Good-Luck Metro Mutts

If you feel it's time to revolutionize your luck and Moscow's slot machines are not the answer, why not ride down to the Ploschad Revolutsii metro station? As you walk along the platform with its crouching bronze collective farm workers, peasants holding children and partisans - one with a dog - you start to notice that about one in ten commuters stops to pat the dog's nose.

Judging from the lighter color of the polished bronze snout it is obvious that this station has throughout the decades, since its opening in 1938, provided comfort to many superstitious housewives, worried students and nervous lovers.

"This ritual has to be done before every exam," says student Evgeniya Gorshkova. "I pass through this station on my way to the university." Some students are so reliant on the superstition that they make specific journeys. "When my most difficult exam was coming up I wanted to come here but I was unable," says student Valeria Markova. "Still I passed the exam and managed to get a good mark."

"It's mainly done by students, but I used to do it when I was young," says Olga Lashkova, who works as a technical editor. Some are more skeptical, despite sticking to the tradition themselves. "I don't believe it works," chuckles student Yuri Smirnov. "Still, I do it on impulse, as do my friends. Why not?"

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