The 2011 was anything but uneventful for Russia -- and Moscow saw its fair share of notable events.
The Fourth Rome
The city grew – in the administrative sense, with the official boundaries extended out to the south all the way to the Kaluga region, more than doubling the city’s official size.
The capital’s city dwellers saw changes underfoot as vast swaths of the city center’s footpaths were dug up, with the asphalt removed to be replaced by bricks. Motorists were not spared disruption either as the city installed more than 100 kms of bus lanes and dozens of traffic cameras.
City works were not the only reason for traffic disruptions, however. A major laser show saw unusually large crowds throng Moscow State University causing havoc. The mass event of the year was, nonetheless, the arrival of Virgin Mary’s belt that had been on a countrywide tour, but saw the biggest crowd attendance here in the capital.
The year started off on a tragic note with the Domodedovo airport bombing, which ended up killing 37 people and injuring many more.
The bombing was not the only major disaster to hit the nation, the country’s waterways suffered several sinkings, the worst of which was the sinking of the Bulgaria, which saw 122 people die.
The airways also saw their share of strife, but the crash of the Yak-42 passenger plane struck a special chord with nearly the entire Lokomotiv Yarolslavl hockey team being killed in the disaster.
Business, sports and politics
Businesswise, the event of the year was Russia finally joining the WTO after 18 years, becoming its 154th member.
Russia’s national hockey team saw a double disappointment, failing to make it into the world championships and suffering the indignation of coming third in the Channel One Cup.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s announcement of his bid to return to the presidency could have been the biggest political news of the year, but it was shoved aside when the political scene came truly alive with the Dec. 4 State Duma elections and the nationwide protests that gripped Moscow and the nation after widespread reports of vote rigging emerged.
The battle for the choice of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics was filled with quirks, but it was the hunt for the Yeti in southern Siberia that would have to take the cake for silly story of the year.