Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Ermitazh Cat Predicts Switzerland will Defeat Sweden at World Cup


Akhill (Achilles), a white-furred tomcat reputed to have psychic powers, predicted that the Swiss team will win a match against Sweden in the FIFA World Cup’s Round of 16 in St Petersburg on Tuesday. The oracle cat confidently approached a food bowl with the Swiss flag at the State Ermitazh Museum in St Petersburg and ate the food. Last time, the blue-eyed cat, who made flawless predictions for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, was wrong when forecasting the outcome of a match between Nigeria and Argentina, and now the feline has to confirm his psychic powers. The cat was correct in choosing the Russian national team as the winner over Saudi Arabia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup’s opener in Moscow on 14 June and also the outcomes of the matches at the stadium in St Petersburg. Achilles also predicted the victory of Iran’s team over Morocco on 15 June, Russia’s victory over Egypt on 19 June and Brazil’s victory over Costa Rica on 22 June. During a match between Argentina and Nigeria, Akhill chose Nigeria, but Argentina won 2-1.

Akhill became the animal oracle because he displayed analytical capabilities and unique behaviour. Moreover, he’s deaf as many white cats are, yet this impairment doesn’t sidetrack the feline and lets him better concentrate on his predictions. The cat was right about the outcomes of three out of four 2017 Confederation Cup matches played in St Petersburg, including the opening and final matches. His “performance” during the World Cup is a joint project on bolstering tourism to St Petersburg and the Ermitazh Museum. Akhill will predict the results of the World Cup’s semifinal and a match for the third place scheduled in St Petersburg on 10 July and 14 July.

3 July 2018




Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The First Group of Orphaned Kids from Families of KIA DNR Servicemembers Arrived in Kronshtadt

00 dnr, donetsk pr. kronshtadt. russia. 01. 08.06.15


00 dnr, donetsk pr. kronshtadt. russia. 02. 08.06.15


Today, media contacts in the DNR Peoples Soviet told us that orphaned kids from the families of KIA DNR servicemembers arrived for a holiday in Kronshtadt in the Russian Federation, saying, “On 2 June, ten of our kids went to St Petersburg and Kronshtadt for a two-week holiday. They’ll be there for about a week. It’s not clear whether any further groups will go there in future, but the Kronshtadt Naval Cathedral International Charity Fund (MBF KMS) plans to continue to coöperate with the DNR authorities”. On 29 May, Andrei Kononov, the General Director of the MBF KMS reported, “About 300 kids will go on two-week holidays in Kronshtadt this year. They’ll not only see Kronshtadt, but also visit many treasures of St Petersburg, including the Ermitazh, the State Russian Museum, and the Petropavlovsk Fortress. We also plan visits to the zoological museum and planetarium. In addition, with parental consent, we’ll hold medical clinical diagnostic check-ups for the kids, and give advice on the proper care [of any problems found]”. In the past, the MBF KMS helped people in the DNR. At Easter, it sent St Ioann Kronshtadtsky parish in Donetsk a new iconostas to replace one destroyed in the fighting and gave the parish new liturgical utensils.

8 June 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency



Russia welcomes DNR kids on holiday and intends to treat their wounds (physical, mental, and emotional) gratis… now, that’s Christianity. The USA bombs kids (not only in Novorossiya, but in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and Pakistan too) and steals from them to enrich the Affluent Effluent. Ted Cruz calls that Christianity. I seem to think that one of these things is not like the other! I’m not alone in thinking that…


Monday, 4 June 2012

“Guard Cats” In Public Service at the Hermitage

Is this a feline Bulat Okudzhava? Ya never know…



The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg “hires” cats to protect its artworks against rodents. The so-called “guard cats” go unnoticed as they dwell in the attics and basements, away from the eyes of tourists. The museum administration has “employed” these highly skilful “guards” ever since the museum was founded in 1764. Even though nowadays rats and mice can easily be exterminated using chemicals, the museum can’t do without the cats, who’ve become a living legend and its mascots.

The first “public service” cats came in the 18th century. Tsar Pyotr Veliki was the first to provide shelter for a big cat he had brought from Holland at the then-wooden Winter Palace. Later on, Tsaritsa Yelizaveta Petrovna ordered a batch of rat-catching cats from Kazan because she was scared of small rodents. Cats acquired the status of palace guards during the reign of Tsaritsa Yekaterina Alekseyevna Velikaya. Under Yekaterina, they were divided into chamber cats (the Russian Blue breed), and backyard cats who chased rats and mice guarding Her Majesty’s peace of mind. The State Hermitage Museum started as a private collection of Tsaritsa Yekaterina, who acquired 220 works by Dutch and Flemish artists through her agents in Berlin. At first, most of the paintings she acquired were placed in secluded parts of the Winter Palace, which became known as the “Hermitage”, or “Retreat”, in French.

Hermitage-employed cats survived the October Revolution and continued their service under the Soviet government. However, they didn’t survive the siege of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45. After starving people ate all the cats, rats infested the city. However, as soon as the blockade was over, two railway cars filled with cats arrived in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) from Russia’s central regions, to form the backbone of a new squadron of rat-eating cats. Cat numbers rose to an unprecedented high in the second half of the 1960s. As the cats prowled the basements, museum rooms, and corridors, the museum administration received orders to get rid of them, which they did. However, several years later, the “four-legged guards” were ordered back, for the museum found it too hard to do without them in its struggle to preserve cultural artefacts.

Since then, the Hermitage cats have gotten good care. Each so-called “hermit” has a passport with a photo certifying that he’s qualified to pursue the difficult task of protecting the museum basements against rodents. The cats are well looked after, fed properly, attended to if ill, and respected for their hard work. Museum employees know all male and female cats by their names, and the name for each cat is picked carefully, to suit his or her character. The team of four-footed guards consists mainly of alley cats, and like the imperial times, the cat community hinges on strict hierarchy. The cats fall into aristocrats, the middle caste, and the low caste. Each group operates within a certain designated part of the building. The cat staff cannot exceed 50-60 cats, but not because they’ll be difficult to look after in terms of cat food. If the number of cats exceeds 60, they start cat fights and neglect their duties. For this reason, from time to time, the museum has to look for people who’d adopt their extra cats.

The museum’s basements have specially designated areas for storing cat food and attending to ailing cats. The roadway near the museum has road signs warning drivers about cats’ presence and urging them to be careful and slow down. Road accidents are the most frequent cause of death amongst Hermitage cats. The Hermitage budget allocates no funds for the cats’ keeping. The cats live on donations from the public and museum workers. Hermitage Cat Day, marked annually on 28 March, is one of the museum’s memorable dates. The museum staff prepares a large number of informative exhibitions and exciting contests.

28 May 2012

Yuliya Galiullina

Voice of Russia World Service


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