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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

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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