Rozalia Asoyan (Розалия Христофоровна Асоян)



Розалия Христофоровна Асоян

С Розалией Христофоровной мы познакомились более пятнадцати лет назад. С первой минуты общения, я была поражена её живости и харизматичности. У Розалии, когда она еще жила в квартире в центре Канзас-Сити, всегда были сладости для гостей. Приходишь к ней, тут же чай и торт, как будто ждала… Розалия решила, что хочет рисовать уже в 83. Она посещала уроки рисования некоторое время, а потом нарисовала столько картин, что стала дарить их своим друзьям. Мне одна тоже досталась. Есть в ней такое что-то магическое: вечер, девушка стоит у дерева на берегу озера и смотрит на свет в окошке дома. Я еще тогда спросила: «Розалия, это вы?». Картину Розалия подписала «Женечке на память». Роза. У Розалии никого не было в Канзас-Сити, муж умер давно, она так и была одна. Мы редко говорили о нём, хотя несколько раз она грустно о нём вспоминала.

Розалия была необыкновенная, сильная духом, мужественная, но очень женственная. Всегда она была ухожена, с красивой прической, длинными ногтями и конечно всегда улыбалась.

Мы часто навещали Розалию, когда она переехала в дом престарелых. Постепенно она стала забывать кто к ней приходит, но каждый раз с удовольствием с нами знакомилась. Мы пели ей песни, знакомые с юности, а она улыбалась. Первого апреля ей исполнилось бы 99 лет. Хрупкая женщина, которая была актрисой театра Баку, снайпером во время Великой Отечественной Войны, свободным художником, уснула 27 марта 2022 года.

Спасибо Вам, Розалия, за наше общение. Пусть земля будет пухом.



Celebrating WWII Victory Day 

Celebrating 92nd birthday 



Visiting Rozalia in the nursing home in 2021

SWWII Veteran Medal Award 2015


Rozaliya Asoyan

We met Rozalia Asoyan more than fifteen years ago. From the first moment I was astonished how charismatic and lively she was. When Rozaliya lived in downtown Kansas city apartment, she always had sweet for guests. When we visited her, she would always make tea with cake as if she was prepared to see us. Roza decided she wanted to paint when she was 83 years old. She was attending art lessons for some time and later drew so many paintings that she started giving them as gifts to her friends. I dot one too. There is something magical in this painting: young girl standing by the tree next to a lake and looking at the light in the window of the nearby house. I asked her then: “Rozalia, is that you?” She signed it for me “To Jane as memory”. Rosa. Rozalia did not have any family members in Kansas city, her husband died and she has always lived alone since. We rarely talked about him, only a couple of times she mentioned him with sadness.

Rozalia was an incredible person, courageous, strong willed but very feminine. She has always looked neat, with nicely styled hair, long nails and she was always smiling.

We often visited Rozalia when she moved to the nursing home. Gradually she started forgetting us, but every time she was happy to get acquainted. We sang songs to her that were familiar to her since youth, she smiled.  She would have been 99 on April 1st. Fragile woman, who was an actress in Baku, sniper during the World War II, an artist, she fell asleep at night  on march 27 2022.

Thank you, Rozalia, for your friendship. May you rest in peace.









Student stories


Why am I learning Russian?

Alicia Bradley

          When I was a little girl, I looked through my mother’s Russian textbooks from high school, and was amazed and wanted to learn a foreign language. Fast forward to junior high school where I signed up for the only foreign language offered: Spanish. Much later, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Croatia, and I listened to recordings for months prior so that I could speak a few words in the country, which actually came in handy a few times. Then in 2019 my family booked a Baltic Sea cruise and I mentioned to my son that I wished I could understand the Cyrillic alphabet and be able to say a few words when we got to St. Petersburg. He challenged me to take a Russian language class. I found Jane and Russian Heritage Society online and signed up for my first class, which started two weeks later. Six months later my family spent two days in St. Petersburg and fell in love with the country and our own Russian Heritage. We hope to return one day soon and be able to speak and understand the language enough to travel independently. 












Hannah Turley


It all started because I wanted to write a fan letter.

I wish that I could state a great and noble intention, like a great love of Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, an appreciation for fine art and opera–but honestly, I started studying Russian because I have a crush on a singer. His name is Denis Dmitriev, and he’s the star of a viral Youtube video in which he and the rest of a small military choir sing Adele’s “Skyfall.”

Writing a fan letter in English was out of the question. Hiring a translator was out of the question. Cheap moves. He learned English and sang beautifully in a language not his own, in front of the whole world, in front of an often cruel audience. Learning enough Russian to write a fan letter would be only a small tribute.

So I started studying–by every means available to me. And through some of my blundering comments on the choir’s videos, I even became acquainted with one of its members. I could easily send that fan letter to Denis Dmitriev, but I still haven’t done it.

It’s not because I’m shy or afraid of making mistakes. My Russian will never be perfect, although it improves every day. No, I think it’s because he is no longer my greatest reason for learning the language.

You see, I have encountered dozens of Russian speakers along my journey so far. Some of them I now have the honor of calling my friends. Each and every one of them has responded with such kindness, such a selfless desire to help, that I now live in a constant haze of stunned gratitude. My efforts to give back seem insufficient.

Even if the Russian language ceased to be so caressing to my ear, so intriguing to my brain, or to produce such inexplicable longing in my heart, I would continue learning. I’m now doing this for my current and future friends, for the warm and wonderful Russian speakers who have warmly greeted me and have never failed to lend a helping hand along my path.



Amenda Wong (Shapiro)


Мои родители приехали из Молдовы в 1973 году.  Они выросли на русском языке. Молдова находилась под контролем Советского Союза с 1940 по 1991 год. В детстве я говорила в основном по-английски и немного по-русски. Когда я стала старше, я увидела что теряю способность говорить и понимать по-русски. Поскольку у меня почти нет друзей с которыми я могу говорить по-русски я хотела сохранить эту часть меня. Я решила оставаться на связи со своей культурой и выучить русский язык. Я начала учиться с подкастов и использовать приложения. Сейчас я учу русский в этом классе. Мне очень нравится русский язык и культура.



Kevin B. Makel

 I grew up on a cattle ranch and went to small rural schools.  Halfway through high school my family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Being the transfer student at a new school meant I needed to make some friends quickly. The most interesting and intriguing people I met were the guys of Russian descent, their family stories of escaping the Soviet Union and immigrating to America through China were fascinating to me. Soon I had half a dozen Russian friends who spoke the language.

 I enjoyed their sense of humor and their pranks of slipping impolite Russian words into our school yearbook and newspaper.  One of my friends, Mike Viripaeff, was the nephew of the legendary Russian-American film actress Natalie Wood (Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, Наталья Николаевна Захаренко).

Unfortunately, Russian language courses were never offered in high school or the college which I attended. Many years later I was on duty in the Balkans and after some time, I was able to understand my Serbian friends’ conversations. It was not Russian but similar in many ways.    Finally, after discovering that I have some Russian ancestry myself, I’ve decided to learn the language, gain a unique skill and explore a very interesting culture. I enjoy the intellectual challenge and as my cousin Pete, a teacher, stated “If you’re not struggling, you’re not learning”. Thus I’m doing a lot of learning.             



Ariza  Nanji

I have always struggled learning languages. Russian was no exception. Originally I decided to start learning the language due to work. I was working remotely in Central Asia and I would need to travel in the near future. After taking classes, I have found an interest for the language. While I still have to work to learn the language, coming to class has been fun. Each week I leave class feeling stronger in my language skills and I gain a greater appreciation for the language and the culture.


Thanks to Jane, I feel confident in my skills to try and take Russian in college – something I have always been too scared to attempt.





75th Victory Day Anniversary

Victory Day 2020

August 1st, 2020 Russian Heritage Society celebrated 75th Victory Day Anniversary. The Celebration took place at the Elmridge room of the Tomahawk Hills Golf Course.

The program of the evening included: buffet style appetisers, music program and special scholarship award: Doctor Sergey Charanov scholarship 2020.

Megan Luttrell, the musician from Lawrence Kansas perfromed “Moscow Nights” to open the celebration .  Megan has been learning Russian language in the University of Kansas. Her repertoire includes several songs in Russian such as: Black Eyes, Kalinka, Moscow Nights. 

“Thank you for asking me be part of this special event.” Megan Luttrell 

“World War II took at least 25 million people in Russia alone.”


Elmridge Room

Tomahawk Hill golf course

The celebration incuded watching the Victory Day parade that took place in Moscow, Russia. Jane also shared videos of previous Victory Day celebrations. Dan and Jane performed traditional songs and shared pictures of  WWII veterans. 


Slava Korolenkov Workshop

Slava Korolenkov workshop 2019

Russian Heritage Society welcomed Slava Korolenkov from Moscow. 

Workshop 2019 

Slava Korolenkov, master painter, impressionist from Moscow visited Kansas City again to lead the workshop for many local and out of state artists. Slava had a demonstration lesson and created the masterpiece of the Memorial Building. Followed by a 5 day intensive learning workshop that included still life, figure, portrait and of course landscape.