Study Abroad students visited Moscow right when presidential elections were taking place Mr Vladimir Putin, the current prime minister, won nearly 64% of the vote. However, Golos, a leading independent election watchdog, said the polls could not be considered fair and open. Thousands of Russians streamed through metal detectors for hours, past camouflaged trucks and under the whirring blades of a helicopter, to join a mass protest against Vladimir Putin’s official return to the Kremlin.
|Russian police and soldiers gather during the election in Moscow. Photo: Dmitry Kostyukov/The New York Times|
In the expectance of protests, the Kremlin deployed around 12,000 police and an extra 6,300 interior ministry troops around the capital. To the 20,000 people who turned out for the protest, Putin wasn’t a president, but a tsar. “These weren’t presidential elections – it was a succession to the throne,” read one large sign held high above protesters’ heads.
Read more about it here.
|At sauna. Photo here|
|The Swan Lake. Photo by Kristen|
Erick: Our last night in St. Petersburg was spent at the Mariinsky Theatre where we saw the Russian Ballet preform Swan Lake. I have never seen a ballet in my life, but I knew that the Russian Ballet was no joke, and I was not disappointed, these artists are insane at what they do, it was really amazing and beautiful to watch. I’m super blessed to have be able to go to Russia for spring break, to be able to experience this city and culture.
The Hermitage museum
|The Hermitage museum. Photo by Erick|
Vinny: This was one of the highlights of my time in Russia. We spent an afternoon inside. There were rooms and rooms filled with works by Picasso, Cezanne, Michelangelo, Matisse, Bernini, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Rodin, Monet…as you can tell, I could go on and on. I have never felt more ridiculously overwhelmed in my life. It was so unreal. I really have no words to describe my time inside. I would go back in a heartbeat. Everyone should experience the Hermitage in his or her lifetime. An afternoon was not long enough; I could’ve spent days inside. It was such fun appreciating renowned art. It was painful walking toward the exit, but I made a promise to myself to come back someday!