. Examination Topics

Soviet Union launched the worlds first satellite Sputnik. This word,

sputnik, immediately began to be used in all languages. The first

cosmonaut on the Earth to fly into space, Yuri Gagarin, was from Russia,

and he made his flight around the Earth on 12 April 1961 that lasted 1 hour

48 minutes. Years will pass, people will conquer the Universe and make

landings on other planets, but mankind will always remember Yury Gagarin as

the first to pave the way to the stars.

Russia is also famous for its ancient churches, cathedrals, and towns.

Moscow, the capital of Russia, is famous for its monuments to outstanding

people, churches, galleries, theatres, squares and streets.

The heart of Moscow is Red Square. Its my favourite place in my native

city. I show it to all my guests from different countries. It is our

history, and Id like to tell you some facts about the buildings on it. St

Basils Cathedral was built in 15511561 after the victory over the Kazan

Kingdom. Its a magnificent Cathedral, with eight churches placed around

the tallest ninth one. There is a monument to Minin and Pozharsky in front

of the Cathedral. It was built in 1818 and it was the first statue put up

in Moscow. Minin and Pozharsky were heroes of the peoples struggle in the

war against Poland in 1612. You can see Lobnoye Mesto near the Cathedral.

It was erected in the 16 century; the tsars orders were read from it, also

it was used as a place for execution. The tallest tower of the Kremlin is

the Spasskaya Tower. Its also on Red Square. Its one of the symbols of

Moscow, because the Kremlin clock, made in the 16th century, is on it. The

clock strikes on the hour, half hour and quarter of an hour. The Lenin

Mausoleum is in the centre of the square. It was at first made of wood; and

in 1930 it was rebuilt, and made of stone, brick, marble and granite. The

State History Museum was opened in 1883. It has a rich collection of

documents, drawings, pictures, and materials about the countrys past and

Russias great people. The State Department Store (GUM) is one of the

largest department stores in the country. It is an impressive building with

a glass roof.

Of course the most ancient part of Moscow is the Kremlin. Nowadays the

Kremlin centre looks truly magnificent, with its many-domed cathedrals in

Cathedral Square and with its Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.

A very interesting place in Moscow is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

The original cathedral was erected by order of Emperor Alexander as a token

of the Russian peoples gratitude to God for the deliverance of Russia from

Napoleons invasion in 1812. In 1931 it was demolished by order of Josef

Stalin. In 1995, Moscows Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and the world-famous musician

Mstislav Rostropovich laid the first stone in the foundation of the new

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Today you can admire this Cathedral in the

centre of Moscow.

People in Russia keep their old traditions and are very proud of them. They

celebrate religious holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Maslenitsa.

They eat traditional food for Maslenitsa such as pancakes with honey,

caviar or sour cream; they colour eggs; bake kulich cakes; make a paskha

out of cottage cheese for Easter. Many Russians are religious people. The

main church in Russia is the Orthodox Church, but there are other religions

too. The Orthodox Church has survived during hard times, and now we speak

about a rebirth of religion in our country.

Russian people are open-hearted, hospitable, and friendly. They like to

invite guests to their homes and cities; they like to give traditional

souvenirs to their foreign friends such as matryoshka dolls, beautifully

painted mugs, plate and spoons from the village of Khokhloma, Palekh boxes,

art books, badges and etc.

We are proud of our famous and talented poets and writers such as Alexander

Pushkin, Michael Lermontov and many others. We are proud of our famous

composer Peter Tchaikovsky and one of our famous artists, Isaak Levitan. We

can see his paintings and the paintings of other outstanding Russian

artists, such as Repin, Vasnetsov, Shishkin, Surikov, Benua, Korovin, etc.,

in the Tretyakov Gallery. It is one of the most famous and well-known

picture galleries in our country and in the world. It is situated in the

centre of Moscow and is named after its founder Pavel Tretyakov. He began

to collect Russian paintings in 1856. He was a famous patron of arts. In

1892 Tretyakov donated his collection to Moscow.

Russia is proud of its famous sportsmen who win a lot of gold, silver and

bronze medals in different international sports competitions.

So, Im very proud of my country, my native city and the people who brought

a lot of fame to my country. And I invite everyone, who has never been to

my country, to visit it, and to see its achievements with their own eyes.

8. What famous people from Russia would you tell your foreign friends

about? Which famous British and American people do you admire? What

made/makes them famous?Each country is proud of its famous people, and

Russia is among them. Id like to tell you about Russian famous writers,

poets and musicians, because Im fond of literature and music. A. Pushkin

is the most important Russian writer and poet of all time. He is like

Shakespeare in England. He provided the standards for Russian arts and

literature in the 19th century. In 1823 Pushkin began writing his

masterpiece Eugene Onegin. It became his linguistic and literary

standard. It is a commentary on the life of early 19th century Russia.

Pushkin also wrote a lot of other poems and created masterpieces in drama

and prose. All Russian people know Pushkin. Galleries and museums were

named after him. In the centre of Moscow there is a monument to Pushkin

built by the famous Russian architect Opekunshin in 1880. Pushkins

memorial museums in different cities attract many visitors. One of the

other famous poets and writers in Russia was M. Lermontov. He won fame as a

poet after his poem on Pushkins death had been published. Lermontovs

poems Demon, Mtsyri, his great novel A Hero of Our Time and his play

Masquerade are masterpieces of Russian literature.As for me I like

reading F. Dostoevsky and L. Tolstoy. They are famous Russian writers. I

like M. Bulgakov; Master and Margarita is one of the worlds masterpieces.

I often go to Patriarchs Pond where the book begins. It has a special

atmosphere even now. I go there to be inspired. I like reading poetry, and

Anna Ahmatova is my favourite. Russians famous musicians and composers

such as Sergei Rachmaninov and Peter Tchaikovsky are recognized all over

the world. Tchaikovsky composed a lot of symphonies and created beautiful

music for operas and ballets. His famous operas Eugene Onegin, and

Iolanta and his famous ballets The Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty are

masterpieces. His memorial museum was opened in 1894 in Klin not far from

Moscow. And the international Tchaikovsky Music Competition started in 1958

in Moscow. S. Rachmaninov was an outstanding Russian composer and pianist.

He became famous with audiences around the world for his piano

performances.Great Britain is also proud of its famous people. And Id like

to tell you about one of its famous writers A. Conan Doyle. He invented

Sherlock Holmes, one of the most famous characters and detectives. Arthur

Conan Doyle was born in Scotland. He was a doctor. In 1882 he moved to

England to set up a practice. One of the doctors he worked for, was the

model for Dr. Watson. Conan Doyles medical knowledge was a great help in

his detective stories. He started the fashion of the detective stories.

Nowadays I dont know a person who doesnt like detective stories. We know

a lot about Sherlock Holmes. We even know his address 221 B Baker

Street in London. If you go to London, you wont find 221 B Baker Street.

But instead, you can go to a pub called The Sherlock Holmes in

Northumberland Street (near Trafalgar Square). In that pub there is a room

like his room at 221 B Baker Street, as described in Conan Doyles

stories. There is also the stuffed head of a hound. It is said to be the

original hound of the Baskervilles. A lot of tourists visit this pub.

When Conan Doyle began to get tired of writing detective stories, he

killed Holmes in one of his stories. But the public didnt like it. Conan

Doyle had to write another story in which Holmes came back. So we can say

that Conan Doyle was a famous British writer. He became popular because of

his love for people.I also admire American famous people. Id like to tell

you about Walt Disney, the pioneer of animated cartoons. He is famous for

creating such cartoon characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy

and others. He was born in 1901 in Chicago. His father was a carpenter,

farmer and building contractor. So the family changed homes several times.

In 1917 Walt entered a Higher School in Chicago, where he took photographs,

made drawings for the school paper and studied cartooning, for he wanted to

get a job as a newspaper cartoonist. After World War 1, in which he

participated as a truck driver for the American Red Cross in France and

Germany, he returned to Kansas City. There he met Ub Iverk who turned into

his partner for life. They started a small studio of their own and began

making short animated advertising films. In 1927 Mickey Mouse appeared.

Disney himself provided the voice for Mickey. Then the other cartoons

appeared. Gradually, the Disney studio turned into a big enterprise and

began to produce a variety of cartoons for children. And it was he, who

initiated plans for a huge amusement park, which is known as Disneyland. A

lot of grown-ups and children visit this park and remember the person who

founded it, Walt Disney. And, of course, they remember Walt Disney because

of his remarkable cartoons.

9. What would you tell your foreign friends about traditional Russian

holidays and celebrations? What do you think your British friends will tell

you about their traditional holidays and celebrations?

Every country has its own national holidays, but there are holidays that

are common for many countries. People all over the world know New Years

Day, Christmas and Easter. In Russia, New Years Day is the most popular

holiday; but in the West people pay more attention to Christmas.


New Years Day is a family event in Russia. People begin to prepare for

this holiday beforehand. Everything is rush and bustle. There is a great

air of expectation. People decorate their New Year trees with tinsel,

various baubles and coloured lights. They usually put their presents under

the tree. When the Kremlin clock strikes 12 they see the New Year in.

There are also dates and events in our country that are memorable to

Russian people. They are Victory Day, the Day of Reconciliation and

Harmony, Womens Day, the Day of Spring and Labour, Independence Day,

Country Defendants Day, Constitution Day, and Maslenitsa. Besides, there

are many professional days in our country: Teachers Day, Miners Day, etc.

Christmas in Russia is celebrated on 7 January. It is celebrated with all-

night services in churches. Country Defendants Day is celebrated on 23

February. This holiday is devoted to soldiers and officers and everyone

else who defended the country or is in the Army. Womens Day is celebrated

on 8 March. It is a day-off. Men and boys try to please their mothers,

sisters and friends by giving them presents and flowers. Maslenitsa marks

the end of winter and the beginning of spring and Lent. During this

festival people make pancakes, sing and dance traditional songs and dances,

and visit each other. Maslenitsa and Easter are movable holidays. Easter is

the main Orthodox festival. People colour eggs and enjoy traditional

Russian dishes. Churches hold special services on this day.

The Day of Spring and Labour is celebrated on 1 May. On this day people

prefer to go outdoors and take part in all kinds of outdoor activities.

Victory Day is celebrated on 9 May it celebrates the end of the Soviet

Unions participation in World War II in Europe. People put flowers at the

tombs of the soldiers who were killed during the war. The main ceremony is

held in Moscow. People lay flowers in Moscows Park Pobedi and at the Tomb

of an Unknown Soldier. Independence Day is celebrated on 12 June. On this

day Russia became an independent country after the break up of the Soviet

Union in 1991. This is an official holiday. The Day of Reconciliation and

Harmony is celebrated on 7 November. It used to be the greatest official

holiday, celebrating the anniversary of the October Revolution. Now this

day is marked by marches and demonstrations. For many people its just a

day-off. The Constitution Day is celebrated on 12 December. It celebrates

the new Constitution of 1993.

There are fewer public holidays in Great Britain than in other European

countries. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good

Friday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday.

All holidays and traditions are connected with the history and culture of

the country.

The most popular holiday is Christmas. Every year the people of Norway give

the city of London a present. Its a big Christmas tree and it stands in

Trafalgar Square. The central streets are beautifully decorated. People

decorate their houses with holly and mistletoe. They send Christmas cards

to greet each other. Children hang their stockings, hoping that Father

Christmas will come with toys and sweets. Before Christmas groups of people

go from house to house they sing Christmas carols and collect money for

charity. Christmas is a family holiday. The family usually meets for a

traditional dinner of turkey and Christmas pudding, and everyone gives and

receives presents. New Years Day is less popular in Britain than

Christmas. But in Scotland, Hogmanay is the biggest festival of the year.

They celebrate New Year. The preparations for the occasion begin several

days before the New Years Eve, which is known as Hogmanay. The night of

Hogmanay is a time for merrymaking, the giving of presents and observance

of the old customs. The name Hogmanay is supposed to come from the Anglo-

Saxon Haleg Monath (Holy Month), or the Gaaelic oge maiden (New

Morning). December 26th is Boxing Day. People usually visit their friends,

go for a drive or for a long walk, or just sit around and watch TV

recovering from too much food after Christmas dinner. In the country there

is fox-hunting.


Easter is the time when certain old traditions are observed. It is

celebrated as the start of spring and as a religious festival. It is the

time for giving and receiving presents, such as Easter eggs, hot cross

buns, fluffy little chicks, baby rabbits, and springtime flowers to signify

natures reawakening.

Four times a year the banks are closed on Monday apart from traditional

weekends. Such days are called Bank Holidays.

Besides public holidays, there are certain traditional festivals which have

existed over centuries in the country. They are Pancake Day, Guy Fawkes

Night, Saint Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Halloween, Aprils Fool Day,

etc. These days are not days-off. But they help to keep many traditions,

which Englishmen have always been famous for.

As for me, most of all I like Halloween. It goes back many, many hundreds

of years. At that time the Celts lived in England. The Celts said, In this

night the ghosts of the dead come back. Nowadays children in the USA and

Britain dress up as witches or ghosts. Some children also make jack-o-

lanterns out of pumpkins. They put them in the windows at night. In the

evening, the children go out in groups and knock at peoples doors. The

children call out: Trick or treat. Most people then give the children a

treat. This is usually a sweet, some chocolate, or maybe a toffee apple.

But some people do not give the children a treat. Then the children play a

trick on them. Sometimes, they ring the doorbell again and then they hide

or run away. Or they come to the house again later and put leaves, grass,

stones or other things into the letterbox. Children and older people often

have Halloween parties where they play games such as bobbing for apples,

apples on a string, fortune telling. I wish we celebrated Halloween in

Russia because this holiday is very funny and interesting.

10. You are going to spend a month with an American or British family. What

do you think will be interesting for your host family to learn about you?

Hello! Let me introduce myself to you. Im Alexander, Alex for short. I

live in Moscow. Im a student of the 9th grade. We are a family of four: my

mother, my father, my elder brother and me. We live in a block of flats on

the 11th floor. There are three rooms in our flat and we have all modern

conveniences. I share a room with my elder brother. My brother is a student

of Moscow University. We are close friends. I discuss everything with him

and we dont have any secrets from each other. We get on very well.

Sometimes I even borrow his clothes and he never gets annoyed. We dont

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