9 July 2016 - KIDS FROM RUSSIA


G'day folks,

This is another post featuring kids around the world. Russia, the world’s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. It’s famous for novelists Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, plus the Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballet companies. St. Petersburg, founded by legendary Russian leader Peter the Great, features the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the Hermitage Museum’s art collection.

  • Climate: Varies; includes Arctic tundra in the north, sub-Arctic forestland in eastern Asia, desert in central Asia and a temperate and humid region in Europe
    • Russian children have nine years of elementary education. The school day usually runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch is eaten at school.
    • School uniforms were abolished in the 1990s. For attire, the emphasis is on warmth-children may even wear fur coats.
    • Chess is a national obsession. Other pastimes include the card game Durak (Russian Fool) and the computer game Tetris, which was invented in Russia.
    • Soccer is the top sport in Russia. Ice hockey and ice skating are also popular in this chilly country.
    • About three-quarters of Russian families live in small city apartments. Some families also have a country cottage, which is called a dacha.
    • In Russia, grandmothers—babushkas—are famous for the strong role they play in families, public life and fairy tales.
Signature foods:
    • Borscht, a beet soup served hot or cold, topped with sour cream and sprinkled with dill or chopped green scallions
    • Pelmeni, small, moist dumplings filled with chopped meat. They are often served with butter, sour cream and vinegar.
Interesting animals:
    • The European mink, a small, solitary animal famed for its beautiful coat; its feet are semi-webbed
    • The polar bear, whose three- to four-inch layer of fat keeps it warm in northern Russia; its oily fur is transparent, but looks white when it reflects light

  • Unique holiday: On Defenders of the Motherland Day, February 23, families honor men and boys with cards, gifts and other special treats. (Women and girls are not neglected—International Women's Day, March 8, is a big holiday in Russia.)
  • Did you know? Russia is the largest country in the world. It covers 6.6 million square miles (17 million sq km), eleven time zones and two continents—Europe and Asia.

Clancy's comment: An extraordinary place. Sadly, in recent years, any Russians I have seen or met have been bereft of smiles.

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