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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Culture Ministry Spreads Russian Heritage Online

In association with the British Council and UNESCO, the Culture Ministry has created a web site dedicated to providing news and information on Russia's cultural heritage.

The lead banner on the home page makes no qualms about the fact that this is still a "pilot project," but the odd outdated event and misdirected link aside, is a comprehensive encyclopedia of the people, places and works that have played key roles in the formation of Russian culture.

However, non-Russian speakers will have to wait until the ministry gets around to translating more than the home page of its English-language version. Right now, all the links are still in Russian.

The front page opens with a sundial/fossil, around which radiates several dates, ranging from 988 to 2001. Click on a chosen date, and you are given a time line along which are marked the key people and works that contributed to that time.

The site is split into 14 subsections dealing with the main areas of art, music, theater, architecture, literature and film. Click on any of these and you are given a synopsis of relevant paintings, compositions, buildings, novels and films.

Probably the most useful section on the site is the events link: a full listing of upcoming cultural events happening not just in Moscow but also in other Russian cities. The link immediately defaults to the leading event — last week's choice is the exhibition "Words — My Trade," marking the 60th birthday of the writer Sergei Dovlatov.

However, if you have nothing particular in mind, then the front page provides the most interesting news. The weekly theme poses a cultural dilemma for you to "e-argue" on the discussion board. But it's the statistic of the week that catches the eye: Apparently, there are 52,177 libraries in Russia, down a massive 742 from last year.