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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RH Annual Meeting: April 29

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 The annual meeting for Russian Heritage is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 in the Triton Room at Eckerd College.  The program will begin with a reception and cash bar at 5:30 pm, followed by the business meeting and election of officers at 6:00 pm.  A buffet dinner and the program “100 years After the Russian Revolutions of 1917” presented by Bill Parsons, Professor Emeritus of History from Eckerd College, will     follow the business meeting.  The cost for the buffet dinner is $20.  Directions to the Triton Room can be picked up at the entrance gate to Eckerd College (4200 54 Ave. S. St. Petersburg, FL 33711).

 In 1917 “the world was turned upside down” by the events in Russia with the downfall of Nicholas II and the Romanov monarchy and the rise of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.  What is the legacy of these dramatic events?  Professor Parsons spent much of his academic career dealing with this question.  His PhD dissertation focused on the historiography of the Russian Revolution and he taught courses in Russian and Soviet history at Eckerd College for 40 years.  He will share his reflections on the influence of the 1917 revolutions on Russian and World History.



The report of the nominating committee was approved by the Board of Directors at the meeting on March 12.  Candidates for officers for a two-year term include the following:

President:  Bill Parsons

Vice President:  Mary Stenov

Secretary: Evguenia Davenport

Treasurer: Anastasia Dycus

Continuing for one more year on the Board of Directors are Victoria Peppard and Natalia Scarberry.  Cadidates for the additional four positions on the Board are: Vera Cimino, Vladimir  Khokhlov, Marina Mendez, Elly Roche, Zhanna Sidorenko, and Zhanna Thomas.

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Russian Heritage



VIP Reception.  5:45 – 6:45 pm.

General Reception and Welcome.  7 pm – 7:30

3-course sit-down dinner at 8 pm.

Honorary Chairpersons: John and Margo Catsimatidis

The Russian Heritage Winter Ball is coming on January 21, 2017.  Program highlights dancing to the music of the Dazzlers, performances by singer Elona Krasavtseva, ballet and ballroom dance performances, and  an excellent raffle/auction.



Images from last year’s Gala Ball.

VIP crowd7

Gus Bilirakis with CATS




Peter the great


Rick Baker former mayor of St petewith Peter the Great and MC Jean Daly

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Elona Krasavtseva in Concert at Studio@620

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elona-souviner-russian-folk-songsDate(s) & Times

November 18, 2016

7:00 PM




Purchase Online

Sponsors  Russian Heritage
Red Circle Sponsors: Dennis and Angie Lehane

The Studio@620 and Russian Heritage present an evening of traditional Russian folk songs, some of which are over 500 years old, sung by Elona Krasavtseva (lyrical soprano) accompanied by Nina Slyusar-Wegmann (accordion and piano). The program will include a range of song styles, including wedding songs, also called “crying songs”, because weddings in northern Russia were for many years considered a sad event, as it meant that young girls were sent far away from their homes and families. There will also be a lot of sunny, hilarious, cheerful Italian and Spanish music, spiced with American and English favorites too. You’ll be on a musical world tour so come enjoy these tonal souvenirs!

Elona Krasavtseva is an award winning singer and songwriter from Moscow, Russia.  In 2013 she was named a National Treasure of Russia for her songwriting and performance.  Elona performs in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as in Europe including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. She runs a Music and Poetry Club in Florida.

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Pushkin’s Yevgeny Onegin: Book Discussion November 5, 2016

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The first book for our book group discussion is Pushkin’s novel in verse Yevgeny Onegin.  We will meet at 3:30 pm in the Clubhouse of the Envoy Point Condominium (7150 Sunset Way, St. Pete Beach).  Please call 813-300-4785 to let us know that you are coming and to alert the Security Gate attendant.  New Board Member Evguenia Davenport who teaches at USF in Tampa has agreed to help facilitate this discussion.   The plan is to discuss the work in English and you are encouraged to choose any translation you find, or read it in Russian.








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