Connect with us
// (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});


Veliky Ustyug – city of cultural monuments, explorers and Ded Moroz

Every December, Veliky Ustyug comes into sight, especially for children awaiting Ded Moroz, Grandfather Frost.




A lot has been written and said about Crimea, the Kerch Strait and Russia’s conflict with neighbouring Ukraine which has been dominating the news lately. Russia, however, is a lot more than only Crimea, its latest acquisition after the Crimean people’s referendum, in 2014. Of course, the Crimean peninsula is Russia’s jewel in the Black Sea but there are many other beautiful places in the Russian Federation, worth while a visit.

Every December, Veliky Ustyug comes into sight, especially for children awaiting Ded Moroz, Grandfather Frost. The town of 35.000 inhabitants is located in the northeast of Vologda Oblast, at the confluence of the Sukhona and Yug rivers. Downstream they form a single waterway called the Northern Dvina. Veliky Ustyug is the hometown not only of Ded Moroz, a Russian version of Santa Claus, but also of three famous Russian explorers of Siberia. Today, this beautiful small town in the Russian heartland is mainly a tourist attraction because of its architectural monuments.

Ded Moroz Museum in Veliky Ustyug

On New Year’s Eve, Ded Moroz brings gifts to Russian children. He is awaited eagerly all over the Russian Federation. On the 7th of January 2008, President Vladimir Putin visited Ded Moroz’ residence in Veliky Ustyug. The Ded Moroz Museum, founded in 1998, comprises Ded Moroz’ personal rooms, a gift shop, library and study. The surrounding park has a size of 42 hectares, complete with winter garden and sleighing slopes for children.

In the 19th century, Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, became popular figures in Russian music and art. Nicolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) created fifteen operas, one of them is “Snegurochka” (1880), a musical fairy tale with Russian folk music and ballet. This opera consists of a prologue and four acts. The story deals with the opposition of eternal forces in nature. Rimsky-Korsakov characterized the townspeople with folk melodies. This opera was first presented on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, in 1882.

The Russian painter Victor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov (1848-1926) also made use of the theme. In 1885, he created theatre decorations for Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “Snegurochka”. In 1889, Victor Vasnetsov painted “Snegurochka” in oil. His Snow Maiden is standing alone in a snowy winter wood, wearing a long white fur coat and fur hat. Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876-1942) was another Russian-Soviet painter who elaborated the motif. In 1942, he died of cold and starvation during the Siege of Leningrad by the Nazis. Ivan Bilibin worked for the theatre and illustrated books. His illustrations of Russian fairy tales have gained worldwide fame, including “Snegurochka”.

History of Veliky Ustyug

The town was first mentioned in written documents in 1207. In the 15th century, it developed into a commercial centre. The churches and convents of Veliky Ustyug are excellent examples of northern Russian architecture. The town owns 152 historical monuments. Of touristic interest are the Assumption Cathedral (1619), Ascension Church (1648), Archangel Mikhail Cathedral (1653), Saint Prokop Cathedral (1668), Saint Vladimir Gate Church (1682), Epiphany Church (1689) and Saint George Church (1696). The modern day town has a shipyard, jewellery factory and several food production plants. Its main industry is tourism which received an immense boost, in 1998, when Veliky Ustyug was named the residence of Ded Moroz.

Three explorers born in Veliky Ustyug

Three famous explorers of Russia’s Far East were born in Veliky Ustyug. The first was Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov (1603-1671). In 1625, he began exploring Siberia. When he reached the Lena river in 1632, he founded a farm and saltworks. In 1645, he went on to explore the Amur river. In 1650, he built winter quarters for his men at the northernmost point of the river. Yerofei Khabarov defeated local tribes, as well as Manchu and Korean warriors who disputed the area with him. He was also the first man to draw a chart of the Amur river. The city of Khabarovsk in Siberia, located near the Chinese border, is named after Yerofey Khabarov. The explorer died in Irkutsk Oblast, in 1671. His descendents now live in Stavropol.

The second explorer from Veliky Ustyug was Semyon Ivanovich Dezhnov (1605-1673). In 1630, he was recruited for service in Siberia as a Russian government agent. He served eight years in Tobolsk, then in Yakutia. In 1639, he founded the settlement of Yakutsk and married a Yakut woman. In 1641, he sailed to the Kolyma river and built a settlement at the easternmost Russian frontier, in 1643. Semyon Dezhnov sailed around the Chukchi Peninsula with 120 people in 1648 and discovered the easternmost cape of Asia, which was named Dezhnov Cape after him. He found a walrus rookery and collected two tons of walrus ivory, very precious goods for trading. In 1659, Semyon Dezhnov went to Moscow to remain in the Russian capital until his death, in 1673.

The third explorer born in Veliky Ustyug was Vladimir Vasilyevich Atlasov (1661-1711). A farmer of Cossack origin, he was the first Russian to explore the Kamchatka Peninsula. Atlasov Island, an uninhabited volcanic island at the southern tip of Kamchatka, is named after him. In 1697, Vladimir Atlasov led a group of 65 Cossacks and 60 Yukhagirs on an exploration trip to Kamchatka, where they erected two forts along the Kamchatka river. These served as fortified traders’ posts for Russian fur traders. Vladimir Atlasov was the first Russian to describe the region and its inhabitants in great detail. Later he also explored the Kuril Islands, which belong to the Russian Federation thanks to him. Vladimir Atlasov died on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in 1711.

From Veliky Ustyug to the Russian Far East with Kamtchatka, there are many interesting spots for tourists to visit. Russia is rich in history and beautiful landscapes. Hopefully not only Crimea, but also the Russian Far East and the beautiful little town of Veliky Ustyug, home of Grandfather Frost, will attract more visitors from western countries in the near future.

Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Moscow.

Her blog: 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement // (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Notify of


Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou



RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.


Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.




Authored by Tom Luongo:

Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...


Quick Donate

The Duran
Donate a quick 10 spot!


The Duran Newsletter