Russia: Free metro rides for poetry buffs

Subway train pulling into station

A city in Siberia is reportedly offering free rides on the underground to people who can recite at least two verses from any poem by Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia's greatest poets.

The event will be held in Novosibirsk on 6 June to mark the 215th anniversary of the poet's birth, reports local website Sib.fm. Teachers, librarians, students and schoolchildren will be positioned at the entrances to seven of Novosibirsk's metro stations to check whether passengers know their Pushkin, says Lyudmila Monakhova, from Native Word, a local NGO promoting the Russian language and culture.

Poetry recitals will also be held inside the metro stations, adds Monakhova, who is organising the events. Alexander Pushkin is seen as Russia's national poet and one of the founders of the country's modern literature. His poems form a central part of the school curriculum in Russia. Many libraries and streets are named in his honour across the country, including ones in Novosibirsk.

Drawing of Alexander Pushkin at a party Alexander Pushkin (standing) is considered one of Russia's greatest poets

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