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The Semi-Regular Newsletter

Travels in Russia

KLM Rocks Across Europe!
Santa Claus in Moscow
Television Is a Time Suck
The Reality of Irrelevance
Salute Mayor Luzhkov
Impeachment Happens
I Am Not The Only One...
I'm Back! Did Ya Miss Me?
Chechnya Burning
Weddings in Winter
The Jews Are Here!
Gailyn Goes to Town
Is There a Central Bank?
Santa Barbara is Real
Nick's Thanksgiving in Russia
Den' Rozhdeniya = Birthdays
Those Crazy Expats
It's Just a Few Drops of Vodka...
Elections Are Always Rigged
The Blind Leading the Blind
Good Russian Grooms
You Say 'Boris Berezovskiy' Fast
Too Cold to Care!
Russian Oil Towns
Sneaky Siberian Tigers
Which Way is St Peterburg?
Where am I again? Oh, yeah...
I Love Me Some Vodka
It's a Gosorg Halloween
Hunger Comes to Us All
Why Don't They Just Learn English?!
Post-Crisis, Life Goes On
Is Yeltsin 'The Man'?
Murmansk - Brrrr!
Taganka Hides Her Secrects
These are Communists
It's a Power Vaccum
The Commies are Back
Propaganda is Good for You
You Better Buy Russian!
Sex Ed Soviet Style
Party over, oops outta time!
Russian Healthcare in Moscow
What Russian Financial Crisis?
YE Prices in Russia
The Hungry Duck
Russian Caviar Mafia
Magical Mushrooms
Shhhh! We're Bear Hunting
Soviet Street Scams
Bez Dollarov
A Koshka Konspiracy
The Banking Implosion
Surviving Army Life
Shashleek is Steak on Steroids
Dacha Thinking
Beach Weekend
Dos Vedanya
Hello from Vladivostok
Equality Means Only She Works
Jogging is an Extreme Sport
Russians Have Reunions Too
My Folks in Massive Moscow
Better than Fireworks
Miners Are Real Men
The Russian Mafia is the Roof
No One Smiles in the CIS
One Year Anniversary
Russian Brides Rock
Laura is My St Pete Connection
Change is in the Wind
Chuck Norris' Beverly Hills Casino
The Expat Woman's Predicament
Street Food is Yummy!
Spring Flowers Make June Leavers
The Provinces Are Provincial
Ever Take an Elektrichka?
The English Invasion
Nuttin Like New Money
Rules Are Made to Break
All Black is Russian Fashion
Easter Memories = Easter Dinner
Politics, Russian Style
Theresa Tries to Russify
I Go to Gay Clubs Worldwide
I Hide on Women's Day
New & Shiny: Nizhny Novgorod
Psst! Wanna job in Moscow?
Fili Park Has All the Bootlegs
Web Page Reactions
Take a Break at Dom Odaha
Expat Living in Moscow is Swank
Why Are You Remonting?
They Look Like Telephones...
In Need of a Decent Hairstylist
Smashing Bottles in Red Square


Russia, August 21, 1998

On The Dacha

A weekend of tranquility

This past weekend I was on the dacha, and I had a great time. Yes, you go on the dacha. The Russians use the term "na dachu" this literally means "on the dacha." Since the dacha is usually a small hut, or one room house surrounded by a field of crops, it is similar to our expression of "on the farm." The crops are still the main food source for the entire country past the state-subsidized cabbage and bread. Everywhere you can see babushkas (grandmothers) with fresh potatoes, carrots, A happy couplesquash, dill, and anything else they grow on the dachas for sale along the roads, metro's and shops all over Russia. It is amazing how much can be produced by weekend trips by working couples and summer trips by grandmothers!

Serge and Laura cooking up a storm!

The dacha is usually located near water, be it a lake, river, or sea, and in a strange twist, the land is not owned by user. Dachas, well the land, are usually doled out to members of a soviet, or union, so you will find all the workers at a plant in the same dacha settlement. My Zelenograd host family has a dacha apartment with other people whose fathers or grandfathers were in the same military unit, while my friends in St. Petersburg have a dacha with other coaches of Olympic sports (the father is a rowing coach and one time member of the Russian Olympic team). Now dachas can be apartments in a group of buildings as my Zgrad family, or in a new "subdivision" where all the dachas are still under construction, like my St Pete friends.

Laura's DachaBeing near a lake, and surrounded by valuable cropland, dachas are fiercely fought over, but usually passed down generations with the children sharing the parent's dacha. Also, a very casual atmosphere prevails. Some dachas, like the St Pete one, don't have running water, others like the Zgrad one were the retirement homes of the grandparents, but neither requires more than a pair of shorts and swim trunks.

The unfinished dacha near St Pete.

I got into a great discussion with the St Pete family about Americans and dachas. First dacha was one of the few words I knew in Russian last year besides yes, no, thanks, and please. After being asked why, I theorized it was from the political news where the Russian leaders where always at the dacha. Second, they were surprised that Americans don't have dachas. We have summer homes, but those are few, and usually rented (well at least among my friends). I think it is the relative low cost of housing here (less than 10% of income) that allows for second homes, while American costs (+25%) hinder second home ownership. Also, we have no need to grow secondary crops. Our food prices are relatively low, and gardening is a hobby in the states, not a necessity. Finally, there is no way you can get an American to work with someone for 40+ hours a week then go out of town that weekend to live next to the same people. We are way too independent!

I do enjoy going on the dacha, and if anyone ever offers to take you to one, do NOT hesitate. It will be a warm and enjoyable experience, look below for where Yeltsin lives. Just don't drink too much of granddad's moonshine!

2 February 1998, via Johnson's Russia List

Health a Factor in Yeltsin's Choice of Residence

By Reuters News Wire

MOSCOW - Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recovering from a stomach ulcer, has shuttled between different homes, hospitals and sanatoriums in recent years, depending on his state of health. Here is a short guide to the places he uses:

GORKY-9 - Yeltsin's main residence since 1996 has been a small three-storey beige building on a small hill nestled among thick woods beyond the Ring Road west of Moscow. A satellite dish -- a sign of the extensive communications inside -- is prominently placed on the roof.

The president holds many of his official meetings in Gorky-9, situated 15 km (nine miles) west of Moscow, and is often pictured sitting in elegant chairs near drab white wallpaper. The building is close to the city and he is within easy reach of the Kremlin.

RUS COUNTRY RESIDENCE -- When Yeltsin plans to be away from Moscow for at least several days he often goes to this two-storey structure in the government recreation compound at Zavidovo, about 150 km (90 miles) north of Moscow. Surrounded by woods, the residence has large windows and fireplaces inside.

BARVIKHA SANATORIUM - A muddy-brown three-storey sanatorium with an institutional look, Barvikha is usually home to Yeltsin when his health is more fragile. it is about seven km (four miles) west of Moscow is well-equipped to monitor Yeltsin's health and offer him all round medical help. It is said to have an intensive care ward.

Yeltsin has spent considerable time there in recent years after undergoing heart surgery and suffering from pneumonia, exhaustion and other ailments. He was at Barvikha on Tuesday recovering from his ulcer.

Other Kremlin officials also use the facilities, in an area west of the capital where many Muscovites have weekend homes.

CENTRAL CLINICAL HOSPITAL - A Moscow hospital open to all who can afford its high prices, it has hosted Yeltsin on numerous occasions. He left most recently last weekend after receiving treatment for an ulcer. Yeltsin has presidential suite in the hospital with several rooms resembling a well-appointed apartment. In November, while recovering from pneumonia there, he met Chinese President Jiang Zemin in a rare "hospital summit."

The Head Honcho's HomeTHE KREMLIN - The walled fortress home to the main presidential offices, the Kremlin has seen less of the president of recent years than in his first term. It has and apartment but Soviet leader Josef Stalin was the last to stay in the Kremlin full-time.

Anybody home?

MOSCOW APARTMENT - Yeltsin has a 323-square-metre, four-room apartment on Osennaya Street in the relatively leafy Krylatskoye section of western Moscow but he appears rarely to use it. According to the Kremlin, the family of his youngest daughter Tatyana, who is a presidential adviser, lives there with her family. Yeltsin uses the address for his official voting registration.

DACHA - In 1995 Yeltsin and his wife Naina bought four hectares (10 acres) of land in an undisclosed area outside Moscow and built a 452-square-metre dacha country home. He appears to go there rarely, if at all

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