Katia Moskvitch

“Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.” Frank Zappa.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How I celebrated New Year 2006

This New Year cost me a lot of nerves.

I was actually very excited about it, mostly because I knew I was going to go with our cameraman and do a live report from the Red Square during the New Year's celebration. When we got to the Red Square, it was all illuminated, and full of people. Mostly foreigners from former republics, some Russians, as I understood, not Moscovites, and a few foreign tourists.

We got lucky in a sense that we didn't have a lisence to film on the Red Square, but never got stopped. Actually, we were able to go through the crowd right up to the central stage, where for whatever strange reason the security guards actually helped us over the fence and we stayed with the rest of the press. But as soon as we were on the other sidem and the cameraman was happily filming away, I noticed that I lost my cell phone.

If I had lost my phone in Canada, I know I would not have been upset. But in Moscow, on the Red Square, ten minutes before the clock strikes midnight and my family tries to reach me to wish me happy New Year, that was different. I almost cried. I knew it got stolen, as it was in my coat's exterior pocket. The pocket was zipped, too, but I think when I was carrying the tripod in the crowd, someone might have very well unzipped it.

Because of that phone issue, I began worrying about me being on the Red Square. I remembered all the recent acts of terror, and that particular place at that particular time was a perfect spot for terrorists. We went through a number of militia guards when entering the square, just like everyone else did, but the way they checked people didn't seem to be too reassuring. I was certain someone could've brought in a bomb.

Putin finished his speech on the giant screen right above the stage. The Kremlin clock started striking 12, but I think my heart was beating louder than it. I was sure everything was going to blow, and was looking for a place to hide, or to run away in case of panic. But people around me were smiling. And suddenly, everyone shouted: "Happy New Year, Moscow! Happy New Year! S Novim godom!"

And nothing blew up.

Central stage on the Red Square

Sasha filming

Russian militia at the stage