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The recent closing of Detsky Mir (Children’s World) on Lubyanka Square for a three-year renovation serves as a good illustration of the ominous slogan “Renewing Moscow!” that is plastered about the city. After the renovations, Detsky Mir will become a multifunctional shopping center with underground parking, a food court and a multi-screen movie theatre. In other words, the famous store will be transformed into something completely unrecognizable. It’s not surprising that the disappearance of yet another pre-Luzhkov symbol is receiving considerable attention in the press. But more often than not the press is writing...

20.07.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Diaspora

On June 23, 1889, Anna Akhmatova (Gorenko) was born in Odessa. It seems that everything possible has already been said about both her life and her work. To contemporary readers it is obvious that Akhmatova’s lines devoted to Pushkin – “idiot horse guardsmen and majestic privy counselors,” “oceans of dirt, betrayals, lies, indifference of friends and simple stupidity,” “heartless and, naturally, ignorant Petersburg,” “secret police surveillance of the poet,” and “the imperial court peeping into every nook and cranny” – relate largely to her own fate. But, on the...

25.06.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Culture

From the editors: Variations on the theme of “Clap, hear the thunder of victory, and celebrate brave Russian!” which is showing no signs of leaving the pages of the Russian media throughout the month of May, should cause us to think a bit, at least about why it is important to us. And, most importantly, about what we are to do with all of it. After all, nothing simply happens in this world without consequence. And if all the steam leaves through the fans’ cheering and discussion about how “Russia is finally lifting itself up off its knees,” then that means we are horribly ineffective and are in fact squandering...

27.05.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Culture

When commuter train operators outside Moscow went on strike in early May, executives from Russian Railways appealed to the courts with a request to stop “an illegal protest that presents a threat to the country’s defense and to state security.” In a formal sense, everything in the request was true, as labor legislation prohibits railway employees from going on strike. Whether such a prohibition is reasonable or not is another question. More interesting, however, is the language used by Russian Railways – “the country’s defense and state security.” How difficult it will be for strikers to talk about...

25.05.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Общество

It turns out that among the people I know there are more Manchester United fans than Zenit fans by a 3:1 ratio. This is probably due to the fact that I live in Moscow rather than St. Petersburg. I also have friends who follow Spartak Moscow and CSKA, and most of these were not happy at all when Zenit won the UEFA Tournament. In fact, many of them were rooting against the Russians. But they all jumped for joy a week later when the Russians beat the Canadians in the World Hockey Championship. Then there were those, however few, who rooted for the Canadians. Not because they were against the Russians, but simply because they were for the...

21.05.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Sports

“They say that it’s forbidden to visit a cemetery on Easter,” my grandmother told me recently. How should I respond? Of course, the Church teaches us to remember the deceased on Radonitsa, the ninth day after Easter, but it views Easter visits to the cemetery as something of a Soviet-era holdover. The practice does not contain anything specifically Soviet, however. More likely than not, it reflects on a rather archaic layer of human consciousness, an echo of the “people’s Christianity” that the government found so difficult to control. My grandmother has been going to the cemetery for more than 70 years....

28.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Religion

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