Maslenitsa festival: A week of pancakes hits London


Various types of Russian blini, cool films and music are to be found at London's upcoming Russian Week. The Maslenitsa festival is London's favorite Russian community event and combines Orthodox and pagan traditions.

As Russians wait for the end of winter they look forward to Maslenitsa, a week gluttony and joy, when everyone tries to get rid of the cold and frost to welcome the sun and spring. 
Traditionally the Maslenitsa week concludes with 40 days of fasting until Orthodox Easter, similar to Lent in the western Christian calendar. It meant that people used to eat a lot – and especially a lot of pancakes, or Russian blini, which are the main symbols of Maslenitsa. The dates are flexible each year.
russian fest maslenitsa
This year's program includes culinary extravaganzas by well-known Russian restaurateur Alexey Zimin at ZIMA, the Soho-based Russian Street Food & Bar, which is a festival partner. But the festival is more than just about eating and drinking – Russian Week in London will also feature screenings of the latest films by Russia’s leading directors including Renata Litvinova (Rita’s Last Fairy Tale) and Pavel Lungin (The Queen of Spades); a concert by inspirational folk singer Timur Dzeitov – People’s Artist of Russia and Ingushetia; the launch of a new album by award-winning songwriter Daria Kulesh and much more.
A key part of the celebrations will be a concert at Cadogan Hall, with artists of international standing such as violinists Natalia Lomeiko and Yuri Zhislin, pianist Olga Balakleets and accordion player Iosif Pouritz. The London and Brighton Russian Choir, the Natalia Kremen Ballet School, the Russian Souvenir Ensemble and other Russian performers will join them.
Arranged by Ensemble Productions, London City Hall, the Russian ministry of culture and other bodies, Maslenitsa have been marked in London since 2009. For full details and booking information, visit


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