Happy Chinese New Year, Russia. If history is any indication, you're in for an especially interesting one.
Many people enjoy the fireworks and celebrations that come with Chinese New Year. Not everyone, however, is enthusiastic about the upcoming Year of the Snake, which begins February 10.
For one thing, the Year of the Snake is traditionally considered a less fortuitous cycle in the 12-year Chinese zodiac than the Year of the Dragon, which precedes it. The September 11 terrorist attacks, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the start of the Great Depression all took place in "snake" years. Even worse, the 2013 Year of the Snake will be what's known as a Black Water Snake -- a rare, once-in-60-years confluence of astrological elements that may augur a volatile year ahead.
But one country in particular has reason to be afraid of snakes -- Russia, where some of the tumultuous moments its in history have consistently coincided with Years of the Snake.
'Big Changes' Coming
"The Year of the Snake is different because it's a year that, for Russia, has always marked very important, sweeping changes in our social and political life," Pavel Sviridov, a futurologist and president of the Temporal Research Fund, explained in a recent interview with the pravda.ru website. "So 12 years have passed, and we're about to usher in the 2013 Year of the Snake -- a year that will mark the beginning of big changes in our country."