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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Dozen Ways to Say 'I Love You'

For some, St. Valentine's Day means love, romance and flowers. But for others, it means aliens, teeth cleaning and nut oil.

Long gone are the days when Feb. 14 was just another day in Russia. Every club and bar has its own festivities for Valentine's Day, or Lovers' Day as it is generally called. Some, not content with just one day, are spreading their celebrations to Feb. 15 and 16, while the chocolate and flower businesses are rubbing their hands with glee.

The commercial onslaught has been building up for weeks. Coca-Cola is carrying out one of its biggest advertising campaigns with a Valentine's Day contest. The winner gets to display his or her love on a billboard.

A more imaginative idea comes from Ukraine, where scientists promise to let the romantic commune with possible alien life. On Friday, scientists from the Ukrainian space center in Yevpatoria will broadcast messages of love in the direction of Venus, the planet named after the Greek goddess of love.

Nobody in Yevpatoria would say whether aliens deserve to hear messages such as "Little Tweety Pie loves his Bumblekins" coming from another side of the galaxy.

Flower companies have been ordering extra stocks for the day.

Numerous web sites are offering those foreign men who met Russian women through dating agencies the chance to send bouquets of flowers to loved ones in Russia, Ukraine and the rest of the former Soviet Union. Love, infatuation or lust is not cheap, though, with the delivery of a single rose costing up to $80.

For some, a single rose is not enough. At least one love-struck suitor ordered a rose and a kilogram of nut oil delivered from Bouquet Russia to his beloved a few days in advance.

"You should have seen the recipient when our agent placed a rose together with 10 bottles of nut oil at 300 grams each," company spokesman Maxim Stupnikov told Izvestia. "The girl didn't really care for the oil."

Those who find nut oil too prosaic can head to the American Hospital, which is offering a special health-care deal. A one-year "Ladies Healthcare Plan" for that special woman includes two teeth cleanings and unlimited consultations with physicians and gynecologists.

The best way to impress a sweetheart is to place a romantic message in the classifieds section of a newspaper, according to a recent survey of Russian women by local psychologists published in Komsomolskaya Pravda. Runner-up favorites were a romantic dinner for two, a revealing letter on beautiful paper, a song dedicated to her on the radio and a plush toy, hanky or lamp bearing her name.

Every Moscow newspaper is preparing pages of romantic billets-doux, including financial daily Vedomosti. "TNKchick, Make me the happiest man in the world. Merge with me, BP," was not one of the messages placed last year.

Cynics overwhelmed by the love in the air on Valentine's Day can head for Tverskaya Ulitsa, where the Church of Scientology will be campaigning "against the source of depravity and debauchery" on Friday. The anti-free-sex rally, which will take place around noon between buildings No. 17 and 19, is cunningly titled "Sex v Bolshom Gorode," the Russian name for the popular U.S. television series "Sex in the City."

Those with a more somber relationship with St. Valentine can try out the Christ the Savior Cathedral. The Catholic Church handed over some of the remains of St. Valentine to the Russian Orthodox Church last month, and they are to be placed in the cathedral soon.

St. Valentine's relation to the holiday, though, is moot. The Orthodox Church has six St. Valentins or Valentinas on its calendar, and none of their days falls on Feb. 14. The church looks on the holiday as a big marketing exercise and advises that a better day for lovers would be July 8, the saint day of Pyotr and Fevrona, the Orthodox symbols of love.