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Grigory Pasko: In Russia, A Fever for Swine Sports

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Looking back, 2007 was a fine year. A fat year, thanks to petrodollars, with a barrel of Russian oil selling for 120 dollars in futures trading. Russian oligarchs were beginning to lose their minds from all the wealth and luxury. As we say in Russian, “going crazy from the fat”.

Case in point, I recently got my hands on on a copy of RBK Magazine from the year 2007. Wedged in between all the advertisements for luxury automobiles and breathtakingly expensive watches, was an article about how «Russians are becoming ever richer and richer». (Here too, by the way, was an assertion/admonition from director of the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ruslan Greenberg about how the powerful influx of currency into the country “is allowing us to commit a maximum of mistakes” (now we know that all these mistakes were indeed committed). Moving on, an article about how the Americans have unleashed against Russia an anti-Russian “media hysteria.

Three articles, one after the other, dedicated to the travels of Russians (it must be assumed – wealthy ones) for rest beyond the border. There is, naturally, articles about real estate and billionaires, interviews with the bankers and the capitalists of the new Russia (one of them, as an example, brags that his company is getting 200-300 million dollars a month).

And, finally, an article “Delightsome piggishness.” This one is particularly noteworthy today, against a background of swine flu marching its way across the planet.


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And so, the rich little pinocchios of Russian oil-and-gas wealth hadcome up with a new pastime – competitions among piglets. The first suchcompetitions among track-and-field pigs, swimmer pigs, andsoccer-playing pigs, writes the publication, had taken place in Moscowas far back as the year 2004. Back at that same time had arisen too aFederation of Athletic Swine-Breeding (by the way, there isn’t such athing in a single country in the world).

The author of the articlewrites that the first amusing piglet races were in Rus’ back under Ivanthe Terrible. Daughter of Peter the First [“the Great”–Trans.]Elizabeth and daughter of Nicholas the Second [the last tsar–Trans.]Olga loved piglet runs. Now, writes the magazine, «the excitement ofpiglet competitions has captured both minister of agriculture Gordeyev(now he’s a governor) and vice-mayor of Moscow Roslyak».

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Directing the Federation is head of the developer company «Novayaploshchad» Boris Bukatov (photographed above). Members of the Federation of AthleticSwine-Breeding are politicians, businessmen, government officials. Whoof the politicians? Readers have no doubt already guessed. Naturally,this is Zhirinovsky – a great, as the magazine writes, admirer of pigs.He, it turns out, is not indifferent towards piglets since childhood:his aunt worked at a swine farm, and he used to love spending timethere.

Developer-swinophile Bukatov built a europigsty for $70,000 for his favorites – with a running track, a swimming pool and aspringboard for diving into the water. He is knowledgeable about theprice of pigs, their psychological abilities and athletic prospects.

It is interesting how the swine flu is going to impact the furtherdevelopment of swine sport in Russia – a remarkable country rich inbusinessmen-oligarchs and in pigs. If we also take into considerationthe fact that prices for oil have fallen and that the financial crisishas not yet ended…Well, something tells me that with piggishness inRussia there will still be total order for a long time to come.

Photo credits:  all photos are from RBK Magazine, 2007