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Irina Prokhorovas Faith in Ethical Evolution

If censorship begins even in one discipline, inevitably it will lead to everything being censored...

Published: April 2, 2014 (Issue # 1804)

  • In the 20 years since Irina Prokhorova launched the New Literary Observer journal, she has become a prominent figure in both Russias literary and political scene.

  • Prokhorova works closely with her brother, Mikhail Prokhorov, above, across various political and charitable projects.
    Photo: Igor Tabakov / SPT

  • Prokhorovas eloquence and intelligence has made her a popular host and guest on both radio and television.
    Photo: Strelka Institute / flickr

In 1992, as the remnants of Soviet society disintegrated around her, a woman with no business experience decided that the time was ripe to found the new nations first independent literary journal.

Of course it was absolutely crazy at that time. Even most of my friends said, Who needs such a thick, professional academic journal in 1992, who is going to read it? Irina Prokhorova recalled with a laugh.

But for Prokhorova, 58, the privation and hardships of that time were only half of the story. The other half was an extraordinary exhilaration and sense of freedom that now, finally, anything was possible.

More than 20 years later, the journal the New Literary Observer has blossomed into a thriving publishing house, and Prokhorova is a prominent figure not only on Russias literary scene, but in philanthropy and politics as well.

Her televised debate representing her brother, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, during the 2012 presidential campaign pitted her against Vladimir Putins surrogate, Nikita Mikhalkov. Prokhorovas eloquence and intelligence left the famous movie director admitting that if it was she who was running, his vote would go to her.

In January this year, Prokhorova stepped up as leader of her brothers Civil Platform party. While the move into politics may seem an unusual leap to some observers, for Prokhorova it is simply an extension of the work that she has been doing all along.

We still have a mission to enlighten, she said. The idea of human freedom and independence, a new relationship between society and the government, fundamental ethical and philosophical principles this is the foundation on which everything else is built.

Despite her many titles and lofty ambitions, when Prokhorova welcomed reporters from The St. Petersburg Times into her office, casually dressed and holding her electric tea kettle in hand, it was clear that this is a woman of few pretensions.

Perhaps it is this lack of affectation that has earned her popularity as the host of two programs: the talk show Value System on RBC television and Culture of the Everyday on Komsomolskaya Pravda radio.

Or, perhaps, it is her passion for the values themselves, which underlie all of her cultural and political activities.

It was the desire to promote grassroots social movements that led to the creation in 2004 of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, which supports cultural projects in neglected regional communities.

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Wednesday, Sept. 24

AmChams Human Resources Committee meets this morning to discuss Labor Market Trends in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Learn more about tax controls on prices at AmChams Taxation Committee Round Table Meeting this morning at 9 a.m. Vladimir I Golishevsky, Acting Head of the Transfer Pricing Department of the Federal Tax Service of Russia, will be in attendance to discuss amendments to the Russian Tax Code. Register in advance if you wish to attend by emailing

Today is the last day to check out Inventing Everyday Life. Part III: Street exhibition one of Manifestas parallel programs on at 36 Morisa Toreza Prospekt until 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 26

Feel yourself Spanish for a little bit at Spain Day, a celebration of all things Iberian this evening at the Derzhavin Mansion in the city center. Speak Spanish during the open classes, practice your footwork on the dance floor to the sounds of flamenco music or chow down on paella while learning more about the countrys culture.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg welcomes Vityaz from the Moscow region this afternoon at 5 p.m. in a Western Conference showdown. Tickets are still available to the match and can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena or in their merchandise shop on Nevsky Prospekt.

Let Biblioteka restaurant on Nevsky Prospekt teach your children how to be proper gentlemen and ladies during Etiquette for Children, a class for children five to 11 years of age that promises to help them become the cream of society. The class starts at 5 p.m. and costs 600 rubles ($15.60). Call 322 2526 to reserve a spot for your child.

Sunday, Sept. 28

For something different, head to the African Pride Event being held by Nicks Walkabout Tours, who have also helped bring African tribal leaders for the celebration. Check Vkontakte for more information.

Monday, Sept. 29

Experience Baltic culture through the medium of drama during the Baltic House Theater Festival, which starts on Sept. 25 and continues through Oct. 13. Not only are some of the regions most famous dramatic works planned for production but the event acts as a creative laboratory for a future generation of dramatists. Check the events website for more details about the festival.

Tuesday, Sept. 30

Local neo-pagans invite all worshipers to the dedication of a new Heart Tree in Sosnovka Park, Gods Wood. 4 p.m.

The second MIFIC Expo begins today at Lenexpo, providing an interactive platform for industry experts and manufacturers. Accessories, surfaces and interior decoration materials are just some of the things that will be available for perusal at the expo, which runs through Oct. 2.

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