Dec 20, 2011

Issue #1688(50), Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The St. Petersburg Times
Issue #1688(50), Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LOCAL NEWS

Opposition Politicians Booed at Electoral Fraud Rally
Satirist's New Book Explores What Makes Russian People Laugh
Oksana Dmitriyeva, the local leader of the Just Russia parliamentary party, was greeted with boos and cries of "Give back your mandate" at a second local authorized rally Sunday at which thousands turned up to demand the annulment of the recent State Duma and Legislative Assembly elections.
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Having problems understanding the Russian sense of humor? A new autobiographical book by a Russian writer who has been exploring life through satire offers valuable insight into the minds of Russian people and what has been making them laugh during the past few decades.
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Shelters Seek Owners for Homeless Pets
Feel Free to Be a Freak at DeLa'Ruk's FREE'k Bazaar
This Christmas Eve, St. Petersburg's abandoned animals will have the chance to experience a Christmas miracle: To find a new home and family. Loft Project Etagi is once again organizing a charity event titled "I Want to Go Home" to help rehouse abandoned cats and dogs on Dec.
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As New Year approaches, Loft Project Etagi promises to be flooded with creative spirit thanks to FREE'k bazaar, a design and handmade market running from Dec. 20 through Dec. 31, which offers much more than just gifts.
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IN BRIEF
 
Doing It For the Kids ST. PETERSBURG (SPT) — "Artist," a charity founded by the Russian actors Yevgeny Mironov and Maria Mironova with pediatrician and journalist Natalya Shaginyan Nidem, will hold a New Year's charity event for children with health problems in St.
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NATIONAL NEWS

Kim Jong Il's Death 'Won't Hurt' Russia Ties
Nemtsov, Akunin Hacked
MOSCOW — The sudden death of maverick North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il cast a cloud over the future of the world's last Stalinist state, but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that it should not affect relations between the two countries.
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Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was the victim of a phone tapping scandal this week, while the LiveJournal and Gmail account of prominent author Boris Akunin, who has also attended recent opposition rallies, were hacked into.
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Hopes Fade in Search for Oil Rig Survivors
The Long Wait for WTO Membership Is Finally Over
MOSCOW — Time appeared to be running out Tuesday to rescue 39 people still missing more than 2 days after an oil rig capsized and sank in stormy, freezing waters off the eastern coast of Russia in the sea of Okhotsk.
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MOSCOW — The World Trade Organization officially welcomed Russia as a member Friday, bringing the curtain down on the country's 18-year accession process. Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and director general of the WTO Pascal Lamy signed a protocol on Russia's accession at a ceremony in Geneva after the organization's ministerial conference approved documents granting Russia membership in the global trade club.
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LOCAL BUSINESS

State Works to Help Small Businesses
Megafon Slashes Charges
A block of programs aimed at helping small business development has been extended to a governmental level. As the realities of the economic and business sphere are always subject to change, some programs to retrain and update business and management personnel have been designed.
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Russian cell network operator Megafon has cut international roaming fees for subscribers by three to nine times in most European countries, Turkey and in the European part of CIS countries. All together Megafon's roaming calls have become cheaper in 44 countries, Interfax reported.
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St. Petersburg Automobile Sales Have Doubled During Past Year
IN BRIEF
Sales of new cars in St. Petersburg have grown by almost 50 percent during the past year, AlfaStrakhovaniye insurance company's analytical center reported. Between January and September of this year at least 140,057 new cars were sold in the city, 49.
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Family Housing ST. PETERSBURG (SPT) — The city should develop a financial support program to help families with a lot of children to build dachas or other detached houses on the land they are given by the city, Poltavchenko said last week, Interfax reported.
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OPINION

A Crisis of Confidence
always a dissident: Politics Without Choice
It is already clear that Russia will experience a systemic political crisis in 2012. The country's leaders and institutions will completely lose the people's trust by next summer. The authorities will become vacillating and weak and will flounder from one crisis to another.
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The surge in street protests this month was the natural result of widespread discontent that has been building up steam for several years without any outlet. It would have been difficult to predict that the trigger would be the falsified results of the elections for the purely decorative State Duma.
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CULTURE

A musical dynasty
Culture lessons
The concert held at Tavrichesky Palace on Dec. 10 could probably have claimed a Guinness book entry: It took at least 15 years to put together. The cause was well worth the lengthy preparations. The performance, entitled The Imperial Musical Collection, showcased 20 long-lost musical works composed exclusively by members of the Romanov family, including Tsar Alexander II and Prince Konstantin Romanov.
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As the festive season gets underway, the city's museums are preparing a host of seasonal exhibits, including special programs and excursions aimed at younger visitors. The State History of Religion Museum is just one of many cultural institutions to launch a seasonal schedule of events in honor of the holidays, with an exhibit titled "Birds, Animals and People Are Happy: Christmas and New Year in the East and West.
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Big screen for little guys
CHERNOV'S CHOICE
A feature-length prequel to Smeshariki, one of Russia's most popular modern cartoon series, will be released across the country Thursday. The 90-minute 3D cartoon called "Smeshariki. Nachalo." (Smeshariki.
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Few local rock musicians were in the crowd during the recent anti-electoral fraud rallies in St. Petersburg, but the situation may change this Saturday when a concert/rally is planned to take place in the city.
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Wake-up call
THE DISH: Rada & K Vegetarian Establishment
Vasily Shumov, singer and guitarist with the reformed veteran Moscow band Center, which has recently come up with a new album examining and dissecting Putinism, is determined to hold a concert-cum-exhibition in defense of Russian political prisoners — even if the planned show due last Saturday was abruptly shut down.
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Of all the things one might expect to find in a vegetarian café (a green color scheme, ethno music, wait staff with dreads, perhaps), a patron in a fur coat is probably not on most people's list, even in Russia.
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FEATURES

Frequent Oil Spills Wreak Devastation on Russia
 
USINSK — On the bright yellow tundra outside this oil town near the Arctic Circle, a pitch-black pool of crude stretches toward the horizon. The source: A decommissioned well whose rusty screws ooze with oil, viscous like jam.
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© 2011 The Saint-Petersburg Times

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