Moscow’s “renovation” plans. Why many residents are unhappy.

I’ve been asked several times over the last month what’s the big fuss about the proposed plans to knock down several thousand of Moscow’s outdated (mostly from the 1950s and 1960s) buildings. Here is an article, in English, summarizing what’s wrong with mayor Sobyanin’s project. And here is another one from The Moscow Times explaining why scores of Muscovites are not that happy about the authorities’ big plans.

Alexandra is now a member of a “foreign agent” organization

A few days ago, on April 20 2017, the Ministry of Justice declared the Kola Ecological Center, of which my mate Alexandra is a member, a “foreign agent” for receiving foreign financing and being engaged in political activity.

Its “political activity” appears to be taking part in public hearings where government officials were present.

The “foreign agent” status means, in addition to a serious stigma, a significant increase in the amount of reporting paperwork the NGO has to do.

The Kola Ecological Center is behind the eco-trails east of Kandalaksha and near Kolvitsa. They also orchestrated the construction of a WW2 memorial in Kolvitsa. These are the sort of things that stand out in their work, not attempting to influence Russian government officials using foreign funds.

Spring is here: Two kids off to the sea on an ice floe

Spring’s traditional misadventure in the form of an unsceduled trip to the White Sea distances has apparently taken place today, with two kids taking off on an ice floe. Apparently it all ended well but I have no details.

Happens around this time of the year to quite a number of fishermen..

 

Flooding in Kovda

flooding-kovdaHeard a couple of dramatic reports that water dumped from a reservoir up the Kovda river washed off the bridge in the village of Kovda downstream thus leaving the residents cut off from the mainland, and is threatening houses.

Complaints of no response from emergency services.

Kovda is some 80km south from Kandalaksha. See my small overview post on Kovda.

Perishing in the Kola Peninsula woods and hills: the probability is 20 our of ??????

"Don't panic. There's another sign up ahead."The Murmansk Region section of the Ministry of Emergencies reported yesterday that since the beginning of 2016 43 persons were lost in the woods and hills, of which 11 were found dead and nine not located at all.

What level of risk these figures represent I know not since the total number of those venturing out was not told. Still, before leaving tell someone you are off, and indicate the route and the expected return time to make the search easier.

Norwegian news site calls the Sam Syit Saami village “a circus of nonsense”

sam-syitNo harsh words were spared in this article in the Norwegian nrk.no to describe the Sam Syit Saami village near Lovozero in the center of the Kola Peninsula. The main thrust of the angry author is that the village is as far from being authentic as one can be, and represents “a nonsensical mix of rabbits, fleece clothing, and Indian totem poles”. It is in Norwegian but auto-translates into English quite coherently.

Mass downing of Murmansk prostitution sites

site-downI’ve taken a look at the kandalaksha.su statistics and noticed that my short post mentioning Murmansk prostitution sites continues enjoying immense popularity but, alas, the resources it points to are mostly down. The only one that appears alive although not exactly full of information or activity is murmansk.sexros.net. One is disconnected, another one is for sale, and the third just wouldn’t open. Another industry appears to have succumbed to the recession.

These days in August 19-22, 25 years ago

25 years ago there was a coup by communist hardliners aiming to restore the regime. At the time I was far away in Canada, just starting to contemplate my return to Russia, so I could not have actively participated in what was happening. Here in Kandalaksha, the old-timers say, the event went largely unnoticed. Here is a film on what had happened:

It is sad to notice that, in the official media, the anniversary of the failed coup is going largely unnoticed. From what I hear the Moscow city authorities did not allow a rally in memory of August 19-22 1991.

 

I hate gnats!!

666These are much worse than mosquitoes. Unlike the latter, gnats slice off a patch of your skin. On Wendesday I got bitten by some during the trip to the hills, and my arms are still swollen and it still itches three days later. The all-knowing Alexandra says these will last about a week. One of the worse thing about gnats is they don’t really hurt when they initially attack you. ALWAYS WEAR LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT TO THE WOODS AND TAKE SOME INSECT-REPELLANT WITH YOU!!