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A Russian Alphabet

M is for Moscow


by Derek Xu


The Amur leopard, being native to the country, once roamed southeastern Russia in great numbers. These numbers have since been reduced to a mere 57 wild individuals. Most of these individuals are scattered throughout a small part of Primorsky Krai province, between Vladivostok and China. This miniscule region is but 10% of the leopard’s former expanse. Human conflict and habitat loss, which is what caused this massive decline in the population of the Amur leopard, have caused many other species to become critically endangered as well. There is hope, though, as conservatory organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund are trying to help these species. For example, captive leopards are bred, their cubs being taught to avoid humans and to hunt effectively.

A

a

A is for the Amur Leopard

  • Through snow covered lands
  • The Amur leopard prowls
  • Hearing a sound
  • He turns and growls


B is for the Baikal Seal

  • The Baikal seal swims
  • In a freshwater lake
  • Spotting a fish
  • For dinner he will take


The Baikal seal is a unique freshwater seal that hunts in the shallows of Lake Baikal. It belongs to the family Phocidae, also known as true or earless seals. This is one of the three families of seals: true seals, fur seals, and sea lions. Being a true seal, the Baikal seal can efficiently and economically navigate its habitat, Lake Baikal, which is the most substantial lake in the entire world. It is also the deepest, oldest, and clearest lake across the Earth.

B

b


Flanked by three cathedrals, The Cathedral of the Archangel, The Cathedral of the Assumption, and The Cathedral of the Annunciation, Cathedral Square traditionally welcomes guests who enter at the gates to the Kremlin. This is also where the square itself is located at, smack in the middle of the Kremlin. The Cathedral of the Assumption, the oldest and most important of all the churches in the Moscow Kremlin, is a Russian orthodox church dedicated to the dormition of the Theotokos. The Cathedral of the Annunciation, like the Cathedral of the Assumption, is one of the most important Russian orthodox churches in all of Russia that is also meant for the dormition of the Theotokos. The Cathedral of the Archangel, on the other hand, worships the archangel Michael but is still just as important, as nearly every Russian tsar or prince was buried there.


Flanked by three cathedrals, The Cathedral of the Archangel, The Cathedral of the Assumption, and The Cathedral of the Annunciation, Cathedral Square traditionally welcomes guests who enter at the gates to the Kremlin. This is also where the square itself is located at, smack in the middle of the Kremlin. The Cathedral of the Assumption, the oldest and most important of all the churches in the Moscow Kremlin, is a Russian orthodox church dedicated to the dormition of the Theotokos. The Cathedral of the Annunciation, like the Cathedral of the Assumption, is one of the most important Russian orthodox churches in all of Russia that is also meant for the dormition of the Theotokos. The Cathedral of the Archangel, on the other hand, worships the archangel Michael but is still just as important, as nearly every Russian tsar or prince was buried there.

C

C

c

C is for Cathedral Square

  • Great tsars marched it
  • On their special day
  • The grand Cathedral Square
  • Through which they made their way

D is for the Desman

  • Nearly extinct
  • And blind as a bat
  • The desman has fur
  • That makes it look fat


The Russian Desman, one of two surviving species of the desmani tribe, lives in river basins located in Russia due to the fact that freshwater is essential for their life. The population of these creatures halved from 1975-2004 and they are now classified as endangered on the IUCN red list. This is mostly due to their rich and thick fur, which was in very high demand during the fur trade, during which desmans were hunted and killed in the thousands. Desman hunting is now illegal, thanks to Russian law, but their numbers are still decreasing due to habitat loss, water pollution, and the introduction of non-native species to their homeland. Some other things being done to help the desman include campaigning against nylon nets and electric fishing, which are also major threats to the animal, and reintroduction to old habitats where they once thrived.

D

d


Mount Elbrus is, lying in the center of the Caucasus Mountain Range, an extraordinary peak. It is the tallest and most prominent mountain in all of Europe. Currently a dormant volcano, it is always covered in  snow. It last erupted nearly 2 millenia ago. This mountain is actually surprisingly young. At only 2.5 million years old, it has existed for a fraction of other mountains of its height’s ages.

E

e

E is for Mount Elbrus

  • Looming the land
  • And piercing the sky
  • Mount Elbrus is
  • Eighteen thousand feet high

  • Making Russia rich
  • And lasting many years
  • The Fur Trade allowed
  • All the men to yell "Cheers!"









F is for the Fur Trade


The Siberian Fur Trade, although possessing its benefits, proved to be greatly detrimental to the Siberian ecosystem in many ways. One such way was the massive decline in the population of fur-bearing animals in the region. This was mostly due to the method in which the hunters hunted. They would slaughter the entire animal population in one area, then move on to the next. This method didn't give the animals any chance to restore their numbers and left many of these areas with no animal life at all. The number of deaths that occurred because of this was insurmountable: About 10-15 million squirrels were killed in Siberia each year, in addition to tens of thousands of ermines, rabbits, martens, foxes, sables, lynx and wolverine.

F

f


Garry Kasparov was, and still is, an outstanding chess player that took the world by storm. Born on 4/13/1963 in Azerbaijan, Garry Kasparov, at only 17 years old, was named an International Grandmaster, a title that applies to less than 1% of all rated chess players. He went on to become the youngest world chess champion ever at 22 years old in 1985. This was a title that, only after 20 years, was stolen by Magnus Carlsen. After achieving this great feat, Kasparov founded the Professional Chess Association with English Grandmaster Nigel Short in 1993. He then continued to defeat Deep Blue, an IBM chess computer, in a best of 6 match with the score being 4-2 in 1996. He did end up being defeated by the machine later on after heavy upgrades were applied to it.

G

g

G is for Garry Kasparov

  • Youngest world champion
  • And so for 8 years
  • Garry Kasparov
  • Beat all of his peers

H is for Historical Sites

  • All of these Attractions
  • In the center of Moscow
  • Are for the all of tourists
  • That enjoy exclaiming: "wow!"


Moscow is an old city, dating back to the 12th century, and thus it has many historical sites. Three of the most prominent of these sites are the Moscow Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Red Square, all of which have google review scores of 4.7+ stars. The Moscow Kremlin is a fortified complex in the middle of the city that contains multiple magnificent churches, the residence of the current President of Russia, and many other governmental and tourist-attracting buildings. St. Basil’s Cathedral is in the very center of Moscow, its construction dating back to the mid 1500s. Its 9 spires resemble a fire and how the flames vary in height as it burns brightly in the dark. Red Square separates the aforementioned Kremlin from Kitai-Gorod, a historic merchant quarter. It is often considered Moscow’s central square because of the way all of the city’s major streets originate there.

H

h


Ivan IV, who was crowned at the Cathedral of the Dormition “Tsar of all the Russians”, was first to receive that title in the entirety of Russian history. Before he was Tsar, Ivan was the Grand Prince of Moscow, who was essentially the monarch of Russia as a whole. This title was given to him at the miniscule age of 3 years old, both of his parents dead before he reached the age of nine. Thirteen years after being coronated as Tsar, Ivan’s first wife, Anastasia Romanovna, passed away. The result of this was a negative effect to the Tsar’s personality, if not his mental health. Near the end of his life, he ended up killing his own son in a fit of rage. He died from a stroke three years later while playing chess with Bogdan Belsky.

I

i

I is for Ivan IV

  • Formerly Grand Prince
  • And first to be Tsar
  • Ivan guarded Russians
  • And now grateful they are

J is for Joseph Stalin

  • Stalin as a kid
  • Was really quite poor
  • But he helped Russia
  • Win the Second World War


Stalin, the “General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union” from 1922-1952, lived in dreadful poverty as a child. This was mainly due to his father, who failed in adapting to changing footwear fashions as a cobbler. After becoming bankrupt, the father, Beso, became an alcoholic and drunkenly beat his son and wife. To escape this abuse, Stalin and his mother moved to the house of a family friend. Later in his life, though, he led the Communist Union as “Chairman of the Council of the Ministers” from 1941-1953.

J

j


Kalinka is a song with a lively, cheerful chorus. It was written in the key of G minor and is known by most Russians as a folk song. The writer and date of the song being written are actually known to us, though. It was written in 1860 by Ivan Larionov, a composer and folklorist. The chorus of the song speaks of the viburnum berry, which is sour and unpleasant, in the first line and then of raspberries, which are sweet and delectable, in a beautiful garden in the second line. The verses speak of a pine tree and the singer resting beneath it. 

K

k

K is for Kalinka

  • Written in eighteen sixty
  • And still played today
  • Kalinka is the song
  • That swept Russians away

L is for Vladimir Lenin

  • Born in eighteen seventy
  • And lived to be fifty-four
  • Lenin led the communists
  • And started a civil war



Vladimir Lenin was, like Stalin, a Russian communist revolutionary. His reign was much shorter though, due to his untimely demise. He only served as “Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union” and “Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Russian SFSR” for 3 and 8 years, respectively. Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks, or communist revolutionary group, from the start and played a key part in overthrowing the old Tsardom of Russia. The Bolsheviks, a group that he founded, consisted of other major communist leaders such as Joseph Stalin, Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev, Leon Trotsky, Mikhail Frunze, and Semyon Budyonny.

L

l


Moscow, the capital of Russia, is the ninth most expensive city in the world and the coldest metropolis on Earth. It is located on the banks of the Moskva River and is the seat of power and residence of the Russian Government. The city is quite old, dating back to the mid 1100s, when it was a minor town on the western border of Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. During that amount of time, it has built up a prominent population of 11.92 million, as of 2012, almost 2.5 times the population of Saint Petersburg, the second most populous city in Russia. The sad part is that almost 15% of the 12 million people living in Russia are in poverty. This is mostly due to middle-aged Russian leaders focusing on conquering territory instead of  improving quality of life.



M

m

  • The capital city of Russia
  • And the most populous likewise
  • Moscow is one of those places
  • With a most beautiful sunrise

M is for Moscow

N is for the New Year

  • Just like our Christmas
  • Their New Year has a tree
  • A long break from school
  • And presents for thee


New Year, the most important holiday in Russia, is very similar to Christmas. This is because of the Communist party banning all religion and religious holidays, therefore banning Christmas. People then started celebrating New Year instead. Ded Moroz and Snegurochka are like Santa. There’s a New Year’s Tree, which is similar to the Christmas tree. People exchange presents and have large family dinners. This holiday also gives hard working students and adults a week long break from work/school, just like Christmas in other countries.


New Year, the most important holiday in Russia, is very similar to Christmas. This is because of the Communist party banning all religion and religious holidays, therefore banning Christmas. People then started celebrating New Year instead. Ded Moroz and Snegurochka are like Santa. There’s a New Year’s Tree, which is similar to the Christmas tree. People exchange presents and have large family dinners. This holiday also gives hard working students and adults a week long break from work/school, just like Christmas in other countries.

N


n


Olga, Grand Princess of Kiev, took revenge upon the Drevlians for the death of her husband. She first lured all of the best men of Drevlian into a trap, where she gave them hospitality and good living conditions. This trap was that when the men were asleep, she locked all the doors and set the house alight, killing every man in the house. After a little bit of thought, she decided that this was not enough for revenge. So, she invited the remaining Drevlians to a feast, where they all got drunk and 5,000 of them were slaughtered, the rest of them escaping to their capital city. Olga then laid siege upon that city and asked for three sparrows and three pigeons from every house in the city in exchange for peace. After she had all of the birds, she gave one to each soldier in her army and ordered them to tie sulfur bound with cloth to the birds. The soldiers then released all of the birds to their normal nesting areas under cover of nightfall. The entire city went up in flames at the same exact time and burned it down to ashes in a matter of hours. Of the miniscule population that managed to escape, practically none of them could get past Olga’s wall of soldiers that slaughtered them mercilessly. Even though she did actually take revenge upon the Drevlians, this story about Olga is just a myth.

O

o

O is for Olga of Kiev

  • Avenging her husband
  • And ruling Kiev
  • In Christianity
  • Olga did believe

P is for Peter the Great

  • Being the first emperor
  • And tsar right before
  • Peter conquered lands
  • Waging many a war


Peter was the first Emperor of Russia from 1721-1725. He was the Tsar of All the Russians from 1682-1721. He was born 6/9/1672 and died on 2/8/1725. He modernized the Russian army and made his country a leading European power. He introduced many new government ideas, some of which stayed in effect all the way until the Communist revolution. One of these ideas was the table of ranks, which had people earn their powerful positions in the government, instead of being born into them.

P

p


Scientists at Harvard University created a 51 qubit quantum supercomputer. The scientists are from both Russia and America, led by Mikhail Lukin. This supercomputer surpasses the theoretical threshold of quantum supremacy. It is the most powerful functional quantum computing system. The machine was presented at ICQT in Moscow on 7/14/17 and blew Google, who was planning to show off a 49 qubit quantum computer, out of the water.

Q

q

Q is for Quantum Computing

  • A quantum computer is built
  • With all of fifty-one qubits
  • Stealing the show from google
  • And besting theoretical limits

R is for Race to Space

  • In a race against the USA
  • Russia achieves much in space
  • Such as sending a man into it
  • Although not winning the race


Russia launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space during the year of 1957. This is the act that ultimately launched the Space Race, a part of the Cold War between military superpowers Russia and the USA. The release of Sputnik 1 led to many political, scientific, military, and technological developments. One such development was rivers of information about our atmosphere, which then allowed scientists to engineer more efficient and effective space vehicles. Another thing that resulted in this unveiling was the massive shock evident in the American public. This was exploited by Russian cold warriors who spread propaganda about how much more advanced the USSR was compared to the US.

R

r


The history of St. Petersburg is rich and colorful. The city was the Capital of the Russian Empire for over 200 years. This was the period during which it had just been founded by Tsar and soon to be emperor Peter I. It was also, at this time, called St. Petersburg, the first, and current, of its three names throughout the flow of time. These names include St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and Petrograd.

S

s

S is for St.Petersburg

  • Magnificent St. Petersburg
  • Founded by Peter the Great
  • A main attraction to tourists
  • Welcoming them with an open gate

T is for Tourism

  • Earning eleven billion 
  • In twenty thirteen alone
  • From twenty-seven million people
  • Oh boy has Russia grown


Saint Petersburg and Moscow are the most popular cities for tourists to visit in Russia, as they both contain many attractive sights. Some of these sights include Peterhof Palace, Winter Palace, and the Hermitage Museum. Peterhof Palace is a complex of gardens and palaces in Peterhof, Russia that was laid out under the orders of Peter the Great with the intention of humbling the French Versailles. Winter Palace was once the official residence of the Russian monarchs, back when St. Petersburg was the capital city of the Russian Empire and is now available for the tour of its 1500 rooms, 1786 doors, and 1945 windows. Hermitage Museum is a museum founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 after she had gained ownership of a massive and impressive collection of paintings from a merchant in Berlin that is situated in the same complex as the Winter Palace.

T

t


Ufa has a rich history that dates all the way back to the paleolithic era. From the 5th to 16th century A.D., Ufa was the site of a medieval city. The name of this city is presumed to be Pascherti. Although this city does not seem to hold much historical importance, it was one of the largest cities of the Golden Horde, a section of the vast Mongol Empire. Even after the Golden Horde was taken over by the Turkics, the city still stood strong and daily life within it continued.

U

u

  • Industrial center
  • And capital city
  • Of Bashkortostan and
  • Its place for sociality

U is for Ufa

V is for Victory Banner

  • Victory banner
  • Made of strands of thread
  • Has silver lettering
  • And colors bright, bright red


Victory banner was raised by Soviet Red Army soldiers on 5/1/1945. This was the day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide and the Nazis surrendered. The building they chose was the Reichstag Building in Berlin because of how symbolic the Soviets believed it to be. The flag is now a national treasure of Russia. This is because it is the official symbol of the victory of the Soviet people against Nazi Germany during World War II.

V

v


The Winter Festival is a month-long annual cultural festival in Moscow. Famous sites to visit include Izmailovo Park, Revolution Square, and Gorky Park. These places feature songs, dances, games, crafts, food, and gifts. Other activities include sledding, ancient swinging, and old Russian troika rides. The last of those, troika rides, are traditional Russian combinations of three horses in breast collar harnesses pulling a sleigh that could reach speeds of up to thirty miles per hour, pretty fast for the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries during which they were used.

W

w

W is for the Winter Festival

  • The Winter Festival features
  • Many a fun thing
  • That can all be enjoyed
  • Before the start of spring

X is for Xabarovsk

  • With many factories
  • And a military base
  • Xabarovsk is a city
  • Far from commonplace


Xabarovsk is Russian for Khaborovsk. It’s the largest city of Khaborovsk Krai. It was originally under Chinese control and known as BoLi. It has many factory-based industries. The headquarters of the Russian Eastern Military District is located here. This is one of the four Russian Military District headquarters. The other three are located in Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, and Ekaterinburg.

X

x


Yaroslavl is a golden ring city. This means that it’s part of a ring of ancient cities that played an important role in the Russian Orthodox church. These cities now serve as preservers of the most important events in all of Russian history. Including Yaroslavl, there are only 8 official golden ring cities in the world. These include Sergiev Posad, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Suzdal, Vladimir, Pereslavl-Zalessky, and Rostov Veliky.

Y

y

Y is for Yaroslavl

  • Home to half a million
  • And unpredictable winters
  • Yaroslavl is a golden ring city
  • Without any splinters

Z is for Zworykin

  • Russian-American
  • Absolutely brilliant
  • Zworykin like all inventors
  • Needed to be resilient


Zworykin was a Russian Born American inventor that invented a television system. This complex of tubes consisted of the iconoscope, which changed an image into an electrical signal, and the kinescope, which changed the electrical signal back into an image once that signal had reached its destination. The iconoscope was a tube that worked through a photoelectric plate called a Mosaic. When light from the lens of the iconoscope travels through the cathode ray tube, it gets converted into a stream of electrons that, when contacting with the Mosaic, turns into electrical impulses that represent certain amounts of light. These impulses are then amplified and transmitted to a receiving station, where it is re-amplified and transmitted into the air for antennas to collect. Then, the impulses enter the kinescope, where each of them becomes a speck of light. These specks of light come together to form an image, one frame of a video.




Z

z


Russian Writing

Pronunciation

English Meaning

Доброе утро

Dobraye ootro

Good morning

Добрый день

Dobriy den'

Good afternoon

Добрый вечер

Dobriy vyecher

Good evening

Здравствуйте

Zdrastvooyte

Hello

Привет!

Preevyet

Hi!

Рад тебя видеть

Rat teebya veedet'

Nice to see you!

Как поживаешь?

Kak pazhivayesh?

How are you?

Спасибо, прекрасно!

Spaseeba preekrasna!

Fine, thanks!

Как Вас зовут?

Kak vas zavoot?

What's your name?

Меня зовут...

Meenya zavoot...

My name is...

Спасибо

Spaseeba

Thank you

Не за что

Nyezashta

That's all right

Пожалуйста

Pazhalooysta

You're welcome

Извините

Eezveeneete

Sorry!

Простите

Prasteete

Excuse me

До свидания!

Da sveedaneeya

Good-bye!

Пока!

Paka

Bye-bye!

Увидимся

Ooveedeemsya

See you

Счастливого пути!

Schasleevava pootee

Have a nice trip!

Вы говорите по-английски?

Vi gavareetye pa angleeskee?

Do you speak English?

Говорите, пожалуйста, медленнее

Gavareetye pazhalooysta myedleeney

Could you speak more slowly?

Я не понимаю

Ya nee paneemayoo

I don't understand



Basic Guide to the Russian Language

Timeline of important Russian events


Year(AD)

Event

800s 

Eastern Slavs settle in Russia.

1200

The Mongols conquer Russia.

1480

Ivan III frees Russia from the Mongols.

1547

Ivan IV become the first Tsar.

1721

Peter the Great becomes the first emperor of Russia.

1762

Catherine the Great becomes Empress and Russia receives Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine from Poland.

1812

Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated in an attempt to invade Russia.

1867

Russia sells Alaska to the U.S.

1903

Lenin forms the Bolsheviks.

1914

World War I begins.

1917

The Bolsheviks overthrow the Russian government.

1918

The Bolsheviks become the Russian Communist Party and a civil war begins. Tsar Nicholas II and his family are murdered.

1924

Lenin dies.

1929

Stalin becomes the dictator of the USSR.

1939

World War II begins.

1945

Russians fell Berlin and end World War II.

1957

The USSR launches Sputnik.

1961

Yuri Gagarin becomes the first astronaut.