Moscow Christmas

December 30, 2015

At first, I was just going to a New Year’s party at the Moscow office of the Art. Lebedev Studio, but then a friend joined me and instead of a trip for a couple of days we spent a whole week in the city. And that was the first time I saw smart Moscow. The fact is that the city was nicely decorated in the spirit of Christmas holidays, this is the norm for Europe, but I did not even expect this from Russia.


Immigrants from Central Asia have already put park benches in rows for storage and went home on vacation. Instead of the usual ethnic composition on the streets, we saw mostly Russian faces. And then there were unusually few people – all the “Muscovites” on New Year’s holidays disperse to their homes and the city is dramatically empty.

“Going out on the ice is prohibited.” Instead of December frosts, we were greeted by a pleasant light coolness. The image of the winter Russian capital that I had formed began to burst at the seams.

The start of the studio party. In the middle of the open space on the 6th floor stands a real Volga assembled by someone.

Fighting transformers. In general, yes, we enjoyed ourselves as best we could.

Throwing balls of thread, tying into a single web.

In the morning, someone slept on a couch in the web development department, wrapped in a blanket and snoring softly.

Sticky curtains.

Unusual toilet. By the way, there is a lighting around each door, thanks to which you can see a free toilet room even on the way.

Let’s take a walk to Afimall for coffee at Starbucks. I love this transparent roof through which you can see the skyscrapers of the business center.

Actually, the business center, Moscow City. Well, kind of like the City of London, but without such global significance. But a little higher.

We decided to take a picture with Lenin at VDNKh. Our communist propaganda season is over.

It’s funny that I spent a lot of time in Moscow, but I only got to the Tretyakov Gallery now. Both the number of paintings and the level of Russian “old masters” are impressive. Without reservation on a par with the galleries of Western Europe.

My favorite painting here, “The Apotheosis of War.”

In the evening we walked to the Patriarch’s Ponds. This is the very place where the novel “The Master and Margarita” began.

Found a stunning pastry shop “I Love Cake” nearby.

We arrived at the planetarium.

And here on Tverskaya we found something very unusual. I have not seen such decorations before, and yet this Kremlin made of light bulbs is a very cool thing. I did not expect then that this was not the only such thing, so I just wondered and went on.

The next day, it snowed and frost hit, people began to move in dashes. In general, Moscow has finally become Moscow.

And we headed to Winzavod, a center for contemporary art. Also in dashes.

I love atmospheric places that never change.

There are always interesting exhibitions. Everyone walks and comes up with their own meaning.

Cool installations.

Well, all kinds of game, of course.

On the way from “Winzavod” they discussed how interesting the Soviet past settled in this city and mixed with the present. And here in in the “Multimedia Art Museum” an exhibition of photographs and posters of the Soviet era.

Mostly there were people who were clearly over 30. It was interesting to realize that for them this was not a trip to the past, they themselves lived in this strange country.

While I was at work, my friend managed to climb the Ostankino TV tower. Vidocq, of course, is already meager, and in winter it is even sadder.

But high.

We met in a tiny studio cafe. My laptop abruptly refused (as it turned out later, from frost) and I was sad. Sasha came and said that she saw another large light installation nearby on Tverskoy Boulevard. I decided to google what it all about. Turns out they were installed as part of a Christmas festival all over town, wow.

The same installation. It is noteworthy that the initiative of the festival was not from the city authorities, but from individuals. We found sponsors, some art objects were built specifically for Moscow, many (including this tunnel) were brought from Paris, some were brought from the festival of light from Kobe, Japan.

In the post-Soviet space this is a common problem of thinking that the authorities should carry out innovations. Should not. Their task is to keep everything in working order. Volunteering is not a crutch for an administration that cannot cope with its responsibilities. This is the main tool for change. We should do something new for the city, for the whole country. Without our initiative, nothing will happen.

A tent of lights above the dome “Okhotny Ryad”.

On Manezhnaya Square there was a horse-sized Christmas tree toy. The locals scolded her for her inferiority, but still, from the inside, the view of the pulsing illumination was very unusual.

Stunning illumination of Vetoshny lane. Actually, this is how GUM is always highlighted, but my favorite facade at that time was covered with scaffolding.

Finally, we went to eat some tasty treats at Upside Down Cake.

Bought some stuff in the “Republic”.

And a few hours before departure, we went skating on Red Square. Having previously passed the barrier from the heap of police on the occasion of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Actually, apart from a bunch of police everywhere, which can demand documents only because I have long hair or ankle boots on my legs, Christmas Moscow turned out to be very different from ordinary, even to some extent cozy. I love pleasant surprises.

Categories: Europe, Russia