Saturday, April 27, 2013

One Bedroom Apartment available in Great Central Location

Just Available!  Flat in the heart of St. Petersburg, Russia

Canal Griboedova and Sennaya Square
Cheerful Sennaya apartment is located at the Sennaya Square and Griboedova Canal on Kaznacheiskaya 5.   It is one-bedroom and  sleeps for 1-4 persons, one queen bed and one large divan.

It is  modern renovation and
furnished with light-color wood furniture, with hot water, washing machine, cable TV, DVD, music center, ironing board, dishes and so on.

First floor with windows to the yard and to the street. Security bars on  windows and a code for the stair door.  No stairs to climb.

Between the Mariinsky Theatre and Nevsky Prospect. St. Isaac Cathedral a few blocks to the North.   It is a 15-minute walk to Palace Square and the Hermitage.

Two-minute walk to Metros Sadovaya / Sennaya / Spasskaya on Sennaya Ploschad.  Several close grocery stores and excellent shopping at the PIK center and Sennaya Center.

Rent by the month for longer term stays!   
Email in English or Russian:

Central St. Petersburg, you can walk everywhere from your Sennaya apartment
Fydor Dosteovsky lived next door in Kaznacheiskaya 7 when he wrote "Crime and Punishment" in 1866.  The same buildings are still there and  you can see the places Dostoevsky wrote about.  Thankfully, it is a safer and more elite area now than in the 19th Century.
Modern bathroom
Nice art on walls

Enjoy the freedom of an apartment stay in the center of beautiful and historic St. Petersburg!  Since 1703 the cultural center of Russia!

Things to do in St. Petersburg

History of Sennaya Square

Fyodor Dostoevsky in St. Petersburg

Contact now to book your apartment!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Powerful Ideas from Russian and American Citizens

 "The Power of Impossible Ideas:  

Ordinary Citizens' Extraordinary Efforts to Avert International Crises"

This new book title from Sharon Tennison is a mouthful and rightly so.  It covers more than 20 years of activities by citizens in the USA and Russia that began at the height of the Cold War in 1983.  Both countries were suspicious of each other and both convinced the other had a finger on a nuclear attack button.

A group of 24 Americans got together to try and do something.  They decided to face the threat and ventured to the Soviet Union to see for themselves.  

They met ordinary Russian citizens and discovered many common business and social interests - and almost no animosity!

This started a process of citizen diplomacy connecting business people and citizens of both countries in a surprisingly productive way.
America and Russia could create a better future through cooperation than confrontation. 

I met Ms. Tennison the first time in San Francisco.  The Center for Citizen Initiatives was well established and she had made a presentation at a Rotary Meeting that was really inspiring.  This lead to furhter cvontact in Russia and each time learned of new projects and ideas that the thousands of citizen diplomats in both countries were nurturing far from the rhetoric and spin of government officials.

 Thousands of Americans became citizen diplomats as they vistied Russia in business-peer to business-peer matchups.  And as the Soviet Union broke-up volunteers trained more tha 7,000 business entrepeneurs in Russia in the new private sector.

There are so many inspiring anecdotes in this journey and it is a real pleasure to read about people who decide to stop worrying and complaining and do something! 

- David Owens 
St. Petersburg, Russia

Monday, April 9, 2012

Flash Dancing and Mob Politics

Fun and Fancy Flash Mobs in Russia
By David Owens

Flash mobs started appearing in Russia in 2005, as they have all over the world.  The idea is for a group of people to independently practice some dance moves to a selected song and plan a time and place to meet. Someone will start the music -- one dancer,  then two, followed by the whole mob --  dancing in unison. In its pure form a flash mob is a fun, happy, surprise for all.

 Most larger American cities have a flash group, often with a YouTube channel where you can hear the music and see the dance moves -- and practice for the event. The time and place for the gathering is kept secret to outsiders. Part of the fun is that the mob will appear out of nowhere and amaze any onlookers. The point is to have a lot of fun doing it and to enjoy a happy celebraton bursting out of the daily routine.

In Russia, most mobs represent innocent fun. while others serve  a more comercialized  purpose for publicity.  It is just too much fun not to capitalize on the popularity!

 Dance Like President Medvedev, Moscow  --  Fun and amateur
  A small flash mob out to have fun in the spirit of flash mobs. This is how flash mobs started.

Wedding Party Flash Mob - 
Puttin' on the Ritz,  Swallow Hills, Moscow  -- Over the top with a message

A highly organized wedding party flash mob just 5 days before the presidential elections in Russia to the tune "Puttin' on the Ritz."
It is hard not to see that the United Russia party gave support to this flash mob, the name of the song title "Puttin' ..." sounding very close to returning presidential candidate, "Putin"

The dance starts at the Sparrow Hills Metro Station, just above the 1980 Olympics complex in Moscow.  A guy puts down the boom box and starts a dance and is joined by several hundred more.  It is really fun to watch,  Uniformed street cleaners and military men join the dance.

The mob  builds to a crescendo when a limousine pulls up with a bride and groom. Modern Russian weddings require that the groom take the bride around the city and take pictures in beautiful places before the ceremony.  The bride is flabbergasted and everyone is smiling.
Some in the crowd start yelling a traditional wedding party toast, "Gorka, Gorka!" which means "bitter" and the only way to sweeten the bitterness it is for the bride and groom to kiss. Just a fun and over-the-top wedding party held by a distinguished Russian businessman. Or is it?

In the wide views you see the camera lifts and it is apparent this is not an amateur flash mob.  A full camera crew is onsite and the sophisticated choreography is not something one can study at home alone.

It is all fantastic fun, but the last two lines of the song give away the plot,  "Putin Molodyets!" translated means "Well done, Mr. Putin!"   Well done, United Russia, we were entertained :)   Agree with United Russia's platform or not, the mob video is a real study in positive political messaging at a time when American politics are too much about negative campaigning. 


More fun Moscow flash mobs

Dance like Britney
Before Britney Spears concert in Moscow, Sept. 2011
An amateur fan mob.

Michael Jackson is Alive!
Flash on Arbat Street, Moscow, June 2010
Well organized fans with matching outfits.

West Coast Swing Flash Mob
Moscow River and Christ the Savior Cathedral, March 2011

Fun amateurs in the true spirit of flash.  
BTW, this is the church recently invaded by the "Pussy Riot" and ensuing discussions -- was it blasphemy, hooligans or publicity seekers? It sparked a lot of hooligan journalism, for sure!

Water fight flash mob
It's not always music and dance, but it has to be fun!
Moscow, August 2011


Enjoying the view from  St. Petersburg, Russia

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Russian Grandmothers Rule in Eurovison 2012

Buranovskiye Babushki

Buranovskiye Babushki will represent Russia at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan with the song 'Party For Everybody'. 

"The grannies are singing about laying the table with food, inviting guests and children, everyone comes and then they are singing and dancing for them with all their soul. They ask everyone to dance with them."

Surprise! The grandmothers of Udmurtia out-sing other pop artists for Russia's entry to Eurovison.
Amazing Grandmothers from the republic of Udmurtia, will represent Russia in the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan in 2012 after winning the selection competition.
They will sing in the Udmurt language, and  some English.

The song is about the babushki waiting for their grandchildren, so a “party for everybody” starts.

Read more in the Moscow times:

The View from Sennaya Ploschad
St. Petersburg, Russia