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No Illusions Left, Im Leaving Russia

Published: June 25, 2014 (Issue # 1817)




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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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