Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | maart 22, 2011

VI WINTER SPARTAKIADA, 14 – 18 February, 2011

Sport Competition between Russian Nuclear Power Plants

As you already know I live in a small town, Sosnovy Bor, close to Saint-Petersburg, which is called VI WINTER SPARTAKIADA, 14 – 18 February, 2011as “atomic town”, as it town was built up for the people who were going to work at the future nuclear power plant.

In Russia there are about 10 operating nuclear power plants. During the period of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics it was very popular to arrange competitions of a different kind. I mean sport and industrial competitions between plants, companies and individuals, even within one process shop or one plant. I was one of ideas who to stimulate people and to develop our country, because there are many people, who needs and likes challenge in any aspects of life.

Sport competitions between enterprises are one of the few things which we inherited after the Soviet Union. Therefore every two years our company the Joint Stock Company “Concern Rosenergoatom” arranges winter and summer competitions. Some of you will probably draw analogy to the Olympic Games. It could be so, but the scale is too small. Normally almost all NPPs attend to this action, because there are a lot of active, brave and strong people at our plants. Winter competitions normally take place in those regions, where we have a good weather and landscape conditions for cross-country and downhill skiing. Normally they are: KOLA NPP (Plyarnye Zori, Murmansk region) and Beloyarskaya NPP (Yekaterinburg).

This year the VI Winter SPARTAKIADA-2011 was first time accepted by Leningrad NPP on the land of Leningrad region, in Korobitsino village. It is the second year when we have a good and sometimes abnormal winter conditions: a high snow level, sun shining and frost from -22°C up to -30°C… Br-r-r-r. As to KOLA NPP and Beloyarskaya NPP, it is difficult to threaten them by such frost. But there were some attendees from those regions on the south of our country, where contrariwise the snow is abnormal phenomenon during the winter time. And even them didn’t scare and got through all these tests worthy.

Nine NPPs sent to our town their most sporty and enthusiastic people. There were 155 athletes, among them KOLA NPP and Leningrad NPP sent 28 persons each, KALINA NPP and Smolensk NPP sent 21 persons each;31 sets of individual and team awards were presented to the competitors in cross-country skiing including the relay race also, downhill skiing, polyathlon. “Polyathlon” – is the kind of competition by analogy of triathlon, which includes cross-country skiing 5 km for men and 3 km for women, air gun shooting and chin-ups for men and press-ups for women. As to the downhill skiing, we had giant slalom, special slalom and parallel slalom.

I am a downhill skier and this was the third SPARTAKIADA for me. As all participants I like competitions and it stimulates me for further developments in these kinds of sport. This year was very lucky for our Plant and in particular for our downhill skiers. But let’s start from the beginning…

All these sport events took place nearby the Saint-Petersburg at the ski resort “Golden Valley”. We stayed in warm wooden cottages similar to Finish one. We dreamed of course that weather wouldn’t fail us, but no one expected to get such perfect present. Starting from the first day of arrival it was frosty, excitedly, courageous and grate, as if on cue!

In the morning of our “Olympic games” opening I was walking in the forest nearby our cottages and taking pictures of a beautiful winter. Occasionally I’ve heard a flock of crows crying loudly. The reason for this noise was a big beautiful owl, fluffy and snow-covered. This calm beautiful bird was a bit sleepy, as she allowed me to take several pictures of her and didn’t pay any attention to me and crying crows which were trying to get it out. I’ve met owl in reality and so close first time in my life. It encouraged me so much, that I gain the 3rd place in the giant slalom that day afternoon. I was very happy. I’ve lost my chance to come the second in slalom next day, because my rival from KOLA NPP relaxed a bit and let me win about one second in the 1st trial. She is really better skier than me. And in the second trial she left me more than two second behind. So, I was the 3rd again.

The downhill skiing competition was devided into three days: 15th February – giant slalom, 16th February – special slalom, 17th – parallel slalom. Every day before starts we had training at 11 a.m. The local tutors arranged a particular route for us for two hours to let us warm up a little and get ready for the competition itself. Afterwards we had lunch and a short rest. Normally we spent this time nearby the TV watching WORLD CUP in Parallel Giant Slalom and speed descent competitions. Judges allowed skiers to look through the rout at 14.30 and at 15.00 the race started. There were two groups of participants younger than 35 years and elder.

KOLA NPP was always an incontestable and out-of-reach leader in this kind of sport among the other participants. One of the reasons that they have good winter conditions and their own ski resort, small but good equipped, which is open from the end of November to beginning of May. In order to have more chances to reach KOLA, our Leningrad NPP arranged two team practice sessions and this time was well spent. Following the summary results of the downhill competition the 1st place was awarded to KOLA Team, the 2nd to LNPP Team, this time only 16 points detach us from KOLA. For our team it is a great break forward. And the 3rd place was awarded to Team.

Being an out-of-reach leader in downhill skiing racers from KOLA NPP shared the 1st and the 2nd places of individual competition in parallel slalom. Therefore they decided to finish the second final trial in a showy manner and crossed the finish line together hugged one another. It was the best presentation of the whole atmosphere and sense of the VI WINTER SPARTAKIADA.

On the last day of the VI WINTER SPARTAKIADA the Director of Leningrad NPP arrived to Korobitsino to take part in the award and closing ceremony. An in spite of hard frost, -28°C, he was watching the whole parallel slalom race together with all guests outside at the finish line supporting his team. I am sure it was highly appreciated by all participants.

One of innovation in this WINTER SPARTAKIADA was juniors’ competition in all kinds of cross-country skiing. The children showed themselves as worthy successors of their parents and team members. They took part in all races in spite of weather conditions, but distance was surely shorter than for adults. Only last day all races were cancelled by the Organization Committee, because early in the morning it was -30°C. All these cross-country skiers arrived to ski resort to support their teams.

In the cross-country skiing the leadership was returned to KALINA NPP, a silver medal was awarded to KOLA NPP and bronze – to Beloyarskaya NPP.

In polyathlon the Golden Cup was taken by KOLA NPP, the Silver Cup was taken by the host power plant – Leningrad NPP and the Bronze Cup left Leningrad region for Beloyarskaya NPP. Moreover, two families were nominated for awards called “Father, mother and me – we are sport family”.

Team spirit and atmosphere during the whole week of the completion was so exiting, encouraging, warm and friendly. We all, even those, who won nothing were happy. The closing party was cool! Many guests and gifts from the Organization Committee, interesting dancing program, singing songs and disco dancing. As this SPARTAKIADE is the third one in my life, I have already found many friends at some of our power plants. We continue communication by e-mail and on face book. Sometimes it seems to me that we know each other for one hundred years. It is great!

I hope to see everyone in two years,

Elena Mocholova (author)



Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | maart 29, 2010

Autumn in Sosnovy Bor

Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | februari 15, 2010

A Long-Waited Winter Came to Russia


The Queen Winter has arrived to Russia… I wouldn’t say that all previous seasons were absolutely without snow. There was something like snow, but… But this year the Nature prepared for us a wonderful winter miracle. It reminded us what a beautiful, snow-white, downy and briery because of frost the Russian winter could be.


We live in one of the north-western regions of Russia, the Leningrad region. This is not the actual North of the country and we don’t have the polar day and night here, nevertheless our close location to the North always gives us a heads-up. The Sun comes to our region very seldom. Our short summer begins in the second half of June and finishes in the beginning of August turning into a long-term autumn and then into a grey wet winter which flowed by prolonged spring. By the end of December I was quiveringly looking forward to coming Christmas Holidays and checking weather prediction in the Internet every day, as the most people in our region. The prediction insistently showed a cold weather with winds and frost approaches. For the period of many years we have got accustomed not to believe weather predictions – they turn into life seldom. It is even mentioned in our website, just for fun, that “Weather is not responsible for conformance with its prediction…” But, what a miracle! All predictions seemed to become a real one.

A snow fell down from heaven… Our town became clean and bright so that there was no need to highlight the streets with lanterns. Then a black frost came. Everyone was happy that snow after his habit is not melting. It was sparking with diamonds in the lanterns light at night and in the sunlight during the day. Children were playing snowballs, skiing and skating in the rink. And the most important thing was that frost has broke up clouds heavy with snow and the sun we have being waiting so long arrived. It was about -10С outside but the sun seemed to be warming. Nevertheless the weather prediction continued to let us know about another snow storm to come. Now it came. It wasn’t just a snow storm; it seemed to be snow slip.

One morning when I got outside on the way to our office, I discovered that about 30 centimeters of snow fell down that night. All cars were buried under snow, it was difficult to recognize some foot paths; as to the other ones it was impossible to walk on them. People had to tread out narrow pathways in the snow. We didn’t walk in the streets. I would say that we were mixing snow by feet. And if someone moved against wind direction it seemed that he was walking on the same place. The way to the office took sufficient time. First we had to dig out our cars, then we were driving very carefully and as sequence very slow – the road was unlearned and slippery. It was surprising that there was none car crash that morning. Snow was falling and falling… In spite of all these difficulties we were glad thinking that the New Year celebration would be as it used to be long time ago with snow and frosty weather. But it was just a beginning of all our problems. If in your country there is a prevalent stereotype that Russia is a place where the winter is always cold and snowy and the Russian people are always ready for this, you are deeply wrong. In comparison with our north regions, as Murmansk one, I would say that we have been never ready for this. It looks funny, but it’s true; and this season showed it more particular then ever.


Yard-keepers and snow removal facilities I haven’t met the yard-keepers in the streets of our town for a long time; and it isn’t surprising. The matter is that average number of the yard-keepers is 86 persons. Moreover 6 of them were on a sick list those days. As to the snow removal facilities it is about 13 pieces. The town administrators informed our citizens that 23 yard-keepers and 3 snow removal machines have being working 24 hours a day by turns during that period. But, what can do 23 persons and 3 machines in the town with population of about 70 000 people covered with snow, in particular when it continuously snowing daily. The real situation was the following: the available power was insufficient for quick cleaning the microdistricts of out town from snow. It was almost impossible to drive car within the yard areas.

During the last year our small town is hard to handle an abundance of personal cars. Our yards and parking places were not designed for such a huge amount of cars, in particular in old district areas. Therefore during the snowfall a number of parking places considerably decreased. Some people decided not to use their cars and walked by feet in order to save efforts and time looking for parking place. In accordance with the point of view of the officers of the Leningrad region, Saint-Petersburg and Sosnovy Bor the reason for this situation was the following: the previous 3-4 winters appeared to be warm and almost snowless! So than the administration of the Leningrad region and Saint-Petersburg decreased the budget for additional facilities purchase and didn’t prepare the existing one, which is far too scanty. I take the liberty to add that they probably didn’t believe the weather prediction again. However with the help of our citizens the problem was solved stem-by-step. Many people took an active part in cleaning their yards from snow. The most enthysiastic ones began to clean approaches to the pedestrian crossings in the streets. All these activities caused one more problem – the rabbles disappeared from the shops within one moment. They were delivered to the shops in small portions. Therefore as soon as someone got information to which shop they were delivered, he informed all his friends by phone and all rabbles were bought up immediately.

Some difficulties with cleaning the roads were caused by personal cars left on the road shoulders. The roads became quite narrow, for example 4-lines roads turned into 2.5-lines ones. Can you emargin what happened to the 2-lines roads? The time required for the way to our office located at a distance of 7km from the town increased from 10 to 40 minutes. Therefore in some cases the traffic service personal was forced to use evacuator while removing snow from the roads. From the other side all the above mentioned difficulties made our people closer! If you seized in a deep snow or dirt in any other situation, you would looking someone who would help you to pull out your car. But during this period you just thought to ask for help and at the same moment 2 or 3 men passing near by came up to you and almost carry out you with the car.

Everyone understands that tomorrow he can be on your place. It was in this situation several times. One time I get out from my car to thank my saviors, and was surprised to see two thin ladies in stead on men. Their car was not far from my one. Waste collection problem As you see this hard snow fall resulted in many serious problems and one of them was — delay in waste collection from the containers in the yards. All yards were blocked and special cars were unable to approach to the containers. As a result a huge amount of rubbish accumulated within the yards area. Nevertheless one solution was found – to arrange a temporary system of wastes removal. People were suggested to come out at a certain time to the special trucks waiting nearby the yard area. Winter fashioned nature… So, it came hard with everyone. Moreover we were expecting for hard Christian frosts.

Every year during the Christian week the temperature goes significantly lower, but this January it dropped to -25С and in some regions to -30С. By that time we acclimatized and didn’t take a notice of it. But from the other side there were many positive things caused by these changes. To find them you should just look around. One of the most beautiful features of such weather is that snow became knocking sonorous and sparking as diamonds more brightly. A diamond snow is falling down from the sky. Queen Winter hided under it snow-white cover all old and grey dirty leafs and grass. It dressed our firs and trees with so laced and downy dresses and put long beautiful icicles on our roofs, as Christmas-tree toys. It decorated the shore of our Finish Gulf with high hummocks and icicles stalactites. In spite of a hard frost our Gulf maintained unfrozen for a long time, till the end of January. All this time its cold high waves were breaking on the shore. Splashes were freezing in the cold air, raising the shore level, and turning into mountains and hummocks. Water flowing down on the walls of these mountains formed many quaint icicles and small cavities. When the Gulf eventually has frozen it becomes looking like a white cold desert – a real pleasant place for those who like winter fishing. Ice sculptures exhibition A long-forgotten real Russian Winter gave young and professional painters and photographers a wide variety of beautiful moments, which they depicted in their photos, canvases and ice sculptures.

These days Saint-Petersburg looks fascinating, in particular its central streets. They were decorated with snow, hoar frost, Christmas lamps, strings, trees. An ice castle was build up in the Nevskiy Prospect, in which the ice sculptures exhibition was arranged. In spite of 20-degrees frost two young carvers embodied their ideas into ice compositions outside nearby the castle walls. It is very impressive and interesting to watch the piece of ice is turned into the Easter egg, or flower, or a girl swimming in the waves, or heathen symbols of Africa. But too cold… For the strongest spectators a bar with so called warming up drinks, such as vodka or cognac ant etc., was arranged in the rear yard of the castle.

Don’t try to understand Russia by mind…Do it by heart.. In spite of all the problems and difficulties described in my story we like our winter much. Every year we are looking forward to coming snow and frost as manna from heaven. And each time when we try to push out one’s car from the next bulk of snow, firstly we damn all over the place and after say again: ”Nevertheless the winter this year is rather good! What a beautiful present our nature has given to us!”

Elena in the snow
Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | december 2, 2009

Kerncentrales in Rusland/Nuclear reactors in Russia



 Information Centres of European Nuclear Power Plants

An instrument for making dialogue with inhabitants and community

 During the period of 4th – 23rd October, 2008 the Opened Joint-Stock Company Concern “Energoatom” (Russia) jointly with Concern «Fortum» (Finland) and other European partners arranged a particularized training course under the heading “Nuclear power – New generation”. The training was performed in form of car-race on public roads. The participants took off from Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad region.


The project was supported from the side of Public Council of State Corporation “ROSATOM”, Branch Institute for an Additional Professional Education “Atomprof” (Saint-Petersburg), Moscow Centre of International Atomic Energy Agency (WANO-MC), urban administration of Sosnovy Bor and Association on Public Relations of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad region.


The Car Race 2008 route included visits to Nuclear Power Plants of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania and Central office of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna (Austria). One of targets of the seminar was getting practical acquaintance with European colleagues experience in the field of relations with community and inhabitants.


  1. 1.      Information Centres – an instrument for making dialog with community

All European Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) pay great attention to increase distribution of information about the current status and future trends of the nuclear power industry among inhabitants. Special departments at each NPP do their best to mould population’s positive attitude to this way of electricity production in order to eliminate common stereotypes connected with a nuclear power plant location in the vicinity of a built-up area.

Photo 1


For the purpose of making the inhabitants more acquainted with the nuclear power generating industry special Information Centers are built on the area of each European NPP. The Information Centres are opened for everybody, free of charge and do not require any authorization or pass. It is also allowed to take photos and video records, to touch the displays. Probably because of these facts European NPPs Information Centres are very popular and a dozen of thousands people visit them every year. For example, “ISAR” NPP, located in the vicinity of Munich, accepted 20 000 people in 2007, but saying the truth only 500 of them were authorized to visit the site of “ISAR” NPP itself. The Czech NPP “TEMELIN” accepted 27 000 visitors in 2007 and 20% of them were authorized to visit the site.

Of course it is prohibited to take photos and video records on site of European NPPs. Therefore the visitors take pictures against a background of the Information Centres, exhibits, as well as against a background of NPPs silhouette.

Photo 2

Speaking about the exhibition content and scope of presented information and design it is wise to point out that all Information Centres look similar in some degree.

Most of them are constructed in traditional state-of-the-art style, i.e. in from of light glass pavilions. However there are some exclusions, for example the Information Centre of “TEMELIN” NPP is located in the building of former medieval castle.

2. NPPs Information Centres: traditions and experience

Photo 3

In our opinion one of the most interesting and large information centres was arranged on the area of Olkiluoto NPP in Finland. The content of this cognitive and captivating exhibition was designed to be easily understood by inhabitants of different age, even children, and having the most skeptical points of view.

Photo 24

In current age of scientific and technical progress we shouldn’t forget about history of the nuclear-power engineering development, in particular of what everything started from. Therefore at the entrance of the exhibition at the Olkiluoto NPP Information Centre we were met by Albert Einstein, whose scientific works played a great role in the development of modern physics. His works were laid in the foundation of such sciences as quantum electrodynamics, quantum field theory, atomic and nuclear physics, elementary-particle physics and other divisions of physics and astrophysicist.

Photo 4

A fuel assembly model is exhibited in all Information Centres, as well as a full-scale reactor core model. You can also come inside a reactor vessel.

Photo 5

You have also an opportunity to sit at the control unit desk as you are a principal engineer for reactor control.

The Information Centre guide explains visitors the Nuclear Power Plant structure and its principle of operation. A functional diagram of the Nuclear Power Plant structure is presented in form of electronic stand or large-scale model, in which you can find all elements of reactor and turbine halls, as well as all down to the smallest pipelines and their marking.

Photo 6

Some of such large-scale models or stands are quite expensive for NPPs, up to 2 000 000 Euro. However the NPPs administration consider availability of such models as necessary both for visitors and for personnel.

Photo 7

The Olkiluoto NPP Information Centre has some game-playing exhibits designed not only for adults but for children too, for example the exhibit “Funny Submarine”. The environmental condition of the area around Olkiluoto NPP is regular monitored since 1972. So, sitting inside this Funny Submarine we can perform the environmental monitoring on our own and give the conclusion. The conclusion, of course, is always positive.

Photo 8 or 9

In order to show visitors that we face radioactivity in our habitual life quite often than we suspect to be, the guide suggests us to measure the dose level of radiation from elements of our ordinary life and surrounded medium, such as wrist quartz-crystal watch, granite and etc.

Photo 11

Moreover in the Information Centres of Olkiluoto and ISAR NPPs there are special exhibits-devices which make radiation visible. The matter is that evolution of human and animal worlds took place in an irradiating surrounded medium. People are always affected by a background ionizing radiation coming from radioactive substances in the soils, space and etc. Every second more than 100 000 gamma-quantums clash with human body. We can’t see these gamma-quantums, but we can visualize their trajectory and traces by means of one of the exhibits presented there.

Photo 12

It was discovered during our trip that many people consider that electric power generation using wind force is more effective, chipper and safe. In witness of the opposite one of such wind generators was installed on the area of Olkiluoto NPP. Its output power is 2 kW. This amount is equal to an electric kettle consumption power. Moreover it works only while it is windy. It doesn’t look like effective enough. Would you agree with this?

Photo 13

It is not a secret that there are many people with extremely negative attitude to NPPs construction. For this purpose in almost all Information Centres the visitors are suggested to generate a couple of electric power kilowatts on their own, and to light a bulb or switch on an electric power drill, or a fan, or a mixer. So that to give them opportunity to assess the whole difficulty of this task. For this purpose a guide suggests one of the visitors to take place on the exercise bicycle and start to drive it. The exercise bicycle is connected to the above mentioned domestic electric appliances. If you drive quite fast and long, which is the most important, you will have a chance to switch on a device with the highest capacity.

Photo 14

At ISAR NPP there is similar version of the experiment with electric power generation by means of exercise bicycle, but the output power is presented there in form of diagram on an electronic panel. On the panel the bulbs light up gradually with increasing of the output power.

With a view of NPPs security the excursions do not include visit to the reactor hall and the control unit. However, at the ISAR NPP Information Centre it is possible to visit these objects directly from the Information Centre building.

The matter is that there are video cameras installed in the reactor hall and the control unit room, which can be activated from the control desk located in the conference-hall of the Information Centre. The cameras are controlled by means of joystick and they give an opportunity to watch everything inside these halls from the large-scale screen.

Photo 15

All NPPs have their own spent fuel temporary storage. In accordance with European Union Law each country is obliged to carry-out the spent fuel and nuclear wastes burial within its own area, and it is prohibited to export them abroad.

At Olkiluoto and PAKS NPPs it is possible to get special authorization from administration for visit on the site of radioactive wastes storage, where you can also watch the spent fuel treatment and the fuel bundle placement into special containers. A full-scale prototype of a copper container, which the spent fuel assemblies are subjected to be placed into, as well as the way of its burial within the rock are presented at the exhibitions of almost all Information Centres we have visited.

Photo 16

Specialists of the Olkiluoto NPP Information Centre created for their visitors the cartoons: the first is about the radwaste wastes long-term storage and the second is about Olkiluoto-3 NPP being currently constructed on the area of their Plant. These cartoons are demonstrated to the groups of visitors both in the conference-hall and in a large liquid-crystalline monitor located in the exhibition hall.

Photo 17

ISAR NPP has at its disposal video records of the spent fuel storage container testing, as well as tests of the reactor containment for crush equal in force to the crush with a small jetliner. These two and other movies are willingly demonstrated by the Information Centre specialists in the course of excursions.

Photo 18

All Information Centres have spacious conference halls and lection halls equipped with state-of-the-art audio- and video equipment for presentations performance.

Photo 19

For the purpose of inhabitants information and joining to this industrial brunch the management company issues a huge amount of literature of different sort. This literature is designed for different people accounting their age and social position and includes many informative booklets about nuclear power nature and its safety for surroundings, as well as about a nuclear power plant operation.

Photo 20

Among these documents you can find a quarterly and annular reports on NPP operation, reports on ecological situation assessment, books speaking about the NPP’s history from the date it was laid down. Moreover you will find magazines about the NPP’s staff sport and cultural life, many funny cards and bookmarks for children, depicting atoms if form of funny little men, calendars and etc.

 Photo 22

All these informative literature is normally issued in two languages, the state language and English, and our nearest neighbors from Finland issue it also in Russian. Everyone visiting the Information Centre can take these papers free of charge and in unlimited scope.

Photo 23


In order to prove the visitors that electric power production by means of nuclear power plant is completely safe for surrounded medium some NPPs use original and unexpected details in addition to a traditional content of the Information Centre exhibition. For example at PAKS NPP (Hungary) we saw a small flock of sheep walking on a grass-plot directly on site, which is proudly demonstrated to visitors by NPP guides.

Photo 27 and 28

The acquaintance with social and public sides of Hungarian atomic scientists was very cognitive and outstanding.

Owing to an active help from the side of Ms. Tatyana Kern, PAKS NPP employer and Head of Union of Hungarian Compatriots, the Care race participants visited the following objects: the rehabilitation centre and its yacht club; the fish-farm arranged on the area of former open pits and the farm with wild and rare specimens of Hungarian domestic animals, which is carefully supported by the PAKS NPP employers sponsorship.

In conclusion it is wise to point out that all this huge and painstaking efforts made by specialists of the European NPPs’ Information Centres appears to give a significant result.

Thus in accordance with data of a social questioning in Hungary the PAKS NPP accepts about 30 000 visitors every year. And for the period of last 20 yeas an average number of people having positive attitude to the Nuclear Power Plant operation comprises 70%, which is one of the best indices in Europe, and allows to recon on the government positive decision with regard to construction of new nuclear power generating units in this country.


Photo 29

Representatives of Sweden NPPs have also gained quite good results. Following data of the Sweden a social questioning more than 80% of population have positive attitude to the nuclear power engineering. Exactly owing to everyday activity of the NPPs Information Centres’ specialists during the last decade Sweden experts establish a fact of stable increasing of people sympathy to this kind of industrial brunch.

The Sweden government didn’t take a decision about new power generating units construction, but ready to give an authorization for prolongation the exploitation periods of NPPs are currently in operation.

Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | september 6, 2009

Pracht en praal in huis van armoede


Sindskort is de Nederlandse vestiging van de Hermitage open. Tot voor enige tijd was die naam voorbehouden aan het voormalige winterpaleis van de tsaren in St. Petersburg. Dit jaar is er een hermitage geopend aan de Nieuwe Herengracht in Amsterdam. Is het de moeite waard?

Door Nederlandse ogen bezien wel al was het vreemd te ontdekken dat gerechten als blini en kaviaar niet op de menukaart van het restaurant stonden. Borsj wel en dat scheelt.

De Nederlandsdevestigin g van het hermitage is gevestigd in de voormalige “Amstelhof” een diconessenhuis, een huis dus voor arme mensen. Juist daar krijgen de Nederlanders en andere bezoekers van Amsterdam nu de pracht een praal van het Russische tsarenhof voorgeschoteld.

Er is een troonzaal waar bezoekers op audiëntie gaan en te zien aan de kledingzijn het vooral mensen die de tsaren familie al kennen. De tsaar is zelf nog niet aanwezig. Er zijn kamers met uniformen, serviesgoed, schilderijen en foto’s waarvan de laatste zijn gemaakt vlak voorafgaand aan de Russische Revolutie. Het socialistisch realistisch verhaal miste ik dan ook een beetje  hoewel die kunst wel heel erg basaal en adembenemend slecht is, meestal. Kunstenaars werden  in het Sovjetrijk immers gezien als “inproductief” en konden alleen hun brood verdienen als marketingillustratoren van de Heilstaat.

Goed, toch vind ik dat die rommel bij de Russische geschiedenis hoort. Wie weet komt het er nog een van. het neemt niet weg dat de expositie prachtig en sierlijk en  stijlvol was. Opvallend is natuurlijk dat de hermitage in het vanouds kapitalistische Nederland gevestigd is in een gebouw dat voor arme mensen was be doe ld. In  St. Petersburg, Leningrad zo u wilt, richtten de communisten die volksmuseum juist in in het huis van de meest bevoorrechte familie van het land. Het kan verkeren.





Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | mei 31, 2009

Museumnacht over Rusland

Hermitage St. Petersburg

Hermitage St. Petersburg

Museumnacht in het licht

Half mei vierde Rusland zijn Museumnacht, een onderdeel van de internationale dag van het museum. Een feest van verleden in het heden. Kijk en lees. Een videoreportage staat onderaan de tekst (video program at the foot of this story) .


Ballroom dancing 3

“MUSEUMS’ NIGHT…” At night from 16th to 17th of May, 2009 the action “Museums’ Night” was carried out in all Russian cities and towns. ”Museums’ Night” – is a yearly action, devoted to The International Museums Day. On the 16th of May more than 40 museums of Saint-Petersburg, from the smallest to the biggest ones opened their doors for visitors from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Each museum has prepared a program for this particular night, the only night in the year. In the museums the visitors were proposed to see: the one-day exhibitions, concerts, performances, unusual excursions, unexpected masterclass, staged performances and historical competitions.

 fire-warden an actual head of the fire station met his guests

 During this night almost 2000 museums in Russia don’t sleep one night a year opening their doors for those who interested to see the museum in unusual period of time – in the evening and at night. This year in the frames of this event more than 40 museums, picture galleries, exhibition halls, libraries presented all the most pieces of their collections. They welcomed more than 24 thousands midnight visitors. All metro stations in Saint-Petersburg close after midnight therefore for people who expected to get home not too late some museums prepared the evening program from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. And for those who was ready to walk by the morning around the city and watch the bridges lifting up above the Neva River the museums offered to take part in the night program which lasted 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

 German solder of the 1st and Russian solder of the 2nd world war

The second year the initiator of the action “Museums’ Night” was the Culture Committee of Saint-Petersburg. The action was supported by the following public and social organizations, such as: the Committee on Youth Policy and Interaction with public organization, the Committee on Investments and Strategic Projects, Municipal tourist’s and information centre, the Transport Committee and the Central Administrative Board of Internal Affairs. The action was foregone by perfect advertising company. The web-site of the action wasn’t able to proceed with influx of visitors willing to get familiar with the program.

Peter-and-Paul Fortress

Suvorov Museum The Suvorov Memorial Museum in St. Petersburg, the historical capital city of Imperial Russia, is devoted to one of the greatest commanders of the World – Alexander Suvorov. His brilliant victories in the second half of the 18th century, in the Age of Enlightenment, Catherine the Great, and the French Revolution, not only gave territories and prestige to Russia and her European allies of that time, but also brought about glorious military traditions in Russia. Idolized by his contemporaries, “Immortal Suvorov” is popularly believed in Russia to have never lost any single battle during his decades-long combat activity in the East and the West.



The Suvorov Museum has been the first memorial museum of Russia and also the third Russian museum to be housed in a specially constructed building. It was built by Emperor Nicholas II’s decree of 1899 under the direct patronage of the Czar and opened in the presence of His Majesty in 1904. Designed by architect Alexander von Gogen and constructed between 1901 and 1904, it stylistically borrows from old Russian fortress architecture, especially from the Kremlin in Moscow, to stress the fact that the museum is dedicated to the greatest Russian military leader. 17 May 2008, The Suvorov Memorial Museum together with many other museum institutions of St. Petersburg participated in the festivity “Museums’ Night”.

Suvorov Museum_2

Despite the name of this very popular feast, the “Night” celebration started at the Suvorov Museum much earlier, at noon. This was done for young visitors, who enjoyed a fascinating presentation and theater show on the invincible Russian historic commander – Alexander Suvorov. Children and parents also attended the performance of the old famous film “Suvorov”, after which all of them took a quiz. Every boy and girl – rightly answering questions on Russian history, military, and culture – gained a present.

Suvorov Museum_4

The night festivity, as such, consisted of a few amusing parts. First of all – “Evening at Suvorov’s”, when guests of the museum were given a warm reception and treated to traditional “Suvorov’s soldierly cuisine”, including a shot of vodka and a turnip sandwich. After this, all the museum visitors had a very informative guided tour, followed by a brilliant concert of classical music. The beginning of the outdoor program “May Thunder of Victory Sound!” was marked by a six-volley artillery salute. People, attracted by the canon shooting, as well as by music and drumming, turned out to see girl-drummers show; performance of a military band, and tremendous firework in the fashion of the 18th century.

The actors in historical Russian and French uniforms revived episodes of the drilling of soldiers from the Napoleonic Age. The “Museums’ Night” ended with the film program “History in Fiction”. It was more than two thousand guests, who took part in the celebration. Many of them signed the museum’s guest book, “The program for children was extremely interesting … Children, I believe, will remember this museum… Me and my friends, being really gung-ho about the possibilities of this evening left our small town for the cultural capital of Russia – the capital of museums. We weren’t in a hurry to be in time by the beginning of the action. And it was a big mistake from our side, as afterwards it was practically impossible to get inside the most part of the museums due to long queues.

Yelagin Palace in the Central Park 1

We have bought entrance tickets, so called multi-use tickets. One ticked allowed visiting 25 of 40 museums. In reality we managed to see only 4 expositions. Moreover we faced the car parking problem. The only thing which caused joy to us was that there are many museums in Saint-Petersburg. Therefore it takes about 15 – 20 minutes walk by feet from one to another. Thus we parked our car near the Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps and started on our night journey by feet. And the first object we visited was the very Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps, where a part of exhibition is located in the open air. Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps The official date of its foundation is August 29, 1703, when by Peter the Great decreed to build a special Zeughaus – a military storehouse for armaments, uniforms, equipment, etc. on the territory of the Saint-Petersburg. In was build up on the area of Peter-and-Paul fortress for the purpose of storing and preserving old guns and cannons. Originally this had been a small wooden structure that was later rebuilt with brick. Both Russian and captured guns and cannons and further the uniform, flags and banners from the whole area of the Russian Empire that were considered to have historical value were sent to this arsenal “for remembrance and future glory.”


Pas op voor de ogen, heren!
Pas op voor de ogen, heren!

The collection numbered up to 6 000 exhibits by the late 18th century. At that time there was not such a collection of armament objects anywhere else in the world. The Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps became one of the most significant military-historical museums in the world for its more than 300 year history, a subject of national pride for Russia. It is a real temple of Russian military history, a division of eternity” within the Russian Armed Forces, as it is rightfully called. Nowadays it keeps the richest collections of weapon produced in Russia and 54 other countries all around the world since XIV century till today. These collections include personal weapon of world famous people such as Napoleon Bonaparte, the Earl Peter Shuvalov, unique experimental cannons of Andrei Nartov, Russian mechanical engineer and inventor.

Ballroom dancing

There are military uniform of different historical periods, awards, pieces of sculpture and battle painting, documents and fortresses scale models. Its doors are always open for visitors who can expect to find an exciting meeting with the military history of Russia and of other countries of the world. But that night the most interesting events have happened in the museum’s yard. Here in the open air by the camp-fires the heroes of different historical ages set up together a large military-historical camp. There were Roman legionaries, medieval chivalry, Napoleon’s, German, Austrians, Russian army solders from the periods of the First and Second World Wars, as well Red Army and fascist solders. Normally in the museums it is not allowed to touch the exhibits, not to mention putting them on, for example chivalrous armour. During that only night we got an opportunity not only to see the military uniform and weapon, but to put it on, to try ourselves in archery and arbalest shooting, to learn pieces of the military weapons and equipment. As to me, I tried to shoot with revolver Walther P-08 produced in 1908. The solders were sitting around camp-fires, remembering past times, singing war songs. They told us what did solders and army officers of different countries in world eat, drink, what did they talk and think about and what did they believe in. In frames of the this program we watched a restoration of two battle episodes from The 1st World War and one episode from The 2nd World War. On the small area in the museum yard solders and officers of Russian and German armies showed us real battle scenes. We saw everything shooting, but with blank cartridges, garnets, attacks, hand-to-hand fighting, betrayer-deserters, the killed and wounded and nurses who brought wounded solders out of the battle. And of course the VICTORY above the enemy! It was a breathtaking performance. After the action children from the guests side rushed to the trenches to take a fired cartridge cases as a memory. Peter-and-Paul Fortress As I told the museum of artillery is located on the area of Peter-and-Paul Fortress. Thus we just crossed the road and find ourselves behind the fortress wall of the Russian major political prison in XIX century. There several small but very interesting expositions opened their doors for the night guests. During the action “Museums’ Night” the fortress guest were proposed to listen a concert of different styles of music in the Central Cathedral Square, to visit a unique historical exposition of an ancient graphics as well as the workshop which currently works.

Suvorov Museum_2


We were able not only to watch, but to make by our own a lithograph or monotypy. In the restored building of Trubetskoy bastion there is a new exposition devoted to the history of the Russian major political prison for the period 1872 – 1921.


Icebreaker KRASIN

That night was the first time when the excursions were carried out in form of theater performances. History of the prison, destiny of the prisoners kept in its cells, peculiarities of regime and living conditions have been told us by the prisoners themselves, who were played by theatre actors. We have been shown three mono performances. Before the performance we’ve tasted prison porridge with meat, bred and water. One more mini-exhibition was like a miracle for us – something which is beyond the human abilities. In 2006 the International Guild of Craftsmen has opened the first Russian museum of microminiatures “Russian Levsha”. International Guild of Craftsmen – is a union of creative assemblies such as blacksmiths, designers, architects, stained glass masters, painters, puppet-makers, bards and other masters connected with art and useful arts. In Russian “Levsha” – is a name of literature hero and at the same time it means left-handed person, who always considered as non-ordinary and talented. The unique feature of the collection “Russian Levsha” is that all exhibits are smaller than one millimeter! Can you imagine this? In order to descry these pieces of work made by the Russian skilled craftsman Vladimir Aniskin it is possible only via the magnifying glasses integrated into the exhibition showcases. All these pieces of art are made sensu stricto of golden, silver, platinum dust as well as of ordinary grey domestic dust. The blacksmith’s work, casting, glass and birch bark treatment and jeweller’s art – all these useful arts allow creating amazing microminiatures. The exposition includes such exhibits as an iron-shod flea (the flea’s shoes width is 0.05mm, it is six millions times less than horseshoes), a camelcade within the eye of a needle (the camels height is 0.07-0.08 mm), an extract from the story “Levsha” written by N.S. Leskov, two printed pages on the cross-section of a rice grain, a rose on a horse-hair and many other amazing things.

We get acquainted with the secrets of the greatest Russian inventor, Levsha, and many interesting facts about left-handed person abilities.

The first World war - real battle scene

Having visited Peter-and-Paul Fortress we went to the icebreaker “KRASIN” moored near the Neva River wharf. However the queue to come on board was too long, therefore we refused to wait until the morning and decided to visit Vasilyevskaya Fire Station, which is located within five minutes of walking distance from the wharf. Vasilyevskaya Fire Station The excursion of the old fire station on Vasilyevski Island called «The Fire-Warden asks you to be his guests». The fire-warden an actual head of the fire station met his guests in the square in front of the Vasilyevskaya fire station building. Both were dressed in uniform of XIX century. That night an old garage with fire cars and equipment of XIX century opened its doors for guests. And modern fire cars were exhibited in the square in front of the building. Here everyone was allowed to take photo sitting in the car with protective uniform of the “fire battle-front solders” on. On the other side of the square people tried use the water cannon and hit the football installed on the rack with the stream of water. Having waited for 2 hours and a half we got inside and many interesting and outstanding exhibits such as: steam-driven pump produced in 1863, an old fashioned gas-mask, copper helmets, scaled figures of the fire station chiefs, which visited very often the «The Fire-Warden private office». At about 3 o’clock in the morning we went to the last aims of our journey. They were and Yelagin Island Palace and Museum. Yelagin Island Palace and Museum We have arrived to the Central Park of Culture and rest about 4 o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately we didn’t see the sunset on the Yelagin Island – the culmination of the evening celebration in the Central Park. But the visitors told us that it was nice. In the evening the guests were met by the festival hosts, the Earl Yelagin, Maria Fedorovna, the empress, with her son Alexander I, and the Earl Alessandro Cagliostro and architect Carlo di Giovanni Rossi escorted by retinue. Everyone who wanted was invited by the Earl Yelagin and the Earl Alessandro Cagliostro to have a “White Nights Dance” in the accompaniment of the brass band. In the park it was possible to buy “Lucky bouquets” and “Forged couns”, which bring your home happiness and luck. The Palace guests could have a ride in a four-in-hand carriage around the park, put on a historical dresses, camisoles, ladies hats with plume and cocked hats, dance, taste royal food in the cafe and take photos in the palace halls, which were constructed by Carlo di Giovanni Rossi. Doors of the palace were wellcoming people fom the sunset till the sunrise. In each hall there were excursions, minispectacles. It looked like the historical characters were still living in the palace. When we came into the livingroom we saw three men and a lady dressed in masked suits; they were playing pocker. Our giude told us that in that particulr hall the empress and her guests had parties, amused, played chese and pocker, had polite and conversations. Every hour the Earl Alessandro Cagliostro performed his short magic performances. Among the other societarian entertaiments there were the “Royal hunting with hounds” in the meadow. Near the Yelagin Palace it was possible to buy some national homecraft goods and have a cap of tea from origin Russian samovar (like kettle but heated with coal and woodden chips). As to we, I bought a glove puppet, a hedgehog. I gave him an old Russian name – Evlampiy.

Crowd of people in front of museum

Everything I told is just a small part of those available for visitors that white night in Saint-Petersburg. So much the better for us – we have so many interesting events and meetings to come. And you too… It was great! Not a single minute there was boring! I invite all of you to our Northern Venice. Saint-Petersburg is more than usually wonderful and mysterious during the white nights period. May be that is the main reason, why or citizens like visiting museums at night. You are always welcome



Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | mei 10, 2009

De thuisloze viervoeters van St. Petersburg





Wie met de trein in St. Petersburg aankomt, zal vermoedelij uitstappen bij het centraal station, het Baltische Station zoals het heet. Eenmaal buiten het gebouw ziet de reiziger ze onmiddellijk: de zwerfhonden dan St. Petersburg. Ze zitten er al vele tientallen jaren en volgen elkaar soms op van negeratie tot generatie, een andere keer zijn er nieuwkomers. Ze verzoenen zich en vormen een harmonisch gezelschap dat genoeg heeft aan zichzelf en alleen zo nu en dan wat voedsel verwacht. Waar komen al die thuisloze viervoeters vandaan en waar gaan ze heen?



Take me home

Take me home

“A dog becomes a hard-bitten due to the dog’s life only…”


Straying dogs – Who are they, our enemies or friends???

Where does everything start from?

A small path runs through a grove, little bridge, goes by gardens and leads to a ramshackle wooden fence. Dark windows of a shabby tin roofed single-floor building keep gloomy silence about its real destination. The inscription visible on the fence board says: «All-Union Society for the Protection of Animals. Cats’ and dogs’ orphanage «Ilinka». Somewhere far beyond the fence we hear a rolling dogs’ monkey chatter. There is a red dog idly outstretched in front of the gates near the dustbins. Some more shaggy haired strays are trying to manage with big meat heap dispersing dozens of flies. Right here in the corner under the bell there is a gnawed head of a cattle looking like a warder. And finally, as if to excuse for such sad picture, we see a wooden plate on the gates with notification – “QUARANTINE”. These were the last days of orphanage existence….

The orphanage «Ilinka», holding about four hundred dogs and cats today and existing on sponsors’ finding hasn’t being functioning for a year. It means it doesn’t accept new animals. The building of the orphanage was erected before 1917. During its 16-years history “Ilinka”, in which life the town administration didn’t show any interest, sank into complete degradation: the fence became ramshackle, open-air cages and window frames have decayed, there was no hot water. But there is a hope for these poor animals will have happy future. The matter is that a new orphanage building for cats and dogs is being constructed in the adjacent district on the same sponsors’ funding. There will be reliable roof, spacious cages and an open-air place for walking.


Harmonisch samenzijn


Nevertheless, where does everything start from? In essence it starts from nothing… Animals are always been kicked-out to the street due to the most prosaic reasons – whether an owner has died, or the animal became boring for the people. But the fastest way to become a stray is to be born a “mongrel”. Large “families” grow up in the gateways and basements, in the rear yards, nearby the large enterprises canteens…And their fate has already predetermined – to gallivant about supermarkets, houses and metro station doorways searching for food and warm place. Further the animal fate will develop according to one of the three scenario – it will finish its age in the street, either will be take to the orphanage and get a hope to find a new home, or fall into the hands of the town’s animal control service. By the way activities of the last one, which considered as necessary, induces panic and horror in the town-dwellers, because methods they use can be called as sadistic.

I am not pleased to introduce my compatriots and my country in this perspective. Nevertheless, in Russia the homeless animals became as customary as lampposts. Meanwhile there are only a few orphanages and all of them live owing to sponsors’ money. According to the words of such orphanages constitutors the cities and towns’ administration have neither willing, nor wish to manage with this problem. It is not advisable to spend money for feeding, treatment and sterilization of an animal which doesn’t represents any value for the city. We have to learn after our foreign neighbors and take their experience. I doubt whether you’ll find any homeless dog in Germany, even if you do your best. This problem was solved more than twenty years ago by means of complete sterilization of all dogs and cats.

Developed countries have more successful experience than Russia. These countries have special systems for animal population and holding monitoring, which join municipal services (Animal Control) and public organizations.


Zerven tot er een huis opdoemt

Zerven tot er een huis opdoemt

Unfortunately in Russia the question concerning the homeless animals sterilization still remains open. Frequently cats and dogs get to the street after death of their aged owners. At the same time, specialized clinics where pensioners could sterilize their domestic animals are not wide spreaded. Moreover price for such operation in local banian hospitals is quite high in comparison with amount of the aged people pension. Moscow governmental regulation about prohibition of the homeless animals killing and beginning of mass sterilization came into force only from October 1st, 2002.

The amount of homeless animals in Saint-Petersburg by the end of 2008 comprised about 10 000 individuals. In 2006 the government of Saint-Petersburg has assigned 845 000 rubles ( 27.000 euro) from the city budget for implementation of wiled animal sterilization program and 1500 dogs have been treated. For the beginning of March, 2009 more than 7000 dogs were sterilized. Unfortunately it is practically impossible to set them even somewhere, because our not numerous private orphanages are catastrophically overloaded, and many people keep more than one pet adopted from the street in their flats. Due to the existing situation many needless cats and dogs, which were kicked-out to the streets and found themselves in trouble through peoples’ fault, are suffering and die. And at present moment it is quite difficult to help them even having an enormous desire.

“Homeless business”

Often in the streets of cities and towns, near the buss and railway stations you can face a sad picture. The cardboard boxes generously filled with kittens, puppies and grown-up dogs sitting nearby and carrying in their teeth for the whole day a plastic pail for “donations” with handwritten notes such as “for animal’s food” or “to support the orphanage”, and etc. Unfortunately it was quite habitual picture for Russian people till recently.

It is unlikely that such kind of spectacle leaves someone indifferent. Therefore a crowd of deeply touched people gathers around these boxes. They open their purses and leave their money for the purpose of “good deed”. Profiteering in peoples’ compassion – is a basement for a stable and gainful business, where the homeless animals are just means for gaining money, which doesn’t costs a lot. The matter is that at the end of the day these hungry and tormented animals are usually getting back to the dumps and streets of their usual stay in stead of orphanages. Next day new kittens and puppies will work in the street in the cardboard boxes. In some cases in the city there is a special net, in frames of which straying animals are collected in the gardens, dumps and basement floors of buildings and sold to a second-hand dealer at a price of 5 – 10 rubles.(35 eurocent)  Frequently an unsuspicious people bring their puppies or kittens in such kind of box and leave several hundreds rubles for “further feeding and keeping”. They indeed believe that they have found the best way for solution their problem and better conditions for the pets. The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights struggle with such kind of business time and again. But the points closed in one districted of the city appears in another one. All these measures are ineffective until our law machinery won’t take the situation under the strict control.


Een hondenleven is niet goed genoeg

Een hondenleven is niet goed genoeg


Charitable organizations, funds and orphanages

It would be unfair to show just only negative side of this issue. Certainly there are some charitable organizations, funds and orphanages, which worse to be mentioned, such as Charitable Fund «Straying Dogs Aid» and Homeless animals assistance centre “Poterjashka”. The Charitable fund «Straying Dogs Aid» was established in 2002 at the expenses of the founders’ own funding. One of the principles of the fund operation is a feedback between the former and potential owners. The patronage system arranged in the frames of this organization and performed by its members allows tracing further life of a dog after it was adopted by new family. In case of careless attitude from the side of the new owner the dog is withdrawn and brought back to the orphanage kept by this fund. Saying the truth the fund is not able to adopt all homeless animals. As a rule they accept dogs having occurred in trouble — got run over, maimed by teenagers, been deserted after the owner death.

Unfortunately the «Straying Dogs Aid» is not physically able to accept all dogs requiring help therefore they pay great attention to the finding of new families for their pets. After all, the faster a dog from the orphanage finds new family, the quicker they will be able to help the other one. Upon arrival to the orphanage each dog receives personal card, which contains all data about vaccination, sterilization, reasons for acceptance into the orphanage, information about its physical state in case of discovering any illnesses, as well as date and address of the dog’s new family.

The Charitable fund «Straying Dogs Aid» has a website, where people can choose new pet from the catalogue. In the catalogue all dogs are classified by age categories, to make the searching procedure easy for the dogs’ future owners. The “Straying Dogs Aid” is partly hospice, because one of their principles is to «do their best for saving animal’s life». Owing to this there are many aged dogs kept in this orphanage. They understand that it is more difficult to find new owner for the aged dog, but they sincere hope that while choosing the pet people are guided not only by the dog’s age but by its personal characteristics.

The Homeless animals assistance centre “Poterjashka” works in Saint-Petersburg since 1996. During the period of 12 years there were registered about 98000 dogs (lost dogs – 21000, returned to their owners – 63000 thousands and waiting for their new families – 14000), and about 14000 cats. Owing to the centre operation more than 10 000 animals were returned to the families, 11000 have found new homes. These are the highest results in Saint-Petersburg among the other companies dealing with the wild animals’ problem. All data presented by “Poterjashka” are trustworthy positive, as they have a strict system of the work results registration, as well as a statistical calculation for the period of the centre existence.

“Poterjashka” is financed due to the expenses of sponsors, citizen donations and charitable contributions earmarked for a special purpose. The members of the centre appreciate very much any cooperation and any help. Homeless animals assistance centre “Poterjashka” – is the only protective organization in Saint-Petersburg, which is a member of the World Society for Protection of animals – WSPA.

Actions in defence of straying animals

On 28th and 29th of March, 2009 approximately 30 Russian cities took part in the first All-Russian Action in defence of straying animals. The target of this action was to attract attention to the problem of the homeless animals protection from cruelty. The action carried out in form of mass-meetings, picketing, processions and other measures. In some cities people collected signatures under appeal for animals defence to be addressed to the president of the Russian Federation. Such large geographic scale action has been carried out in Russia for the first time. It means that many people in our country worry about the problem of the homeless animals extermination. They desire the orphanages to be built up and the sterilization program to be released.

One more action – “Send SMS – and support “Poterjashka” was arranged on the website of this centre. Now anyone is able to support the construction of a new orphanage “Teremok”. According to the conditions people are suggested just to send SMS with the word “Teremok” to a certain number. The small brick in form of 35 rubles – the cost of the SMS – will be placed into the basement of the new orphanage wall, which is going to become a saving oasis for hundreds and thousands animals…

Epilogue. Nevertheless, who are they, our enemies or unfortunates…? And who is guilty…?

Actually hordes of straying dogs turned into a real problem and danger for citizens of Saint-Petersburg, Moscow and many other towns and cities of Russia. Undoubtedly, that the homeless animals are dangerous for the people. The hordes of straying dogs can be compared to the horde of wolves due to its structure of arrangement and danger they present. They have strict hierarchy headed by a leader. Bobbery packs occupy a certain area and consider it as their own inseparable property. Therefore they protect this area both from people and from their like. They are ready to attack any stranger passing across the invisible border of this area. If the straying dogs horde has occupied the certain district long time ago and fills enough power, it can attack without ceremonies. In the first place it is related to those who appear on the area with their own canine friend. In this case it is a real danger both for human being and his dog peacefully following nearby on a lead. The cases of a surprise attack from the side of homeless dogs against simply walking people aren’t infrequent. The street dogs have their own logic, which is difficult but possible to understand. And, as it was find out, sometimes they become real killers – there are victims among citizens, but not all the time…

The solitary animal’s behavior is quite different. They are not so aggressive. Frequently they are lost, kicked-out, threaten by humans and the other dogs. Human nature is a very strange and unaccountable. From one side we say that these animals are dangerous and being scared we try to keep them off with stone, or call for a special service in order to get rid of them. We even have found one of the most effective ways how to threaten a single straying dog. In case the dog stays or lays on your way and fills with consternation and threat by its appearance, you just need to bend forward, touch the ground, just to make a believe that you are going to pick up a stone or a stick. The dog immediately stands up and makes off with the tail between legs and without any sign of aggression. But if you along against a horde of dogs, I don’t know how to behave…It is dangerous and impossible to run away the horde of dogs. The only thing I know, you shouldn’t express your fear.

From the other side such qualities as compassion, sympathy, willing to help everyone needy are inherent to human nature. Surely not everyone is able to take home a dog or a cat from the street especially grown up with a certain character. Moreover we afraid of infection; and medical treatment is quite expensive and not everyone can bear it. We also unable to open our own orphanage, as it is very difficult from financial side and require a huge amount of official papers and authorizations to be obtained. That is why we become to feed them. We leave pipkins with food and water or milk near our front doors. The servants of canteens feed up the whole families with puppies thus helping them to live and reproduce and turn from one funny family into a large horde. Most likely this horde will meat their so called “owners” every day with joyful barking and fawning. But they can attack anyone encroaches upon their area.

Near our small town, Sosnovy Bor, on the area of sanatorium-preventorium located close to the Kopanskoye Lake I have found two dogs “families”. One family looks like Alsatian dogs, the other like chow-chow. The puppies have one father and different mothers. Every day in the morning and in the evening they meat and see off the busses with vacationists. They look at them ingratiatingly and asking. People who come there for rest always bring them different delicacies from home and local canteen. Puppies look quite well-fed and joyful. Sometimes they do not eat even sausage. So, they are not so hungry, because they are fed up at local canteen. It is unlikely that these very dogs can be considered as dangerous and aggressive for the sanatorium visitors. Dogs are very clever animals. I think these two families, as well as many like them understand their dependence on surrounding people. Moreover they always were loved and never feel cruelty and aggression from the side of visitors and servants. And they make reprisals.

And in their eyes I read: “Please take me home, but don’t throw me away back to the street before leaving on holidays!”

Thank you on behalf of the dogs,



Waar ben je nou?

Waar ben je nou?


Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | februari 23, 2009

Rusland en zijn vrouwen

Het begint al bij de blik in de ogen. Russische vrouwen dragen in hun ogen het hele verhaal van verwondering, verlangen en nieuwsgierigheid naar de toekomst. Dat ziet er heel wat beter uit dan de ogen van westerse vrouwen die vooral sjagrijn uitdrukken omdat ze nog steeds niet hebben wat ze zien als hun recht.

Russische vrouwen zijn opwindender en uitdagender dan westerse vrouwen. Ze snakken naar warmte en genegenheid en willen niets liever dan een beschermende arm om hun schouders. Westerse vrouwen denken bij warmte en genegenheid: “hè? Ik heb al geld hoor, ik ben economisch zelfstandig. Voor hen is de man net als de kinderen niet veel meer dan een speeltje en een opsiersel aan hun materialistische bestaan. Zodra ze last veroorzaken, gaan ze met het grof vuil mee. Ciska Dresselhuys heeft met haar schendblaadje Opzij  en haar gehamer op economische onafhankelijkheid er geen goed aan gedaan.

Nee, dan de Russische vrouw die warmte en genegenheid nodig heeft vanwege het politieke en economische harde klimaat. Vrouwen in Rusland zijn minstens zo geëmancipeerd als in het westen. Vooral de hoger opgeleiden onder hen, en dat zijn er zeer velen, trouwen jong. Hoog opgeleide Russische vrouwen trouwen als ze tussen de 20 en 25 zijn. Dan dragen ze zorg voor veel kinderen om hun man vast te houden omdat die nu eenmaal kan bijdragen aan de stabilieit van hun bestaan. Dat brengt met zich mee dat ze tegelijkertijd ook nog wel eens graag de arm en nog veel meer van een vreemde man willen voelen. De leeftijd van die arm of welk ander lichaamsdeel dan ook, doet er in beginsel minder toe. Hun echtgenoot was vaak wel een vroege maar niet altijd de beste keuze.

De toegankelijkheid van Russische vrouwen vindt haar basis daarin maar ook in de wijze van emanciperen. vrouwen met een hoge opleiding en/of functie weten dat zij zichzelf hebben ontwikkeld ten behoeve van de gemeenschap, het collectief, niet alleen maar ter meerdere eer en glorie van zichzelf. Gisteren vroeg iemand aan mij of dat nog steeds zo was en ja, het is nog steeds zo. Tenslotte zijn de huidige twenners in Rusland allemaal nog in of vlak na het communistische regiem geboren. Hun normen en waardenpatroon hebben zij dan ook daaaraan ontleend. En de regimes na het rode bewind onderscheidden zich daarvan niet door een mindere waardering voor de nationale eenheid. Vooral Poetin heeft een fors beroep gedaan op het Russische, nationale en collectieve bewustzijn.

Russische zijn daardoor meer op samenleving en andere mensen gericht dan westerse geëmancipeerde vrouwen. En… laten we duidelijk zijn: Russische vrouwen kennen niet of nauwelijks een glazen plafond. Ze bewegen zich met het grootste gemak in hoge functies en posities, technisch of sociaal van aard. Dat geldt ook voor een ogenschijnlijk manlijk bolwerk als de krijgsmacht of politie.  Alleen de politiek, dat is toch nog vooral een mannenterrein. So what? 


Nee, Derk Sauwer zal er niet snel toe komen een Russische versie van Opzij uit te geven. Een dergelijk trutterig, navelstaarderig blaadje hebben de vrouwen van Rusland niet nodig.

Dat geldt overigens vooral voor de hoog opgeleide, jonge vrouwen. Jammer is dat Russische vrouwen snel oud worden en soms ook verschrikkelijk dik. het harde bestaan en het repressieve maatschappelijke klimaat eisen hun tol. Na hun 45e begint bij de meesten een soort ontvrouwelijking, misschien gaat die ook hand in hand met de overgang. Oudere Russische vrouwen verliezen veel van de glans die ik eerder vermeldde en dat is in het westen dan weer niet het geval.

Laten we eerlijk zijn: er zijn uitzonderingen en wie denkt dat ook dat niets met politiek te maken heeft, moet niet aan politiek doen. 

Tot sterkte,

Kaj Elhorst



Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | februari 19, 2009

Russen houden van hun milieu


Sosnovy Bor en de schoonmaakactie

Ooit was het in de USSr de gewoonte om op Zaterdag de stad schoon te maken. De inwoners deden dat maar nu de commu7nisten het veld hebben moeten ruimen, is die traditie ook verleden tijd. Toch togen de inwoners van Sosnovy Bor (ongeveer 80 km z.o. van St.Petersburg, aan de Baltische Zee) aan hetw erk, kinderen, militairen en vele anderen deden er met succes aan mee.


Goed nog om te vermelden is dat Sosnovy Bor in de tijd van de USSR is gesticht speciaal om de personeelsleden van een atoomcentrale te huisvesten. Opmerkelijk is dat Elena denkt dat Nederlanders dit soort acties archaïsch vinden maar ook wij kenne opruimacties in buurten en wijken en…inderdaad ook als sociaal programma. Veel leesplezier als is het wat zwaardere kost dan de beide vorige artikelen. 

Kaj Elhorst




If you have met in our town people in green T-shirts and green baseball caps,

it means you saw the “Clear Nature” action participants


Professional activity of any society influences the human culture and life and the last one in its turn influences the environment. I live in a small town, Sosnovy Bor, close to Saint-Petersburg. We call our beloved Sosnovy Bor an “atomic town”, as it town was built up 35 years ago for the people who were going to work at the future nuclear power plant. The nuclear power plants pioneer builders in Russia have chosen for these purposes a unique natural complexes with beautiful lakes, rivers, sea gulfs coasts. They have prudently erected comfort and cozy atomic towns and laid the foundation of the surrounded medium cautious treatment traditions.


Unfortunately in the modern society, taking into account a furious speed of life, the adults often have no time to inculcate the tradition of their youth in their children. The job takes them too much time and leaves less time for children upbringing. The epoch of Communistic Saturday cleaning of the town’s area – “subtonics” sank into oblivion long time ago.


Having assessed a sad state of our surrounding nature, the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant (LNPP) administration called our inhabitants to have a clear-up of the Finish Gulf coastal zone and coastal park area. After all the people of Sosnovy Bor spend a huge part of their free time in summer on the open air and on the coast of our beautiful gulf. All our local mass media took an active part in spreading this call for help: such as the newspapers «Mayak», «Terra-Press» and «Sosnovoborskiy Stroitel», radio-station «Baltic Bereg», TV-company «Sosnovy Bor TV»,as well as TV and radio-company «Terra-Studio».


LNPP Information Department in cooperation with «Terra-Studio» have issued a special press-release «POMOI-ka» with pictures of the area subjected for cleaning – a beloved pleasure resort of our inhabitants and guests of our town. The newspaper was spreaded among all enterprises and schools of our town.


This initiative was supported by the administration of town council, State Corporation «Rosatom», Concern «Rosenergoatom» and Confederacy of underwater activities of the Russian Federation, as well as all social organizations and institutions such as: tourist club «Uventa», Party «Green Russia», local departments of different political parties, youth movement «NASHI», as well as youth organizations from, representatives of Scientific and research and designing institutes, civil-building Concern «TITAN-2» and many others…


Representatives of the Kalinin, Smolensk and Leningrad NPPs youth organizations were working there as volunteers. Being an active member of LNPP «Youth atomic scientist organization» I together with my friends and colleagues took part in this action as volunteer. Our team included two more volunteers from Kalinin and Smolensk NPPs and 30 schoolboys and girls. Each group was given a map of their area, plastic bags for wastes, shovels, rakes and barrows. With the cleaning completion a truck drove from one sector to another and took off plastic bags full with wastes.


The town inhabitants have supported LNPP idea very actively. Having arrived to our beloved pleasure resorts, which we clean every spring, we were very impressed to discover a huge scope of bottles, paper, plastic bags, metal spare parts and other wastes left by people.


Starting from 6th June divers from diving club “White Seal”, students and candidates of Arctic & Antarctica University, from Saint-Petersburg joined to our action. Young people were cleaning the bottom of the Finish Gulf in the area of the town central pier. Looking for wastes was quite difficult due to lack of visibility under water caused by light storm in the morning, which stirred the sand from the bottom. However they managed to lift up from the bottom some pieces. The first ting the “White Seal” divers have found was an old rusty pan. Heaven knows how it got there! Fortunately it turned out that the Gulf was less contaminated than the overland.


During the period of the “ecological action” form 27th May to 9th June, 2008 more than 1100 people took part in it. As a result of this activity the total area of nine square kilometers was cleaned from wastes. We have removed more than 3600 bags full with small and 7 dump-trucks with large-scale steel and wooden wastes. The youngest participant of the action was four years old.


School boys and girls were very enthusiastic to respond to the call for cleaning our town from wastes. Upon arrival to the place of destination they started working with a fervent zeal. They were so much enthusiastic, that it seamed to be not enough wastes for all of them. They even removed by hands all broken bottles glass pieces from the ground, moss and needle on the coastal park. Most of the area sectors were cleaned long before the trucks arrived to take the bags out.


The view of all treated area has changed immediately; the grass and the forest became greener and fresher. The bank of the Kovash river looked in a new fashion.


We hope that next time when our inhabitants come to these beautiful places to have a rest and spend a pleasant time they will see this clearness, appreciate our hard work and take their empty bottles, tissue paper, chips packs and other wastes with them and put into special containers.


The ecological action organizers decided not to stop just at cleaning the town and coastal area. To continue our struggle for clean nature we are going to issue a newspaper «POMOI-ka», create a website with the same name and open the Internet forum to discuss the current problems and ecological issues. It will be a joint project of the Leningrad NPP information department and local mass media (radio-station «Baltic Bereg», TV-company «Sosnovy Bor TV»,



Probably for the people in Holland such way of cleaning the town, coastal and forest areas seems to be an archaism and out-of-date in time of technical progress represented by different special refuse collectors. But this event is not only a cleaning; it is a kind of pedagogical action. Sometimes it is not enough just to say or show on TV to both many adults our and their children that it is much easier to put the wastes into special containers than to clean all these wastes in one time. It is required to give them opportunity to learn at first hand what a hard work is it.


As to me, I would arrange such ecological actions every month during the spring – autumn period, because one-time action don’t solve problem as a whole, but just a part of it. There are many other contaminated places in Sosnovy Bor.


Speaking in general, I would wish our citizens to live according to the principle «Out nature and town will be clean when we stop making a mess, but not when we start removing it». When I have my own children I’ll bring them up by the example of myself. I think it the best and effective way of acculturation in the growing up generation.


See you one time in Sosnovy Bor!  Elena (Kaj, my Dutch press partner went already there!)






Gepost door: Kaj Elhorst | februari 18, 2009

Binnenkort op deze site

Binnenkort verschijnen hier atikelen over:

– milieu-actie in Rusland, hoe de jeugd zich inzet;

– de zwerfhonden van St. Petersburg, dierenvrienden in Rusland.



Older Posts »