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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

It would seem that we have thought up all the possible “venues” for communicating with our fellow countrymen abroad – Russian theatres, museums, churches, libraries and foundations. But there are places and events that unite the youth abroad even more tightly than these. One example is Encounter, an international network of urban games. The idea for the game originated in 2001 in Minsk, when Ivan Maslyukov (known as im in the project) envisioned it as an international game, hence its name in English. In the end, however, the game found a rather curious niche, enjoying real popularity in very different countries, but only...

24.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Miscellaneous

For the first time this year, London’s traditional economic forum devoted to Russia attempted to distance itself from its previous name by taking the name Russ!a Investment Roadshow. Organizers from Sergei Kolushev’s company Eventica mentioned how Russian officials were strongly encouraged to boycott the London conference last year after President Putin’s Munich speech. Not only did state officials suddenly cancel their appearance, in the same way that frightened birds scatter for a tree at the sound of a gunshot, but many prominent businessmen also decided to show their solidarity. Eventica has recently been doing...

23.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: Miscellaneous

The anniversary of Yeltsin’s death, perhaps, is one of those events that is simply impossible to avoid paying attention to. It might be possible in theory, and one might even want to, but it doesn’t happen. Why? Because fundamental changes in the life of the Russian world are connected with the Yeltsin name. To start with, we will refrain from defining these changes in any particular way. The events surrounding the anniversary of the death of Russia’s first president are interesting in their own right. A monument to Yeltsin, completed by the sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, was unveiled at the Novodevichy cemetery with...

23.04.2008
Rubric: Articles
Subject: History

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