|Russian clowns fooling around at Science World in 2010 (Sochi 2014)
Four years after Science World was temporarily transformed into Sochi World during the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Russian Federation government is set to buy the Vancouver science museum for good.
A management source indicated the Russians had executed a hostile, $50 million takeover of the False Creek East property, financed entirely by state-owned oil and gas giant Gazprom. All 100 employees received layoff notices. It is expected they will be replaced by temporary foreign workers from Vladivostok.
“They just walked in last week and gave us notice to be out April 15,” said Avril Duren, one of the curators. “They insisted in giving us the bad news in memos printed in cyrillic; we had to use Google Translate to figure out what was going on. I can sympathize with Ukrainians in Crimea.”
The government of President Vladimir Putin plans to showcase Russian space and military innovations in the main gallery, with an emphasis on Gazprom's evolution. Art, culture and sport will have a gallery of its own. It will also contain the world's first hall of fame for oligarchs, to celebrate their contribution to building the new Russia.
The Omnimax Theatre will be programmed to show Russian cinematic works like the classic Battleship Potemkin and 2013’s Stalingrad, the highest-grossing film in Russian history. There will be special showings of Russian medal winning performances from the Sochi 2014 Olympics and Paralympics, plus repeats of the opening and closing ceremonies. The giant, crying Russian bear from the closing ceremony will be on display outside Science World through the end of summer.
“We feel Vancouver is the ideal city in North America from where we can begin to re-educate the west about Russia’s aspirations of greatness, its desire to spread the wings of the Russian eagle so as to give the world a giant Russian bear hug and never let go,” read a statement prepared by the Russian foreign ministry. “The good feelings created by the Sochi Games ignited a Russia-wide rediscovery of ourselves, it overflowed into Crimea and is ripe for sharing with our friends in the west.”
A restaurant serving Russian fare, such as borscht, caviar and salads, will include a bar specializing in the finest imported vodka. A vodka distillery will be built on site. The building will serve as a hospitality centre during the Gazprom-sponsored 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup to help promote the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Opening day is scheduled for June 12, Russia’s national holiday. The planned opening day two-for-one promotion for heterosexual couples is sure to grab headlines and attract the attention of Canadian human rights watchdogs.
“Great... a potemkin village near the Olympic Village,” laid-off staffer Duren said of the Russian government plans. "Where are students supposed to go on science-related field trips now?"
Science World opened in 1985 as the Expo Centre to act as a preview for the following year’s Expo 86 world’s fair on transportation and communication. After the fair, the geodesic dome became the permanent home of the Arts, Science and Technology Centre. Leaks in the roof were fixed and a new low-energy decorative lighting system was installed.
In 2012-2013, Science World attracted 631,617 visitors and program participants and counted $10.774 million in revenue, $9.351 million expenses and a net surplus of $1.088 million.
Russia's junior acting assistant vice deputy of foreign affairs, Deney Duraka, is scheduled to make the plan official at a news conference just before noon on April 1st.