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Moscow student asks Santa to freeze his lecturers

MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow university student has sent a letter to Ded Moroz, Russia's version of Santa Claus, asking him to freeze all his lecturers, a source in Santa's official residence said on Tuesday.

Ded Moroz, whose official residence is near the Russian town of Veliky Ustyug, about 800 kms (500 miles) northeast of Moscow, comes to his temporary residence in Moscow's Kuzminskiy Park every November. This year he has so far received a total of 4,500 e-mails and 1,500 letters.

"A Moscow university student asked the New Year wizard to freeze all his lecturers for the period of mid-year exams," the source said.

Ded Moroz first appeared in Russia in the 19th century. He is described as a tall man with a long white beard, wearing long-flowing robes in colors including blue and white. He travels in a horse-drawn 'troika,' accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden).

Initially abolished after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution as "an ally of the priest and kulak," Ded Moroz was later restored by Stalin in 1948, and has been Russia's traditional New Year gift bringer ever since.

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