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Diminutives are not so small

The Russians are fond of diminutives. To understand it, it is easy to see that Vovotchka – Вовочка, is short for Vova – Вова, which itself is the diminutive of Vladimir. Even if the use of the diminutive is sometimes tricky if one is not Russian, it is the knowledge of these “little things” that will make you a true connoisseur of the language.

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The Soviet apartment

A fun new recreational fad has invaded the Russian capital. Quests – квесты (kvesty) – are life-sized puzzles which challenge you to get out of a room in less than an hour by solving a series of puzzles – загадки (zagadki) and logical problems. Each quest has a backstory, and immerses you in a particular universe. The first to be installed in Moscow took the theme which probably is the most familiar to Russians, that of the Soviet apartment – совесткая квартира (sovestkaya kvartira). Once you push the door open, you will find yourself in the interior of a typical Soviet apartment, 50 years in the past. Read more

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Tips to help make your traveling easier in Russia (or anywhere!)

Are you about to go on a trip? It seems that the best way to make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything is to pack your suitcase two days before your departure – за два дня до отъезда (za dva dyna do at’yesda). Other small, useful things to do in advance – заранее(zaraneye): Read more

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Organically yours

Incredibly high-calorie, oily chebureki (чебуреki – chebureki) and Chicken Kiev (котлетыпо-киевски– katlety pa-kiyevski) full of butter no longer appeal to your appetite with the coming of bathing-suit season? Are you looking to lose the pounds you put on during the winter? Do you want to just say ‘no’ to junk food (едавредная – vrednaya yeda)? CREF gives you some useful advice on eating organic in Russia.
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Don’t just say ‘no’

It goes without saying that if you want to take linguistic courses at CREF, that is three times да (da)! But there are situations where one must stand firm in one’s opinions and beliefs. A ‘no’ – нет (net) might do the trick, but here we offer how to add a little nuance to your refusal and learn the art of the polite refusal – вежливый отказ (vezhlivy atkaz). This expression, by the way, is the name of a Russian rock group. Read more

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At the Museum

Looking for a way to liven up your Moscow weekends? A good way to discover Russian culture – русская культура (russkaya kul‘ tura), it is to visit one of the many museums – музеи (muzei) in Moscow.

Should we mention the classics? The Pushkin Museum – Музей имени Пушкина (muzei imeni Pushkina) with its collection of European art, the Tretyakov Gallery, or “Tretyakovka” for short, and its exceptional collection of Russian paintings from Russia’s historical beginnings, and finally, the Kremlin Armory – Оружейная Палата (Oruzheynaya palata) forms a trinity of Moscow museums that cannot be missed.

Additionally, you are spoiled for choice, from the Museum of the East – Музей Востока (muzey Vastoka), to the smaller museum of the Moscow Metro – Музей Московского Метрополитена (muzey maskovskava metrapalitena). You are sure to find something to brighten your leisure hours – досуг (dassug). Even with a basic Russian vocabulary, you are sure to have a wonderful time.

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Spring Cleaning

Believe it or not, spring has been here in Russia since March 1. “It never ceases to amaze foreign students who still see snow everywhere,” says Olga, a Russian teacher at CREF. But Russian schoolchildren are not surprised to see a illustration of rooks on a snowy landscape in spring, ‘The Rooks Have Come Back’ by Alexei Savrasov, in their textbooks.

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19 Absolutely Essential Words and Phrases you need to know to survive in Russia

 

 

Moscow is one of the few global metropolitan cities where one cannot simply speak English to get by. It is still possible to order in English in restaurants, but if you ask in English how to find your way on the streets of Moscow, you will be lucky if you receive an answer.

To help you, we offer a survival set of 19 indispensable Russian expressions for newcomers to Russia, or those who are resistant to learning Russian.

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Preparing for the Russian exam to obtain a Russian work permit

Since January 1, 2015, applicants for a work permit, or more accurately, those who must “apply for registration with the Registry of Migration” in Russia, are obliged to pass an exam certifying their knowledge of the Russian language, and Russian law, history, and culture.

CREF has studied the requirements of this new test and explains the format and contents of the test for you. Read more

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10 Tips to progress in Russian

You are trying very hard, yet you are not progressing in Russian. You feel like you are on an endless escalator of a Moscow metro, where you can’t see the end. You are not even sure to be able to order coffee at Starbucks Moscow. You have taken a Russian course and even bought a self-study manual, but without tangible, convincing results. You continue to mumble three words before asking a telephone caller if he speaks English or French. What do you do?

It is obvious that to be able to speak Russian, you have to practice it. Our CREF-Moscow specialists give you 10 tips to help you communicate better in Russian.

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