Russia covers more land than any other country in the world. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, the nation also covered parts of what is now Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan and other small countries. Because of its’ long and distinguished history, many people who grow up in these post-Soviet Union nations share similar cultures and are taught Russian in elementary school. At Bellevue College, there is a newly formed Russian Union of Students. The club meets every Monday at 6 p.m. in C-211.
President of the Russian Union of Students, Maria Chebanova, herself is from Vladivostok, Russia. “Our goal is to share our traditions with other students who are interested in Russian culture. In addition, we are helping other Russian students to become familiar with the American education system, support them here if they need to,” said Chebanova.
RUS secretary Anna Koldunova said that the club allows students who are interested in the Russian culture to know first hand information through food, movies and others. Koldunova said, “Not everyone can easily travel abroad, so I believe that through movies we can show people some part of our everyday life, our values and our humor. The first movie we showed was a modern comedy about how different people celebrate the greatest holiday in Russia, New Year. Our guests certainly enjoyed the movie, and had a chance to discuss what they have seen..” According to Koldunova, RUS is planning to organize an Eastern Slavic traditional holiday celebration known as Maslenitsa or some may know it as Pancake Week. Maslenitsa is always celebrated at the end of March and RUS is planning to put up an event in the spirit of Maslenitsa. “The main thing about this holiday is that people have pancakes during the whole week. I should add that Russian pancakes are more like crepes, so they are much thinner than American ones,” said Koldunova “I love to tell people about my home country. I like it that many people know the country for its history, literature, and arts. But some people associate Russia with Cold War and drinking vodka. There are places for those things too, but there is much more to learn about the country,” added Koldunova.