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Russia - Leisure, Entertainment and Sports


Russians are world-renowned for their sporting ability, and the country has produced many champions in the Olympics and other international sporting events. Sports which are especially popular in Russia include football, ice hockey and tennis.

There are many good sports and recreation facilities in Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities and towns. Within the expatriate communities there are a wide range of organized sports and leisure pursuits - in Moscow for example these include softball, rugby, running, hiking, hockey, cross-country skiing and ice-skating. Moscow and St Petersburg also have a wide range of expatriate clubs and associations covering non-sporting leisure pursuits and interests.

Moscow has an abundance of virtually all forms of culture and entertainment, including opera, theatre, museums, exhibitions, concerts, cinemas, bowling alleys, casinos, discos, nightclubs and bars. It is home to the world-famous Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Company, the Moscow Circus and a number of philharmonics, with regular evening performances. There are a wide choice of dining options in the city, including many American restaurants and fast-food eateries. A free entertainment guide ''Element'', is published in English and is widely available in stores and restaurants throughout the city.

Entertainment can also be found in the form of the many traditional festivals celebrated in Russia, usually characterized by much drinking of vodka. Easter and Christmas are celebrated with religious services and candlelight processions, and New Year with gift-giving. The main other traditional festivals in various parts of the country include St Petersburg's spring classical music festival, and White Nights festival at the end of June, and the Russian Winter Festival in Moscow, St Petersburg and Novgorod in late December/early January, marked by many traditional performances.


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