New Year's Eve Press Review

This Wednesday, Russian newspapers… Well, it’s the 31st of December and most of them are saying ‘good bye’ to us all till the end of the New Year’s vacation. Things will return to normal on January 11.

This Wednesday, Russian newspapers… Well, it’s the 31st of December and most of them are saying ‘good bye’ to us all till the end of the New Year’s vacation. Things will return to normal on January 11.

In the last few days of this eventful year the papers tend to print either horrors or jokes. There are also predictions ranging from the ones in VREMYA NOVOSTEI and NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA, based on solid scientific analysis, to outright fabrication in KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA. Miraculously, the results are not all that different…

KOMMERSANT came out with a long list of recently bankrupt companies. A delightful read for the New Year Day if you don’t own any stocks.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA quotes well-known Russian astrologists:

Pavel Globa predicted in 2001 that a major economic crisis would hit the world and become the most severe in the U.S. and Europe by 2012 and that the U.S. would be at risk of falling off the number one position down to the position number 20 on the list of world powers.

Now he says, Russia will suffer much less than America and the EU. However, in the winter of 2009 Russia’s banking system will crash. The EU may split in several smaller entities, and alongside them a new one – a union of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia – may form. This Union of the Three will emerge from the crisis with minimal damage.

The U.S., says Globa, will eventually be saved by its 46th president, Barack Obama, who will become a national hero and a Founding Father of a new American state.

A smiling Aleksey Fad, a winner in the psychic contest on the TNT TV channel, predicts that the terrorists will finely obtain a nuclear weapon and wipe out one of the bigger cities in the U.S. Then, he says, America will start a war against the Arab world, it may evolve into WW III, but luckily Russia will not be involved…

Aza Petrenko, a female participant and fellow winner of the same show says: the U.S. dollar will gain value while the Euro will fall. The U.S. will definitely perish, and it will happen regardless of whatever situation.

In an editorial comment attached to the interviews, the newspaper reveals a decade-long effort in cross-checking astrological predictions against the realities of the dates for which the predictions were made. It appears, says the paper, that roughly one half of the predictions turned out to be correct. Sometimes, continues the editorial, modern Russian astrologers see the future through the prism of their own political views.

The prophets of the past, like St. Basil, whose name is now proudly held by the red-brick Cathedral on the Red Square, and the XX-Century Bulgarian healer and seer Vanga, predicted a period of turbulence around the borders of Russia in the beginning of the XXI Century, ending in 2009.

Those troubled times, according to St. Basil and Vanga, will have a considerable impact on Russia but will not involve the country directly. And at the end of the period a ruler will emerge who will bring Russia to its golden age. Vanga even names him: she says, ‘everything will melt like ice and only one thing will remain untouched – the glory of Vladimir…’ That is a quote from Vanga presented by the editorial.

MOSKOVSKI KOMSOMOLETS adds to the festive mood with an article titled ‘Hey, Santa, where’s the dough?’ The article starts off by saying that the rumour that the Russian currency is going to crash 15 minutes before the Presidential New Year Address, is just that: a rumour, and a totally baseless one at that. The article insists that a simple calculation is enough to prove the rumour wrong: the 31st of December is a shortened working day in Russia. There will be no business after 4.30 p.m., and the Presidential address will be delivered at midnight…

The paper also says that the downward movement of the Russian rouble will be slow and will depend on the changing value not of one foreign currency, but two: the U.S. dollar and the Euro, which makes the downhill ride smooth enough to get ready for yet tougher times.

All of the above shows that the Russian print media is still in possession of its unbeatable optimism and humour.

Humour. The asset given to us by God at birth, to be used to re-launch our lives in times of trouble.

Happy New Year! May it bring us all a lot of events and situations worthy of a good laugh!

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.