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PROLOGUE

Moscow, Red Square, May 24, 2003

As the sun slides behind the Kremlin, a hundred thousand people pack into Red Square, into the heart of Russia. The fairy-tale domes of Saint Basil’s cathedral and the ancient red walls of the Kremlin seem to be on fire. The vast crowd roars—and many weep—as a familiar figure strikes the first chords. “Back in the U.S.S.R.” rolls out across the square—and Paul McCartney is here at last to sing it. “People cried rivers and waterfalls of tears,” says Artemy Troitsky, Russia’s celebrity rock guru. “It was like something that sums up your whole life.” “Moscow girls make me sing and shout,” sings McCartney, and the crowd sings back, laughing, crying, hugging, dancing to an anthem that had once put some of them in jail, lost them their jobs and their education, turned them into outcasts. Now the Soviet Beatles generation, the kids of the 1960s and the decades of stagnation, are gathered to welcome a real live Beatle. “It was as if the mystical body of the Beatles came to the middle of Moscow,” says Sasha Lipnitsky, who has been waiting for more than forty years. The story of how that Red Square spectacular—unimaginable for decades—finally came to pass is an extraordinary, untold tale. It’s the 1

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin  

A fascinating examination of the enduring popularity of the Beatles in the former Soviet Union by a writer who was there from the beginning,...

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin  

A fascinating examination of the enduring popularity of the Beatles in the former Soviet Union by a writer who was there from the beginning,...