From Russia with vodka, piroshki and babushkas at Gandel Hall at the National Gallery of Australia had a grandeur if not the ‘Old Russia’ opulence of a national day celebration as formulas for national days vary, but putting on your best look is a must.
But Russia’s National Day had a handsome bunch of young diplomats who make up the embassy list at all levels of secretary, counselors and specialists mixing and mingling with multi lingual expertise and disarmingly charming candour. They are worldy wise and interesting with a Petrov of a different generation too young to know the impact of that name on the Canberra of the 50’s but we had in common a New York connection.
On display in a gallery of goodies a little girl’s treasure trove of babushkas, matryoshkas and decorated dolls with more bling than a Tsarina and more make up than a Bolshoi ballerina. Also distinctive Russian art work, newspapers and piroshkis probably good for a homesick Muscovite, with the continuous and impressive photo gallery on stage and that soaring Russian anthem we can only hum along to sung by a formidable army choir.
Then for the formalities a well researched Australian photo gallery, the ‘extended’ Australian anthem with sub-titles, and the Ambassador’s short speech hastily getting us back to socialising.
The vodka hit the spot. One must of course imbibe for this celebration and as Ambassador Morozov suggested finding a friend with plenty of lemons is the perfect accompaniment. Lemon for the Vodka and the friend to drink it with of course. Finding a way through the diplomatic niceties and expectations for the G20 summit, a work in progress.