Little-Known Learning


Sophia Tupolev is a Russian-American who spends her summers in Moscow, where she leads the Russian Conversation Club, which she founded in 2009. She is the Russia Representative for American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group for American expats’ rights. Her expat Q&A blog is at for any questions about living in Russia.

Sophia Tupolev

For a city where everything is for sale, there are a surprising number of free and non-profit classes and educational activities. This season’s column is all about what you can learn this summer and beyond. These are the addresses to know to discover Moscow’s bubbling fountains of knowledge. Russian fluency is not a requirement for most of the following, but you should know the words урок (lesson) oткрытый урок (free lesson), and мастер класс (master class, workshop).

This list will be up on the AskSophie blog.


The Russian Academy of Arts at 19 Prechistenka St., hosts oil painters of all ages at Zurab Tsereteli’s studio on some weekends. Participation is free and materials are provided, too. Call on the preceding Thursday to confirm if it’s on that weekend. +7 495 637 4150.

The Strelka Institute has a fascinating, bilingual summer lecture series, films, and cultural events.

There are periodic art classes and workshops at the Flacon Design Center and Garage Center

With two locations at Vinzavod and VDNKh, Tvorchmaster has fairly-priced art classes for children and full day programs, too. There are also pottery classes for adults.


The ZIL Culture Center has a variety of classes and workshops, such as the free French conversation club, La boîte noirе.

Of course, I have to mention my own Russian Conversation Club, which welcomes speakers of Russian from novice to native on Sunday afternoons.

The Foreign Literature Library at 1 Nikoloyamskaya Street is home to the following foreign cultural centers:

The Azerbaijani Center offers Azerbaijani language and history classes. [email protected]

The American Center packs the calendar with free lectures, films, workshops, and clubs in English such as a debate club and a public speaking club.

The Bulgarian Center teaches Bulgarian language and folk dancing.

The British Council has classes for English teachers.

The Japan Foundation offers courses in Japanese, tea ceremony, origami, calligraphy, Shogi, and even kimono.


The iYoga Center at Trubnaya has free yoga classes every other Saturday.

Kundalini Yoga has free classes in English and Russian.


The Moscow Buddhist Center has classes and meditation.

Russian speakers can take Judaica classes at Sredi Svoikh, near Park Kultury.

St. Andrew’s Anglican Church has Sunday School in English for children of different age groups.