Welcome to February—one of my favorite months of the entire year! This year, it’s even more exciting because of the 2014 Winter Olympics™ in Sochi, Russia. In light of the upcoming games, here’s a look at the host country of Russia.
Acting as a “bridge” between the continents of Europe and Asia, Russia shares a border with eleven different countries, and its land area makes it the largest country in the world. However, the size, topography, and climate ranges of the country affect its ability to benefit from its many natural resources, which include oil, natural gas, and minerals.
The many different ethnic groups found in Russia have added to its rich cultural heritage, but at the same time they have probably increased the strife that clouds the nation’s history. Beginning as a principality, the country became a powerful world empire ruled by a monarch in the seventeenth century. After a revolution in the early twentieth century, Russia declared itself a communist state. Today, the Russian Federation is governed by a constitution that establishes a president as the chief of state and a premier as the head of government.
Learn more about the country of Russia.
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (Music)
A proficient pianist, composer, and conductor of the twentieth century, Sergei Rachmaninoff spent his early years in Russia. He studied both at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and the Moscow Conservatory. Two people who influenced his musical career were Tchaikovsky and Nikolai Zverev. After the Russian Revolution, Rachmaninoff eventually emigrated to the United States, where he continued to perform in concerts and to compose music. Listen to his music.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Literature)
A practicing doctor, Anton Chekhov began writing to provide additional income for his family. His first writings were published under pseudonyms and were generally comic sketches. As his reputation grew, Chekhov turned to other genres including short stories and plays. He focused on presenting all aspects of Russian society in a realistic and objective manner. In 1888, Chekhov received the Pushkin Prize, a Russian award for literary excellence.
See “The Beggar” by Anton Chekhov in BJU Press’s Explorations in Literature textbook.
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (Science)
A graduate of the First Chkalov Air Force Pilot’s School, Yuri Gagarin spent several years as an officer in the Soviet Air Force. He was soon chosen to be in the Soviet space program as well as its elite training group, the Sochi Six. In 1961, Gagarin became the first human to enter space and orbit the earth. Yuri received many awards around the world for this accomplishment, but he never had the opportunity to return to space.
View archival footage.
Don’t forget to check out the BJU Press Facebook page. We’ll have posts related to the Winter Games throughout the month!
What do homeschooling and athletics have in common? Read these articles to find out.
The Olympics is a trademark of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
What have you learned about Russia?