The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 2, 2013

Russia’s meteor city sheds soviet nuclear specter with tourism makeover


The meteor was a life-changing event for 26 percent of the people who lived through it, a Feb. 23-24 poll of 500 people by the Moscow-based Public Opinion Foundation, or FOM, showed.

People who identified themselves as religious were particularly affected, reporting “significant changes to their attitude toward life twice more often than non-believers,” Grigory Kertman, senior analyst at FOM, said by phone Wednesday.

Gritsay, the regional tourism chief, thought the explosion that shook her office building at 9:20 a.m. was from a plane crash. Forty percent of the population thought the same, according to the FOM poll. Thirty-three percent said they weren’t sure it was a meteor at all, and 8 percent thought it was a missile.

Even so, hysteria was avoided because videos were posted on the Internet so fast that everyone quickly figure out that this was a “once in a millennium” event, Chelyabinsk Governor Mikhail Yurevich said in an interview. “There was no panic. The humor started quickly.”

Now that Chelyabinsk is famous and the dust has settled, it’s time to get down to business, the governor said.

“Nobody had heard about us and now all the world knows,” Yurevich said. “We can earn some dividends on that.”


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