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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sylvester, Kareem Show Moscow the Moves

You would have thought it was Yasser Arafat arriving and not Sylvester Stallone judging by the hordes of Russian security guards who flanked the movie star Monday. At long last, Planet Hollywood rolled out the red carpet for Stallone, one of its owners, who, after postponing his visit to Moscow several times, finally arrived in his private jet at Vnukovo-2 Monday afternoon.


After clearing customs, not one, but three limos were waiting for the action hero and his small entourage. The City of Moscow sent out a motorcade to escort the jean-and-leather-jacket-decked Stallone to the all-but deserted Metropol Hotel, which had its entire security squad standing by.


What does the former "Rocky" star do for a workout when he's on tour? Well, he doesn't walk across the street and he certainly doesn't take the stairs. Stallone took the elevator while seven Russian security agents bounded up the two flights to Stallone's deserted floor and stood on either side of the door, chattering over walkie-talkies to each other while waiting for their man to come out.


After an initial private reception with champagne and vodka in his hotel room, Stallone's entourage of 20 jumped back into the three limousines, and, accompanied by sirened police escorts, cruised around the block before ending up across the road at the Kremlin.


Later in the evening, following a tour around the Kremlin, Stallone faced his first real crowd of the day when he showed up almost two hours late -- at 10 p.m. -- for a press conference. Despite the late hour, devoted fans waited patiently outside the restaurant's doors to get a glimpse of their hero.





Prose-Loving Politicians


Russian politicians seem to be heading to the theater these days. Maybe they're getting bored with foreign embassy and bank receptions. At a premiere of a play, "Barbarian and Heretic," at theLenkom Theater last Wednesday, Russia's famous eye surgeon,


Svyatoslav Fyodorov, was seen huddling -- not schmoozing -- in conversation with Yeltsin's disgraced former Kremlin security chief, Alexander Korzhakov.


Witnesses say the play, which got unfavorable reviews, was so bad that Igor Ugolnikov -- the host of "Dobry Vecher," a new David Letterman-type show -- watched the whole second act wearing his sunglasses. Also in the audience was Arina Sharapova -- a television anchor for ORT's "Vremya" newscast.


At the dress rehearsal of another play, the charismatic Alexander Lebed and his wife appeared fashionably late -- following the second intermission -- to "Krechinsky's Wedding" at the Maly Theater. Prestige taking place over promptness, Lebed and his wife gallantly took their seats not in the back, but smack in the middle of the third row.


Cinco de Mayo


Do they teach them this in foreign service school? Walkiria Peniche, Marina Medina and Teresita Gonzalez casually turned up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, one of Mexico's independence days, at the newly opened Hola Mexico restaurant. Chatter away they did -- especially under the influence of free margaritas and live, sexy salsa music. But the three attractive and youthful looking Mexican Embassy officials balked at having their photos taken by the media, not because they were shy, but because they were afraid to steal the limelight away from their ambassador, Abelardo Trevino, said Peniche. Trevino at the time, was sitting calmly in the Bolshoi Theater alongside Spain's visiting King Juan Carlos II.


Locals Ring Wedding Bell


She was a pixie-like businesswomanleaving for Tokyo. He was a dashing lawyer who'd just moved from London. They met at his housewarming party near the banks of the Moscow River. They fell in love.


After one year of thousands of telephone kisses, mushy faxes and airport rendezvous, Satomi Watanabe, 32, and Chris Viner, 29, have decided to tie the knot. Champagne and sake will deck their mixed British- and Japanese-style July wedding in Plymouth, England.


After honeymooning on a safari in Africa, the couple say they plan to "settle down" for a "traditional life" back near the banks of that ol' Moscow River.


Live on the Air


It used to be known as the city's largest communist youth cultural center. Now it's known as the city's largest drug-dealing joint, but former foreign affairs minister Andrei Kozyrev didn't care. Last Wednesday he showed up with former finance minister Alexander Livshits to Russia's national "Radio Day" celebration held at the Palace of Youth.


For the first time in the nation's history, more than 10 radio stations threw a collective party, which was broadcast live. Each station had 10 minutes to present its guests and entertainment program.


Kozyrev and Livshits joined a journalist from the news station Echo Moskvy and tried to explain humorously to listeners just why that station is their favorite in the morning. American jazz and blues singer Tim Strong also appeared and played live for Radio Prestige with saxophonist Igor Butman.


High Stylin' Victory Day


They didn't quite throw confetti, but they almost did. Joining thousands of Muscovites in Russia's 52nd Victory Day celebration last Friday, Moscow's foreign business bigwigs Michael O'Neill of Coca-Cola Export, Karl Johansson of Ernst & Young, Lou Naumovski of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,Eivind Djupedal of Cargill and Peter Charow of the American Chamber of Commerce, plus spouses, kids and guests, had their own elegant fiesta on the balcony of the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel's library.


"Last year on May 9, we had a business meeting in the library and watched the fireworks by ourselves," recalled Naumovski, who, along with his colleagues, is a member of the foreign business community's steering committee.


"This year we thought, 'Why not make a party out here?'"


While the steering committee has not yet booked the popular library for the millennium celebration, their Franklin Planners aren't empty. Next on the agenda: Moscow's 850th birthday party this fall.


Abdul-Jabbar-Say Where?


For former NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 50, Moscow must have seemed like a scene from "Planet of the Apes." Since arriving in Moscow last Sunday for a five-day, adidas-sponsored coaching clinic, everything seemed a bit quirky.


For starters, not much of the Russian media, and certainly none of the American press corps, even knew the acclaimed American basketball star was in town. In fact, not even the well-connected U.S. Embassy knew one of America's greatest sports heroes was hanging out at a five-star hotel down the street.


The few reporters who did show up at the small press conference were mainly photojournalists more interested in taking photos of his luminous 2.2-meter frame than in grilling him about his basketball career.


And at Abdul-Jabbar's autograph signing in adidas' ritzy shoe store in downtown Moscow, few fans showed up for a chance to meet the man himself.


"It was like a fantasy camp," said Abdul-Jabbar's manager, Dominic Sandwic, describing his week in the Russian capital. "If Kareem was signing autographs for free in a store in Los Angeles, he would have thousands of people lined up."


While the primary activity of Abdul-Jabbar's visit was to lead a basketball clinic for 40 of Russia's top amateur male basketball athletes, his adidas sponsors had hoped that the presence of such a high-profile former athlete in the former Soviet Union would boost their shoe company's rather unknown image in Russia's new market.


But their effort failed.


"We would have done a story on Abdul-Jabbar," said Jonathan Sanders, CBS' Moscow correspondent, "But we didn't know he was here."