Russian Heritage Winter Ball

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Extravagant Annual WINTER BALL at the elegant St. Petersburg Yacht Club!

This will definitely be one of the highlights of 2019!
* Fine food with Surf-and-Turf as entree
* Ded Moroz
* Exciting live and DJ dance music
* Spectacular silent auction!

Black Tie Optional

$125 for members, with 2019 dues paid.
Early Bird: $100 for members, before January 4, 2019.
$150 for non-members.
Early Bird: $125 for non-members, before January 4, 2019.

(See payment page for buying tickets)

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FATHERS AND SONS: Friday, November 9, 2018

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To mark the 200th anniversary of Ivan Turgenev’s birth in 1818, Russian Heritage will present a program on Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons”. This novel is considered one of the classics not only of Russian Literature but also of World Literature, ranking with the novels of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. This event on November 9 will feature readings from the novel in English and selections from a film version in Russian, followed by the commentary of several professors of literature and a general discussion.

We hope you will consider reading (or re-reading) the novel before November 9. It is available on line and in most libraries. If you are not able to read the entire novel before the event, you might read at the first 10 chapters, or just come to the program to be entertained and enlightened.

The program begins at 4:00 PM on Friday, November 9, 2018 at the Main Public Library, 3745 9th Ave N, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713.  Free and open to the public.

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Fall Meeting: Focus on Students and Board Members in Russia

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On Saturday, September 8 come to the Russian American Club in Gulfport (2920 Beach Blvd S) to hear USF Students who studied in Russia during the summer of 2018 and several Russian Heritage Board Members who also spent part of the summer in Russia.  They will share their experiences and what surprised them the most.  They will discuss what attitudes they found towards America and Americans.  It will give us a chance to hear from students who have been partially funded from the RH scholarship program, and also to get to know better some of our current RH Board Members.  The program begins at 4:00 pm and will be followed by a Russian-themed pot-luck supper.  If you have a favorite Russian dish, a salad, zakuska, vegetable, or dessert, bring it along.  If you would prefer to bring some other food dish, that’s fine too.

We will post additional information on this event soon, but we hope you will put this program on your calendar, and if you use facebook, you can let us know that you are coming.   It looks like an exciting program with first-hand reports on what is current in Russia at the present time.


Also coming soon:

SPIFFS 44th Annual International Folk Fair will be held from October 25 – 28, 2018 at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. The 4-day festival showcases food and culture from 36+ member organizations, each representing immigrants from nations across the globe. The groups will unite in a Grand Parade of Nations, culminating in a swearing-in ceremony of new American citizens.  Russian Heritage will be presenting Russian culture at this event, and we will need volunteers for the four days of the event.

Russian Heritage Winter Ball at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Saturday, January 19.  This is one of our outstanding programs of the year, and you don’t want to miss it.

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Shashlik Picnic and Annual Meeting

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Shashlik/Picnic and Annual Meeting: April 29, 2018

Where:  War Veterans Memorial Park. 9600 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg, FL 33708. Shelter #5.

When:   Sunday, April 29, 2018.

Food:  Shashlik (Pork or chicken + beverages and sides).  Suggested donation: Adults $10; Children and Students $5.

Activities for adults and children.

Musical program by Andrei Cheine.

A short business meeting with election of new members of the Board of Directors had the results shown below.

*     *     *     *     *

Officers and Board Members for Russian Heritage

Current Officers:  Bill Parsons, President;  Mary Stenov, Vice President;  Zhenya Davenport, Secretary;  Anastasiya Dycus, Treasurer.

The current officers have one year remaining of their 2-year terms.  As a result of the elections at the annual meeting Kato Hetschinof, Corey Merenda, and Victoria Peppard, and Natalia Scarberry will join Elly Roche and Zhanna Thomas as Directors for the coming year.

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Book Discussion: “A Gentleman in Moscow” — March 10, 2018

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“A Gentleman in Moscow” has been on the Best Seller List for 47 weeks, and is being widely discussed by people interested in Russia.   Set during the Soviet Union’s turbulent early 1920s and after, A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel located between the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theater.

You may have a chance to read this novel before March 10, but even if you don’t read it you can enjoy hearing a discussion led by people who have been at the Metropol Hotel, eaten at Count Rostov’s restaurant, or enjoyed the atmosphere of the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theater. You can also find much interesting information on line about this novel if you do not have a chance to read it in its entirety.

The discussion will be on Saturday, March 10 at 3:00 pm at the Russian American Club in Gulport (2920 Beach Blvd. S).  If you have not visited the Club this is a great opportunity.  This program is free and open to the public.

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The Russian Winter Ball – 2018

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The Winter Ball is one of the highlights of 2018!  Fine food, Extravagant decorations, Exciting dance music, and a spectacular silent auction await you on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Wouldn’t a ticket to the Winter Ball make a great Christmas gift!  Or a fantastic way to spend some of the money you might receive for Christmas!  Remember, the tickets are “on sale” until December 31 with an early bird discount.  You will see this option when you click on the payment page and the shopping cart.


Reception: 6:30
Welcome: 7:15
Special Musical Program: 7:30
Dinner: 7:45

Honorary Chairpersons
John and Margo Catsimatidis

Black Tie Optional
Dancing to Live Music
Special Silent Auction

RSVP via enclosed envelope,
or you can sign up on our website at
where you can pay by paypal or credit card.

Early bird discount tickets until December 31.

This is our 22nd special Russian Heritage Ball. It is one of the highlights of the year.
Come to enjoy this magical night?
All profits will go to the Russian Heritage Student and Scholarship Fund.

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Kelli Stuart Presents…….

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The next Russian Heritage event will be Saturday, November 18 at 4:00pm at the Russian American Club in Gulfport (2920 Beach Blvd). Our presenter will be Kelli Stuart, the author of Like a River From Its Course, a novel set in World War II Soviet Ukraine.

Kelli Stuart.1

Kelli Stuart is a storyteller at heart. She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in English professional writing, and a minor in the Russian language. Stuart lived for a short time in Kiev, Ukraine, where she met a woman named Maria Ivanovna, the survivor of a World War II Nazi slave labor camp. Immediately drawn into the fascinating history of the former Soviet Union, Stuart spent ten years researching the effects of World War II on Ukraine. She interviewed over 100 Ukrainian veterans and partisans, and their stories shaped her novel.

Kelli Stuart was an American student who had a life-changing experience after studying abroad in the former Soviet Union. She is the kind of student that we have supported for student exchanges in the past. It is our hope that many members and friends of Russian Heritage will want to hear her story. It may help us to direct our thinking about our student exchange programs in the future. She is just now completing her second novel based in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

Light refreshments including Ukrainian vareniki will be served. A donation of $5 (student rate $2) will cover the cost of the program and refreshments. We hope to see you there. If you are planning to come, and if you use Facebook, please visit our Facebook page and let us know you are coming. You will find many additional interesting features on this page.

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Forum Marking the Centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution

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Tuesday, November 7 at Eckerd College, a Forum will be presented to mark the Centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution.  Those on the panel include Professor Golfo Aexopolous from USF, Professor Bill Parsons from Eckerd College, and Brigadier General John Report, former military attache in Moscow and current ASPEC member.  Topics will include the changing views on revolution and the future, from Marx and the Communist Manifesto to Putin, with thoughts on the future of Russia.

The Forum will take place in Miller Auditorium on the Eckerd College campus at 7:00 pm on November 7.  The program is free and open to the public.  It is included in the College Program Series for students.

For more information, click on the following link: poster.Eckerd

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The Program “Remembering Yevtushenko” sponsored by Russian Heritage will be held on Saturday, October 14 in the Auditorium of the Main Library in St. Petersburg (3745 9th Avenue North) beginning at 4:00 pm. The program is free and open to the public and will be presented in English, with some of Yevtushenko’s poems being read in Russian and English. Local scholars and poets will participate.yevtushenko copy


Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who was known around the world for his poetry against Stalinism and his love poems during the cold war, died in April at the age of 84 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Yevtushenko traveled extensively, having read his poetry in 94 countries and all 50 states, and his poetry was translated into 72 languages. He appeared in the Tampa Bay area at least nine times, reading his poetry, lecturing, and introducing the films that he produced at USF in Tampa, USFSP, Eckerd College, at the Palladium Theater and the Studio@620, and at local movie theaters.

Yevtushenko had a special interest in the two St. Petersburgs. He read his poetry in St. Petersburg, Russia annually on his birthday in July on a multi-year contract that continued into his 80s. He also helped to establish a link between the poets of St. Petersburg, Russia and St. Petersburg, Florida that resulted in several exchanges of poets and led to the publishing of several anthologies of the poets of the two cities, often in bi-lingual editions. One such volume was Maples and Orange Trees, the poetry of Florida’s poet laureate Peter Meinke, translated into Russian by poets of St. Petersburg, Russia.

In the 1950s and 1960s Yevtushenko achieved almost rock-star status, reading his poetry to packed concert halls and stadiums. His was the voice of protest against the excesses of Stalinism during a period of “thaw” on the cultural scene. His attack on anti-semitism in Russia in the poem “Babi Yar” and his poem “Stalin’s Heirs” earned him the reputation of being a “dissident” poet, and he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1962 and was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963.

Over the next twenty years Yevtushenko was allowed to travel extensively and he was viewed by some as a spokesman for the Soviet government and less of a “dissident”. He saw his role as working within the system, working for change. He welcomed Gorbachev’s reforms of glasnost and perestroika, and was actually elected to the first freely-elected Soviet parliament. With the fall of the Soviet Union he became a supporter of Boris Yeltsin and the new Russian Federation.

Since 1992 he lived in both Russia and the United States, dividing his time between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Moscow. He taught at the University of Tulsa and the City University of New York and New York University, and appeared around the country at colleges and universities. In the Tampa Bay area in the 1990s he was a keynote speaker at the Suncoast Writers’ Conference and appeared at the Times Reading Festival at Eckerd College, and was a part of the “Treasures of the Czars” program in 1995. He read his poetry at the Palladium Theater in 2000 and was featured at the Studio@620 in its inaugural year, 2006.

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