MOSCOW, September 19 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)
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- Five percent of Russians expect doomsday in 2012 – survey
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A lawmaker in Russia’s St. Petersburg said on Tuesday that media coverage of the possible end of the world in 2012 was contributing to a rise in suicides and crime and asked the city governor to consider ways to limit television and newspaper reports on the topic.
“Russian television channels have been filling their audiences with the idea that 2012 is the year of the apocalypse,” A Just Russia lawmaker Andrei Gorshechnikov wrote in a deputy’s inquiry to the city governor. “The reports usually cite the ancient Mayan calendar, which supposedly says the world will end this year.”
St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly deputy Gorshechnikov said such reports, twinned with the upcoming winter, could lead to “an increase in crime, a rise in suicides, and drug abuse and alcoholism.”
He also said that the “hysteria” could see “naïve” and “trusting” people fall victim to fraudsters an suggested city governor Georgy Poltavchenko consider introducing legislation to “limit the promotion of the end of the world.”
Popular culture has long been fascinated with the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, popularly known as the Mayan calendar, and its alleged “ending” on December 21, 2012. But scientist from a variety of disciplines have dismissed the hypothesis that the Mayans believed the world would end on this date, pointing to evidence that it was simply the final point of one of many so-called time cycles.
But Gorshechnikov stressed that he was not calling for a ban on media coverage of the topic.
"I would envisage a voluntary limit to coverage," he told RIA Novosti.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.