Sochi Winter Olympics: Which Venue Has The Best Vibe?

Thanks to writer Nina Zietman we can feel the real ‘vibe’ of every venue at Olympics (+pics and a bit of new cultural experience)! Found it really interesting, definitely worth checking out 😉

Nina Zietman

Just like people, each Olympic venue has a different personality. Before I got here, I thought they would all be pretty much homogeneous but there’s a different type of photographer, athlete, spectator, security guards at every one. So here’s a little insider’s peek at how I’ve found the atmosphere at each venue.

Rosa Khutor Extreme Park

Gold medallist Sage Kotsenburg styling it out in training Gold medallist Sage Kotsenburg styling it out in training

Chiller on the side of the Extreme Park slopestyle hill Chiller on the side of the Extreme Park slopestyle hill

The Extreme Park is my absolute favourite. Mainly because it’s the home to snowboarding but also because it’s got more of a party atmosphere to it than the other venues. The pumping music works well with the extreme sports taking place there – from slopestyle to halfpipe to moguls. Photographers like to chat here. Camera men operate their cameras topless (it was a balmy 16°C today!) No one is pushy, because there’s plenty of room for…

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Sochi 2014: A competition for the new identity

Official Sochi 2014 LogoBelieve me, student life sometimes can be really, enormously busy… And guess what? I missed the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi (Олимпийские Игры 2014 в Сочи) that took place on Thursday!!! But thanks to the mighty Internet nowadays life can be easily frozen and repeated in the web. So, yesterday I finally found a free time to catch it up! 🙂

To be honest I cannot find proper words to describe my feelings. I am a big fan of winter Olympic games and taking into account the fact that it takes place in Russia makes in 2014 times better! I won’t say anything new probably, but Olympic games mean a lot to the nation. And this Olympics in particular mean a lot to me.

As a girl who was born in 1990’s in Lithuania and grew up in a post-soviet environment, I can say that I am proud of the best of the culture that made me a person that I am today. Tolstoy, ballet, folklore, good-old soviet music… Hard times of revolution and war… It is a history of my culture that with all it’s bright and dark spots I emphasize, admire and love. Although in the beginning a was a bit biased toward the candidature of Konstantin Ernst for the role of the creative director of Sochi Olympics (who is by the way is the executive producer of the main Russian TV channel ‘The First’), I can say that the opening ceremony was more than spectacular (for more photos please visit

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Nonetheless, as I watched it via BBC Sports channel I felt quite offended by the non-stop comments delivered by BBC news reporter who kept repeating words like ‘corruption’, ‘imperialism’, ‘demonstration of Putin’s power’ an so on. Seriously? Yes, Russia spent around 40 million pound on Olympics. Yes, one of the Olympic rings did not open…  But try to look at it from a different perspective. It is sport. Mistakes are made even by the greatest champions. Yet, some journalists are trying to create a sensation out of every single imperfection they can find. But is THIS the MOST important thing on this Olympics? Is our world only about fail monitoring nowadays? Despite the rumors and the truth that anyway no one can know for 100%, this Olympics is an investment into Russian’s future with all it’s victories and failures. 

Journalists at Olympics. Caricature.

Journalists at Olympics. Caricature.

The aim of the opening ceremony was to delivered a message that was done, to my mind, with a great pride and gloss. But what is this message you will ask? Russia is struggling for updating it’s relations with the world. As a young country with an extraordinary rich history Russia today is looking for the acknowledgement of it’s new identity, that goes beyond stereotypes of communism regime. Olympic games 2014 is an opportunity to show it’s face that was covered with the veil of stereotypes for many years. It is modern, it is creative, it is progressive. It is Russia. 

And the most important: what do You think about this Winter Olympics? Feel free to share your comments below!;)

P.S. Check out this article from The Guardian that I found quite interesting in good terms:

If you missed Sochi Olympics 2014 opening Ceremony you can watch it on the official BBC webpage:

As well as don’t miss major sport events and enjoy the live stream from Sochi on 🙂

До скорой встречи! (See you soon!)


2014 UK-Russia Year of Culture

You live in UK but desperate to learn something about Russia? Well,  if Russian culture is your secret crush it is a great opportunity to reveal your true feelings.  From January 2014 we all officially became a part of a great cultural event that is named UK-Russia Year of Culture.

UK-Russia Year of Culture,

UK-Russia Year of Culture,

So, what it’s all about?

For some it is a chance to establish strong  political and economical connections, for others it is an opportunity to go beyond stereotypes and prejudice. If a culture unifies the nation, cultural exchange unifies the world. Olga Golodets, the Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs of the Russian Federation stressed that both UK and Russian governments are planning to attract attention of many people, especially focusing on youth, in order to broaden cultural awareness and give a start to the new long-term relations and cross-national cooperation. As it was officially announced by British Council: ‘The UK-Russia Year of Culture will celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of both countries. It aims to foster cultural exchange and the flow of ideas whilst developing stronger relations between people, institutions and governments. The scale of the programme across arts, education, language and science is indicative of a huge improvement in cultural relations’. 

What to expect?

Lots of fun for both Russian and UK enthusiasts!  Around 250 will be held across both countries starting from January 2014 and finishing in December.

Russian Avant-Garde;

Russian Avant-Garde;

Upcoming Highlights for UK:

  • Kalinka Festival (don’t miss, February 29-March 4)
  • Russian Maslenitsa Festival (February 24-March 02)
  • Russia’s Space Quest
  • Russian Philharmonic Orchestra concert conducted by Dmitri Jurowski
  • Kazemir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde
  • Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra concert conducted by Vladimir Fedoseev
  • The Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Musical Academic Theatre
  • Days of Saint-Petersburg
  • Sretensky Monastery Choir
  • International Chekhov Festival…

…. And many more!

Don’t forget to check your calendar!  The full programme of events for both UK and Russia can be found on:

The official media partner Russia Beyond the Headlines webpage

The official  UK-Russia Year of Culture webpage 

So, why to bother?

For several reasons. Firstly, it is a great opportunity to go beyond stereotypes and learn something new about the rich culture and interesting people that live miles and miles away, Russians are really welcoming, seriously. So don’t even think to miss the chance to experience it yourself ! 🙂 Secondly, Russia has never been so close as London will host the majority of the events. And finally,  if you missed your Slavic home as well as I do I definitely advice you to visit at least one of the great majority of these events and feel yourself at home 😉 

До скорой встречи! (See you soon!)


Welcome! Добро Пожаловать!….

Welcome! Добро Пожаловать! : )

Thanks for visiting this page! My name is Dana, I enjoy my 20s, love rock music, vegetarianism, 1970’s, hand-made stuff, travelling… and also I adore my culture! 🙂

it's me, don't be scared ;)

it’s me, don’t be scared 😉

I’m half Russian half Ukrainian, and although I was born in Lithuania and currently studying Media, Culture and Society in UK university in this blog I would like to tell you something special about culture that influenced me mostly; )

To be fare, I never lived in Russian, but as  I was living in a most Russian-speaking town of Lithuania almost all my life and spend almost every summer in Ukraine where Russian is widely spoken, I consider Russian my first language and feel close attachment to Slavic communities. All in all guys, it’s pretty weird to have two home countries (Lithuania and Ukraine) and think in Russian at the same time : D

Therefore I decided to start a blog named The Art of Being Russian and share with you my experience of being a person with a completely messed up cultural identity and my favorite bits of Russian and occasionally Ukrainian cultures :) Enjoy the trip to the most beautiful and weirdest part of Slavic world : D

Lithuanian Flag

Lithuanian Flag

Ukrainian Flag

Ukrainian Flag

Russian Federation Flag

Russian Federation Flag

До скорой встречи! (See you soon!)


P.S. Malenky Mir means Small world in both Russian and Ukrainian! It’s difficult to put in words how long I was preparing for this first post! I dedicate this blog to my students who started studying Russian language this year! I love you guys! ;) Hope this blog will be useful for them in term of exploring new cultures, interesting for you and will become a great hobby for me as well!