Friendship Festival in the Russian World style

Friendship Festival in the Russian World style

“I was born in the Soviet Union, I was made in the USSR” as almost a hymn and a driving force for the diverse Russian-speaking community of British Columbia

The Multicultural Russian Speaking Association of British Columbia held their third annual friendship festival in the Serbian Cultural Centre in Burnaby, B.C., on August 25, 2018.

The all-day event featuring art and cuisine of several post-soviet republics gathered more than 150 representatives of a broader Russian speaking diaspora. Guests had a chance to enjoy a concert full of songs, dances and music presented by various local artists and bands of post-soviet origin; to taste Russian, Uzbek and Moldavian national food and drinks; to learn about Tatar and Kazakh culture; and to buy souvenirs and crafts either produced in Vancouver or shipped from merchandisers’ home countries. Thus, British Columbia appeared to be very diverse on Russian speaking folk groups, including dancers, singers and the entire choir.

Besides Georgian songs and Roma dances which seemed pretty ordinary in a former USSR context, the festival was joined by Bulgarian, Serbian, Turkish and Multicultural folk performers. This fact, undoubtfully, added extra points into a manifested kaleidoscope of cultures. The only visible obstacle on the path of this beautiful demonstration to native Canadians or any other English-speaking citizens who might have come to the event was the Russian-speaking nature of the concert. The descriptions were not given in English, unless the performers themselves were non-Russian speakers. Such an approach narrows the whole idea to the Russian-speaking community only which is unfortunate because there is definitely much the community could share and offer to a wider audience.

Lilia Timoshkina, President of the Multicultural Russian Speaking Association of British Columbia, was acknowledged as founder of this event. As stated, it ran primarily by volunteers and was sponsored by former post-soviet immigrants who own small business enterprises in Vancouver.

Multicultural Russian Speaking Association of British Columbia

The Multicultural Russian Speaking Association of B.C. was officially incorporated as a society under BC Society Act on June 14, 2017. According to the society website, their purpose and mission “is to promote and maintain rich Russian cultural traditions, to preserve Russian language and culture abroad and also to help new immigrants integrate into Canadian life.” It intends to hold folk performances and lectures; to support folk singing and dancing companies; and to lead theatre and chess clubs, etc. In the other words, the Association represents the concept of “Russian World.” Lilia Timoshkina also coordinates the Immortal Regiment movement in Vancouver.

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