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The Chilling Draft of Russia Or How to Avoid Catching a Cold

Published: December 26, 2013 (Issue # 1792)

From Murmansk to Magadan, Sochi to Salekhard, and from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka, its tentacles weave a web of hideous destruction. Quietly, on the steppes of Siberia, now whispering over the Urals, then across the Volga. Now coming down your street as you innocently sit in your home.

No, I do not speak of forced military conscription. Neither do I refer to a system whereby sports teams select amateur players to join their professional ranks. And, no, this is not an alcoholic beverage. I am speaking of something much more sinister. I am talking about The Draft.

If you are not from Russia, you must understand, that The Chilling Draft Of Russia is not to be compared with the elementary air movement you may sometimes experience in your home abroad. For The Chilling Draft Of Russia is to be feared. At all times.

Here is what you need to know about The Chilling Draft Of Russia:

1) The Chilling Draft Of Russia has countless hideous side effects.

You will rue the day you ever encountered this silent beast on while traveling. Just recently I was on a train. I thought I was enjoying the gentle breeze wafting through the window. As it turned out, I was playing with matches and gasoline. The lady sitting across from me asked if I wanted to close the window. I replied that I did not. She asked, "Aren't you afraid of neck pains?" I quickly realized my oversight. I had carelessly put my neck at risk

If you think turning your back to The Chilling Draft Of Russia will provide protection, then I suppose you have no qualms about your kidneys catching a cold?

And if you happen to be a woman sitting there in The Chilling Draft Of Russia, you might as well have just sat at the corner of the dining room table. If you know what I mean.

2) The Danger of the Chilling Draft is independent of the temperature outside or inside.

One time I was riding a train in Ukraine. It was a bazillion degrees outside and I am not joking when I say the train was crawling at a snail's pace in the hot sun, from Kharkov to Kiev. This produced what is known as the "greenhouse effect". It was so hot, my kids pulled out birch branches and started beating each other on the back, banya style.

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Times Talk


Thursday, Apr. 24

Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.

AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.

Friday, Apr. 25

Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from

Saturday, Apr. 26

At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.

Sunday, Apr. 27

Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.

Monday, Apr. 28

The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.