The C word

Discussing corruption in Russia isn’t as difficult or as taboo as one might think. In fact, people are pretty open about it. A theme that spans so many areas of life in Russia today, it is one that seems to be accepted, or at least tolerated, as part and parcel of living here. Continue reading “The C word”



Think of art in St. Petersburg and you will undoubtedly imagine the Hermitage, architectural splendour, cathedrals and Neoclassical mansions lining the Neva river. Whilst these classical monuments are unquestionably worthy of our awe and attention, the modern art scene of such a city can often be overlooked by visitors. Indeed, my friend and I had intended to pay a visit to the Russian Museum last Monday morning. Continue reading “Эрарта”

Why does no one want to talk politics..?

It seems like no one wants to talk politics here. Okay, not no one, but, often, if I try to instigate a conversation that involves politics, or make a comment deploring the current rise of the right-wing across the Western world, people will proactively suggest “let’s not talk about politics”. When figuring out which topics appeal to my tutees, a reply that I have had on more than one occasion is “anything but politics”, as they crinkle their noses at this, a most dull and uninspiring subject. Continue reading “Why does no one want to talk politics..?”

Touchy Subjects

“If a girl is fat, guys won’t look at her” – Why should a women’s appearance be dictated by the desire of a man?

“Gay marriage is unnatural, bad for demographics” – So if you prohibit gay marriage, do you think that homosexuality will cease to exist?

“Black Lives Matter activists are terrorists” – In fact, the majority of terrorists in modern-day US are white men, and the Black Lives Matter movement comes as a result of a long history of racial inequality and police brutality against black people that is still present today.

“Have you noticed all the Caucasians here?” – ….

Some words that I’ve heard so far that have stood out to me. Continue reading “Touchy Subjects”

Russia is calling

Greetings from Rostov-on-Don!

My name is Anna, and I will be living in this city in southern Russia for the next year. Originally from Dundee in Scotland, I recently graduated with a degree in French and Russian from University of Glasgow. Unsure of what to do next in life, a predicament so common for the graduate of today, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go back to Russia. Back to this place where I spent 8 months during my year abroad, a place that continued to hold some elusive fascination for me, one that I couldn’t quite yet part with. Since I was about 15, Russia has existed in my mind as some kind of perfect enigma, a country that has experienced such drastic changes during its recent history, which have shaped it in a way that is unique in the contemporary world. I want to see the real Russia, to meet real Russians, to discuss common, and indeed opposite, values. To live and to understand our differences is, in my opinion, vital for the promotion of international unity or a global community in which we both respect respective values and learn from one another in order to nurture political and social partnerships.

Unfortunately I think that a lot of ignorance continues to exist in the modern world, with many people only accepting one way of life and disregarding others as inferior or even illegitimate from the superficial knowledge that they are fed through the distorted lenses of media and societal bias. I believe that we need to look beyond the borders that divide us, which for the most part exist not on a map but in our minds, and understand why people act or think the way they do, rather than making an initial judgement about what is right or wrong. Russia, for me, is the perfect subject around which to ponder such ideas and world visions.

I will use this blog to write about my impressions of Russia in an attempt to highlight not only the similarities and differences between our societies but also to act as a diary of my personal experiences, adventures and travels here. How does life in Russia today compare with our life in the West? How does the mentality differ here? What do ordinary people have to say about political and global issues? I will discuss these questions and more throughout my year here, and will hopefully show that ignorance is not the only binding trait that we share as human beings.

Пока и приятного чтения!