Andrey Shilov at WordPress

The notes of a journalist working in Europe for Russian TV

Posts Tagged ‘Internet

Will the crisis correct them?

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Buying railway ticket online? Of course!


I tried it twice in Germany – both times with a problem, with a scandal, loosing money. Unbelievable!


Last time I chose the train and time, wrote my bank card number, got a confirmation by email. Is it the end? It’s the beginning!


Then one has to click a link in the email, write login and password, see the word “e-ticket” – and print it? Wrong answer!


-It is not a ticket, – I was told in the train on my way from Berlin to Munich.

-Why not a ticket? It is written here – “e-ticket”. Here is my name, destination, my seat number…

-It is not a ticket. You had to print out the ticket.


I had to pay second time, with cash, right in the train.


Later I learnt that one more step should have been made. You get the email, click the link, write your login and passwod, get the page with “e-ticket” and all other info – and click one more time. Then print it out.


Triple protection!


Today’s story.

My friends came to Berlin from Russia. Well I am experienced guy! I found the site, wrote passenger’s name, paid with my bank card, got confirmation by email, clicked the link, wrote login and password, and clicked, and clicked one more time. And printed out.


I just got a call from my friends from the train: “It’s not working!”

According to the rules of “Deutsche Bahn”, passenger must pay for his ticket himself.

-Why? – I was shouting on the phone. – It is unconvenient! It is inhuman! What’s the difference for you?

-It is the rule and I have to follow it. Your friends refused to pay and will be taken out from the train.


So that’s how I heard about rules in Germany for the first time.

But this story is not about Germans. Russians see unconvenience and dullness in their country often enough, too.


I have been flying with German “Air Berlin” for about three years and I never had any problems with paying, registering, showing documents etc. You write your bank card number – that’s all. No clicking, no passwords, no printing. You paid it. All the rest is the company’s business.


Sometimes it is so plain simple:

there is private business caring about customers,

and there are state behemoths who don’t give a spit about clients. They follow their own rules. The other day the head of “Deutsche Bahn” resigned with a scandal but it won’t change anything: there are no other companies one can use when travelling from Berlin to Hannover.


The rules of market and monopolies are the same everywhere.

Written by andreyshilov

April 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

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About chess

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I don’t understand anything in chess. So at the World Chess Championship (where I had to make a short report from) I was rather interested in details.

Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik sit behind a dark net, like a mosquito one, but huge, from the floor to the ceiling. The hall is dim and the net is virtually unnoticeable.
“In Elista we had a glass wall!” – a girl from press-service said.
The purpose of all the tricks is to defend the players from possible influence by the audience (whatever the influence could be).

The game is shown online for the first time. But logging-in is not free, even for the accredited journalists.
-How come? Why? – I asked at the press-center.
-What do you mean, – they asked me. –How do you want it to be?
-Well I want it to be free.
-No. It is our marketing measure.

Whatever they mean by marketing pleasure, sorry, measure – their “online game” site (for 10 eu) doesn’t seem to be the only one. There is live game on the website of the Championship, a Russian newspaper arranged something similar on its website and Indian media, I am sure, have something, too. Ok, one cannot see the players through “unofficial” sites but who needs players? The game is about moves, if I know something about chess. All the bonuses like “comments, interviews and press conferences” are mainly for the press, of course. So it is actually a form of accreditation fee.

If I manage to be in Bonn during the last game I will definitely ask whether any statistics about the website is available. Marketing should have some results, shouldn’t it.

Written by andreyshilov

October 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

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3500 per day

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Three and a half thousand voices per day is the speed of the Internet supporting campaign for Svetlana Bakhmina, a former Yukos lawyer imprisoned for 7 years.

The campaign was launched on October, 7 and got little attention in Russian media. It is Russian speaking bloggers and Internet users who really participate: yesterday at 10pm I was # 11 335, by now 14 369 people put their names in the list.

It is very contemporary, very Russian story – with all the details accompanying the conviction. But at the moment it is her personal situation that gets attention: more than a half of term has passed, according to Russian law due to “good behavior” Mrs.Bakhmina had few days vacations at home and is due to give birth in two months – in a penal colony hospital, of course.

Her two kids (7 and 9 years old) are still told mum is having “a foreign business trip”. Her husband, teachers at school and neighbors manage to keep the details of the “trip” away from her children.

The supporting campaign is actually a plea to President Medvedev for mercy. So 14 369 person in a country of 142 millions. I think for the majority of people the signature under the letter is a personal test for mercy rather than real hope the prisoner will get home any time soon.

Written by andreyshilov

October 11, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Russian blogosphere is monitored

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I just learned by chance that Russian blogosphere is monitored by US Open Source Center. Its website is open only for American government employees and for some people from the BBC. OSC makes small weekly reports “using blog posts by leading Russian bloggers and the list of the day’s top 30 most popular posts generated by the Russian web portal Yandex”.

Here is what they mention for the week 27.09-03.10:

“SPS Leader Resigns, New Right-Wing Coalition Proposed Nikita Belykh (, no date)”

“Yashin Blames Gay “Provocation” on Kremlin Wig and glasses worn by Yashin’s unwanted admirer (, 24 September)”

“New Website Set Up To Monitor Political Blogs website logo”

They follow political topics, so it seems.

I wonder if non-political top stories get into the review. For example when LiveJournal temporarily suspended very popular Artemy Lebedev’s weblog for his “users’ tits contest” or when the whole Russian blogosphere discussed during a week the striking news of “cat pack blown away in Moscow”.

It is life, too, isn’t it.

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October 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm

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These guys had a lot of work during the football Champioship. As always though.

A polite threat for the wrongly parked cars:

P.S. And the last impression about Austria:

I am posting this in the Vienna airport where wi-fi is free. It is particularly pleasant after the German skinflints.

Written by andreyshilov

June 30, 2008 at 3:29 pm

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