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Life Advice from Alexei Venediktov

I love my university. And not only for its curriculum, amazingly crazy teachers and diverse student body, but also because it has given me the opportunity to see awesome people working in the sphere of journalism every other Saturday of the year. Among them were the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova (most of the time), political scientist Dmitry Kulikov, radio host Anna Shafran, Aleksandr Gurnov (Russia Today), etc. But journalist, radio personality and simply an incredible person Alexei Venediktov has to be one of the most interesting ‘lecturers’.

He was our guest today.

When he walked into the lecture hall in a ‘Hear Me Roar’ Lannister House T-shirt, I knew I was going to like the guy. And I did. He told us quite a bit of funny stories that had happened to him at work, the most memorable being an incident with Condoleezza Rice when she was interviewed by Venediktov on the Echo of Moscow and a funny question to Putin during a press-conference by a journalist from Echo of Moscow.

The first incident:

Condoleezza Rice and her interviewer [Venediktov] in the studio [of Echo of Moscow] didn’t understand each other even when discussing the only non-political question. Alexei Venediktov asked the state secretary if she is going to run for president in 2008. “Da” (Yes) she said in Russian, but then immediately realized that she most likely misunderstood the question. She hurried to correct herself and said the word “Nyet” (No) seven times.

Further proof that Russian is a pretty difficult language to understand. You can change the placement of words in one sentence several times in the most intricate ways you can imagine and it’s either going to mean the same thing every time or have different meanings entirely.

Last year, at the very end of Putin’s press-conference when Echo of Moscow was given the opportunity to ask a question, the journalist asked for clarification on a particular matter, saying that he was “a little stupid, just like my boss [Venediktov],” to which the President replied: “That’s OK. It happens,” evoking laughter from those present in the room. This managed to lighten up Putin’s mood after an exhausting three-hour Q&A session.

In my opinion, the most inspiring thing Venediktov said today is something that I’d seen on countless Facebook and Twitter posts and motivational blogs:

If do what you’re interested in the most, you’ll have an awesome life.

He is a really good interviewer and he has perfected this skill, urging us to do the same with our most successful abilities. Again, it’s not as if I hadn’t heard this before, it’s that I’ve just rarely met a person who actually did what he loved, regardless of money and potential fame, and remained happy. And one of the greatest examples of this way of life agreed to take a photo with us:

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Anyway, it was an awesome second-to-last day of university. After studying here for a year and finding the best friends I could wish for, I can honestly say I have no regrets.

Have you ever had the privilege of meeting a person you greatly admire? Did you get a chance to talk to them? Feel free to comment!

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Absolutely fantastic procrastinator. Creative, often irrational, hyperactive. Reader, writer, artist, photographer, film-maker, gamer.

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