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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chasing Moscow's Storm Clouds Away

The last few nice days of summer are now upon us, but Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov is taking no chances with the weather for the upcoming City Day.

It has become known to our correspondent that the Moscow City Government has taken measures to ensure good weather for City Day and to chase away any clouds that may be around by firing a special substance from cannons mounted on aircraft.

Yury Luzhkov has even discussed this subject with the head of the City Engineering Department, Alexander Matrossov, and has ordered him "to take measures to guarantee good weather for Sept. 3 and 4."

In preparation for City Day, the Engineering Department will also be making repairs to the square in front of Byelorussky Station and will be straightening the marble work around the eternal flame near the Kremlin.

Kuranty, August 25

Yeltsin In Good Health

As President Boris Yeltsin heads to Sochi for a vacation, it seemed appropriate to the newspaper Trud to check up on the state of his health.

Boris Yeltsin is in excellent shape. He plays tennis, swims in the ocean and does quite a bit of walking. This was what the chairperson of the State Committee of the Russian Federation on Physical Fitness, Shamil Tarpishchev, reported to our correspondent.

"In general, our government is very active in sports," Tarpishchev said. "In soccer matches between the government and the mayor's office, the ministers' team usually wins."

Trud, August 23

Hunting for Mushrooms

It is now mushroom season and already news of the first poisonings is coming in.

A correspondent for Itar-Tass reports from Chelyabinsk that 15 people there have been hospitalized and new cases continue to be reported at the local toxicological clinic. The patients all swear that they ate only safe mushrooms. Could it be that the good mushrooms have turned bad?

No, says Lidia Tereshkova, head of the hygiene department of the State Sanitation Inspectorate. Whenever a case of mushroom poisoning results in failure of the liver and kidneys, the culprit is always the blednaya poganka.

The number of poisoning cases so far this year is considerably smaller than for 1993 and 1992. In 1993, there were 361 case of poisoning and 29 deaths in the 14 territories of the Russian Federation. In 1992, there were more than 500 cases and 33 deaths. This year, in addition to the cases near Chelyabinsk, there have been 23 poisonings and two deaths in the Khabarovsk region. How can people get poisoned by these mushrooms when even a completely illiterate person knows perfectly well that eating one is the same as being bitten by the most poisonous snake? The answer is that when the weather is particularly dry, this mushroom takes on an appearance similar to that of the benign syroyezhka.

Of course, an experienced mushroom hunter will not make this mistake, but due to our current economic difficulties the forests are full of thousands of diletantes.

In short, specialists advise people to be very careful with mushrooms. Throw away any that are even slightly suspicious. Do not feed them to children or the elderly or to people with digestive disorders.

Izvestia, August 20

A Sunny Day at VDNKh

Muscovites and visitors to the city continue to flock to the Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh), which has been renamed the All-Russian Exhibition Center -- though that name has not yet stuck.

Today the exhibition has turned into an enormous trading center. They have everything there: banks, companies, stores, restaurants. There you can buy a foreign car or a live turtle. Pompous statues look down in bewilderment at the human anthill around them. Some happy person is carting away a new video player, while someone else is dozing on a bench with his face covered with a newspaper. Lovers are kissing, the poor ask for alms and young people take pictures of one another in front of the fountains.

Despite the bustle, many come here not to buy things, but just to walk around. Moscow does not have many places where one can spend the whole day with one's family. But at VDNKh, the fountains gurgle as they did in the old days, the grass is green and music is in the air.

Moskovskaya Pravda, August 23

Tretyakov Reopens

Finally, the entire city is breathless with anticipation of the grand reopening of the Tretyakov Gallery.

The newspapers have been joyfully reporting that the Tretyakov Gallery will reopen for City Day on Sept. 4. However, in all fairness, it will not actually open then. Despite weekly visits by Mayor Yury Luzhkov and his active interest, the gallery will not actually open any earlier than November.

The reconstruction is now winding up. The roof has been repaired and all the water has been removed from the basement. The lighting problems are now a thing of the past.

On Aug. 4, workers brought in the first paintings: Alexander Ivanov's "Appearance of Christ to the People," Vasily Surikov's "Boyarina Morozova," Viktor Vasnetsov's "Bogatyrs." The gallery was blessed on the following day.

However, a few problems remain. The system for maintaining proper climactic conditions works properly only on the second floor. Mysterious drafts have been coming in from somewhere, as well as noise. Therefore, authorities decided that, for City Day, the gallery will simply mark the end of reconstruction and a small number of guests will be invited to tour the completed exhibition halls.

Well, so be it. We have already waited nine years. We can wait a couple more months.

The new arrangement of the gallery will be quite pleasing. There will be no more socialist realism: Instead, a new exhibit of the avantgarde will be created. Socialist realism is to be "exiled" to the New Tretyakov at Krymsky Val.

Mikhail Vrubel will get his own hall. "Appearance of Christ to the People" will have a hall all to itself and two adjacent halls will display sketches and studies for this great canvas.

In all, the gallery intends to put one-third of its collection on permanent display, which is considerably more than the 10 percent that most museums around the world show.

Argumenty i Fakty, August 24