Articles by Vladimir Kovalyev



Prosecutors' Warnings Are Not Enough

The Prosecutor General's Office acts like a lazy worker who, after his employers tell him to do something, does everything possible to avoid it.

Soviet Icicles And Red Tape

This winter the St. Petersburg city government introduced a new invention to protect residents from falling icicles, which kill or seriously injure several people in the city each year.

St. Pete's New Look Under Fire

As St. Petersburg's City Hall plans to introduce new restrictions on what can be built in the city center, Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the State Hermitage Museum, has produced a list of some of the city's newest buildings that he says should be demolished.

Still Not Sorry for Soviet Crimes

For the last couple of months, I have been wondering what is wrong with the Russian political elite.

No Piece of Cake to Restore St. Pete

St. Petersburg construction companies have an extraordinary appetite, especially when they are licking their lips over the pie at the center of the city.

Kremlin-Free TV News Sight for Few Sore Eyes

Information is a rare commodity these days, especially if viewers are looking for objective coverage of events in Russia.

Still Toying With Kaliningrad

The fate of a million people seems little more than a political game to the Russian authorities, and this is, I bet, exactly how the residents of the Kaliningrad exclave feel after listening for more than a decade to the Kremlin's empty promises to make their lives better.

Managers Without Borders

I wonder if St. Petersburg City Hall is brave enough to let the foreign company that plans to get into the cleaning business this year serve as an example to local providers of communal services.

The Kremlin's Double Standards

I don't want to insult the people in charge of Russia's foreign policy, but the recent behavior of officials toward the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe resembles a bull in a china shop.

Time to Fight Hate Crimes, Not Just Talk

This week, a group of State Duma deputies made it clearer than ever that certain members of parliament have disturbing sympathies with both Nazism and Bolshevik red nationalism.

Nothing Changes in Horrible Hospitals

This week, I read in the local media about disturbing events at a maternity hospital.

City Officials Should Beware of Pensioners

Unless she has a death wish, St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko shouldn't use public transportation.

Sympathy for the National Bolsheviks

It's nothing new to say that the court system acts in favor of the authorities, whether it is dealing with so-called tax violations allegedly committed by Yukos management or the latest openly unconstitutional presidential initiative to take away the right of the population to elect the heads of regions.

Candidates Need to Meet and Greet

When reading local newspapers over the last two months, I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that St. Petersburg authorities have finally understood that they need to do something to boost public interest in municipal elections.

Police: Crime Against Foreigners Rare

Contradicting foreign students who say they are facing an increasing number of racially motivated attacks, the Interior Ministry said that crimes against foreigners are rare.

The Vicious Circle of State Interference

Last month, a big Estonian company was planning a conference on investment in Russia that was supposed to take place in Tallinn, but it never took place at all, thanks to the extremely ""productive"" work of Russian diplomats, conference organizers reported.

Stadium Beats Homes in St. Pete

In the face of strong public opposition and protests from local lawmakers, St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko has dropped plans to build an elite residential complex on the site of the Kirov Stadium on Krestovsky Island.

Property Deals at Risk of Stalling Next Year

All real estate deals in St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad region may stall from Jan. 1 due to the bureaucratic problems that are expected to erupt when the two sides' property registers are united, real estate agencies and lawyers said.

'They Don't Get Paid for Carrying People'

A small party last week at the apartment of a friend who lives in the city center ended up with me and three other guests carrying an old woman from her apartment to an ambulance downstairs.

Ukraine's Commendable Channel 5

How dynamic and tense, I thought, while watching Ukrainian television on Sunday night.

St. Pete Press Institute Ordered Out

The Regional Press Institute, where opposition politicians, environmentalists, journalists and others have found an open forum to express their viewpoints, has been ordered to vacate its premises in what the institute and its supporters fear is an attack on free speech.

Zhirik Drinks at Starovoitova's Grave

Vladimir Zhirinovsky's bodyguards on Friday ripped open a tent built by friends of slain Deputy Galina Starovoitova over her grave to keep him away.

In Defense of the Lowly Kiosk

City Hall has started a fight against kiosks in St. Petersburg, refusing to extend agreements with traders who operate in public places, such as bus stops or train stations.

Governor's Son Eyes VTB Post

The son of Governor Valentina Matviyenko may soon be appointed to a top post at the St. Petersburg office of Vneshtorgbank.

Governor's Iron Fist Reaches Only So Far

Governor Valentina Matviyenko learns something new about St. Petersburg every day. Last weekend she made an unexpected discovery during an inspection of the Nevsky district.

Privileged Citizens of the Month

As far as I understand, Ukrainian citizens have become the most privileged people in Russia, at least until Nov. 21, when the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine is scheduled to take place.

500 Protesters Denounce Racism in St. Petersburg

More than 500 protesters chanted, ""Shame, shame!"" at a weekend rally to decry what they called city authorities' indifference toward racism, and Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, warned that quick action was needed to deal with racial intolerance.

Valentina the Great Insults the Russian People

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko has finally revealed her attitude to her constituents this week by, basically, saying she regards them as a thoughtless mob that cannot be relied upon to make their own decisions.

Customs Inspectors Accused of Smuggling From Finland

Federal investigators have uncovered a criminal group of customs inspectors whose smuggling activities cost the state budget $30 million, local media reported last week, citing sources in Northwest customs.

Weighing the Ambulance Factor

The way that drivers respond to ambulances is one indication of what life is like in a particular country, said a friend from Canada who visited St. Petersburg a few months ago.