Sketchbook: Russia Photo Album

CIEE 1997 Summer Russia Seminar Group

Participants in the 1997 Russia International Faculty Development Seminar posed in front of the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow. Front row, from left: Dr. Carl Mills, associate professor of English, University of Cincinnati; Dr. Sheila Weiss, associate professor of history, Clarkson University; Dr. Kathryn Martell, associate professor of management, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville; Dr. Mark Comstock, assistant professor of accounting, Missouri Southern State College; Dr. Chad Stebbins, associate professor of journalism, Missouri Southern State College; and Dr. Linda Dolive, professor of political science, Northern Kentucky University. Second row: Vallye Ezell, professor of humanities, Richland College; Dr. Tamara Gillis, assistant professor of communications, Elizabethtown College; Dr. David Finley, professor of political science, Colorado College; Karen Dubrule, CIEE seminar guide; Dr. David Felix, professor emeritus of history, Bronx Community College; and Dr. Thomas Cassilly, adjunct professor of political science, Montclair State University. Third row: Debra Greene, instructor of history, Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.; Dr. Gary Brock, associate professor of sociology at Southwest Missouri State University; and Dr. Mark Lusk, director of international programs, University of Montana. Fourth row: Dr. James Krukones, associate professor of history, John Carroll University; Dr. Hussain Al-Fadhli, associate professor of sociology, Tougaloo College; and Dr. Vladimir Wozniuk, associate professor of history and government, Western New England College.

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The Hotel Moskva, St. Petersburg

The former Intourist-run Hotel Moskva in St. Petersburg is a fairly typical medium-class Soviet style hotel. It features 770 rooms, a restaurant, seven snack bars, five bars, an excursion bureau, an exchange bureau, a business center, and souvenir and gift shops.

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Neva River: Somewhere between dusk and dawn

It's morning in St. Petersburg -- or maybe it is still night. The alarm clock is the only one that has the answer to this riddle during White Nights. Barges maneuver the bridges on River Neva just outside the Hotel Moskva in the wee hours between evening and morning.

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The Church of the Resurrection

Left: The Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the "Savior on the Spilled Blood," was built over the spot where Alexander II was assassinated by members of a terrorist organization in 1881. A temporary wooden shrine was erected on the site almost immediately, but the ornate and colorful building seen here today was not completed until 1907. When we visited, the interior was closed pending restoration work.
Right: After three solid days of meetings and group activities, with my mind was on overload, I abandoned the group programming for one morning. After sharing breakfast with my group, I set out to enjoy a leisurely morning walk around St. Petersburg. I snapped a few photographs along the way before taking a break to write in my journal and watch some children play in a park next to the Church of the Resurrection. When I looked up from my writing, I spied the church tower through a break in the trees and captured that moment of relaxation in this second photograph.

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General Staff Building & The Hermitage on Palace Square

The General Staff Building (left) and the Winter Palace (right) are located on Palace Square. The General Staff Building is actually two buildings linked by a double arch. The first arch is topped by a sculpture of the Chariot of Victory escorted by warriors. Before the Revolution, military parades were held on Palace Square. In January 1905 the square was the scene of a massacre -- Bloody Sunday. On November 7, 1917, Bolshevik forces began their attack on the Winter Palace from this square. The Winter Palace was originally built as a formal residence for the Russian imperial family. Today the more than 1,000 rooms and halls of the Winter Palace house the Hermitage museum.

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The Kazansky Cathedral

One of the most majestic landmarks I saw in St. Petersburg was the Kazansky Cathedral. Modeled on St. Peter's in Rome, the building is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan and the reputedly miraculous icon that brought the Russian forces victory over the Poles during the Time of Troubles (1605-1613).

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The Mariinskaya Palace

The Mariinskaya Palace was built for the daughter of Nicholas I, the Grand-Duchess Maria. From the late 19th century it was used for a variety of political purposes: the tsarist State Council met there, and the Council of Ministers. In 1917, the Provisional Government convened there, and subsequently, the Leningrad City Council. Today, the Mariinskaya Palace has retained its function as St. Petersburg's town hall.

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Novgorod -- Russia's Oldest Town

Founded in 859, Novgorod is Russia's oldest town. Novgorod is located in northwestern Russia on the banks of the Volkhov River and was once an important center on the trade route between Russia and Western Europe. St. Sophia's cathedral (left) is located within the walls of the Novgorod kremlin (right). Finished in 1050, St. Sophia's cathedral is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. The cathedral's interior is majestically decorated with icons and the history of the church. Novgorod's kremlin dates back to the 11th century. The present-day kremlin stems largely from the 15th century -- with much alteration in the 16th and 17th centuries after the massacre of the town by Ivan the Terrible in 1570. St. Sophia's cathedral was one of few structures that survived Ivan's rage.

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The Hotel Ukraina, Moscow

The Hotel Ukraina in Moscow, situated across the Moscow River from the Russian "White House," has 1,010 rooms, two restaurants, six snack bars, three bars, a clothes boutique, and a casino. The 30-story building is one of the seven Stalin Gothics, built in 1952-53.

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The Russian White House

The "White House" is the popular name for the building that was once the administrative headquarters of the Russian Republic of the USSR. It was the site of two coups -- one in August 1991 and the other in October 1993. After repairing the fire damage from the 1993 coup the White House was restored to an ordinary office block, and no longer houses the presidential office.

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Western Influences and Matryoshka Dolls

Billboards and building-sized advertisements for everything from cigarettes to personal goods were apparent in St. Petersburg and Moscow. This building with the lighted signs is located across the boulevard from the Russian White House.

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The Kremlin

From the Moscow River embankment, only the towers and domes of the Cathedral of the Assumption are visible over the Kremlin walls. The word kremlin means fortress. Every Russian city had a kremlin. The Kremlin (capital K) in Moscow is the heart of the city and instantly recognizable as the backdrop to foreign news broadcasts. Contained within the Kremlin walls are a collection of buildings that span the history of Russia and include churches, palaces, armory and military buildings, as well as government buildings. With the close of the Gorbachev era in 1991, government functions began to be dispersed to alternative locations in Moscow. However, some parts of the Kremlin like the Great Kremlin Palace are still used to receive foreign dignitaries and to mark the signing of international treaties. But our guide was quick to point out that no one lives within the Kremlin walls.

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St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square

Completed in 1560, St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate victory over the Tatars. The cathedral's external appearance of pinnacles and domes was inspired by traditional Russian timber architecture. The current color scheme was established in 1670; the cathedral was originally painted red with white details. Today St. Basil's is an historical museum of Russian culture.

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CIEE Seminar Agenda

June 1 Arrive St. Petersburg
Welcome Dinner
June 6 Arrive in Moscow
City Tour; Moscow Circus
June 2 Education in St. Petersburg
Meeting w/ Head of the Higher Education Department, City Duma; Meeting w/ President of St. Petersburg University; City Tour
June 7 Roundtable Discussion Expansion of NATO
Farewell Dinner
June 3 Russia's Economic Progress
Trip to Novgorod
Meeting w/ the Mayor and City Tour
June 8 Depart for Airport
June 4 Russia's Economic Prognosis
Meeting w/ Head of the Petrograd District Administration; Round Table w/ Business and Media Representatives; Mariinskaya Ballet
June 5 Russia's Economic Prognosis
Political Parties Roundtable; Meeting w/ Editor in Chief of Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosty; The Hermitage; Farewell Dinner; Night Train to Moscow

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Copyright 1997 Tamara Gillis, Ed.D. (See references on Sketchbook page. Some materials may be protected under separate copyright.)