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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stars Aren't Smiling Down on 2002

Astrologers say that 2002 will be pretty good for one large, female star sign Aquarius, although a world war in 2008 may cramp its style.

As the year starts -- either as the Old New Year on Sunday or the more widely celebrated New New Year on Jan. 1 -- the country's astrologers are looking at the stars to predict what is in store for Russia, judged an Aquarius since at least astrologer Ptolemy's time in the second century.

Whether you think astrology is science, superstitious nonsense or a remnant of the Dark Ages, the fact remains that millions of people read their horoscopes every day. Even several current and former Russian and U.S. leaders and their wives have shown an interest in astrological predictions.

Apart from the gossip columns of Komsomolskaya Pravda -- where predictions by one Yury Longo were focused on pop stars (a child for fop pop star Filipp Kirkorov, although not by his wife Alla Pugachyova) -- most astrologers looked at the state of Russia for 2002.

Before the new year of Jan. 1, a group of astrologers gathered at a news conference professing their optimism for Russia in the year ahead. Their Putinesque predictions were that the "worst times have gone" and that a beneficial 12 months lie ahead because it would be "a year of the realization of decisions already taken," Interfax reported.

Much depends -- according to Sergei Bezborodny, head of the astrology center at the Central House of the Russian Army -- on the period from Jan. 26-28 when oil prices will sink to a critical level. If Russia survives those days, then things will be fine.

Bezborodny does warn, though, of a natural disaster between July 21 and Sept. 15 or from Nov. 27 to year's end, which is about as risky as predicting snow in December.

Perhaps the most pessimistic of the astrologers doing the rounds in the Russian media was Alexander Zarayev. He predicted in Argumenty i Fakty that Russia would see a bumpy ride between Feb. 28 and March 12 and an even worse time after July 27, with problems in the Middle East and other hot spots.

"It will be similar to the [ruble] default in 1998," said Zarayev, who, like many astrologers, was short on details.

Zarayev forecasts lots of changes in the government, especially around May. He said Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and the city -- both Virgos, apparently -- would become seriously unglued in the summer.

The astrologer with the most specific predictions is probably Alexander Buzinov, a former supervisor at the now-disbanded laboratory for space and astrological forecasts at the Defense Ministry.

Buzinov, who is said to have predicted President Boris Yeltsin's early resignation and the events of Sept. 11, told the web site that inflation will jump in March, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will be sacked in May and presidential chief of staff Alexander Voloshin will resign in September.

Casting his eye on the longer term, he said World War III could start in 2008.

With 2002 being the Chinese Year of the Horse, dark horses are a popular prediction among some astrologers, with Pavel Globa saying two of the beasts will rise from nowhere in the political world. Globa said one of the dark horses will be a leader with an economic program of neocommunist leanings who will become president in "12, 13 years when the opposition to Mars has finished," Interfax reported.

There was bad news from Albert Timashev, who runs the web site. Although he refused to make any predictions for Russia for 2002, he warned that the modern state of Russia, born June 12, 1990, is a Gemini with Virgo rising rather than an Aquarius.

"I predict that the current Russian state will not survive until the end of 2004," Timashev said in an e-mail interview.

He also ventured a word on the national soccer team, which "will do well but not that well" at this summer's World Cup finals.

Argentina will flop, the United States will do well and Brazil is his tip for the title.