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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Princely Return For Burn Unit

Two weeks ago it was the Duke of Kent. Last week, His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent was in town, helping to launch the first Burns Education Program in Russia. The prince, who is the royal patron of the London-based charity Friends of Russian Children (FoRC), reconnoitered Thursday at the Speransky Children's Hospital, which he first visited in 1996.

As hospital workers, reporters and television crews assembled outside the building for the prince's arrival, Pyotr Prodeus, director of the clinic, hobnobbed with FoRC's director Carolyn Cripps. "I hope His Royal Highness notices a difference in the clinic," he said.

He could hardly fail to. When the prince arrived, he was whisked at once to the burn unit. Prodeus steered him through immaculate wards, where every child wore a brand new pair of pajamas. Nurses, their hair swept up into pristine green hair nets, stood to attention at the end of every bed. Of the 570 who work at the hospital, it seemed that most were needed in the burn unit, at least while the prince was present.

"Excellent," he said, as he met with some of the young patients. "This is very good news indeed."

After meeting the children, the prince presented copies of the Burns Education Manual to Viktor Syunkov, chairman of the Scientific Methodological Council at the Moscow Education Committee, and Alexander Koryukhin, the head of the Moscow Fire Service.

"I hope the children of Russia will benefit from this manual," said the Prince, who speaks good Russian. The manuals, which were co-written by the London and Moscow Fire Brigades, are to be made available to every school in Moscow and St. Petersburg later this month.

Out of the Kitchen

"Is there a men's room in here somewhere?" asked the only man at Spaso House, the U.S. ambassador's residence, last Thursday.

"I don't think so," said a harassed press officer, fighting against the wave of immaculately dressed women pouring in off the street. "You'd better use the other ladies.'"

The winter and summer dining rooms were stacked high with Dunkin' Donuts and unlimited coffee in preparation for the first general meeting of the International Women's Club of Moscow.

"This year we expect more members to join than ever before," said Gozen Unan, the new president of the IWC, who comes from Turkey. "Our family just keeps on growing."

New interest groups this session include icon painting, silk flower arranging, mah-jongg, Russian women's issues, an introduction to the art of bonsai and two Japanese cookery classes.

The most popular interest groups last year proved to be architecture and icon painting, and as a result two new classes have been added to accommodate the long waiting list, said Caroline Laving, interest group coordinator.

Aside from the 80 or so interest groups, the IWC raises money for a variety of charities in the capital.

"We support battered and abused women, orphanages, the elderly, soup kitchens -- the list is very long," said Lori Berliner, second vice president of the IWC. "We have self-help classes for teenagers, who do not know how to cook or dial a telephone."

Christie Akinsaya, the wife of the head of the Nigerian mission, said she signed up for yoga and first aid classes. "But I also want to join the charities committee, because our first lady back home is very interested in such causes,"she said.

Outside the residence, a throng of chauffeurs gathered under the trees, waiting for the women to emerge. "I don't understand what it's all about," one of them sighed. "They should be at home cooking for the dinner for their husbands."

Mind Your Peas and Carrots

Despite the gathering clouds, Saturday's competition in the yard outside the Radio Club Gvozdi restaurant on Bolshaya Nikitskaya went off without a hitch.

"Wait a second, my carrot man is missing his parsley," said contestant No. 13, as his salad was carried to the judges table for inspection.

In conjunction with Stolitsa, which dubs itself "the city magazine for anyone who can read," and radio station Serebryanny Dozhd, Gvozdi invited would-be chefs from across the capital to create a Stolichny salad to blow your mind.

"There is everything in here that there should be," said Contestant No. 8 Nina Nikolayeva, who works as a chef at the Woodstock MKhAT night club. "But I have added some tortillas as decoration, and an extra ingredient that is our secret."

As jury members took their places, a couple of last minute entries were produced, bringing the total to 38. Among the judges were Oleg Aksenov, from the Interior Ministry, film director Vladimir Khotinenko, Nikolai Sizyomin, who works as a chef at the Kremlin, Sergei Voronov, a musician with blues band Crossroads and a very old man in a felt hat named Yakov Magidov, who is a cook at the Museum of Public Catering.

Halfway through the judging, Magidov disappeared. He returned half an hour later, his nose noticeably redder, his felt hat askew, announcing that all the salads tasted exactly the same. "It seems no one in Moscow knows how to make a Stolichny salad except for me," he sighed, before the winner was announced.

"Of course it wasn't a fix," said Dmitry Akulin, from Radio Club Gvozdi, when the restaurant's own chef, Alexander Kurenkov, was awarded the top prize. He was presented a certificate of honor by the editor of Stolitsa, Sergei Mostovshikov. The titillating salad is now available at Gvozdi for all to sample.

Rech Stages Festival of Frump

Georges Rech's latest line in winter clothes wasn't made for the 6-foot models who wore them. The trousers were too short, the jackets too roomy and the coats too heavy for the chopstick-thin girls who paraded down the catwalk past the designer boutiques in Petrovsky Passage last Thursday.

But the six squat cleaning ladies taking a break from their chores at the far end of the mall were in raptures over the collection, which would have fitted them like a dream.

"Ooh, look at that one," said Tatyana Romanenko, pointing to a violent pink fur. "Isn't it beautiful?"

If he were to knock a couple of zeros off the price of this year's collection, Rech might have found a new market among Russia's babushki.

Younger members of the audience were less keen.

"Those hound's-tooth suits were just awful," said Veronika Ivanova, who, together with her husband, Igor, runs Interart Bazaar.

"I just can't think who he is supposed to be targeting."

As the champagne flowed, Moscow's fashion elite chatted after the show." I think it was a wonderful collection," said television presenter Igor Vernik. "It is dedicated to women all over the world."

But is that a Georges Rech suit you are wearing, one of the clutch of models surrounding the celebrity wanted to know.

"Of course not," he snapped. "I only ever wear Armani."


Igor Vernik, it seems, is a busy man. On Friday night, dressed in his trademark Armani suit, he hosted the one-year anniversary of Way of Life, an exclusive club for the cream of Moscow's rich, at Tsaritsyno Palace.

The evening, sponsored by the magazine Obraz Zhizni, or Lifestyle, which features pricey holiday destinations and the latest range in kitchen furniture, kicked off with a Brahms violin and piano duet.

After the concert, Vernik presented diplomas of excellence to Alexander Ponomarev, general director of TV6, Nikolai Grankin, general director of the Way of Life Club and Vladimir Dovgan, president of the eponymous franchising company, and Kemer Norkin, head of the Moscow Mayor's Directorate, who received it on behalf of Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

"I believe he is at the Prague restaurant tonight and could not make it," said Dovgan, a with a wide grin.

"Actually, he really is in Prague, opening the Hall of Congress," said Vernik, before stepping into a carriage led by two white steeds to take him to the exclusive restaurant around the corner.