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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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