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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MAILBOX: Tsar's Burial Raises Issue of Lenin's Resting Place

In response to The Moscow Times' coverage of the tsar's burial


Last week's Christian burial of Tsar Nicholas II has again raised the question of what to do with Lenin. The ever-colorful Vladimir Zhirinovsky has suggested that he be tossed into a mass grave with other Soviet leaders taking up space by the Kremlin wall, thereby opening up room for future deserving leaders. (Need we guess who he has in mind.) Comrade Zhirinovsky's suggestion notwithstanding, what to do remains a touchy question not least because whereas the tsar's state has long been gone, Lenin's creation is only recently deceased, and the mourning is not yet over. It also doesn't help that nothing acceptable to most Russians has yet taken its place.

As a distanced observer, I am of the opinion that since Lenin is well-preserved, he should probably stay right where he is until the country is ready to face up to its past and adopt a road to a very different future. Until there is a broader consensus, forcing the issue will not serve any sustainable purpose. National reconciliation, like all things, has its time and place and that time is apparently not now.

As for Zhirinovsky's suggestion of a mass grave for bloody Communist dictators, that would certainly be fair retribution, though you could probably throw a few tsars in there as well. However, on the road to a better society, the country should adhere to a higher standard than its leaders have. When the time comes, how about moving them all to a normal cemetery and converting the Kremlin into a national museum fully open to all Russian citizens. You couldn't top that for signaling a new era.

George Derby

Cyprus' Rebuttal

In response to a letter by Nabir Sensoy, the Turkish ambassador, titled "Worrisome Arms Deals in Cyprus," July 18.


The letter does not mention Turkey's invasion and occupation of one-third of the island of Cyprus since 1974, the 200,000 Greek Cypriots made refugees in their own country, the pillaging of cultural and religious property, the continuous violation of international law, the 1,619 missing persons, the disrespect for human rights and the disrespect to the UN resolutions on Cyprus.

Every decent government has as its main preoccupation the security of its territory and its people. The Republic of Cyprus, facing frequent violations of its airspace by Turkish air force planes, has decided to defend itself by purchasing the appropriate defensive system. Turkey is arming itself daily and one might reasonably ask why it is so much concerned about a small island of just over 700,000 if it does not intend to continue violating Cypriot airspace. But, for the sake of argument, let's accept that Turkey is threatened by Cyprus. The Cypriot president, Glafcos Clerides, has proposed the total demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has turned down the proposal. One asks, why? What is the motive?

Turkey pretends to be sensitive about cooperation between Cyprus and Greece. Yes, the two countries cooperate to thwart Turkish aggression.

Platon Kyriakides

Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus

Tobacco Co. Says No

In response to "Tobacco Companies Target Young Russians," July 14:


For the record, allow me to state Philip Morris' position on the issue of underage smoking: Children should not smoke. This is the worldwide position of Philip Morris, and Russia is not an exception.

The article does not supply any concrete examples of tobacco marketing by Philip Morris to minors, but instead makes only vague references to marketing activities as being "aimed at youth." Ignored is the fact that access to and participation in all promotional activities for Philip Morris' cigarette brands is limited to those 18 and over.

The author misrepresents statistical data in his article by conjecturing that Marlboro awareness is highest among young people throughout Russia, ages 16 to 24. Left unsaid is the fact that Marlboro is one of the world's best-known trademarks, and that according to the same survey data, awareness of Marlboro is highest among both genders and all age groups up to 65 years of age.

I was particularly surprised to see that no reference was made in the article to the active role that Philip Morris is taking in Russia to discourage minors from smoking. As I informed The Moscow Times, Philip Morris, along with RJ Reynolds, Rothmans and Reemtsma, has recently supported a youth anti-smoking advertising campaign that appeared on billboards throughout Moscow as a lead-in to the Youth Olympics hosted by Moscow this summer; I would surely have thought that this fact would be worth mentioning, if only to provide balance to the article. ...As a specialist in public relations I cannot but agree that a bright snappy title attracts attention. However, there is another journalist axiom: The title should reflect the content and the content should be supported by the facts.

Andrew White

Vice President Corporate Affairs

Eastern Europe Region

Philip Morris Europe SAs

Visa Woes for Travelers

In response to "From Nowhere to Nowhere," July 18:


I [have] tried several times to get a visa and ticket for train No. 76, Moscow to Neryungri, but this was always impossible. Russia is not a normal country where you can ask the embassy for a tourist visa for four weeks, like in Vietnam, China or Iran. First, you have to present to the Russian Embassy a fax of confirmation of a hotel booking. And only for these days can you have a visa.

So I asked Intourist for a hotel reservation in Neryungri, Tynda, and tickets for the BAM. Answer: there are no trains anywhere on the BAM. I asked the Russian Embassy in Vienna for a three-week visa to go from Moscow by train to Neryungri. The embassy denied the request: First, I have to present a train ticket to Neryungri and a hotel voucher there. ... Then I can have a visa.

So, do you know how I and other tourists can take a trip on the BAM?

I remember my visits to the U.S.S.R. since 1970: always the same procedure. Nothing has changed for tourism. ...

Dr. Peter Romen