Uncommon New Year’s Eve Movies

A collection of pictures with the spirit of the New Year and Christmas that you might have missed

Reading time 6 minutes

We have always watched the same New Year’s films every year. However, sometimes it is necessary to put DVCs of “Irony of Fate” and “Home Alone” on the shelf and find something new. Here is a list of films in the New Year’s Eve and Christmas mood, which you might not notice when scrolling through the thematic collections.

1. “Trapped in Paradise”, 1994. Director: George Gallo
A scene from the film "Trapped in Paradise"
A scene from the film “Trapped in Paradise”

Bill Firpo arrives in the provincial town of Paradise on Christmas Eve. He’s an honest restaurant manager, but the brothers whom Bill picks up from prison on Christmas Eve morning aren’t. Convicts Dave and Alvin Firpo tricks Bill into robbing a bank. In the absence of an alarm and the ever-sleeping guard doing their job the crime can be committed successfully. But a problem immediately arises: how to leave a small town with a huge amount of money, if a snowstorm is raging on the street, and the police are already seeking after robbers?

2. “Klaus”, 2019. Director: Sergio Pablos
A scene from the film "Klaus"
A scene from the film “Klaus”

To educate a lazy and spoiled son, the owner of the postal empire sends him to Smirensburg, located in the far north. Jesper is instructed to set up a postal service in the city and process at least 6,000 letters a year to prove his independence to his father and return home. However, the city does not accept the new postman very cordially, and it seems that no one has heard of sending letters there. But everything changes when Jesper meets a mysterious lone lumberjack named Klaus. Who, as it turns out, keeps a lot of old toys at home and is willing to handing them out to the bored children of Smeerensburg.

3. “The Apartment”, 1960. Director: Billy Wilder
A scene from the film "The Apartment"
A scene from the film “The Apartment”

Baxter is a humble employee of an insurance company. To speed up his career progression, he lends the keys of his apartment to colleagues and even his boss to retire with their mistresses. Baxter’s plan works until he meets Fran, his boss’s secret lover. A new feeling is born between the characters, and Christmas night puts everything in its place.

4. A Very Murray Christmas, 2015. Director: Sofia Coppola
A scene from the film "A Very Murray Christmas"
A scene from the film “A Very Murray Christmas”

Bill Murray is planning a brilliant TV show for Christmas, with celebrity guests and a packed program. But the plans are thwarted by an unexpected snowstorm which led to the absence of the eminent guests. However, in the snow-covered New York hotel where the show is scheduled and where Bill is so unsuccessfully stuck, there are a lot of random people. And Bill still manages to throw a party, just for a different audience and with new entertainment.

5. “8 Women”, 2001. Director: Francois Ozon

A scene from the film "8 Women"
A scene from the film “8 Women”

The family gathers at an estate in the French outback to celebrate Christmas. But upon arrival, the guests find the owner of the house murdered in his bedroom. 8 women, each of whom is somehow connected with a dead man, begin their investigation. At the same time, they are all under suspicion, because each had the motive to commit a brutal murder. The darkest family secrets begin to unfold in the house, and the identity of the killer becomes the main Christmas entertainment.




Wind of rubbish

How the reform of waste collection has changed the Moscow region

Reading time 6 minutes

The reform of rubbish collection was launched on the 1st of January 2019 as a part of “The Comprehensive System Of The Household Waste Treatment” project. This project in its turn is one of ten parts of Russia-wide project “The Ecology”. It was stated in 2018 and going to continue till 2024.

Parts of national project «The Ecology»
Parts of national project «The Ecology»

Moscow and other 10 regions excluded themselves from the program for a while. They will join it in 2022. The experience of the Moscow region on the contrary has become a role model.

What the government did?

The Moscow region government organized separate collection of household garbage. Bins of different colour appeared in cities. Blue one is destined for recyclable litter such as paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Grey bin — for non recyclable rubbish. Yellow ones that can be found in shopping malls and other public places are intended to contain dangerous waste like batteries, chargers and home appliances. Such garbage is transported to Chelyabinsk to the conversion.

Sorted safe rubbish should be sent to the local waste recycling plants. There are five such places now. As the Chairman Of The Government Of The Moscow Region Yevgeny Khromushin said, till 2030 only 5% of rubbish will be buried. Now 28 of 39 wastelands are closed, rest of them will follow as soon as 7 recycling plants will have been constructed. Moreover, 4 incineration plants are to appear till 2022. It is supposed that in the process of burning electricity will be produced.

Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled
Grey bins are removed regularly, while blue ones — after having been completely filled

In some cities the government with the support of rubbish utilising companies have launched social projects. They believe that it motivates dwellers to hand over waste for recycling. Every handed over 7 kilograms of paper, 10 kilograms of glass or 3 kilograms of polyethylene give Electrostal citizens discounts to the partner organizations of the project “Waste to Wealth”.

What dwellers noticed?

New line has recently appeared in utility bills. It is a tax for garbage removal. Such service used to be included into apartment service tax. The Moscow region has not switched to per capita calculation of tax, therefore residents have to pay it depended on the living space. As a result, a single pensioner in a three-room apartment «trash» more than a family in a single-room one.

New incineration plant is to be built next to the largest not only in the Moscow region but also in Europe landfill “Timokhovo”. The first stage of construction is degassing of the dump. Dwellers of Timokhovo, Elektrougli, Elektrostal, and Noginsk monitor the process and regularly complain about the smell of landfill gases within 10 kilometres. The situation is aggravated by the Elektrostal landfill six kilometers from Timokhovo. Landfills poison both air and water, so the residents of nearby settlements have to buy expensive and powerful filters, while to Elektrostal water comes from the Vladimir region.

Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres.
Safety area around the dump is from 500 to 1000 metres

“It turns out that 1.5 million tons of waste will be stored in Timokhovo per year and 700 thousand tons will be burned. In other words, more than 2 million tons of rubbish will be put just in one point every year! We will be completely deprived of water, air…”, — said Veronika Kuzmina, representative of the active group of residents “Stop plant and landfill Timokhovo”.

What else?

The Moscow region produces about 5.3 million tons of garbage annually. Landfills accept up to 4.6 million tons, conversing complexes — up to 1.1 million. In addition, Moscow dwellers send up to 6.6 million tons of waste beyond the Moscow ring road annually. Due to the lag of the Moscow “garbage reform” from the Moscow region, the capital’s garbage will be “raked” by the rest of Russia, primarily the Moscow region. Half of the conversing and incineration complexes capacity is designed for Moscow.

At the same time the Moscow region government is going to change waste generation standards. They consider the standards to be lower than they should be what means that the dwellers of the region produce more litter. In this case they would pay for garbage removal more. However, where this waste is to be sent legally?

Unlike the government, residents do not think that the taxes are low. The percentage of their collection in any region does not reach 100%. As a result, regional operators that are responsible for removing garbage to legal landfills and conversing complexes are on the verge of bankruptcy. The resignation of the head of the “Russian environmental operator” also indicates the unstable situation of the “garbage reform”.

T-Rex found new relatives

Recently discovered fossils have filled the missing link in dinosaur evolution

Reading time 5 minutes

Paleontologists recently announced in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution that the ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved from dinosaurs as tall as a small child.

Newly discovered dinosaur, called Suskityrannus hazelae, weighed approximately from 20 to 40 pounds. Its height reached only 90 centimeters. Tyrannosaurus Rex weighed about 9 tons and had a length of about 12 meters.

The lead author of the study, Sterling Nesbitt, a paleontologist from Virginia Tech in the US, said that the fossils of the cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex represent one of the best examples of how a smaller family of dinosaurs evolved into monstrous superhuman.

Fossilized bones of S. hazelae, which existed about 92 million years ago on the territory of modern Western new Mexico (Photo: VIRGINIA TECH)
Fossilized bones of S. hazelae, which existed about 92 million years ago on the territory of modern Western new Mexico (Photo: VIRGINIA TECH)

«A small group of dinosaurs spawned the biggest predators we’ve ever seen», Nesbitt said.

On Monday, it was reported that Suskityrannus hazelae is an intermediate between smaller tyrannosaurs and giant, the last surviving members of the species.

«Suskityrannus is a key link between bone huge dinosaurs, such as Tyrannosaurus Rex and smaller types from which they evolved», said Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist from the University of Edinburgh. He added: «The New species shows that tyrannosaurs developed many of their characteristic features, such as a muscular skull, a wide mouth, and cushioning legs when they were still small».

The scientist shows how small a part of the skull of S. hazelae is compared to the casting of the full-size part of the jaw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (Photo: VIRGINIA TECH)
The scientist shows how small a part of the skull of S. hazelae is compared to the casting of the full-size part of the jaw of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (Photo: VIRGINIA TECH)

It is believed that Suskityrannus hazelae existed 92 million years ago, about 20 million years before Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Nesbitt says he first discovered the incomplete skeleton of Suskityrannus hazelae in new Mexico in 1997 and another more complete specimen in 1998. But in the decades that followed, scientists weren’t sure what it was until other fossils of smaller Tyrannosaurus Rex brethren were discovered.

Nesbitt found fossils of S. hazelae in 1997 when he was a teenager (Photo: hazel wolf)

Another tiny relative of Rex, Moros the Fearless, was discovered in February and is believed to have lived 96 million years ago.

«Suskityrannus gives us an idea of the evolution of tyrannosaurs just before they took over the planet», Nesbitt said.

The report notes that Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the earth for only 15 million years before the species was destroyed. Smaller tyrannosaurs are thought to have existed 150 million years before Tyrannosaurus Rex. Incomplete paleontological data make it difficult to determine how dinosaur species evolved during this period of time.

Although the discovery helps to understand how Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved, paleontologists say it is still unclear why small carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to become so large.

Why didn’t Leonardo da Vinci finish the Mona Lisa?

Scientists have found the cause of the damage to the artist's hand

Reading time 6 minutes

Leonardo da Vinci could damage the nerve in the fall, which prevented him from drawing in the last years of life, suggest Italian doctors. They diagnosed the artist with elbow paralysis, analyzing the image of his right hand in two works.

Previously, it was assumed that the damage to Leonardo’s hand caused a stroke. But in the study published in the journal of the Royal medical society, doctors made an alternative assumption. The researchers believe that one of the hands of da Vinci began to function poorly due to nerve damage. This meant that he could no longer hold the palette and brush in his right hand.

Leonardo da Vinci, who lived from 1452-1519, was an artist and inventor whose talents spanned architecture, anatomy, engineering and sculpture, as well as painting. But experts have long argued to what extent Leonardo was Ambidextrous. And, although he was more skilled in drawing with his left hand, it is believed that he drew only with his right. A separate study published last month confirmed this theory.

Experts have confirmed that the 500-year-old engraving – a rare image of Leonardo da Vinci

To learn more about what caused Leonardo’s injury, the authors of the research published in the journal of the Royal medical society studied a number of historical artifacts. Among them was an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi in 1505 depicting a man playing the lyre da braccio – a stringed instrument of The Renaissance. The man in the print was recently identified as Leonardo da Vinci. This suggests that at this time he made good use of both hands, the researchers said.

Scientists have analyzed and portrait of an elderly Leonardo, written by Giovanni Ambrogio Figino, an artist who worked in Milan. According to the analysis, the picture of the Renaissance man held his right hand in a «hard, compressed position».

Sketch of Leonardo da Vinci with the image of his «clawed hand»

Dr. Davide Lazzeri, a specialist in plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgery at the Villa Salaria clinic in Rome, who led the analysis, said: «Instead of portraying the typical clenched arm observed in post-stroke muscle spasticity (a state of increased muscle tone), the picture offers an alternative diagnosis, such as elbow paralysis, commonly known as clawed arm».

The ulnar nerve passes from the shoulder to the little finger and controls almost all of the internal muscles of the arm, which allow fine motor skills to work, so, a fall could cause shoulder injury, leading to paralysis or weakness.

Dr. Lazzery added that there are no reports of other motor disorders, which further confirms that it is unlikely that the stroke was the cause of damage to Leonardo’s hand.

Another evidence confirming the alternative version is a diary entry of one of Leonardo’s students about a visit to the artist’s house in 1517. The disciple Antonio de Beatis wrote: «you can Not expect better work from him, since his right hand is paralyzed. And although Messer Leonardo can no longer draw with his inherent sweetness, he can still create and teach others».

Experts believe that Leonardo da Vinci could leave the «Mona Lisa» unfinished due to injury of his right hand

«It would be interesting to examine Leonardo’s skeleton to verify at least the presence of fractures or injuries», – said Lazzeri.

The study may continue work on why Leonardo did not finish a number of paintings, including his portrait of the Mona Lisa.

«Five centuries after his death, during which thousands of scientists read his works, discussed his discoveries and explored his life from all points of view, there is still a lot that we need to learn about Leonardo da Vinci, a man of the Renaissance», – said Lazzery.

There were more of us than we thought!

A new species of human was discovered in the Philippine cave

Reading time 5 minutes

During excavations in the Philippines, scientists discovered bones and teeth of a presumably new species of man. Based on fragments of bones and teeth found on the island of Luzon, the researchers established that our distant relatives were just over a meter tall and had several APE-like features.

Archaeologist Armand Salvador Mijares made the first discovery in 2007. He was excavating a cave in Callao and found a finger bone. «There’s something wrong with that bone»,- he told NPR, and continued digging.

Callao caves on the island of Luzon, where scientists discovered the remains of ancient people (Photo: archaeologists of the Callao cave)

In the study published in the journal Nature, scientists describe a finding of seven teeth and six bones that belonged to at least three human individuals. They were found in the cave in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Tests on two samples determined the approximate age of the fossils which was 50 000-67 000 years. This finding is another reminder that we, Homo sapiens, are the only surviving species of our branch on the evolutionary tree.

A range of upper teeth of Homo luzonensis (Photo: archaeologists of the Callao cave)

Expert Matthew Tohiri of the University of Lakehead in thunder Bay (Ontario), says that the discovery makes the origin of man in Asia «more confusing, more complex and much more interesting».

Analysis of bones from Luzon showed that they belonged to a previously unknown link Homo of our branch of the family tree. According to the researchers, the type and shape of the bones are different from what was found earlier in the family Homo. The new species was given the name Homo luzonensis.

Toe bone belonging to Homo luzonensis (Photo: archaeologists of the Callao cave)

One of the authors of the study, Florent Detroit from the National Museum of natural history in Paris, reported that the found species of man used stone tools. Since the teeth found were small, the species most likely had a small height.

Luzonensis Homo were living in Eastern Asia about the same time as other members of the branch of Homo, including Neanderthals, their obscure Siberian cousins the denisovans and hobbits miniature from the island of Flores in Indonesia.

There is no indication that Homo luzonensis has crossed paths with any other member of the Homo group, Detroit pointed out in an email to the Associated Press. He added that some human relative had been on Luzon more than 700,000 years ago, as evidenced by the presence of stone tools and the found skeleton of a butchered rhinoceros Dating back to the same time. It could be a new species or its ancestor.

It is not clear how Homo luzonensis is related to other Homo species. The species could have originated from an earlier human ancestor, Homo erectus, who somehow crossed the sea and ended up in Luzon.

Michael Petraglia of the German max Planck Institute believes that the discovery of Luzon «shows that we still know very little about human evolution, especially in Asia». More such discoveries are likely to emerge during further work in a region that has not yet been sufficiently explored.

Why did ancient whales need hooves?

The whale that was found off the coast of South America creates riddles

Reading time 5 minutes

Scientists have found that a giant fossil at the age of 42.6 million years led a semi-aquatic lifestyle (it was found in marine sediments along the coast of Peru). According to the shape of the animal’s limbs, scientists can assume that it carried the weight of its four-meter body and walked on the ground. Other anatomical features, including a powerful tail and webbed feet, make it clear that the animal was able to swim well.

Fossil whale lived about 43 million years ago

“The evolution of whales is the best documented example of macroevolution from small hoofed mammals to the giants of the ocean that we know and love today,” says Dr. Travis Park from the New York Natural History Museum. “However, despite the fact that the fossils are well known at different stages, there are still questions about the routes of ancient whales – how did their population spread around the world?”

“Other findings from this time are more fragmented and less completed,” says Olivier Lambert of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the first author of the study in Current Biology. He adds: “We think that whales fed in the aquatic environment, where it is easier to move.”

Recent evidence suggests that ancient whales could swim for several days and weeks and retain the ability to move on land.

“Although whale could swim, it still had small hooves on its upper and lower limbs. It was much better for seals to move over land, ”says Park. The sharp teeth and the long muzzle of the animal indicate that ancient whales may have fished or crustaceans.

Scientists brought in special digital devices to document discoveries (Photo: Smithsonian Institution)
Scientists brought in special digital devices to document discoveries (Photo: Smithsonian Institution)

Earlier, more ancient remains of whales, dating back 53 million years, were found in India and Pakistan. Scientists argued when and how whales appeared near the Americas. Now we can roughly set the time when the first whales crossed the South Atlantic. This movement was facilitated by the western currents and the fact that the distance between the continents was half that of today.

The last few caudal vertebrae of the skeleton are lost, so it is unclear whether the creature on the tail had a large fin. This fin allows some modern whales to reach speeds of over 48 km per hour.

The most complete skeletons help scientists figure out how animals actually looked (Photo: Smithsonian Institution)
The most complete skeletons help scientists figure out how animals actually looked (Photo: Smithsonian Institution)

According to Lambert, it is likely that the whales returned to dry land in order to produce offspring. The first fully aquatic whales date from about 41-35 million years BC and fill a niche that remained free about 66 million years ago, when the last sea reptiles died out along with land dinosaurs.

Gay pigeons, bedbugs with middle age crisis, and other characters

Outstanding animation series for adults which became popular over the past five years

Reading time 5 minutes

Each year there appear more and more animation series with 18+ rating, discussing such themes as politics, relationships, sex, violence and etcetera. And these animated fictions are drastically different from good old Disney movies. The well-known The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, Futurama, American Dad! started releasing in early 2000s. Furthermore, over the past five years there were created new adult series, some of which are claiming to be construed as iconic.

2013: Rick and Morty – the new wave of adult cartoons

«Science makes sense, family doesn’t»

The story (short parody film of Back to the Future) revolves around the adventures of an ordinary boy Morty Smith and his grandfather Rich, the crazy scientist, who possesses the cutting-edge technologies for space travel.

Shortly after its release, Rick and Morty became a new trending cartoon for adults along with epochal The Simpsons. The series is still one of the highest cartoons in ranking (97% on RottenTomatoes) and keeps pleasing the fans with new episodes about politics, science, and family relationship.

2014: Bojack Horseman – the reality of the American dream

«Don’t look back. You’re not going that way»

Meet  BoJack Horseman – the washed-up sitcom star of the 1990s – 20 years later. Now he lives in Hollywood, drinks whisky, and plans his big return to celebrity relevance by writing memoirs.

The show was warmly welcomed by critics as well as by the audience for its realism: the main character deals with depression, psychological traumas, alcoholism, drugs addiction, self-deterioration – and all of these is peppered with black humor and sarcasm making fun of our society.

2016: Animals.we behave like beasts

«Unexpected tales of urban life»

The comparison of people and animals frequently appears in culture and always does the trick of reflecting the real life with all its manifestations. In front of us is New York City – a concrete jungle the inhabitants of which are rats suffering from unrequited love, gay pigeons, and bedbugs with midlife crisis whose stories are being told in the series.

Overall, it is a very funny, slightly cynical, and extremely truthful animated fiction which may not brighten up your weekdays, but definitely will make you think.

2018: Disenchantmenta new Netflix release which did not turned out to be a disappointment

«Misadventure awaits»

The series is about an alcoholic princess Bean living in a medieval kingdom Dreamland. Obviously, the father-king wants to get his rebellious daughter married against her will. That is why Bean with the company of an elf and her destructive “personal demon” leaves the kingdom and travels the world meeting fantastic creatures and equally interesting people.

The series can be fairly called the feminine version of Bojack Horseman, but Disenchantment also has its own charm and story. Additionally, that Medieval atmosphere really helps the feeling of realism: of course, not princesses in magnificent dresses or magic creatures – but vikings, drunkards, criminals, and other tasteful attributes of middle ages.

2018: Super Drags – on the same page with social justice warriors

«Adults only, honey»

Three gay friends lead double lives as superhero drag queens, fighting crimes against the LGBT community.

The newest animated series from Netflix is actively discussed in social media: not a lot of people have seen it yet, but the idea itself is a whole reason for debates. We will find out the reaction of viewers later, but, for instance, Jason Fontelieu called the show a good sarcastic comedy, although, unfinished in terms of the narrative and made for a very limited audience.


Egypt Station by Paul McCartney

Ex Beatle took the lead in the chart with his new album

Reading time 4 minutes

Egypt Station is the first release of the ex-member of the Beatles Paul McCartney in five years. To make this happen, the artist worked with Greg Kurstin, the music producer.

The rumors about a new album appeared at the end of June, when the performer uploaded a photo of himself with a mic and a piano on his Instagram. The longplay consists of sixteen songs, McCartney sings about space adventures and calls for peace.

The album became a leader of American chart Billboard. The last time McCartney led this chart with his album Tug of War 36 years ago.

Маккартни во время записи альбома. Фото: RollingStone
McCartney during the recording of his new album. Ph: RollingStone
A Five-Year Lull

After releasing an uplifting and optimistic album New in 2013, Paul McCartney took a music break. This was McCartney’s longest break throughout his whole music career. However, the musician did not disappear from the music world, in fact, he frequently reminded of himself via mass media. Paul McCartney recorded a song with Rihanna and Kanye West, became a nominee for Grammy award, and composed a soundtrack for a videogame.

Paul McCartney, Rihanna, and Kanye West. Ph: FRIDAY.az

In style, Egypt Station almost does not differ from ordinary music of the member of The Beatles. The emphasis on a piano, acoustic, and dynamic rhythm cause nostalgia for musician’s previous albums. This is the well-known Paul McCartney of 2000s.

During one of Paul McCartney’s performances. Ph: Diego Vara/Reuters
A Song Station

The new album contains sad and happy ballads, vivid rock-blockbusters, his songs appeal to people  because of modern sounding and this special McCartney’s frolic.

At the same time, Paul McCartney keeps speculate about eternal, global and ridiculously prosaic problems. What prevents people from living in peace? How to draw a beautiful girl’s attention? Where have all the things we loved as children gone? And why does your car’s wheel become flat every time you are in a hurry?

Обложка нового альбома. Фото: BBC.com
A cover of the new album. Ph: BBC.com

According to the artist, tracks in the album are organized in a special order, so listeners can feel this travelling from one song to another – like from station to station.

The name of the album triggers memories about McCartney’s  Spirits of Ancient Egypt hit of 1975, and the “Station” part can be construed as the last stop in musician’s career. However, considering the quality of his music, 78-years old sir Paul is not going to retire from performing yet.

Beware of ghosts!

Мистические знаки и тайны Московского метрополитена

Reading time 6 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

The Moscow subway is not only the most beautiful in the world, but also the most mysterious. There are a lot of legends about it’s dungeons. We chose the most interesting, mystical and frightening.

«Perovo» Station. Horsemen of the Apocalypse

«Perovo» Station. Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The walls of this station are decorated with images of wild and mythical animals. One bas-relief has an image of a lion, erupting flame from it’s chaps. There is an opinion that this is an illustration to the ninth chapter of the «The Apocalypse of John». The lines, which describe the horsemen of the Apocalypse, say: «The heads of horses, like the heads of lions, and fire, smoke and sulfur came out of their mouth… Cause the strength of the horses was in their mouth and their tails, and they harmed people». So some people think that this illustration on the «Perovo» station is nothing more but a prediction of the end of the world.

«Sokol» Station. Ghosts of war and repression’s victims.

«Sokol» Station. Ghosts of war and repression’s victims.
Ghosts of war and repression’s victims

There was a Bratsk cemetery near this station in the XXth century, where victims the First World War were buried. In the days of the early Soviet Union, here was a place to shot unwanted people. Workers of the station say that ghosts are walking here in the morning and at night. The «Sokol» station itself has negative energy. Cases of falling on the rails with deadly art and even suicide are relatively frequent here. People begin to feel anxiety and discomfort at the entrance of the station. Moreover, the photos taken at the station are blurry.

«Dostoevskaya» Station. Revenge of the old woman

«Dostoevskaya» Station. Revenge of the old woman
Revenge of the old woman

This station is decorated with a mosaic-illustration to the immortal work of Fyodor Dostoevsky «Crime and Punishment». The fresco shows the cult scene of the murder. According to the legend, if you look at the image of an old woman for about a minute, then you will be lucky. However, magic always comes with a price. If you ask the old woman «for help» too often, then luck will turn into really bad luck. So be grateful for what you have, or you risk to be left with the broken trough.

Ghost-train on the Koltsevaya Line

Ghost-train on the Koltsevaya Line

This legend is somewhat similar to the plot of the movie «The Midnight Meat Train». Every month an old train appears on the Line. The driver and passengers are dressed in fashion of 1930-40, their clothes are gray and gloomy. The train goes round all the stations during one night, makes stops, but opens it’s doors very rarely. People say that if you enter this train, you will not get out. It is assumed that the passengers of this train are the undying souls of the dead subway builders. The Koltsevaya Line was built by prisoners who often arranged disassembly and committed suicide by throwing themselves into mines and sealing themselves alive.

«Leninskie Gori» Station. Abandoned gallery

«Leninskie Gori». Abandoned gallery
Abandoned gallery

Until 1983, «Leninskie Gory» station was equipped with a unique escalator gallery. The risk of landslides forced the authorities to close it. Today the escalator gallery is dismantled, the engine room is flooded, walls are covered with cracks. However, this does not affect the demand from fans of extreme and mysticism. Despite the fact that the gallery belongs to the Moscow metro company, its territory is not guarded.

That is what Moscow underground is like. Lovely, exciting and intriguing. Now, when you get of the train, carefully look around — maybe you will be lucky enough to see a ghost or a prediction in the bas-reliefs of the walls.

Soviet “Renaissance”. Look through half a century

Межмузейный проект «Оттепель» открывает заново эпоху 60-х

Reading time 16 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

The thaw – a short but bright period in the history of the USSR. The era of scientific breakthrough, politics and the arts: man’s first flight into space, the splitting of the atom, the warming of international relations, VI world festival of youth and students. the Flourishing of science fiction and poetry. But most importantly, at this time there is a transformation of consciousness, breaking limitations, and the usual setup, to open up new possibilities.

The era of the 60’s through the eyes of modern man – the theme of the project “the Thaw”, in which took part the “Museum of Moscow”, the Tretyakov gallery, Museum of fine arts named after as Pushkin and the Sovremennik theatre and the Park of culture named after Gorky.

thaw in Moscow “Moscow city Museum”

The exhibition “Moscow thaw” covers the history of music, cinema, design, fashion, architecture and poetry of the thaw.

Eugenia Kikodze curator of the exhibition, "Moscow thaw"
Eugenia Kikodze, curator of the exhibition “Moscow thaw”

“We conduct open discussions: “City”,””, “research institutes”, “Physics and lyrics” is about how the architecture was changing, way of life, culture and science in the period of thaw. Also at the documentary film centre present a programme of films made in those years. Our exhibition is a return to the point from where starts modernity as such.”

Jazz fever

In 50-e years in the USSR, the rising tide of interest in jazz, which causes a sharply negative reaction of the authorities and cultural figures. Improvisation, the possibility of spontaneous self-expression and the free swinging rhythm made this music is the perfect metaphor of freedom.

Joseph Brodsky in the 60-ies
Joseph Brodsky in the 60 years

Joseph Brodsky remembered that even the gait of a Soviet person has changed under the influence of jazz: “the Joints of our very frigid Russian shells began to absorb the swing”.

Presentation Pop-Jazz orchestra of Leonid Utesov in Moscow
the Performance of the variety-jazz orchestra of Leonid Utesov in Moscow

From the late 50’s jazz recordings appear “on the edges” – the so-called improvised flexible records, material for which served the x-rays. In 1962, the newly built hotel “Yunost” opens Moscow jazz festival and Soviet musicians for the first time take part in international festival in Warsaw. In the public record company “Melody” for the first time printed album tracks domestic jazzmen. The edition sold out in a matter of days, and the album immediately becomes a rarity. In Moscow appear a cafe, where people come to talk on the forbidden theme first, listen to live music and dancing.

First synthesizer

the First synthesizer that was recorded tracks for the legendary films by Tarkovsky
the First synthesizer that was recorded tracks for the legendary Tarkovsky’s films

The world’s first synthesizer was created by a military engineer Evgeny Murzin, he gathered his in their shared apartment and called “Anse” – the initials of composer and innovator Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. Using the new tool was able to obtain a completely unusual sound of “space” spectrum. On this machine Eduard Artemiev he created the music for the legendary sci-Fi Thriller Tarkovsky “Solaris”, “Stalker” and “Mirror”.


Prom on the red square from the film
Outlet on red square from the film “Zastava Ilyich”

The main hero of the era – a young man, his confident look towards the future. By day he works or studies, and in the evening in a hurry for concerts, exhibitions, theatre, dance and poetry readings. Works Director Marlen Khutsiyev are considered thaw encyclopedia of life. The young people in his films enthusiastically read Remarque and Hemingway, critical of Stalin, dancing to the sounds of foreign music, and among the characters in the movie you can see young Tarkovsky and Konchalovsky. Endless musical party time heroes “July rain” in the cafe “lyre” blow money characters “Three days of Viktor Chernyshev”.


Gossip girl. Glass sculpture 60 years.
Gossip girl. Glass sculpture 60 years.

For the era of the thaw characteristic minimalism waiver of frills in favor of functionality. Furniture and furnishings are light and compact. Streamlined shape appeared in the glass products: statues, vases and carafes are “fluid”. Design wall clock is freed from unnecessary details – a departure from the petty-bourgeois attitude to watches as the luxury and decoration. Be the first portable radios and inexpensive cameras “Change”. Among young people, the craze for photography.

Projector slides, movie cameras, cameras and watches 60-ies
project slides, movie cameras, cameras and watches 60 years

In fashion there is freedom and emancipation, clothing becomes a way to Express individuality. In Moscow, opened an Atelier, where fashionistas sew outfits custom – fitted dresses with a fluffy skirt in black-eyed peas, broad vertical stripes, juicy or pastel colors.

Abstract art has become one of the most popular destinations. If the first subjects of the compositions were the images of city and nature, the later clearly sound critical themes and allegories. Artists boldly experiment with mixed techniques.

Architects design a huge structure with walls of glass to permit the sun’s light, making people happier and more cheerful. Built on this principle facades of the Kremlin Palace of congresses, the Palace of pioneers in the Lenin hills, the shops on Lenin, Kalinin (Novy Arbat), the Komsomol prospectus.

“the Thaw” in the Tretyakov gallery

a Conversation with my father

"Auschwitz" A. G hooks
“Auschwitz” by A. G hooks

Section “a Conversation with my father” is dedicated to the dialogue between two generations about the great Patriotic war.

Immediately after Stalin’s death and Khrushchev’s assertion at the head of the state has begun the process of rehabilitation of political prisoners was disbanded the Gulag, published the first works of prose camp: “One day of Ivan Denisovich” by Solzhenitsyn, the novel of George Shelest’s “the Nugget”. In “Lieutenant prose” the war is shown without the semi-official pathos and smoothing sharp points. In works of literature and painting have become common themes of tragedy and horror of war. People began to think about the true price of victory. Artist A. Vasnetsov depicted two widows, who look into the void, their faces almost wiped out.

monument to the dead from bombs
monument to the dead from bombs

V. A Siddur created a series about the victims of war. His sculptures are symbolic objects, which brought death to people, as well as images of prisoners in the camps.

Best city in the world

“Wedding on tomorrow’s street”. And Pimenov

Period of thaw – time for a radical change in the appearance of the city was taken on “de-Stalinization” of architecture. There is a struggle with a decorative “excesses” in architecture is dominated by rationalism. In place of the Stalinist Empire, with its palaces came democratic style of simple geometric forms with huge Windows, symbolizing the “policy of openness”.

Running across the street
Running across the street

The city becomes an open space. In the courts held a feast and dancing in the squares and in parks poets read poetry. A new image of the city is reflected in the paintings. Yuri Pimenov portrayed scenes of urban life against the background of new buildings: “Running across the street”, “District of tomorrow”, “the South-West. Suburb”. Urbanism is becoming the new direction in painting.

International relations

In 60-e years of the USSR is actively establishing communication with the outside world, especially with the countries of the Eastern bloc. At the forefront of the confrontation with the United States. The two superpowers compete not only in the arms race, but in the propaganda. Moscow is positioning itself as a world capital, conducting international events: scientific conferences, meetings of the peace. Regularly hosts national festivals and exhibitions of art from Syria, Egypt, Vietnam, Cuba, New Zealand and other countries.

In 1957, with extraordinary succes VI world festival of youth and students, which became “Dove of peace” Picasso. In Moscow tens of thousands of guests from America, Africa, Asia and Europe – young people from different countries gathered under the slogans of peace and friendship. Freedom is intoxicating and circled the head, in 1958 in Moscow was marked by the birth of hundreds of babies of mixed races: mulattos and mestizos, they even came to be called “children of the festival”.

the Secrets of abstract art

carnival Fun mihnova-Voitko
a Cheerful carnival mihnova-Boiteko

Inspired by the works of Western artists, the Moscow artists set off in search of new forms. For example, Ely Belyutin used in the mops, nails and other items. He expressed his ideas through the juxtaposition of people and entourage: two lovers in the forest, which was seen Auschwitz. The painting “Requiem” – Lenin’s funeral, depicted in the close to expressionism “action painting”. The artist is called “Requiem” his “personal Communist utopia”.

Mikhnov-Voitenko created a series of large-format paintings by applying the paint straight from the tube, without the use of the brush. Colored spots create in one case, the dance at the carnival in the other – landscape.

Severe style

Happy workers are building communism
Happy workers building communism

This term suggested Alexander Kamensky. Severe style characteristic of socialist realist representation of the themes of the working class and the heroism of hard work: women and men are shown at work on construction sites, in polar expeditions. The cycle of paintings devoted to the development of virgin lands. Heroes tired from work, but happy people, the builders of the bright Communist future.


the launch of the Soviet Sputnik-1 into space
the Launch of Sputnik-1 into space

The first flight of man into space and the splitting of the atom created a sense of endless possibilities of science. the world’s First nuclear power station, the first synchrotron – a powerful accelerator, nuclear icebreaker “Lenin” is far not the full list of achievements of the time. The spread of higher education, the development of scientific institutions, creation of closed science cities have given rise to heroes of the new time – young scientists. After the launch of the Soviet “Sputnik-1” space has captured the imagination and became one of the main themes in art, in the design of household objects and appliances. In painting appeared fantastic sketches of planets and unexplored space – artists created their own reality based on scientific facts and guesses.

the world's First NPP, Obninsk, Moscow region
the Layout of the first NPP in the world


Poetry in the theater “Sovremennik”

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the assistant to the artistic Director of the theatre "Contemporary"
Evgeny Kuznetsov, the assistant to the art Director of theatre “Contemporary”

“Together with the Tretyakov gallery, we made the program “Area Mayakovsky“. It consists of five evenings devoted to specific poets – Joseph Brodsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Robert Rozhdestvensky, Andrei Voznesensky, Bella Akhmadulina. Fails with “Area Mayakovsky” in the evening “We are young”, which will be devoted to the poetry of the turn of the 1950-1960, it will be attended by almost all young troupe “Contemporary”.

The era of the thaw – a special time when the public conscience changed, open new opportunities, they needed a new form. This allowed the young actors, graduates of school-Studio of the Moscow art theatre to join theatre and to create it “is not from above but from below”. There were six of us: Oleg Yefremov, Galina Volchek, Oleg Tabakov, Oleg Kvasha, Evgeny Evstigneev and Lilia Tolmacheva, of which only two are alive today – Volchek and tobacco.

Galina Volchek, Igor Kvasha and Oleg Tabakov. 60 years
Galina Volchek, Igor Kvasha and Oleg Tabakov. 60 years

By the time of the creation of “Contemporary” art scene and the Stanislavsky system, where the main concern is the interaction of the actor with the audience, was distorted. Efremov with his supporters took on the mission to revive the Stanislavsky system as the only correct one for the Russian theater. April 15, 1956, in the school-Studio of the Moscow art theatre was the first performance of “live Forever”, which was a real shock for the Moscow public. After the performance, the audience persuaded young troupe disperse. This day is considered the birthday of the theater “Contemporary”.

Festival “Thaw” will last until mid-summer. Museum of fine arts Pushkin will present her exhibition “to the future. The art of Europe 1945-1968“, Gorky Park and Muzeon will host screenings, discussions and themed music nights together with the theater “Contemporary”.