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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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130 Years of History at the City Zoo

You've probably heard about the trophy art taken from Germany at the end of World War II. But what about the trophy animals at the Moscow Zoo? Among the treasures that found their way from Germany to Moscow in 1944 were a Mississippi alligator named Saturn and a dark tiger python called Hitler. The 53-year-old alligator, still thriving, is the zoo's most senior citizen. Hitler passed away years ago. Such was some of the trivia offered by workers in the zoo's education department on Friday, the 130th anniversary of Russia's oldest zoo. ""The phone has been ringing like crazy,"" said Olga Nisterenko, who can recite a history of the zoo faster than a chattering chimpanzee. ""Everyone wants to write about the anniversary."" The 130th anniversary may not seem worth going ape over, but such milestones are observed diligently in Russia. And this year, at least, the zoo has some good news to report.

Still Wanted: Blueprint for 'Superparty'

Creating a ""presidential party"" has been the talk in Moscow's corridors of power lately, but according to officials contacted Monday there are as many ideas about what the new superparty should be as there are advisers whispering in President Boris Yeltsin's ear. It should be ""a wide united process, a movement aimed at supporting Yeltsin for the presidency in 1996,"" said Lev Ponomaryov, a veteran reformist from the Democratic Russia movement. ""At the beginning our party ought to be small, but with strong and tough discipline,"" said Vyacheslav Kostikov, Yeltsin's press secretary, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta's Saturday edition. The party ""ought not to be directly linked to the president,"" Mikhail Mityukov, a former Kremlin aide now in the Duma, said Monday. Yeltsin said last Dec. 22 that he was considering forming a new party, in the wake of election results 10 days before.

AIDS/ HIV Center Opens

Russia's first non-governmental resource center to help people with AIDS and the HIV virus opened Monday. The AESOP center, whose name is an acronym for An Effective Shield of Prevention, was praised by Anatoly Solovyov, head of the Moscow City Health Department. ""Since the problem of AIDS is a serious and a widespread one, it is very important that organizations take part in the campaign,"" he said. The opening ceremony was attended by more than 100 activists and representatives of Moscow's gay community. The hall was decorated with memorial patchwork quilts dedicated by friends of those who have died of AIDS. Condoms were freely available. ""The main mission of the AESOP center is to carry the message of the necessity of safe sex,"" said Irina Savelyeva, the center's co-founder. According to Mikhail Narkevich, head of the national anti-AIDS program, government statistics show that 714 Russians are HIV positive and 128 of them suffer from AIDS.

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