gosteleradio separated in 1991 the all-Russian state-owned radio and television company Rossija, which covers Russia, and in 1994 the television company ORT Ostankino, which is 51% state-owned and broadcasts to the CIS countries. Private television stations are TV6 Moscow, in which CNN has a stake, and NTV, which is owned by a banking group. The news agency Interfax (grdl. 1989) is independent; government agencies are ITAR-TASS and RIA-Novosti.

The media is subject to state interference and is often dependent on the goodwill of the authorities. Another threat to the impartiality of the media comes from the economic interests that dominate the private media, as well as from criminal circles. There is free access to foreign media.

Russia – visual art

From prehistoric times, rich Scythian finds have been made in southern Russia and finds from Greek colonies on the Black Sea. With the introduction of Christianity came a Byzantine art.

Greek mosaic masters adorned the 1046-67 Sofia Cathedral in Kyjiv, which also houses secular frescoes. In Novgorod, older Byzantine style features lived on, in Nereditsa Church (1198, destroyed during World War II). From the same period, exterior reliefs on churches in the Vladimir-Suzdal area with pre-Christian animal and plant motifs and Old Testament scenes originate.

The frescoes of the church rooms were supplemented with iconic representations of Mary, Jesus, saints and central festivals. Particularly famous was the icon God of Mother by Vladimir (introduced from Constantinople between 1131 and 1141, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. In the churches the icons gathered during the 1200-1300’s to a wall, the iconostasis that separates the altar from the church room. The individual areas of Russia developed their own stylistic features based on the given role models that were recorded in pattern books.

Late in the 1300’s. are named masters mentioned in the chronicles, thus Theofanes the Greek and his assistant Andrej Rubljov, in whose works icon art culminated. After the split of the church into orthodox and old-fashioned, the old-fashioned icons maintained the original form schemes. A special direction was the Stroganov school with a refined figure style and almost miniature-like execution.

After 1700

An independent secular visual art did not emerge until the 1700’s. Influx under Peter I the Great and his successors resulted in 1764 in the establishment of the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Foreign portrait painters such as Vigilius Eriksen, Alexander Roslin and Louis Tocqué were replaced by academy-educated students, among others. Fyodor Rokotov (approximately 1735-1808), Dmitry Levitsky (1735-1822) and his pupil Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1757-1825).

In the 1800’s. won KP Brjullov reputation in Rome with his great composition of Pompeii last day (in 1833), while Aleksandr Ivanov as Roman Fellow in kæmpelærredet Christ appears to the people (1858) sought to unite classicism with realistic observation.

The rural population was portrayed romanticized by AG Venetsianov, and PA Fedotov characterized with a tinge of satire the middle class in the cities. In 1863, a group of students broke with the academy and later, under the name Vandrekunstnerne (Peredvizjniki) or Vandrerne, became representatives of a new realism (NN Ge, Ivan Kramskoj, Ilya Repin, VI Surikov and others).

A national romantic current in the 1890’s was supported by the industrial magnate Savva Ivanovich Mamontov (1844-1909), whose country house Abramtsevo became an artistic center for MA Vrubel and VM Vasnetsov.

Impressionism characterized the School of Painting in Moscow with Konstantin Korovin, Leonid Pasternak and VA Serov as teachers; here several of the avant-garde artists of the 1900’s were educated, Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Gontjarova.

In the search for increasingly radical forms of expression, a purely abstract art emerged with Kazimir Malevich and VJ Tatlin as main characters. Kandinsky broke his own path in Germany, but exhibited regularly in Russia.

The influence of Cézanne and Cubism also provided fertile ground for a national Russian trend, expressed by the exhibition group Ruder Knægt. The performing arts celebrated international triumphs with Serge Diaghilev’s ballets in Paris in the 1910’s and 1920’s with scenography by Léon Bakst, Nikolaj Rjorikh, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Gontjarova and others.

After the October Revolution, abstract art developed into constructivism by Naum Gabo, Antoine Pevsner, El Lisitsky and Aleksandr Rodchenko. Many directions clashed and free groups of artists were formed.

The free state workshops were transformed into schools with leading modern artists as teachers; poster art and typographic experiments flourished, often in the service of Soviet propaganda. By a decree abolishing all free groups of artists in 1932, Russian art life was brought to stagnation and socialist realism became the politically favored style. Purge and exhibition censorship forced several artists to work in isolation, while others sought exile, such as Kandinsky, Aleksandr Archipenko, and Chagall.

Individual artists such as Robert Falk and VA Favorsky maintained their artistic line through all transformations and inspired a new generation that in the 1960’s covertly created an artistic renewal. A new expressionism was developed by Anatoly Zverev (1931-86) and Vladimir Yakovlev (1934-98).

In the 1990’s, abstract art was again recognized, as were Soviet underground artists working in both expressionist and conceptual directions.

Russia – architecture

Traditionally, wood has been used for all kinds of construction in Russia, and the characteristic wooden houses with carvings are still in the majority outside the residential blocks and industrial plants of the larger cities.

From the introduction of Christianity around 988 to Peter the Great’s cultural reforms in the 1700’s. was Byzantine architecture, the paramount model for the Russian Orthodox Church construction. The widespread form scheme was a building with a plan like a straight-armed Greek cross and dome over the cross-section and possibly. also over the cross arms (cruciform dome church).

In 1037 the Sofia Cathedral in Kyjiv, “the mother of all Russian churches”, was completed, in 1045 the Sofia Cathedral in Novgorod was started, and in 1100-1200-t. church and monastery buildings flourished in the principalities of Suzdal and Vladimir, such as the Dmitry Cathedral in the city of Vladimir from the late 1100’s. Often the facilities also served as defenses.

Over the course of 600 years, the architectural forms once adopted changed only minimally. During the same period, a scheme for the profane architecture was established. The core of the cities consisted of the castle, the Kremlin, behind whose walls lay the prince’s residence, arsenal, churches and monasteries. Another wall surrounded the district of the artisans and merchants, the posad.

Well-preserved examples of this tradition can be found in Novgorod and in the so-called Golden Ring consisting of historically significant cities around Moscow, Kazan and Yaroslavl. During the 1300-t. the principality of Moscow gained importance, and under Ivan III (reigned 1462-1505) the Russian-Byzantine tradition culminated in the Moscow Kremlin.

The Kitaj-Gorod trading district was surrounded by a new wall, and numerous monasteries were expanded and fortified. A major work from the period is the Ascension Cathedral (1530-32) in Kolomenskoje. The idea of ​​Moscow as the Third Rome merged with the theological concept of the Heavenly Jerusalem and resulted in magnificent and symbol-laden construction, such as the Vasily Cathedral (1555-60) on Red Square, which shows several variations of the one often used in Russian church architecture. onion dome.

With Peter the Great, Western technology and taste were forced. In the new capital of St. Petersburg, French and Italian architects designed the magnificent new buildings, such as the Smolny Monastery (1748-64) and the Winter Palace (1754-64) by BF Rastrelli, and built on surrounding castles such as Petrodvorets and Tsarskoye Selo (see Pushkin).).

Catherine II the Great preferred neoclassicism, but also favored neo-Gothic elements in the less representative plants. Numerous others, including brand new cities, were also included in the Empress’s building program, such as Yekatarinburg in the Urals, and a first generation of Russian architects were educated according to Western academic tradition.

Moscow regained a certain status, and the cityscape was characterized in a neoclassical direction with the Senate (1776-87) as one of Matvej Kazakov’s (1733-1812) most distinguished works. In St. Petersburg, the mighty churches of the Kazan Cathedral (1801-12) and the Isaac Cathedral (1818-58) were built.

As in other countries, historicism gained ground in Russia in the 1840’s. Particularly significant were the efforts to revive the old Russian architectural tradition, such as the Blood Church in St. Petersburg (1883-1907) by Alfred Parland (1842-1920). In Moscow, the international art nouveau style gained a distinguished representative in Fyodor Shekhtel (1859-1926).

After the October Revolution, a new generation of architects of constructivists sought to create a “revolutionary” connection between form and function. Some projects remained utopias, but in both Moscow and St. Petersburg there are several significant buildings by Konstantin Melnikov, Moisej Ginzburg (1892-1946) and the brothers Viktor (1882-1950), Aleksandr (1883-1959) and Leonid Vesnin (1888-1933).

There was some dialogue with Western European functionalists. With the introduction of socialist realism under Joseph Stalin, conditions changed, and the project for the Soviet Palace in Moscow (1933) marks the turning point.

Ancient and other historical elements were united with national Russian tradition, eg with Vladimir Gelfreich (1885-1967) and Boris Jofan (1891-1970). The direction dominated until the 1960’s a return to a more functional construction.

In the time after 1991, the neo-Russian building style, which uses elements from medieval architecture, has again played an important role.

Russia – literature

The oldest literature originated in the city-states of Kyjiv and Novgorod between the 11th and 16th centuries. It included Bible translations, sermons, saints’ vitae, etc., written in Church Slavonic, but also secular lamentations, proverbs, magic tricks and epic poems. The heroic epos, a so-called byline, comprised as a live, oral tradition up until the 1800’s Primary Chronicle from the beginning of the 1100’s is a major work of oldrussisk history. A highlight from the end of the same century is the Igor quatrain, whose authenticity has been disputed, but not its artistic and national significance. From the 16th century, the Moscow State took over the political and cultural leadership. Ivan the Terrible Exchange of letters with Prince Kurbsky 1564-1579 (da. 1959) and the large “house order book ” Domostroj are time documents of both political and literary interest. Other worldly genres such as memoirs, travelogues and satires paved the way for a real fictional prose, both long forms (povesti) and shorter narratives.

The first printed book in Russian was Ivan Fyodorov’s edition of Acts of the Apostles from 1564. But it was not until Peter the Great’s reforms, including the simplification of the Cyrillic alphabet, that the art of printing became widespread. The printing works were state-owned, and Russia’s first real newspaper, Vedomosti (Tidender), published from 1703 in editions of 30 to 400 copies, was the Tsar’s special body. Prohibitions and interventions against the printed word were enforced arbitrarily, and until the middle of the 18th century, any criticism of the tsar could lead to the death penalty. Yet Peter the Great’s reign (1682/89-1725) marks a decisive break with the Byzantine legacy. The secluded Russian empire became a European superpower.

Literature also opened up to the West. The poetry and drama unfolded especially after French role models. The poet V. Tredjakovsky (1703-1769) was Russia’s first significant genre and style theorist. A. Kantemir (1709-1744), who served as a diplomat in Paris, was a pioneer with his moral satires. The main works of the period also include A. Sumarokov’s historical plays and D. Fonvizin’s comedies. In the next phase, the most important effort was to develop a more eloquent literary language, freed from heavy Church Slavonic relics as well as from the restrictive rules of French classicism. Here M. Lomonosov made a considerable effort both with his theories and his innovations of the ode. Catherine II the Great’s court poet,G. Derzjavin, drew the culmination of the 18th century literary flourishing, and he was the first Russian poet to achieve fame abroad.

During the reign of Catherine II (1762-1796), book production received a marked upswing. The Empress herself cultivated the art of poetry, and for that purpose she published a satirical magazine, which soon formed fashion. In 1783, she gave permission for private book printing, followed by Russia’s first legislation on censorship. All in all, the reforms meant better legal certainty, and they paved the way for a real literary public. But after the French Revolution in 1789, Catherine gave up her liberal course. A fierce struggle between state power and the enlightened, reform-hungry “intelligentsia” came to shape the next centuries. A. Radishevwas the first author to be deported to Siberia. One of the tools that the writers developed in the struggle was the so-called Aesopian language; i.e. ambiguous statements, which in the luckiest case were overlooked by the censors, but could be understood and gouted by the attentive readers. I. Krylov cultivated the Aesopian speech. His at once satirical and lyrical fables have been popularly owned right up to our time.

On the border of the 19th century, sentimentalism or pre-romanticism kept its entry into Russia. The formed class was catered for with a growing supply of books, magazines, and almanacs. N. Karamsin combined the “sensitive journey” with liberal Enlightenment ideas. His pipe current narratives delighted the contemporaries, but today have only historical interest. His great history of Russia from 1816-1824, on the other hand, nourished the national consciousness and became a lasting inspiration for the poets. V. Zhukovsky was Russia’s first master of evocative elegies, modeled on Ossian poetry, Thomas Gray, Schiller, etc. The 1820’s and 1830’s are often referred to as the golden age of Russian literature. Poetry reached new heightsBatjusjkov K., P. Vjazemskij, A. Bestuzjev-Marlinskij (1797-1837), J. Baratynskij, N. jazykov (1803-46), A. Koltsov OA several prominent writers participated in the failure of Dekabristopstand in 1825, and one of them, K. Rylejev (1795-1826), were hanged. The guiding star of the era was Pushkin, who is still revered as Russia’s national poet. He was, like his immediate successor, M. Lermontov, influenced by the Byronic spleen. In Pushkin’s Yevgeny Onegin (1833) and Lermontov’s Alexander Petjorin from the novel The Hero of Our Time(1839-41) it received a special social psychological design. The so-called superfluous man became a central theme of 19th century literature. The two poets both perished in a duel at their artistic climax and became immortal symbols of the revolt and martyrdom of the Russian spirit. The Ukrainian- born but Russian-writing Gogol marks another important stage in the transition from romance to realism. His grotesquely realistic, unfinished trilogy Dead Souls (1842) is considered one of the major works of world literature. In his tales, an arch-Russian type, the small, cold-blooded official, comes into full swing. Gogol’s depictions of insanity, particularly in En Gal’s Memoirs(1835), had disturbing, socially critical perspectives, and they projected a new main theme for generations of writers, not least Dostoevsky. Gogol’s comedy The Auditor (1836), together with A. Gribojedov’s Spirit Creates Suffering (1822-25), still forms the core of the classical national theater repertoire.

The Russian drama was further developed by A. Ostrovsky. His comedies with satirical sting enjoyed immense popularity, but his theatrical work was incessantly obstructed by the state power. Under Nicholas I (reigned 1825-55), censorship was tightened to an unprecedented degree. His “Iron Decree” of 1826 and his personal zeal as a censor became a nuisance to numerous artists, not least Pushkin.

In the 1840’s, cultural life was split into two camps. P. Tjaadayev began the feud in 1836 with his Philosophical Letter. The main idea here was that Russia was a hopelessly backward nation, which would soon have to catch up with developments in Western Europe. That attitude was taken by the Europeans. The opposite camp, the Slavophiles, on the other hand, emphasized Russia’s own cultural values ​​and did not regard the West as an ideal. The Contemporary magazine, founded by Pushkin, became the leading body of the Europeans with forces such as M. Saltykov-Shchedrin, N. Nekrasov, and V. Belinsky. The author A. Herzenwent into exile in England and published here his opinion-forming magazine Klokken. Patriotic annals were another important platform for cultural and societal debate. Here Belinsky and others advocated for the so-called natural school. S. Aksakov and Gogol were interpreted as exemplary representatives of this socially conscious direction.

New climate

After the death of Nikolai I, a marked softening of the political and cultural climate occurred. The poet F. Tjuttjev characterized the turn with the apt expression the thaw. His own philosophical and melancholic poetry, however, was not distinctly society-oriented. The same goes for A. Fet, who with his musical poetry of nature and love occupies an exclusive position in Russian poetry. The Romantics found new inspiration in A. Afanasjev’s collection of Russian folk tales (1855-1864), but the lyricists, including Ja. Polonsky (1820-1898) and A. Majkov (1821-1897), were consistently rejected. Their art was given the predicate l’art pour l’artin an epoch that increasingly demanded societal debate of literature. Radical critics such as N. Chernyshevsky, N. Dobroljubov, and D. Pisarev formulated the ideals of the direction that later became known as critical realism. Nekrasov’s poems, with their social pathos, fully honored the demands, but in the second half of the 19th century, realistic prose became dominant. Here the Russian novel made its great breakthrough in world literature. I. Turgenev was one of the most widely read writers of his time. The poetic realism in his works, eg Rudin (1856), En adelig rede (1859) and Forårsbølger (1872) had an extensive influence, also on Danish literature, especially JP Jacobsen. I. Goncharov created in the novel Oblomov(1859) a new, lovingly-critical variant of “the superfluous human being.” Lev Tolstoy wrote a large number of monumental works, including War and Peace (1863-69) and Anna Karenina (in book form 1878), and his moral-philosophical teachings, Tolstoyanism, became a worldwide, anti-authoritarian movement. A similar prophetic status was achieved by F. Dostoevsky, whose dramatic life and art are unique in world literature, with masterpieces such as Crime and Punishment (1866) and The Karamazov Brothers(1879-1880). The two giants left their deep mark on a number of fine but lesser-known prose writers such as N. Leskov, V. Korolenko and V. Garshin. Tolstoy became the existing model for realistic prose, while Dostoevsky gained crucial importance for Russian modernism.

During the reign of Alexander II (1855-1981), a number of reforms were launched, most notably the abolition of the hated serfdom in 1861. However, new tensions and unrest followed. The universities, now open to non-nobles and women, became the stronghold of socialist and revolutionary ideas. Turgenev portrayed the rebellious generation in the novel Fathers and Sons (1862) and called its thoughts nihilism, and Dostoevsky’s novel The Occupied(1871-1872) is a passionate showdown with the essence of nihilism and terrorism. The assassination attempt on the tsar in 1881 triggered severe retaliation, and in the following decade, society and culture were marked by disunity and slowdown. The death-marked poet S. Nadson (1862-1887) became a veritable cult figure and heralded a new interest in poetry.


The year 1892 is often cited as the prelude to modernism and the epoch that has since been called the Russian herald. Here the poet and philosopher D. Merezhkovsky gave his lecture “On the causes of decay and on new currents in Russian literature”. Together with his wife, Z. Hippius, he took the lead in an idealistic and neo-religious orientation. At the same time, the young budding poet V. Brjusov appointed himself the leader of Russian symbolism with a declared starting point in the French original. Symbolism gained a foothold in A. Benois’ magazine Kunstens Verden and soon became the leading literary direction with its own publishing house and the magazine Vægten (1904-1909). Just as in the West, the turn of the century triggered a variegated spectrum of fin de sièclemoods, from ecstatic mysticism to depraved blackness. K. Balmont and F. Sologub were exponents of the so-called decadent branch of Russian symbolism. V. Ivanov, A. Blok and A. Belyj added to the movement impulses from such diverse sources as the anthroposophy of Nietzsche, V. Solovjov, Ibsen, Hamsun and Rudolf Steiner.

  1. Chekhovwas the great one of the period both as a short story writer and playwright. His four plays: Mågen, Onkel Vanja, Tre søstre and Kirsebærhaven, which appeared in 1896-1904, were a renewal with their open message and tragicomic tone, which anticipated the much later absurd theater.

In 1905, book censorship was virtually abolished. It spawned a wave of trivial literature and erotica, but also serious, bold innovations of prose alternating between crass naturalism and stylized modernism, for example in A. Kuprin, L. Andreyev, and M. Artsybashev.

Around 1910, a new grouping emerged. S. Gorodetsky (1884-1967), N. Gumiljov, A. Akhmatova and O. Mandelshtam regarded the exclusive poet I. Annensky as their teacher. They sought clarity and paid homage to the ideals of European culture in their direction: akmeism (from gr. Akme ‘highlight’).


At the same time, Russian futurism made its entrance. In 1912, D. Burljuk, A. Krutjonykh (1886-1968), V. Khlebnikov and V. Mayakovsky published the provocative manifesto An Ear Bitch for Public Taste. Mayakovsky became the dynamic center of a series of scandal-ridden actions, but also of landmark experiments with words, images, theater and film. A new generation of linguists collaborated with the avant-garde and developed the theories that later became known as Russian formalism.

The October Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War drove hundreds of artists into exile, including the poet V. Khodasevich, I. Bunin and the original loner M. Tsvetajeva. Up through the 1920’s, literature continued to be marked by fruitful rivalry between groups such as the LEF, the Brothers of Serapion, OBERIU (the association of real art), led by D. Kharms (1906-1942), the imaginists, led by N. Kljujev and S. Jesenin, as well as a number of distinct individualists: I. Babel, B. Pilnjak, Ju. Olesja, A. Platonov and many others. Their works were imbued with skepticism about socialist utopia and the development of Soviet society. M. Gorky was from his earliest youth a convinced socialist and an ardent opponent of modernism. His works, especially the novel The Mother(1906), was proclaimed a model for the new “proletarian literature ” by organizations such as the RAPP and others, who with increasing fanaticism demanded partisanship in accordance with Lenin’s directives of 1905. Soviet censorship (Glavlit) gradually took its very restrictive form in 1922-31.

Socialist realism

In 1932, the party dissolved all literary organizations, and at the first Soviet Writers’ Congress in 1934, socialist realism was proclaimed as the guiding principle of Soviet literature. The entire literary apparatus: publishers, magazines, author education, etc. was taken over by the state and centralized. Obedient writers were then rewarded with secure incomes, prizes, and privileges. Solid realists such as K. Fedin and A. Fadejev became the new front figures, and the party deliberately sought to foster so-called production novels, imbued with collectivist spirit. Modernists and other unreliable elements in large numbers fell victim to Stalin’s purges or chose to go into internal exile such as the refined lyricist Boris Pasternak. M. Bulgakov and many others were constantly harassed, often by Stalin’s personal intervention.

In the war years 1941-1945, the political witch hunt was stopped, and many writers contributed in word and speech to the patriotic mood. But in 1946, Cultural Commissioner A. Zhdanov (1896-1948) launched a new hetz with a special address for A. Akhmatova and satirist M. Zoshchenko. The actions which were directed against decadence and subservience to the West was first canceled by the dictator’s death in 1953. I. Eren Burg named the following Epoch, as he recycled the name thaw for his novel from 1954. Immediately after Nikita Khrushchev’s seizure of power, a number of banned writers rehabilitated, and many returned from the camps. The magazine Novyj mir became the most important platform for the confrontation with the so-called glossy picture literature and for a whole wave of revealing works such as V. DudintsevsNot of Bread Alone (1956) and A. Solzhenitsyn’s breakthrough novel, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962). The young generation of poets, led by J. Yevtushenko, B. Akhmadulina and A. Voznesjensky, managed to gather thousands of listeners, and this stage poetry resonated around the world. The same was done by V. Aksjonov’s novel Stjernebilletten (1961), which was welcomed as a Soviet counterpart to JD Salinger’s Cursed Youth. But there were limits to the party’s tolerance. The poet Joseph Brodskyand the author A. Amalrik was thus sentenced to forced labor in resp. 1964 and 1965 for alleged vacancy. 1965 is often cited as the end of the thaw with the sensational lawsuit against A. Sinjavsky and Yuri Daniel (1925-1988) for anti-Soviet activities. Throughout the Soviet era, the Nobel Prize triggered political fuss both in the West and the East, each time it was awarded to a Russian author: I. Bunin (1933), B. Pasternak (1958), M. Sjolokhov (1965, for the Cossack novel Silent Floating Don, 1928- 1940), A. Solzhenitsyn (1970) and J. Brodsky (1987).

Brezjnevsera (1964-1985) has been termed the period of stagnation. Censorship remained in effect, but with periodic tightening and easing. The illegal samizdat literature (i.e. self-publishing) and the Aesopian language flourished. A number of Western-inspired currents: soc-art, conceptualism, etc. lived their risky lives underground. Solzhenitsyn’s struggle against the system and deportation in 1974 was one of the dramatic highlights of the period. In the official literature, war stories and the so-called village literature were the most popular genres. Authors such as F. Abramov, V. Astafjev, V. Rasputin and many others gave unvarnished depictions of life in the collective farms, which also had documentary value for Western connoisseurs of the West. In the early 1980’s, the literature reflected a growing concern about the decay of the environment and morality in the Union. The Kyrgyz Tj. Ajtmatov and the Abbasid F. Iskander were prominent representatives of the exotic non-Russian cultures. The modern big city man was portrayed by writers like Ju. Trifonov, D. Granin and V. Makanin. The women’s special conditions and problems were expressed by e.g. I. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the amazing genre whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. Iskander were prominent representatives of the exotic non-Russian cultures. The modern big city man was portrayed by writers like Ju. Trifonov, D. Granin and V. Makanin. The women’s special conditions and problems were expressed by e.g. I. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the amazing genre whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. Iskander were prominent representatives of the exotic non-Russian cultures. The modern big city man was portrayed by writers like Ju. Trifonov, D. Granin and V. Makanin. The women’s special conditions and problems were expressed by e.g. I. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the amazing genre whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. The modern big city man was portrayed by writers like Ju. Trifonov, D. Granin and V. Makanin. The women’s special conditions and problems were expressed by e.g. I. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the amazing genre whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. The modern big city man was portrayed by writers like Ju. Trifonov, D. Granin and V. Makanin. The women’s special conditions and problems were expressed by e.g. I. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the fantastic genre, whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the fantastic genre, whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. Grekova and N. Baranskaja (1908-2004), who, however, were not feminists in the Western sense. Particularly popular were the Soviet troubadours: A. Galich (1919-1977), B. Okudzhava and V. Vysotsky. In their shows and ballads, they constantly moved on the verge of dangerous system criticism. The same goes for the fantastic genre, whose most famous performers were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. whose most famous practitioners were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature. whose most famous practitioners were the brothers A. and B. Strugatskij. Although socialist realism was still the only recognized method, the doctrine was in fact eroded by the formal and thematic innovations of literature.


In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev proclaimed a new course with the slogans glasnost and perestroika. He received enthusiastic support from the authors, who for many momentarily gave up fiction in favor of political work. For the next five years, literary life was euphoric and chaotic. The literary journals multiplied their circulation, publishing previously banned works on the strip, including Orwell, Huxley, Kafka, Joyce, Nabokov, and many others. New, revealing works by M. Kurayev (b. 1939) and others struggled with the recurring and delayed literature of audience attention. Formerly semi-official writers such as A. Bitov, L. Petrushevskayaetc. set the tone for the new parnas. The classics of Soviet literature were radically re-evaluated, especially the so-called secretarial literature, which was produced by the literary apparatus’ own administrators and printed in oversized editions. In 1990, censorship was finally lifted.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new crisis occurred. The economic conditions had drastically deteriorated, and the literature had to compete with an increasing supply of image media and mass entertainment. The nationwide “thick” literary magazines survived the crisis, but were published in greatly reduced editions. The library system functioned thanks to donations from George Soros’Open Society Foundation, and several publishers also received grants from Western capital. Solzhenitsyn’s return in 1994 had great symbolic significance, but the author failed in the long run to maintain his position as a national and moral rallying point. The long tradition of Russian writers as the rulers of thought and the second parliament seems to be coming to an end. The dominant current of the 1990’s was postmodernism, whose leading theorists were Mark Lipovetsky and Mikhail Epstein. The most prominent representatives, Mark Kharitonov (b. 1937), Yevgeny Popov (b. 1946), Viktor Yerofeyev (b. 1947), Vladimir Sorokin and Viktor Pelevin, evoked a universe without clues and common values, with elements of both fine culture and mass culture: films, commercials, comics, etc. A number of female writers emerged with their own horizons of experience, eg Viktoria Tokareva (b. 1937), Ljudmila Ulitskaya (b. 1943) and T. Tolstaja. Nina Sadur (b. 1950) and Valerija Narbikova (b. 1958) challenged the guardians of morality with their bold depictions of female eroticism. By the beginning of the new millennium, the literary picture was totally fragmented. Only a few have reached the general public both at home and abroad, including the crime writers Alexandra Marinina (eg. Marina Aleksejeva, b. 1957) and Boris Akunin (eg. Grigory Chekhartishvili, b. 1956). In an effort to create national unity, President Putin took in 2002 initiative to publish a new Russian encyclopedia in thirty volumes.

Russia – theater

The first actual theater performance can be traced back to 1672, when a German-led troupe gave its first performance to the court in Moscow. From the middle of the 1700’s. came Western influence to characterize the imperial theaters, whose ensembles were most often founded by foreign walking troops. Holberg’s comedies were thus performed early in St. Petersburg; they gained importance for the development of Russian comedy. Puppet theater has been a favorite form of entertainment for centuries. Although Russia’s great romantic poet A. Pushkin wrote only seven plays, many of his other works have a theatricality in them. Pushkin’s sense of theater was also expressed in his articles on the art of acting. He thus believed that probable circumstances of the play’s action would make the play more easily attain the naturalness

The inherent theatricality was seen in several of the great literary works of the 1800’s. In particular, the author N. Gogol let the theatrical take on surprisingly grotesque forms. He continued this tradition with the comedy The Accountant (1836), in which the actor M. Shtjepkin (1788-1863) in the title role became important for the Russian actor’s playing style well into the 1900’s. This part of Russia’s tradition forms an experiential basis for such diverse theatrical personalities as K. Stanislavsky and his student V. Mejerkhold, each in their renewal of techniques behind Russian performing arts. Despite their diversity, their artistic careers provided fertile ground for unprecedented experiments in Russia. These theatrical forms later provided inspiration for large parts of the Western world’s theatrical development.

Around the October Revolution, the heyday of the so-called avant-garde theater began. The aesthetic innovations of the theater to some extent renounced the legacy of Stanislavsky, but were in turn closely related to form experiments in the futurism of poetry and the suprematism of painting. Sometimes the avant-garde theater returned to simple medieval forms, as in V. Mayakovsky’s Buffy Mystery (1918), in which satire and grotesque comedy emerged. From the 1930’s, however, the content gradually adopted a predictable and increasingly moralizing style dressed in everyday realism. The avant-garde was thus crushed by the Soviet regime for political reasons, and social realism was instituted as a dictated norm and as a dilution of Stanislavsky.

During the Senso-Soviet era, the theater became increasingly important as the second parliament. Especially in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Taganka Theater, led by J. Lyubimov (b. 1919), achieved cult status with the troubadour V. Vysotsky in the role of Hamlet (premiere in 1971). During the perestroika’s newfound freedom of expression, themes such as self-examination found a place in a repertoire on especially smaller stages, from which a pluralistic view of art was given new facets. After the financially harsh cure of the perestroika, many of the smaller theater initiatives have been abandoned again. In the 1990’s, a search back to the roots of the national art treasure was seen in several places.

Russia – ballet

I 1600-t. performed foreign dancers with small ballets, tanets (by ty. Tanz). The foundation of a Russian ballet tradition was laid around 1738, when Jean-Baptiste Landé (d. 1748) opened a ballet school for children at the court in St. Petersburg; In 1773, a similar one was opened for children in orphanages in Moscow, and around these schools the companies Mariinsky Ballet (1935-91 Kirov Ballet) emerged in 1783 and the Bolshoi Ballet in 1776. Under Marius Petipa’s artistic direction 1862-93, Russian ballet reached a peak with works such as Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.

After the October Revolution, a large number of ballet schools and companies were established in the new Soviet republics. Attempts were made to create new, realistic Soviet ballets such as Vasily Tikhominov’s (1876-1956) The Red Poppy (1927), and folk dance was given new life in state folk dance ensembles, but imperial classics never completely disappeared from the repertoire. Ballets such as Rostislav Sakharov’s (1907-84) The Fountain in Bakhtjisaraj (1934), Leonid Lavrovsky’s (1905-67) Romeo and Juliet (1940) and Yuri Grigorovich’s The Stone Flower(1957) was in the traditional style, which until the change of system has dominated Russian ballet, although the Kirov Ballet in the 1980’s got some Western works on the repertoire, and the conductor, Oleg Vinogradov (b. 1937), among others. created a system-critical Petrushka (1989).

The partial ideological confrontation with the past that followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s has also led to several successive changes of leadership in the Russian ballet companies. The repertoire has continued to be dominated by the classics, which in an economic downturn are considered suitable for tourists and touring, but the opening to the west is clear, not least in St. Petersburg, where ballets by George Balanchine and William Forsythe are part of the standard repertoire.

At Bolshoi, where the Royal Theatre’s former solo dancer Alexei Ratmansky has conducted the ballet since 2004, in parallel with the company’s tour during the theatre’s closure in 2005-8, attempts are being made to build a new repertoire of Russian choreographers such as Radu Poklitaru and Ratmansky. self. Something similar applies in the provincial capitals’ large ballet companies, while a few smaller ones, e.g. Yevgeny Panfilov’s (b. 1954) troupe, formed in 1987 in Perm, draws a new Russian avant-garde dance.

Russia – folk dance

The development of folk dance is particularly marked by three dance forms: chain dances, improvised dances and dances with fixed steps and rules.

Previously, the chain dances khorovod and pljaska, which could be danced both as song dances and for instrumental accompaniment, were dominant.

Improvised male dances, such as hopak and trepak, both of Ukrainian origin, gained national dance status in the 19th century; at the same time, western fashion dances such as quadrille and lancier were danced in Russia.

In Soviet times, folk dancing was especially preserved for performance purposes. The Russian choreographer Igor Moiseev (1906-2007) founded the Russian Folk Ballet in 1937, which had a great influence on the presentation of traditional dance as stage dance on an international level.

Russia – music

The history of Russian music dates back to the early Middle Ages, when church singing began to flourish. Worldly compositional music reached its peak with a number of great composers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Church music

The Russian Orthodox Church hymn originated in the 800’s. under the influence of the Byzantine, whose liturgy was introduced by Greek missionaries. The music was exclusively vocal and unanimous, the language Church Slavonic. The notation was long executed with neums that are only difficult to interpret; only in the second half of the 1600’s. the western notation system was introduced. The majority vote was introduced, possibly under the influence of Ukraine and especially Poland, in the 1500’s, but it initially aroused considerable resistance. Western influence was particularly strong in the following century, when composers such as Nikolai Diletsky (approximately 1630-approx. 1685) and later in a more monumental style Vasily Titov (approximately 1650-approx. 1715) wrote polyphonic concerts inspired by e.g.. of the Venetian style.

The studies of Maxim Berezovsky (1745-77) and Dmitry Bortnjanski in Italy led to an influence from here in the late 1700’s. The use of clerical concerts was banned in 1797, but otherwise the time was marked by a secularization of church music through influence from instrumental music and opera. Of great importance was the creation in 1866 of a chair in the history of Russian church singing at the Moscow Conservatory of Music, and that the choral singing, which had been in decline since the early 1700’s, was resumed in the 1860’s.

Both Peter Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rakhmaninov have enriched the ecclesiastical repertoire with large-scale works. After the October Revolution in 1917, the Russian church song has mainly unfolded in emigration. In the late 1900-t. Scientific work on church music has been intensified at the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories.

Worldly music

Among the few testimonies of secular music in Russia in the Middle Ages belong the military field corps consisting of trumpets and percussion as well as the so-called shoe moros, ie. wandering musicians who enjoyed great popularity in the contemporary world. After Moscow’s transformation into a capital was founded in the first half of the 1500’s. a chapel of singers at court, but only with the Romanov dynasty’s takeover in 1613 was it opened to European influence, in the form of summoned organ builders.

Under Peter the Great, military music was reorganized, and through various forms of sociability, the people of the new capital, St. Petersburg, were given the opportunity to orient themselves in contemporary European dance music. In 1731, the first of a series of Italian opera troupes was convened, and with the commitment of conductors such as Paisiello, Sarti, and Cimarosa, the Italian Opera culminated in Russia.

The first French opera troupe was presented at the court in 1762, and in the following decades operas were successfully performed by Monsigny and Grétry. From 1779 the first Russian operas appeared, several with libretto by Catherine II the Great.

The efforts to establish a national music culture found its first significant expression in Mikhail Glinka’s operas, and based on this and with a theoretical basis in the writings of art and music critic Vladimir Stasov, the Russian national opera became a reality. Stasov had met Mikhail Balakirev in 1856, and he became a mentor to the group of younger composers, called the Five, who gathered around Balakirev. Modest Musorgsky, a member of the group, developed in his operas a tonal language characterized by textual diction and an unconventional treatment of harmonics and period structure.

In Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s large opera production, elements from Russian folk music are used. In contrast to these Russian-inspired works are Tchaikovsky’s most significant operas, whose prominent place in Russian music is not least due to their strong psychological empathy.

Among orchestral composers in the 1800’s. must be mentioned Glinka, Balakirev, Borodin, Musorgsky and not least Rimsky-Korsakov, whose superior instrumentation came to characterize the next generation of Russian composers, many of whom were his students. Although Balakirev, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov also wrote symphonies, the Russian symphony is dominated by Tchaikovsky. Unlike the Five, he was more European than narrowly Russian in his choice of working titles.

A distinct openness, towards German romanticism, is found especially in Aleksandr Glasunov, whose nine symphonies show a broad stylistic orientation. A predominantly conservative attitude characterizes Sergei Rakhmaninov’s production of not least piano works, while Alexander Skryabin’s piano music, including ten sonatas, shows a development towards an increasingly concentrated form in one movement and in a tonally strongly nuanced tonal language. Several of his late orchestral works leave Scriabin carried by a theosophical content of thought, and in Prometheus (1908-10) he tries to link the music with light and color effects.

In the years leading up to the 1917 revolution, Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev made a name for themselves. In the ballets The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and Le Sacre du printemps (1913), Stravinsky developed a style in which the folk melodic material is combined with a complex rhythm and a highly developed harmonica. In Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite (1914) one encounters a dissonant, almost brutal style.

After the October Revolution in 1917, music, like the other arts, was included in communist propaganda, and although the 1920’s were marked by experiments, e.g. rooted in futurism, as expressed in Aleksandr Mosolov’s Jernstøberiet (1926-28), the demand for music’s detachment from “Western decadence” and the demand for formalism led to strict censorship of truly modernist compositions, of music with a jazz touch and against church music, which was banned in 1928. The banner bearer for the new Soviet music was primarily Nikolai Mjaskovsky, whose 5th Symphony (1918) is considered an exponent of the music culture of the new state.

While only a few works by partitro composers reached outside the Soviet Union, Dmitry Shostakovich became early in the West through his 1st Symphony (1925). In 1936, the opera Lady Macbeth from Mtsensk (1936), which contains strong expressionist features, was banned.

Conditions for the composers had intensified, with a party ordinance in 1932 requiring them to work in the field of ” socialist realism “. Shostakovich’s later works contain a veiled critique of the system, while Prokofiev rather complied with the demand for a popular style. In 1948, the course was sharply sharpened: a ban on reactionary music was introduced, ie. the majority of works written after 1900, as well as against all religious music.

In the post-war period, when censorship was relaxed, Shostakovich retained his prominent position among Russian composers. In the direct experimental direction, his student Galina Ustvolskaja (1919-2006) worked, just as later Edison Denisov and Sofja Gubajdulina used serial technique.

As a strong representative of Russian music before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alfred Schnittke stood, who with the application of collage technique and polystylistics also distinguished himself outside Russia’s borders.

Popular music

Until the 1950’s, Russian popular music was isolated from Western European and American influence. After a world party for youth and students in 1957 and after The Beatles became known in Russia in the 1960’s, conditions changed significantly.

Rock groups with homemade electric guitars shot up, but lived like an underground culture. It was not until the 1980’s that some rock groups were legalized, but a ban was introduced as early as 1983-84.

Even not after glasnost and perestroika politics, Russian popular music has succeeded in establishing a tradition that extends beyond the pop and schlager genres, within which the singer Alla Pugatjova (b. 1949) is the most prominent artist. One of the few groups known outside of Russia is the heavy rock band Gorky Park, which was formed in 1987.

Russia – film

Russian film production began in 1907, and among the most important pre-revolutionary directors were Yevgeny Bauer (1862-1917) and Yakov Protazanov (1881-1945), who especially cultivated the melodrama. At one time, Danish melodramas were also popular in Russian cinemas. The most internationally famous movie star was Ivan Mosjukin (1889-1939).

With the October Revolution of 1917, film gained a central function, and in 1919 the film industry came under state control. Lenin called the film “the most important of all art forms,” ​​understood as the propaganda medium that could best convey political messages to a large illiterate population; the film thus included in the so-called agit plug.

1920’s Russian silent film is one of the great periods in film history. A number of new instructors, including Sergei Eisenstein with the main work The Armored Cruiser Potemkin (1925), Vsevolod Pudovkin, Lev Kuleshov, Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Dziga Vertov, with their theories of montage as the film’s central instrument gained great influence.

The Stalinist cultural policy of the 1930’s put an end to the experimental line, and Georgy Vasilyev’s (1899-1946) and Sergei Vasilyev’s (1900-59) conventional Chapayev (1934), which paid homage to the simple but powerful revolutionary hero, became the typical Stalin-era film.

Alongside heroic period films with a contemporary address such as Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky (1938) also came Mark Donskoy’s humanistic trilogy about Gorky’s upbringing (1938-40). In the 1940’s, propaganda came to dominate even more, and more conflicts arose between the state power and the artists; Eisenstein was thus forced to stop a planned trilogy about Ivan the Terrible. By Stalin’s death in 1953, the number of films produced had dropped drastically.

During Khrushchev’s thaw period, the film gained a new vitality with directors such as Grigory Tjukhraj (1921-2001) with The ballad about a soldier (1959), Sergei Bondartjuk and especially Mikhail Kalatozov, whose film The Cranes Fly By (1957) with its dynamic pictorial style and intense depiction of heroic fates during the war became the period’s masterpiece.

In the 1960’s, the cultural climate cooled again, but despite obstacles, a new, significant generation broke through with Andrei Tarkovsky as the main character. With his grandiose and profound works, The Last Judgment (1966) and The Mirror (1974), he gained a central position in modern film.

Other important directors are Nikita Mikhalkov, Andrei Mikhalkov-Kontjalovsky (known in the United States as Konchalovsky) (b. 1937), Vasily Shukhin, Elem Klimov (1933-2003) and Larisa Shepitko (1938-79).

Vladimir Menshevs (b. 1939) Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1979) won in 1981 an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. In the time around the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there have been films such as Vasily Pitsjuls (b. 1961) Little Vera (1988), Pavel Lungins (b. 1949) Taxi Blues (1990), Aleksandr Sokurov’s The Second Circle (1990), Sergei Bodrovs (b. 1948) The Prisoner of the Mountains (1996) and Pavel Tjukhrajs (b. 1946) The Russian Thief (1997).

Central is Mikhalkov with the Oscar-winning Burnt of the Sun (1994) about the Stalinist purges and the large-scale The Siberian Barber (1998) about the time under Alexander 3.

In recent years, there have been huge audience successes such as Alexej Balabanov’s Brother (1997), from St. Petersburg’s gangster milieu, and Fyodor Bondartjuks’ (b. 1964) The 9th Company (2005), about the war in Afghanistan, as well as artistically original films such as Aleksandr Sokurov’s formalistic virtuoso numbers Russian Ark (2002) and Andrej Zvyagintsevs (b. 1964) profound Homecoming (2003).

Russia (Kitchen)

Several factors have determined Russian cuisine, including the poverty suffered by large sections of the population, the extent of the country, and the long periods of fasting introduced by Orthodox Christianity. The poor part of the population has based their kitchen on the raw materials that they could produce themselves and that could be stored, such as cabbage and root vegetables. The country’s geographical location has meant that both the northern region’s grain products, the South’s many different vegetables and Eastern spices as well as tea are represented in the Russian culinary tradition. During the fasts, which previously included 200 days a year, one was not allowed to eat meat, eggs, fat and dairy products, which has contributed to the cooking of fish in many ways. Freshwater fish from Russia’s many rivers and lakes such as pikeperch, pike and various perch fish are popular, and dishes with salmon and sturgeon are known in numerous variations. From salmon and sturgeon you salt the roe, which have been eaten for Lent before the beginning of the strict Lent period along withblinis, small, round pancakes of buckwheat flour, topped with butter and served with sour cream. After the end of a three-week fast, on June 29, lamb was eaten with cabbage or buckwheat porridge.

A special feature of Russian cuisine is the widespread use of sour milk products and lactic acid fermentation, which together with salting used for preserving gherkins, mushrooms and cabbage. On the basis of the special taste that this form of preservation develops, a number of unmistakably Russian dishes have emerged, such as the cabbage soup sjtji and the kidney-cucumber soup rassolnik.

The soup, such as the cabbage and beetroot soup borscht, is a regular start to the Russian meal in the middle of the day; at the evening meal it is replaced, where the economy allows, by zakuski, a varied range of starters: salted or smoked fish, boiled, salted tongue, stuffed eggs, marinated mushrooms, etc., which are often consumed along with significant amounts of vodka.

Finally, the use of yeast dough for pirogues as well as the use of sourdough, eg for rye bread, is typical of Russian cuisine.

Russia (Wine)

Despite a wine area of ​​only 150,000 ha, the Russian wine production is approximately 8 mio. hl per year because much of the wine from the former Soviet republics is still bottled in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Almost all of the Russian vineyards are located north of the Caucasus in Dagestan, Chechnya and Krasnodar, and 90% of the wine is still made on state farms or cooperatives. Rostov in the Dondalen is the center of production of sparkling wine; the green grape rkatsiteli is planted in half of the vineyards and it is also used for brandy and sweet liqueur e. The most important blue grape is the Russian saperavi, but French grapes have also gained ground. Since Gorbachev’s campaign against alcohol in the mid-1980’s, production has halved.

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