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!!

 

Another fire in Kandalaksha

The unfinished hotel on the Monastery Cape burned down yesterday..

That’s especially disconcerning given that about a week ago a tourist hut on top of Mount Volostnaya overlooking the city burned down too.

14 children drowned in Karelia’s Syamozero lake

syamozeroA group of Moscow orphans on their holidays at the Park Hotel Syamozero camp in Southern Karelia, Prazha district, went out on June 18 and got caught in a storm that had their canoes overturned. Of about 50 of them that ended up in water, 14 drowned, and the rest made it to the shore. A big scandal is under way, with four or five of the camp staff arrested and the camp closed. Today was declared a day of mourning in Karelia and Moscow.

Russian-Finnish cross-border trade is down by 1/3

russian-finnish-borderB-port reports that in January-February of 2016 the value of goods transported across the Finnish-Russian border dropped by 35.2% in value compared to the same period last year. The reason is mutual sanctions. For an average non-commercial traveller that means fewer lineups at the border-crossing points. For us, making a living off traveller support, on the other hand, that explains why clients are few and far between these days.. Guess it could be a good time to announce a “beginning of the season” special at $100/day for my humble services, back to the mid-90s rate.

Yet another report of a criminal charge for “fictional registration”

registrationB-port reports yet another host in Nickel busted for providing “fictional registration” to foreigners. According to Article 322.3 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code, “fictional registration” is registration without intent to provide living space. At one point, years ago, it was a common $25-50 service available to foreign travellers!

Murmansk gay support organization fined for “propaganda to children”

courtThe Center of Social and Psychological Assistance and Legal Support for the Victims of Discrimination and Homophobia “Maximum” has been found guilty of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors” on the group’s VK page, and fined 100 th. roubles (about $1500 at the current exchange rate).

Radiation on Lake Ladoga island in Karelia

ladoga-radioactivity

Photo from kezling.ru

tvrain.ru reports that several island in the north of Lake Ladoga in Karelia are contaminated with radiation left from the times when these locations were used as testing ranges in the 50s and 60s. Three islands — Makarinsaari, Kugrisaari, and one without a name — are considered as particularly dirty, and offer a possibility of picking one year’s norm in three hours.

It’s all the Americans’ fault again

refugeesA bunch of mass media outlets came out with a heading “Demonstration by migrants in Kandalaksha provoked by the New York Times journalists”, who are accused of organizing the demonstration and are said to have made signs demanding that migrants be let into Finland.

Examples: ruposters.ru (that also mentions that 10g of hashish was found in the hotel where migrants were staying), severpost.ru, and flashnord.com.