Episode 9 – Arkady in Russia Mind Games and Christmas Lights


Look at these birch
trees. All the trees in Khanty-Mansiysk are the
same. In the old days in Ugra, they
made a strong birch juice. Birch juice is
made by tapping birch trees and letting the
sap collect, distilling it and drinking it or
letting the sap come out and drinking it.
It is the same process as in Canada:
tapping maple trees to collect the sap and
make Maple syrup for pancakes. They do it
the same way here in Russia. Russians love
their birch juice and it is part of
their culture. Look at all these birch trees,
as far as the eye can see. Beautiful. It’s a nice walk,
the air feels crisp, fresh and clean! The city buses in
Khanty-Mansiysk have the mascot of the Winter Deaflympics,
the mammoth, plastered on all of the
buses. Take a look. (Ugra Chess Academy) See these chess pieces?
In 2010, the head of government of Khanty-Mansiysk
asked the Russian oil company, Gazprom, for funding
to build the World Chess Centre for all
of Russia as well as a place for
the FIDE [World Chess Federation] to stage tournaments. Did you just see
me playing chess? Many Russians love to play chess. Many children come here
after school finishes to play chess. Parents will
wait for their children to finish playing chess
before picking them up. There are many rooms
and chess labs here. There are three floors
here, each representing a different level. If a
player advances through the ranks and reaches the
top, meets expectations and qualifies, they are selected
to compete in events around the world. These
chosen players live and train here at the
Ugra Chess Academy. Fascinating! This picture shows a
child, about 2 years old, even though it’s
cold and snowing, he is happily walking through
the snow carrying a chessboard. Another pictures shows
a child with a blanket over his head,
drinking from a Thermos, playing chess outside in
the snow and not at home. See that map? No,
it isn’t Russia. It’s actually a map of
Ugra okrug [district], which is where Khanty-Mansiysk is.
This map shows where the different chess academies
in Ugra are, as well as if these
academies have computer chess programs or not, and
other affiliations. Also on this poster are the
various academy directors and other delegates from the
Russian government that have visited the Academy. The Chess Olympiad was
held here in 2010, as well as the
2013 World Speed Chess championship being held here.
More world-level chess tournaments will be held
here in the future. The money that was
used to build this Academy came from many
donors and sponsors. These sponsors include the Gazprom
oil company as well as the Bank of
Khanty-Mansiysk and the government of Ugra okrug. This is the Tournament
Hall. It is well-known as the location of
world-level chess events. There is seating for spectators
to watch the games in the back. As you know, Russia
has several oblasts [provinces] and okrugs, and we
are in Ugra okrug, which is where the
Winter Deaflympics are being held. This is the
flag of Ugra. That, clearly, is the
flag of Russia. (Ugra State House) This building is where
various ministries are located. Do they administer all
of Russia? No. The government of Ugra okrug
is located here in Khanty-Mansiysk, because it is
the regional capital. Ugra’s governmental offices are here,
as well as the mayor of Khanty-Mansiysk’s office
being located here. These headshots that you see
honor the men and women of the Ugra
government and non-government employees that have been recognized
for their hard work and dedication. See that tee-pee? It
looks just like where the Khantys and Mansis
would live and sleep. They copied the design
and incorporated it into the structure of the
building as a honor to these peoples. What
is it anyway? It is a mall with
restaurants, shopping, play areas, and so on. Wow! Is it Christmas?! Is
it the year 2016?! Wait a minute, it’s
still 2015… why hasn’t the New Year’s tree
been taken down yet? In Khanty-Mansiysk, it is
tradition to have the lights lit for all
of winter. Amazing! How long will this tree
be up? Two, three, four months, or all
year? Who knows, we’ll see. Let’s celebrate! (Victory Park) Do you see all
of these names? They were soldiers that were
killed fighting against Nazi Germany in World War
II, which was between 1941 and 1945. These
names honor people that lived in Ugra okrug
and its five administrative districts. You will see
behind me that each district has a marker
with the number of dead from each region. Profound. (Berezovsky District, 1869 people
did not return from the war) (Kondinsky District, 1478 people
did not return from the war) (Lar’yasky District, 341 people
did not return from the war) (Mikoyanovsky District, 1113 people
did not return from the war) (Surgutsky District, 1285 people
did not return from the war) This tank is one
of the most famous symbols of World War
II. This is the T-34 tank. It was
a very powerful tank. It was capable of
crossing rugged terrain and mud. The famous Tiger
tank (of the Nazi army) was unable to
do the same because it was too heavy
and would become bogged down. T-34 tanks originated
in Kharkov, Ukraine. The factory employed Deaf workers.
Before Hitler’s army captured Kharkov, the factories and
Deaf workers were evacuated to Siberia. Deaf employees
worked nonstop, on the first, second and third
shifts. After the war was won, many of
these tanks were converted into monuments to honor
the Soviet soldiers and workers—including the Deaf employees—that
built and operated these war machines. (“Legendary Tank T-34-76” During the Great Patriotic War This tank was involved
in the battle of Velikie Luki It was found and
raised from the bottom of Selivanovsky Lake, nearby
the Village of Zelenkino, Velikoluksky District, Pskov
Oblast, 3 May 2007)

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