Each country takes pride in its own achievements and success.
What makes you feel proud of your country?
Our country is great, and I’m very proud of it. Russia is famous for its outstanding people – scientists, writers, poets, travellers and explorers. Russia is a stable and democratic society. Its citizens have many freedoms, among them the freedom of speech, religion and the press. Russia is a member of the United Nations. Russia is one of the largest trading countries. It has a lot of energy resources and exports oil and natural gas. Russia has for centuries encouraged research and innovation and it has a lot of achievements throughout the twentieth century. Nobel prizes for science, literature and peace have been won by Russian citizens. In the fields of art, media and sports, Russia enjoys an international reputation. Russia has nuclear weapons, a strong army and remains a widely-respected country.
For ages mankind was dreaming of travelling in the space. The science itself came later. K. E. Tsiolkovsky, the great Russian scientist, is the father of the theory of interplanetary travels. His words that "mankind will not remain on the Earth forever” came true. On 4 October 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite "Sputnik”. This word, "sputnik”, immediately began to be used in all languages. The first cosmonaut on the Earth to fly into space, Yuri Gagarin, was from Russia, and he made his flight around the Earth on 12 April 1961 that lasted 1 hour 48 minutes. Years will pass, people will conquer the Universe and make landings on other planets, but mankind will always remember Yury Gagarin as the first to pave the way to the stars.
Russia is also famous for its ancient churches, cathedrals, and towns. Moscow, the capital of Russia, is famous for its monuments to outstanding people, churches, galleries, theatres, squares and streets.
The heart of Moscow is Red Square. It’s my favourite place in my native city. I show it to all my guests from different countries. It is our history, and I’d like to tell you some facts about the buildings on it. St Basil’s Cathedral was built in 1551–1561 after the victory over the Kazan Kingdom. It’s a magnificent Cathedral, with eight churches placed around the tallest ninth one. There is a monument to Minin and Pozharsky in front of the Cathedral. It was built in 1818 and it was the first statue put up in Moscow. Minin and Pozharsky were heroes of the people’s struggle in the war against Poland in 1612. You can see Lobnoye Mesto near the Cathedral. It was erected in the 16 century; the tsar’s orders were read from it, also it was used as a place for execution. The tallest tower of the Kremlin is the Spasskaya Tower. It’s also on Red Square. It’s one of the symbols of Moscow, because the Kremlin clock, made in the 16th century, is on it. The clock strikes on the hour, half hour and quarter of an hour. The Lenin Mausoleum is in the centre of the square. It was at first made of wood; and in 1930 it was rebuilt, and made of stone, brick, marble and granite. The State History Museum was opened in 1883. It has a rich collection of documents, drawings, pictures, and materials about the country’s past and Russia’s great people. The State Department Store (GUM) is one of the largest department stores in the country. It is an impressive building with a glass roof.
Of course the most ancient part of Moscow is the Kremlin. Nowadays the Kremlin centre looks truly magnificent, with its many-domed cathedrals in Cathedral Square and with its Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.
A very interesting place in Moscow is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The original cathedral was erected by order of Emperor Alexander as a token of the Russian people’s gratitude to God for the deliverance of Russia from Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. In 1931 it was demolished by order of Josef Stalin. In 1995, Moscow’s Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the world-famous musician Mstislav Rostropovich laid the first stone in the foundation of the new Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Today you can admire this Cathedral in the centre of Moscow.
People in Russia keep their old traditions and are very proud of them. They celebrate religious holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Maslenitsa. They eat traditional food for Maslenitsa such as pancakes with honey, caviar or sour cream; they colour eggs; bake kulich cakes; make a paskha out of cottage cheese for Easter. Many Russians are religious people. The main church in Russia is the Orthodox Church, but there are other religions too. The Orthodox Church has survived during hard times, and now we speak about a rebirth of religion in our country.
Russian people are open-hearted, hospitable, and friendly. They like to invite guests to their homes and cities; they like to give traditional souvenirs to their foreign friends such as matryoshka dolls, beautifully painted mugs, plate and spoons from the village of Khokhloma, Palekh boxes, art books, badges and etc.
We are proud of our famous and talented poets and writers such as Alexander Pushkin, Michael Lermontov and many others. We are proud of our famous composer Peter Tchaikovsky and one of our famous artists, Isaak Levitan. We can see his paintings and the paintings of other outstanding Russian artists, such as Repin, Vasnetsov, Shishkin, Surikov, Benua, Korovin, etc., in the Tretyakov Gallery. It is one of the most famous and well-known picture galleries in our country and in the world. It is situated in the centre of Moscow and is named after its founder Pavel Tretyakov. He began to collect Russian paintings in 1856. He was a famous patron of arts. In 1892 Tretyakov donated his collection to Moscow.
Russia is proud of its famous sportsmen who win a lot of gold, silver and bronze medals in different international sports competitions.
So, I’m very proud of my country, my native city and the people who brought a lot of fame to my country. And I invite everyone, who has never been to my country, to visit it, and to see its achievements with their own eyes.
1. What do you know about K.E. Tsiolkovsky?
2. Who was the first to fly into space?
3. What famous Russian scientists, writers, poets, artists do you know?
4. What is your favourite place in Moscow and why?
5. What do you know about Red Square?
6. What do you know about the Kremlin?
7. Have you ever been to the Tretyakov Gallery? Who are your favourite artists?
8. What religious holidays do people celebrate in Russia?
9. What is the traditional food for Maslenitsa and Easter?
10. Why are you proud of your country?