Russia Photos




Entrance to Red Square Moscow

Entrance to Red Square, Moscow

GUM Shopping Complex Red Square Moscow

GUM Shopping Complex, Red Square, Moscow

Kremlin Wall Red Square Moscow

Kremlin Wall, Red Square, Moscow

Red Square Moscow 2

Red Square, Moscow

St Basil's Cathedral Red Square Moscow.Edited

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow

Church Rebuilt in 1990s Outside Red Square Moscow

Church destroyed under Stalin’s orders, rebuilt with original blueprints in early 1990’s, outside Red Square, Moscow

Child Breaching Barricades on Red Square Moscow

Child breaches the barricades at Red Square, Moscow

Red Square Squat Building is Lenin's Tomb

Squat building in center is Lenin’s Tomb, Red Square, Moscow

Outside Red Square Moscow

Outside Red Square, Moscow

Bolshoi Theater Moscow.Edited

Bolshoi Theater, Moscow

Moscow Street Life

Moscow Street Life

Lake Park Moscow

Park in Moscow

Mural in downtown Moscow

One of many murals in Moscow

Monument to Soviet Workers Moscow.Edited

Monument to Soviet Worker, Moscow

Gagarin Monument Moscow

Gagarin Monument, Moscow

Monument to DeGaulle Cosmos Moscow

Monument to Charles DeGaulle in front of Cosmos Hotel in Moscow

American Embassy Moscow

The American Embassy in Moscow

Meeting of Public Council in Krasnodar

Meeting of Public Council in Krasnodar, Russia

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

NGO Ladies in Krasnodar II

Civil society workers in Krasnodar

Bus Station in Simferopol Olga

Bus station in Simferopol, Crimea

Father and son bus station simferopol

Father and son wait at bus station in Simferopol, Crimea

Botanical Park in Simferopol Crimea

Botanical park in Simferopol, Crimea

Me at Botanical Park in Simferopol Crimea

Me at botanical park in Simferopol, Crimea

Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory Day Libadia Palace Yalta

Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory Day, WWII, at Livadia Palace, Yalta, Crimea

Courtyard where famous photo of FDR Stalin Churchill was shot Libadia Palace

Courtyard where famous photo of FDR, Churchill and Stalin was shot at Yalta Conference in 1945, Livadia Palace

Room where final documents signed at Yalta Conference Libadia Palace

Room where final documents of the Yalta Conference were signed, Livadia Palace

Room with Paintings of Czar & Czarina at Libadia Palace

Room at Livadia Palace with full portraits of Czar and Czarina

View of Yalta Coastline from Balcony of Libadia Palace

View of Yalta Coastline from balcony at Livadia Palace

Wax Figures of Yalta Conference Libadia Palace

Wax figures of Yalta Conference at Livadia Palace

Bust of Nicholas II at Libadia Palace

Bust of Nicholas II at Livadia Palace

Dock at Naval Base Sevastopol 2

Dock at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Tower Naval Base Sevastopol

Naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Walking Bridge at Naval Base Sevastopol

Walking bridge at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Starducks Coffe Naval Base Sevastopol

Starducks Coffee at naval base, Sevastopol, Crimea

Leader of Black Sea Cossacks Sevastopol

Leader of the Black Sea Cossacks, Sevastopol, Crimea

Retired Naval Officer Sevastopol

Retired naval officer, election monitor during Crimean referendum, Sevastopol

Nicolai with flag in Sevastopol

Nicolai, who was a driver during the “Crimean Spring” aka “Third Defense of Sevastopol” in Sevastopol, Crimea

Billboard of Putin.Russia.Crimea.Forever.Edited

Popular billboard seen throughout Crimea with Putin’s image, it reads “Crimea. Russia. Forever.” 

Church on Spilt Blood St Petersburg NB

Church on Spilt Blood, built on site of Alexander II’s assassination in 1881, St. Petersburg

Astoria Hotel St Petersburg.Edited

Astoria Hotel where Hitler planned to celebrate the taking of Leningrad, St. Petersburg

Peter the Great Monument 2

Peter the Great Monument, St. Petersburg

Palace Square St Petersburg.Edited

Palace Square, where desperate peasants and workers pleaded for justice and were massacred by Nicholas II’s forces in 1905, St. Petersburg

Alexander's Monument in St Petersburg

Alexander’s Column, Palace Square, St. Petersburg

Palace in St Petersburg

Palace in St. Petersburg

Building where Rasputin was Murdered St Petersburg

Building where Rasputin was murdered, St. Petersburg

Russian Art Museum in St Petersburg

Russian Art Museum, Palace Square, St. Petersburg

The Hermitage in St Petersburg

The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

St Petersburg at Night.Edited

One of the palaces in St. Petersburg at night

St Isaac's Cathedral St Petersburg.Edited

St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, St. Petersburg

Singer Sewing Building in St Petersburg

The Singer Sewing Machine Building in St. Petersburg

All photos by Natylie S. Baldwin, 2015




Postcard from Krasnodar

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

Thoroughfare for pedestrians in downtown Krasnodar

I have to say that Krasnodar really blew me away since there was such a gap between my expectations and what I actually encountered there. I expected a sleepy agricultural town in the Black Sea region; however, what I saw was a vibrant city with some very civic-minded people taking the initiative to resolve problems in their communities and get local government to be responsive to the needs and desires of the residents.


To continue reading, go here

Yalta, Then and Now

From File:Churchill and Roosevelt Yalta.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File:Churchill and Roosevelt Yalta.jpg – Wikimedia Commons
(image by License DMCA

The small airport at Simferopol had already been renovated as everything was clean and freshly painted. We made our way out into the night, which wasn’t the plan. Our original flight had been cancelled so we had to wait for another flight and got in five hours later than expected.

The overpowering stench of old cigarette smoke nearly suffocated me when we got into the taxi — a major contrast to Moscow where, as a result of the government’s anti-smoking campaign of the last few years, there weren’t that many smokers and those who were around had to do the deed outside.

As I rolled down the window for some relief, Sharon exchanged pleasantries with our driver — where we were from, etc. I asked her to ask him in Russian what he thought of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. He summed up, in broken English, what many people I talked to over the next couple of days would say: “Historically and ethnically, we are Russian, so it’s better to be with Russia than Ukraine.” But he also acknowledged that there were still plenty of problems that needed to be addressed and that it would take time; but under the leadership of Russia, they now had hope.

Continue reading here

Postcard from Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin
My travel mate, who has been going in and out of Russia since the Soviet days in 1983 and lives part-time in St. Petersburg, commented how the taxi lane outside of the main airport in Moscow had in previous years been madness, with a glut of unofficial taxi drivers mixed in with the official ones.  Competition over potential customers would sometimes result in fistfights.
However, there was no sign of such anarchy when we rolled our luggage out into a surprisingly bright sunny day after spending approximately 15 hours crammed onto three airplanes.  Only official taxi drivers were seen dotting the lane as regulation of the business has now kicked in.  Our driver deftly wheeled us around the city to our hotel — and I say deftly because it looked like driving in Moscow would be pretty stressful.
A good stretch of highway near the airport had road signs in English beneath the Russian.  We made our way past a combination of new, colorful high-rise apartment buildings, dreary square apartments from the late Soviet era, and modern Russian commercial outlets.  One couldn’t go far without seeing a good number of western and Japanese companies as well:  BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, McDonald’s, Levi’s, Michelin, and TGIFridays.
Parks and greenbelts could be seen throughout the city.  At one point, we passed a lovely blue pedestrian bridge.  I began to notice the mix of old blue and white buses that ran with cables attached and those that looked very much like modern buses one would see in the San Francisco Bay Area; only the image of the distinctive onion dome cathedrals painted on the side would remind you that you are in Russia.  Most of the vehicles on the road were German or Japanese with a smattering of Lada’s here and there.  As a first-time visitor, I was struck by the fact that, in many ways, this large bustling city looked like any major American metropolis.
One amusing distinction was the street-sweeping trucks that mingled with the regular traffic, spraying blasts of water onto the roads as they went.  Other motorists could get a free partial car wash during their commute.
The streets are clean but the smell of gasoline was pungent in the air.  Evidence of ongoing road and building improvements was visible everywhere in the form of workers, their affiliated machinery and scaffolds.
On our second day, we toured Red Square and saw the onion-domed cathedrals in their glory of gold and pastel colors.  The enchanting hues of St. Basil’s Cathedral evoked the surreal feeling that I had been deposited into the middle of a children’s story book.
We also passed by the squat building below the Kremlin Wall that contains Lenin’s Tomb where people can view the Bolshevik leader’s embalmed remains — a preservation process that was so sophisticated it is said that he appears to simply be sleeping.  It wasn’t open on the day we were there, however.
On the other side of the square is the world-famous GUM shopping complex.  We stopped at an outdoor restaurant and had coffee before meeting up with a Russian executive who works for a major American corporation in Moscow.  (I’ll be writing more about that later).
GUM Shopping Complex, Red Square, Moscow; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin
GUM Shopping Complex, Red Square, Moscow; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin
Getting to Red Square and back from our hotel prompted us to take the Metro, which puts the BART system in the San Francisco Bay Area to shame in terms of interior design.  I was inside three stations and all were designed somewhat differently, but all of them had features of classical beauty, such as Roman arches, chandelier lighting, and lovely tiling on the walls.
Across the street from our hotel is the Soviet Exhibition of Economic Achievements, a major Stalin-era project that consists of elements of beauty, kitsch and creepiness all at once.  There are large ponderous buildings in what some describe as a Neo-Babylonian style, replicas of rockets and airplanes, and a carnival ferris wheel that is brilliantly lit up and turns at night.  Next to that is the Gagarin Monument, honoring the first Russian cosmonaut in space, Yuri Gagarin.  Further down in the opposite direction is the monument honoring the Soviet workers — a man and woman side by side, reaching up and out in triumph.  And in front of the hotel is a statue of Charles DeGaul, the independent French leader who eschewed NATO membership and called for a Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivistok (in Eastern Russia).
Monument to the Soviet Worker, Moscow, Russia;  photo by Natylie S. Baldwin
Monument to the Soviet Worker, Moscow, Russia; photo by Natylie S. Baldwin
I was sad to leave Moscow but looked forward to the next stops on our itinerary:  Simferopol and Yalta in Crimea.