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Time for peace: Russian communities in Syria rejoice to celebrate spring folk festival

Time for peace: Russian communities in Syria rejoice to celebrate spring folk festival
Living in the middle of a warzone gives little reason to rejoice, but a Russian community in Syria found some reason to smile and relax – at least for a short moment.

During the days of the Maslenitsa – a Russian spring folk festival – Russians permanently living in the conflict-torn country gathered to revive the cheerful spirits of the holiday associated with hearty meals, dancing and fun games. Community activists in the Syrian city of Tartus, home to around 500 Russians, staged a traditional fairytale about the oven, samovar and pancakes which are integral parts of the Maslenitsa festivities. Clad in national dress, amateur artists including children sang songs and performed folk dances.

A Russian dance and orchestra ensemble called “Yarmarka” (“Fair”), who are currently touring around the Middle East, joined the party and showcased its artists’ choreographic talents, receiving loud applause from the crowd.

Russian folk art seems to impress audiences in the region. Viktor Kuzminov, the company’s artistic director said the artists had already received a very warm welcome in Tripoli, Lebanon and Damascus. “People are standing up,” he said, adding that the music and choreography of the Russian folk dance are universally understandable.

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In Damascus, a Russian community group also celebrated Maslenitsa with traditional dances and games. Guests of the party were given festive treats and welcomed to take part in the amusements.

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