Pyotr Tolstenko, a student of the State Conservatory of the Western Siberian administrative center of Novosibirsk and a vocalist, has won the Siberian round of Romansiada-2001, Russia's fifth open song contest for performers of Russian romantic songs. Tolstenko will appear in the final part of the contest, which is due in Moscow during the New Year holidays. The name of Pyotr Tolstenko is already familiar to the Russian public. An ex-seminarian /he spent several years studying at a theologian seminary in Irkutsk before joining the Novosibirsk State Conservatory/, he came third at the recent 19th International Glinka Vocal Contest, where he was chosen among 100 singers from different countries, and received a special prize from the Shalyapin Center for the best low-pitched voice. Before participating in the Siberian round of the contest alongside 23 young singers from the Asian part of Russia, the 21-year-old was invited to sing at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the Carnegie Hall in New York. Romansiada, which is wholly dedicated to Russian poetry and romantic songs, is the country's only contest of this kind.
Forest fires in Siberia have been raging for three months already. They have become a disaster not only of Russian, but of global scale. The fires have already scorched 12 million hectares of land