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    EUROPEAN PRESS BALL TO BE HELD IN BERLIN UNDER THE BADGE OF RUSSIA

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    BERLIN, FEBRUARY 13 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT DMITRY TULCHINSKY) - The annual "European Press Ball" first conducted 140 years ago will be held this year in Berlin on Friday, February 13 under the badge of Russia, reported representatives of the ball organizer - the German Union of Journalists (GUJ).

    "The Russian theme will be the leitmotif of the ball not only because Berlin remembers well the old-standing cultural ties with Russia but also because large-scale presentations of both countries' cultures were held last year and will be held this year. 2003 has become the year of Russian culture in Germany and 2004 - the year of German culture in Russia," said GUJ chairman Alexander Kulpok.

    1,500 guests from various countries are expected to attend the ball. The arrangement will cost approximately half a million euros. The ticket price will be 490-550 euros since only 15 percent will come from the sponsors, while the ball also has great charity aims.

    The Russian contribution to the ball "will be weighty enough," said representative of the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin Anatoly Blinov.

    According to him, a well-known bass-singer of the Bolshoi Theater Vladimir Gerts will perform at the ball with a "Moskovskaya Balalaika" quartet, and unique exhibitions of the Russian craftsmanship and of political posters and cartoons will be organized.

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