A cuddly, smiling teddy bear called Mishka, has recently been taking over from the Hammer and Sickle as the most publicised official emblem in Moscow, But the takeover won't be permanent.
A cuddly, smiling teddy bear called Mishka, has recently been taking over from the Hammer and Sickle as the most publicised official emblem in Moscow, But the takeover won't be permanent. Mishka is the official mascot for the 1980 Olympics.
SYNOPSIS: More than two years ago, Moscow authorities began a multi-million rouble (1R- 1.40 US) scheme to transform their city into a model communist city. They want it to be a show place for their way of life, a boost for their image.
But publicity of Mishka is so far the most tangible sign of the growing Games fever in the capital.
This factory in Moscow is one of a number which have been churning out teddy bears by the thousands. Mishka features on buses, trucks and cars, neck ties, and other items of clothing. He has starred in a special film, and last year he visited outer space. He made his flight aboard the Salyut Six orbiting station. Mishka even has a sister, the Olympic seal called Tallin.
After a while all the Mishkas might seem to look alike...but there are few different varieties. A facto??? at Gzhel, an old town near Moscow, is renowned for its fine china. It has been producing special lines of the teddy bear for those who might want a more exclusive souvenir of the 1980 Olympics. But souvenirs are just a small part of the Games preparations. Under a crash programme new hotels and restaurants are being built, and many facilities upgraded to cope with the expected influx of many foreign visitors.
However not all Muscovites are subscribing to the Olympic enthusiasm. Some have suggested the money and manpower going toward the games could be better used to help solve the country's housing and food shortages.
And Reuters reports a crackdown on dissident activities. The authorities want no embarrassing incidents during the Games.