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A Guide to Russian History Resources on the Web

Published: August 24, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • The Russian National Library offers everything from this lubok of mice burying a cat to the tsar's coronation menu.
    Photo: The Russian National Library

Battles and revolutions, triumphs and defeats, charismatic leaders and a people accustomed to never-ending change. Russia's history is complex and endlessly fascinating.

Luckily you don't need to dig into dusty libraries to dive into Russia's past — there's a wealth of historical material to explore on the web.

From the first blurry photographs to military records, from cultural artifacts to film clips, here are seven resources to get you started. Some of them even let you take their material and use it on your blog.

1. The Russian National Library

It may sound like an obvious choice, but this is actually a rare thing on the Runet: An official website with a high-quality English version. You'll find gems like a lubok of mice burying a cat or the mouthwatering coronation menu of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna. Leaving aside the website's dated design, browsing the 'Treasures' section alone should keep you occupied for a few hours.

2. British Pathé

Over 80,000 videos are freely available on the company's YouTube channel, and coverage of Russia and the Soviet Union accounts for a large segment of that number.

Since British Pathé used to be in the newsreel business, producing films on topical events to be shown in movie theaters, World War II features heavily — but so do scenes from everyday life and quirky off-beat stories.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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