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No Illusions Left, Im Leaving Russia

Published: June 25, 2014 (Issue # 1817)




  • Photo:

I want toconfess that I did something foolish once when I was young. Back in1993, I abandoned my university studies inCalifornia andreturned toMoscow. European nations had signed theMaastricht Treaty andI dreamed that Russia would join theEuropean Union.

It seems I was not alone. Former President Boris Yeltsin said, Europe without Russia is not Europe atall. Only with Russia can it be aGreater Europe, with no possible equal anywhere onthe globe.

Yeltsin died, as have many other people andideas since then. After theannexation ofCrimea, it became clear that not only Turkey andAlbania, but even Ukraine would join theEuropean Union before Russia does.

So, my dream ofbecoming aEuropean citizen within my own country has vanished. Therefore, I will be moving toBerlin shortly.

Theidea ofemigrating has tempted andteased me all my life. But here I should make another confession: despite my knowledge offoreign languages andmy Jewish ethnicity, I am apatriot, andRussias ability toget up fromits knees inthe years since 1991 has been agreat source ofjoy tome.

I would love tonot only see how future events unfold inRussia, but toplay apart inthem byhelping tocreate atruly free press thekind that, as inthe U.S., would publish therevelations ofmen like former National Security Administration leaker Edward Snowden.

Now that work has ended forme. That is not tosay I accomplished nothing. Infact, some ofthe media outlets that I had theopportunity tohelp create remain independent andrefuse tocompromise tothis day.

But overall, my dreams were defeated. Now Russias mainstream media ranges fromthe bulging-eyed hyperbole ofpro-Kremlin television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov, tothe intellectual were talking but nobodys watching Dozhd television programs. Those somewhere inthe middle are not only uninteresting, but bear no relationship tothe medias primary function namely, toprotect theweak fromthe strong.

Now thestrong have lost all shame.

Facebook news feeds tell us that aforeign rock star was banned fromperforming inRussia forpossibly promoting nontraditional sexuality tochildren, theauthorities blame thelatest Proton rocket crash onsabotage atthe Khrunichev Space Center,passionate voices say it is time tochange thename ofVolgograd back toStalingrad, anyone holding more than just Russian citizenship must report thefact tothe authorities, Internet users must officially register their blogsandso on.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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