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Science

The crisis in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea as seen and experienced by Ukrainian and Russian Americans

Russia-U.S. bilateral ties may be frayed on earth, but they’re still strong in outer space

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GETTY IMAGES/FOTOBANK

Politics & Society

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rbth.com

A paid supplement to

This pull-out is produced and published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia) and did not involve the news or editorial departments of The Washington Post

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ITAR-TASS

Russian reaction to Crimean accession was diverse, as opinion pieces and street protests in Moscow (above) revealed.

A NEW COLD WAR? E

ven the most measured of voices in recent weeks have suggested the U.S. and Russia have developed enough of a rift to herald a new Cold War. Longtime Russia watcher Suzanne Massie said “I refuse to despair, but at the same time I am deeply concerned” about bilateral ties. (See p. 5). Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Adviser, said on television that the Ukrainian decision to become a more democratic state “undermined [President Vladimir Putin’s] grand concept, namely, a Eurasion Union,” calling the move to annex Crimea, “thuggish.” Only a few, like Ambassador James Matlock, a Russia specialist, have a different point of view. “It should be clear that while Moscow has grossly exaggerated the immediate physical threat to Russians in Ukraine as justification for its military moves in Crimea, Russians and Russian speakers do have good reasons to fear for their rights under the new Ukrainian government.” The biggest fear among Russia analysts in the U.S. is that Russia will try to “unify” or annex more of Ukraine. On March 20, Russia’s State Duma took an unprecedented step in post-Soviet history by approving the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The vote was a culmination of dramatic events that began in Kiev in late February when violence broke out between Russian government forces and protestors who opposed then-President Viktor Yanukovych and his decision to reject an agreement linking the country with the European Union. Over the course of the following month, Yanukovych fled to Russia, a new interim government was established in Kiev, and a referendum was held in Crimea to separate from Ukraine and become part of Russia. The decision by Russia to accept Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which is a separate administrative region from Crimea, into the Russian Federation has resulted in sanctions against Russia from the United States and the European Union and the threat from Ukraine to introduce visa requirements for Russians.

While U.S. Russia watchers describe a new Cold War, the Kremlin is busy planning Crimea’s infrastructure as part of Russia. Russia will need to invest in infrastructure, both military and civilian. If Ukraine cuts off Crimea from the electrical grid, transmission lines will have to be built across the Kerch Strait. During negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in London before the Crimea referendum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped the West “would realize this is a case that cannot be considered in isolation from history.” His words resonated with Russians who believe a shared past links the region to their country. The territory was first made part of the Russian empire by Catherine the Great in 1783. It remained part of Russia — through the chaos of the Crimean War, World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution and World War II — until 1954, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred the peninsula to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It became part of the independent country of Ukraine when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991. Crimea was the site of some of Russian history’s most significant events — from the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War to the Yalta Conference that helped bring World War II in Europe to a close. Even as part of Ukraine, Crimea was home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which was established there in 1783.

The presence of the Russian sailors and soldiers attached to the fleet complicated the situation after Feb. 21, when troops with no insignia but riding in vehicles registered to the Black Sea Fleet took steps to isolate Ukrainian military units also based on the peninsula. According to the latest Ukrainian Census, which was taken in 2001, ethnic Russians made up 58 percent of the population and 77 percent of the population listed Russian as their primary language. Even considering that these numbers might have decreased in the 13 years since the census, it’s likely that some Crimeans support the annexation by Russia, although the results of the March 16 referendum were not recognized by any state but Russia. According to Chairman of the Crimean Referendum Commission Mikhail Malyshev, with 100 percent of the votes in the referendum counted, 96.77 percent of voters were in favor of Crimea becoming a part of Russia. Some international observers said that the ballot didn’t offer a true alternative to accession with Russia. The annexation will cost Russia economically as well as politically. According to various sources, Crimea may need investment of between $3–5 billion per year to cover social benefits, its budget deficit and infrastructure expenses, including the construction of a bridge across the Kerch Strait to provide a physical link between Crimea and Russia. The region will also need new sources of electricity, water and fuel. Besides social investment, Russia will need to invest in

infrastructure--both military and civilian. If Ukraine cuts off Crimea from the electrical grid, transmission lines will have to be built across the Kerch Strait to supply the peninsula with energy, according to Alexander Khurudzhi, chairman of the board of Russia’s noncommercial territorial grid network. Russia’s trade representative in Ukraine has already made a list of projects that need Russian investment. Rebuilding the highway along the edge of Crimea that connects Kherson, Djankoy, Feodosia and Kerch would cost $1.4 billion. Seaport development projects in Yevpatoriya, Feodosia, Kerch and Yalta would require nearly $1.8 billion. There are also investment projects on the list for tourism facilities, agriculture-related projects, and the development of the airports in Kerch and Sevastopol. Another $1.2 billion is estimated for the construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait. A future for Crimea The intergovernmental agreement between Russia and the Republic of Crimea, which allows Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to enter the Russian Federation, was signed on March 18 by Vladimir Putin; Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov; Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov; and the mayor of Sevastopol, Alexei Chaly. Under the agreement, there will be a transitional period until Jan. 1, 2015 during which issues linked to the integration of the new entities into the economic, financial, credit and legal system of the Russian Federation will be resolved. In the meantime, Crimeans may face shortages and price hikes for consumer goods as well as electricity and fuel. Nikolai Surkov and Anna Kuchma contributed to this report.

Read online: “Sir, what can I get you?”: Teremok’s founder on the firm’s move into America rbth.com/35299

Why do most Russian women hate feminism? rbth.com/34907

12 conceptual cars produced and forgotten in the USSR rbth.com/34977

■LARA MCCOY RBTH


Politics & Society P2 // rbth.com // April 2, 2014

For Ukrainians and Russians, the political is personal

PUBLISHER’S LETTER

Russia Beyond the Headlines: a unified brand EUGENE ABOV RBTH

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CORBIS/ALLOVERPRESS

Immigrants to the U.S. talk about the crisis in Kiev and Crimea For many Ukrainian-Americans and Russian-Americans, the crisis in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea are political but also deeply personal. Russians and Ukrainians in the diaspora and abroad are connected; their lives and those of their friends and families are intimately intertwined. RBTH asked about their stories. What do they think of the recent referendum in Crimea and its annexation to Russia? What are their hopes for the future? Anatoly Ulyanov is Ukrainian. Born in Lviv and raised in Kiev, he is seeking asylum in the United States. The journalist, 29, had been physically attacked for his criticism of government censorship in Ukraine; he now lives and works in Brooklyn. “The results of the referendum weren’t surprising for me at all,” Ulyanov said. “After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian Russians from Eastern and Southern Ukraine faced an identity crisis. All these years, they have existed somewhere between an uprising of Ukrainian nationalism and nostalgia for the dead Empire. Every Ukrainian government preferred to use and escalate this inner conflict rather than try to resolve it.” Ulyanov and other Ukrainians agreed that the Orange Revolution of 2004 polarized Ukrainian society. “Instead of generating a civil identity for all Ukrainians no matter language, culture or religion, it caused an ethnic separation. Nobody worked with them really,” Ulyanov said. “The project of civil, open and multi-cultural Ukraine may be lost in a fight between both regressive Ukrainian nationalists and Russian imperialists.” Natalya Seay, 34, is a litigation attorney with Steptoe & Johnson living in Washington, D.C. “I am ethnically mostly Russian, 1/4 Ukrainian, but I identify myself as Ukrainian because I was born and raised in Ukraine,” she said. “There was no referendum. There was a farce under the barrel of a gun, and the results are as preposterous as the manner in which the so-called referendum was held. I live in Washington, D.C. now, but I talk a lot to my fam-

UNVEILING THE MYSTERY OF DAGESTAN:

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Anatoly Ulyanov FREELANCE MEDIA ACTIVIST AND JOURNALIST, SEEKING ASYLUM IN THE UNITED STATES,

"

It affects me on all levels. I have my family in Ukraine and most of my work is dedicated to that region. I’m facing the threat of be-

ing sucked back into that unfolding war zone and killed because of my work against conservatism for a new, diverse and modern society.”

ily and friends in Crimea and Kherson region,” she added. “People are afraid that Putin will not stop at Crimea, and such ‘referenda’ will be held in all Southeast regions of Ukraine.” Seay also said that she promised her best friend that she would take care of her daughter if something were to happen to her and her husband. “This is an extremely tragic situation because the once brotherly nations are driven further and further apart,” Seay said. Seay and others said that the Ukrainian diaspora in the United States, not known as a political group, is more active than ever before. “We attend demonstrations in support of Ukraine, we discuss the situation with our political representatives, we do fundraisings and help financially,” Seay said. Many families in the United States are both Russian and Ukrainian, and previously didn’t distinguish between the two heritages. The same is true in Russia. “We are all are very worried now,” said Alisa Veremeyenko, 25, who now lives in Moscow.

Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine near Russia, is Veremeyenko’s hometown. Her grandparents still live there today. Now living and working in Moscow, she tries to go to Ukraine every summer to her father’s dacha. “We have never distinguished between Russians and Ukrainians, due to the history of our family. However now, my grandmother, who lives there, feels resentment towards Russia. It is terribly sad that we can suddenly quarrel with our closest neighbors because of someone’s political ambitions.” Ukrainian-American Yelena Goltsman is a human rights activist who lives in New York. The 52-year-old said, “The results of the referendum are absolutely predictable, for several reasons. First, the majority of people in Crimea are ethnic Russians, while the minorities are Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. So the overall result is not surprising at all. I don’t think the Tatars came to vote. So the numbers are skewed, but it doesn’t matter, since the results reflect the situation pretty accurately, I think.” Goltsman said she doesn’t have friends in Crimea, “but I love the place. I’m Ukrainian and was born there. Anything related to Ukraine and former Soviet Union touches me. The escalation of the situation there affects everybody whether they understand it or not.” Whether they live in D.C., New York, or Moscow, those interviewed said that the recent events in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia has affected them deeply. The journalist Ulyanov said: “It affects me on all levels. I have my family in Ukraine and most of my work is dedicated to that region. As a media-activist and political asylum seeker here in the U.S., I’m facing the constant threat of being sucked back into that unfolding war zone and killed because of my work against conservatism for a new, diverse and modern society. It will affect all of us, the world in general. Maps are already shifting.” ■XENIA GRUBSTEIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

WHAT THE WEST MISSED ABOUT UKRAINE

19TH CENTURY COLOR PORTRAITS

W. GEORGE KRASNOW SPECIAL TO RBTH

VIEW MULTIMEDIA at

rbth.ru/35279

A

s U.S.-Russia tensions mount over Ukraine and Crimea, it may help to realize that some of these tensions result from media spin on real and imagined conflicts among the Ukrainian people. The crisis in Ukraine is often portrayed as a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, not among culturally, ethnically, linguistically and religiously diverse people in Ukraine. For several weeks I watched a wide range of TV channels how an originally peaceful protest in the Maidan in Kiev gradually turned more violent. After the compromise accord between the Maidan coalition and then-President Viktor Yanukovych was signed – in the presence of Foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland as well as Russia’s former human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin – the violence did not abate, as one

would have expected. Instead the situation got worse. Yanukovych accepted virtually all the demands of the Maidan, including a return to the 2004 Constitution and the calling of presidential elections. The protestors in the Maidan had every reason to celebrate. Instead the area became very violent and dozens were killed. Thus the opposition, instead of trying to unify this nation already divided by ethnic and religious loyalties, drove a wedge between western Ukraine, which is mostly Catholic or Eastern Catholic and southern and eastern Ukraine, which is mostly Orthodox Christian. Some of these Ukrainians in the south and east are ethnic Russians, but most of them identify as Ukrainians who regard Russian as their native language. This division was felt most painfully by the Russian ethnic majority in Crimea. Because they were unclear about their autonomy, a referendum was held. If the United States, European Union and Russia have roles to play, it must be as mediators between these divided segments of the Ukrainian nation. W. George Krasnow runs the Russian-American Goodwill Association in D.C.

SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTS AND SECTIONS ABOUT RUSSIA ARE PRODUCED AND PUBLISHED BY RUSSIA BEYOND THE HEADLINES, A DIVISION OF ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA (RUSSIA), IN THE FOLLOWING NEWSPAPERS: THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, UNITED KINGDOM ● THE WASHINGTON POST, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, UNITED STATES ● THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, THE AGE, AUSTRALIA ● LE FIGARO, FRANCE ● SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, GERMANY ● EL PAÍS, SPAIN ● LA REPUBBLICA, ITALY ● LE SOIR, BELGIUM ● DUMA, BULGARIA ● POLITIKA, GEOPOLITIKA, SERBIA ● NOVA MAKEDONIJA , MACEDONIA ● ELEUTHEROS TYPOS, GREECE ● THE ECONOMIC TIMES, INDIA ● MAINICHI SHIMBUN, JAPAN ● THE GLOBAL TIMES, CHINA ● LA NACION, ARGENTINA ● FOLHA DE S. PAULO, BRAZIL ● EL OBSERVADOR, URUGUAY ● JOONGANG ILBO, SOUTH KOREA ● GULF NEWS, AL KHALEEJ, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ● NATION, THAILAND. EMAIL INFO@RBTH.RU. MORE DETAILS AT HTTP://RBTH.COM/ABOUT

ear Readers — This month Russia Beyond the Headlines debuts a new logo as part of our strategy to create a single brand for our multilingual, multinational news organization. This logo and brand will be introduced this month in all our English-language products. After seven years, in which RBTH has expanded from three English-language supplements to 19 websites in 16 languages, and 26 print supplements in 21 countries, the time has come to unite our resources under a single brand. The new logo for the project, a stylized “R” that will appear on all print supplements and websites, was designed by RBTH art director Andrei Shimarsky. It was a challenge to find an element that could be used in all products, regardless of language, especially considering that RBTH is published in languages ranging from Arabic to Japanese. However it was important for us to create a single element that would identify each of our products as part of RBTH. Wherever we publish, wherever our audience is, whatever language they speak, our mission remains the same: to tell stories about Russia that fall outside the scope of the foreign press. Our web address is also changing as part of this rebranding. You can now find us at rbth.com. The redesign of the print edition has also involved a new editorial concept that reflects our commitment to providing deep analysis of the political, social, cultural and economic life of the country, reflecting a wide range of views. As part of this new editorial concept, each issue of RBTH will have at its core a central theme that we will explore in depth. We look forward to introducing you to this new format and, as always, we welcome your feedback. You can write to us at US@rbth.com or comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/RussiaNow and on Twitter, @russiabeyond. Eugene Abov, Publisher, Russia Beyond the Headlines

NEWS IN BRIEF

World Bank cuts Russian growth forecast The World Bank predicts that Russian GDP will contract 1.8 percent in 2014 under its scenario for a severe shock to the economy resulting from the Crimea crisis, the bank said in its 31-page Russian Economic Report, subtitled: “Confidence crisis exposes economic weakness.” If the “shock” scenario does not materialize, but Russia fails to alter economic policy to stimulate growth in investment activity, GDP growth will slow to 1.1 percent in 2014, down from an already low GDP growth of 1.3 percent in 2013. READ THE FULL STORY at rbth.com/35383 Ella Pamfilova succeeds Vladimir Lukin as Russian Commissioner for human rights Ella Pamfilova, an engineer, has been appointed human rights commissioner. A former Duma deputy and head of the Council on Human Rights, her position was approved by the Duma. “I see high-level corruption, especially in law enforcement,

as the fundamental threat to the protection of human rights,” the commissioner said. Pamfilova was a public policy scholar at the Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C. in 2011. In 2000, she was the first woman to run as a candidate for president.

EVENTS CALENDAR Bicentennial Celebration of the Poet Mikhail Lermontov April 24, Library of Congress, Madison building, Mumford room The American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (ARCCF) will hold an evening of culture in Lermontov’s honor. › www.a-rccf.org

Doing business with BRICS conference, May 13, The Ronald Reagan building and International Trade Center Panels will address vital topics of business, trade, energy and finance in BRICS countries. › www.eurasiacenter.org


Science rbth.com // April 2, 2014 // P3

Russian-U.S. space partnership stays on track A few weeks ago, Russian Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy and American astronaut Mike Hopkins returned to earth after a 6-month stint together on the International Space Station. Said Kotov: “I think that everyone agrees that all such missions need to be international because each country has its own experience, skills, knowledge, and combining all those assets will help us develop the deep space.” April 12th marks the 53rd anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic mission as the first man in outer space. Less than a year later, John Glenn would join him as the first American to orbit the Earth. Competition between the two superpowers in space was once fierce. Russian-U.S. diplomatic relations may have deteriorated in recent years and months, but a partnership in their dual pursuit of space exploration is stronger than ever. Each is dependent on the other for continuing their successful missions. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the U.S. Defense Department feared the Soviets’ accomplishments in space would augment their ability to launch ballistic missiles. President John F. Kennedy, however, never hoped for a space race. He encapsulated this in his UN speech just two months before his death. “Why… should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction and expenditures?,” Kennedy asked in September 1963. The Apollo 11 moon landing mission in July 1969 was the first step to transform the countries’ rivalry into an eventual partnership. July 1975 marked the first joint U.S.Soviet space collaboration in the Apollo-Soyuz test flight. A Soviet Soyuz capsule carrying two cosmonauts docked successfully with a U.S. module carrying three astronauts. Despite this successful mission, it would take another decade for the partnership to come into fruition. Mir, which operated in low Earth orbit, became the first modular space station. Assembled in 1986, Mir held the record for the largest artificial satellite orbiting the earth. The establishment of the Russian Federal Space Agency, better known as Roskosmos in 1992, would become the epicenter of the restoration of the country’s vaunted aerospace research and space program. Since its

inception, the space agency has taken a leading role in commercial satellite launches and space tourism. “The Russians need our money, and we need their space station,” said Clayton Anderson, a retired astronaut and a member of the Expedition 15 crew in 2007. Anderson spent 152 days on board the International Space Station (ISS), the microgravity and space environment research laboratory. On the ISS, crew members conduct experiments in biology, physics, astronomy and other fields. President Barack Obama’s decision to cut funds devoted to planetary science in this year’s budget upset some scientists and space exploration groups. The plan, however, does involve increasing funding for Earth science missions, which intend to fully fund the agency’s private space taxi program and new human spaceflight projects, such as the Space Launch System’s mega-rocket and Orion space capsule. This could ultimately end America’s reliance on Russia for space voyages. “Virtually every aspect of the manned and unmanned U.S. space program… is highly dependent on Russian & Ukrainian rocketry,” Universe Today reported. “It is the Russians, which have to facilitate the space rides back and forth. The ISS, astronaut rides to space and back, the Atlas V and rockets and even critical U.S. spy satellites providing vital, real time intelligence gathering are among the examples of programs that may be in peril if events deteriorate or worse yet, spin out of control.” NASA, however, announced last November that it is seeking to partner with U.S. companies for human trips to the station as well by 2017. “Until commercial space companies are ready to consistently launch American astronauts safely into space — and it’s going to be a while before they are — we are beholden to our Putin-led compatriots from the Russian Federation,” Clayton Anderson added. NASA has agreed to pay an estimated $71 million to ferry astronauts. The joint-partnership of NASA and Roscosmos remains a boon for the U.S. and Russia “in the mutual pursuit of peaceful space exploration,” said Allard Beutel, a NASA spokesman. “NASA and Roscosmos will continue to work with each other to maintain the space station, where humans have lived continu-

RUSSIAN-U.S. SPACE PROGRAM

October 4, 1957 • Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first satellite, into space. April 12, 1961 • Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space. May 5, 1961 • Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space. July 20, 1969 • Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin are the first men on the moon. July 15, 1975 • The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the first joint U.S.-Soviet space flight, is launched. February 20, 1986 • The core section of the Space Station Mir is launched. 1992 • Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, is formed. February 3, 1994 • Sergei Krikalev becomes the first Russian cosmonaut to fly on a space shuttle.

© RIA NOVOSTI

Relationships on the ground are tricky, but in space it’s clear sailing for the foreseeable future

1998 • A Russian rocket launches the first piece of the International Space Station (ISS). October 2000 • The first crew arrives on the ISS. October 11, 2010 • Barack Obama signs legislation focusing NASA’s efforts on exploring Mars and the asteroids.

Mike Hopkins (bottom step), Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy about to embark on their 6-month stint on the space station.

December 10, 2010 • SpaceV, a private company, launches a spacecraft into orbit and it returns.

PRESS PHOTO

Megatons to Megawatts project helped a lot and contributed a lot to irreversible nuclear disarmament. The project also contributed a lot to the integration of the Russian nuclear industry into the global market.

sian Federation, starting from 2000. Why wasn’t the program extended? I think that the times have changed, which is good for the Russian nuclear industry, where the funding has improved significantly. From that point of view, there is no need anymore for Russia to cooperate with the U.S. in this field under unfavorable conditions. Since the mid-2000s the Russian nuclear industry has increased its efforts to sign an agreement between Russia and the U.S. [The goal was] an intergovernmental agreement for nuclear cooperation between the nuclear industries of Russia and the U.S. Finally, the agreement was signed and entered into force in January 2011. There are, in total, about 440 operational power reactors today, and 100 of them are in the U.S. It’s a huge market. We would like to be there, but we believe it’s time to change the conditions of this cooperation. The good news is that U.S. energy utilities are ready for that. The current portfolio of Russian enrichment company Tenex, which is part of the Rosatom family, for cooperation with the U.S. is about $11.5 billion. This is the value of contracts that have been signed through 2025.

AP

Can you tell us more about The Megatons to Megawatts program? The project started in the early 1990s shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The industry was not well-funded at that time. I remember when I spoke a few years ago with Victor Mikhailov, the first minister of atomic energy of the Russian Federation, he told me, “Once I went to President Yeltsin and asked for funding for the industry.” Yeltsin replied, “We don’t have money. So just go outside, try to increase your sales abroad.” At that time, the big issue for the Russian nuclear industry was how to find contracts abroad. Firstly, the

Anton Khlopkov, director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies.

What was the role of this programinU.S.-Russianrelations? I think that both sides were quite pragmatic in implementing this project. During the socalled “U-Turn over the Atlantic,” Prime Minister [Yevgeny] Primakov decided not to go to the United States and returned back to Moscow because he had received information that NATO would start a military campaign against Yugoslavia. In spite of that, some very important documents related to the Megatons to Megawatts project were signed exactly the same day because people well understood that if they were not able to sign it, it would be most likely the end of the project. It was important for the United States [as much as for Russia] because 50 percent of the electricity produced by nuclear power plants in the U.S. used uranium from the Rus-

Program enabled the conversion of megatons of destructive nuclear power to megawatts of electricity.

Hopkins underscored that politics never played a part in their joint mission: “The politics got left aside because we did have a mission up there that we were all involved in, and we needed to work together, and we had the ground teams as well, both in Moscow, and here in Houston, worked very well together. So, the same kind of tensions you might see going on between the two countries we never experienced while we’re onboard.” Anderson scoffs at the suggestion that felt any of the geopolitical strain while in outer space: “In space, they are my tri mushketera” [Three Musketeers]. ■JARED FELDSCHREIBER SPECIAL TO RBTH

Everything you need to know about the current NHL season – in one tap

From warheads to electricity Anton Khlopkov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies, discusses the impact of the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Agreement on U.S.Russia nuclear collaboration. The Megatons to Megawatts program remains one of the most successful examples of U.S.-Russia cooperation in the nuclear sphere. As the name implies, program enabled the conversion of megatons of destructive nuclear power to megawatts of electricity. This was achieved by turning 500 tons of highly enriched uranium from Russian nuclear warheads, dismantled through disarmament initiatives, into fuel for U.S. nuclear power plants.

ously for more than 13 years, and we are confident that our two space agencies will continue to work closely as they have throughout various ups and downs of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship,” Beutel added. Take the landing of the Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan on March 11. Missouri native Mike Hopkins landed in the Soyuz capsule, along with Oleg Kotov (a Crimean native) and flight engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy, a Russian cosmonaut, after the nearly six month mission. “We need each other to operate the International Space Station,” Kotov said, shortly before his mission. Kotov, a space veteran, has served as a flight engineer and Soyuz commander on the ISS-6 and ISS-13 backup crews.

■IGOR ROZIN RUSSIA DIRECT

Many Russian ice hockey players who have made it to the NHL have become living legends. Now fans can read all about them in the new digital app from RBTH, the Russian Hockey Players Guide. Get the i n s i d e sto r i e s f ro m coaches, players and NHL experts, along with exclusive forecasts and insights as the teams fight it out on the road to the playoffs. Read profiles of the biggest stars and NHL newcomers by award-winning writers, and behind-thescenes anecdotes told by their teammates and coaches. All the content is accompanied by photos focusing on the best action and highlights from the ice. Scan with iPad


Comment & Analysis P4 // rbth.com // April 2, 2014

REFLECTIONS ON UNITY AND ANNEXATION

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR On Michel McFaul’s blog Dear Editor, Despite the effort that the now former U. S. ambassador to Russia has made (March 5 RBTH in the Washington Post) to show that relations with Russia have improved diplomacy, when push came to shove the U. S. had little to say or do. President Putin unilaterally seized control of the Crimea, an integral part of the Ukrainian nation. Using the timeworn excuse that he was only protecting the ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Crimea is now an integral portion of Russia with more possibly to follow. The revival of the old Russian empire is the obvious objective of Vladimir Putin. Do we have the means to avoid this?

T

Nelson Marans, Kerwood Road, Silver Spring, Md

Dear Nelson, In this issue, we explore divergent takes on Ukraine and Crimea in the hopes of better understanding. Best Regards, Nora FitzGerald and Elena Bobrova

EXCLUSIVELY AT RUSSIA-DIRECT.ORG

March 2014 Monthly Memo

KONSTANTIN MALER

he reunification (or annexation, depending on your political bias) of Crimea is a result of twenty-some years of tense relations between Russia and the United States. I don’t mention Europe, because it is a geographical rather than a political entity. There was a time when there were dreams of a unified constitution of the United States of Europe that could compete with the United States and China, but those dreams have remained just that. When the Soviet Union passed into oblivion, it became clear, though not formally recognized, that Russia lost the Cold War and America had won. And it was expected that the losing republic would behave as is deemed appropriate for the loser, and that it would soon adhere to the Western rules of the game, receptive to the Western mentality. Russia would grow, but would never reach its erstwhile power. Alas, these hopes and expectations were dashed. Russia was not receptive either to Western values, or to the Western mentality. This rift was not because Russia remained captive to its Soviet past. It was due to Russia’s origins in Eastern Byzantine Christianity rather than Western Christianity. Between these two value systems, there is an abyss. Secondly, Russia started to get up from its knees faster than expected, which was greatly assisted by unexpectedly high oil prices. Finally, it quickly became clear that Russia was not going to behave like a defeated country. The first sign of this was the conflict over NATO’s decision to bomb Yugoslavia. Russia objected loudly. Keep in mind that neither the Security Council, nor the European Union gave consent to these bombings. The U.S. decided to bomb anyway – essentially saying to Russia, “We’ll manage things without you” (and I shall note that the violent secession of Kosovo from Serbia, recognized by the West, opened a Pandora’s Box no matter who and what is said on this occasion). If we start from this event and trace further, we see a whole variety of disagreements between the U.S. and Russia, where the United States always acted from the position of strength. Both sides grew irritated bcause the other did not behave “appropriately,” or because the U.S. was not taking Russia seriously, clearly viewing it as to a second-rate country. At this time, the United States tried, not unsuccessfully, to squeeze Russia out of those regions it had traditionally considered its sphere of influence: the Caucasus and Central Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The extremely skillful underscoring of American mistakes allowed Russia to dramatically boost its ratings in the Arab world (specifically Syria), as well as Iran. However, what Russia could not tolerate under any circumstance was the efforts by the U.S. to take its place in Ukraine. And this was not just because of the fear that a U.S.-allied Ukraine would join NATO, whose armed forces would be at the southwestern borders of Russia. It was (and is) a matter of deep psychological belief that Ukraine is “ours” and that the Ukrainians are “our people.” Try to imagine for a moment that a revolution occurred in Mexico, a new leader came to power and invited Russia to place part of its armed forces along the Mexican-American border. Can you imagine it? Do you see the consequences? Meanwhile, the processes taking place in Ukraine were increasingly undermining the country. It started under Leonid Kravchuk’s rule and continued under Leonid Kuchma. Viktor Yushchenko’s coming to power was not a salvation for Ukraine. Instead, it plunged the country into chaos. In the following presidential election, Yushchenko received only 5 percent of the vote. It is clear that the election of Yanukovych was the result of a protest vote. Under his rule, the statehood of Ukraine actually approached zero, corruption reached such a level that, in comparison, Russian corruption seemed to be child’s play.

VLADIMIR POZNER POZNERONLINE.RU

It is clear that the election of Yanokovych was the result of a protest vote. Corruption reached new heights, even in comparison with Russia. Popular discontent had been growing stronger and stronger, but... All this was taken by the Russian leadership as confirmation of what had been continuously been happening over the last twenty years: the West pushing for its own solutions, actually refusing (not just in words, but also in deeds) to take Russia’s interests into account. In this case, it was happening in a region that has been part of the so-called “Russian World” for centuries. Only a short-sighted person could think that there would be no response. I do not exclude the possibility that this is what they counted on, to take advantage of it, and to some extent return back to the psychological state of the Cold War. I don’t say this is exactly what happened, but neither do exclude it. President Vladimir Putin started to play a prominent role and was recog-

nized as “the most influential politician of the year,” “man of the year”, etc. What about Crimea? Do I need to remind you that, strictly speaking, Crimea has never been part of Ukraine? The Presidium of the Supreme Council, which had to approve Khrushchev’s decision on the transfer of Crimea from the Soviet Union to the Ukrainians, voted for it with just 13 votes. The Presidium consisted of 27 people, so there was no quorum, as the other 14 were simply not present. However the more important point is that any negotiations with the West are meaningless, and it is time to make it clear that the West cannot treat the national interests of Russia in this way. And the fact that Crimea (not to mention Sevastopol) historically and ethically belongs to Russia, that the inhabitants of Crimea overwhelmingly orient towards Russia, is perfectly clear. And so the decision was made. Then we can talk about the “pros” and “cons.” However, I insist that such discussions should be based on knowledge and sober understanding of what existed, and exists. The incredible activity of the West in recent events in Ukraine and Crimea does not have anything to do with the desire to protect human rights in Ukraine, nothing to do with the concern for preserving the integrity of Ukraine. It is all about geopolitical strategic interests. And Russia’s actions, in my opinion, are not dictated by the desire to “protect the Russians, the Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars,” but are rather dictated by the same reasons: geopolitical and national interests. As for my personal feelings, I will invoke William Shakespeare to help me. I believe Mercutio said, in Romeo and Juliet, “A plague on both of your houses”. Vladimir Pozner is a journalist and TV-presenter. He grew up in the United States and worked there. In mid-80s he cohosted televised discussions with Phil Donahue.

March 2014 Quarterly report

February 2014 Monthly Memo

Access all Russia Direct reports in one place Go>> russia-direct.org/archive

JOY AND FRUSTRATION AT THE PARALYMPIC GAMES LAST MONTH, RUSSIA HELD ITS FIRST-EVER PARALYMPIC GAMES IN SOCHI. IN 1980, THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT HOSTED THE OLYMPICS IN MOSCOW BUT TURNED DOWN THE CHANCE TO TAKE ON THE PARALYMPICS TOO. “THERE ARE NO INVALIDS IN THE U.S.S.R.!” A SOVIET OFFICIAL IS SAID TO HAVE RESPONDED TO THE PRESS AT THE TIME.

ANASTASIA GULYAVINA SPECIAL TO RBTH

A volunteer shares her poignant experiences

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knew that I wanted to work as a volunteer in particular at the Paralympic Games the moment I filled out the application. For me this event would be a culmination of my everyday work. I have been working for a charity for several years and one of the things that we do is organize public events. For me, the Paralympics was a sort of in-

ternship, but not a break from work or a change in duties. What I did not expect, but what was most valuable, was that the games ended up being like a big focus group. What the audience was saying about people with disabilities, how the games are explained to children, who they cheer for, whether people want to buy tickets, the feelings and motivation of volunteers.... What I saw was both encouraging and frustrating. On the one hand, tens of thousands of people came to the event, even whole families. They supported all the athletes and asked for the start list, “Because it is nicer for athletes if you shout their name, than simply shout.” On the other hand, this tsunami of positive energy will probably not make Russian cities more handicap accessible, or increase the number of children with disabilities in the classroom, or even just encourage people to pay attention to those with disabilities without pitying them. It will, I think, gradually subside, leaving vivid memories. But even

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this would be okay, because if a person is the best version of himself for even just a day, he can return to it. I joined a group of Sochi volunteers on social networks, where people are constantly posting messages like: I miss it; I try to smile at people in my city; the games changed my life. I would love to see thousands of people continue to uphold the paralympic values every day. This alone would be a radical change. What I remember most, as you can see, are not so much the athletes themselves, but the event and how it could encourage progress in my country. However, I can also say something about the athletes. For me, a person in a wheelchair who is visually impaired and has a prostheses has never been someone different. But by the middle of the Paralympic Games, I had almost stopped noticing that they even had a problem. I remember there was a moment when someone came up to the information desk at the ski event where I was working and asked which handicaps the athletes would have that were competing that day. For about five seconds I couldn’t figure out what he meant, even though some young women sitting on sleds had just sped past. Anastasia Gulyavina works for the Dushevny Bazar (Soulful Bazaar) annual charity fair held in Moscow.

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JAMES ELLINGWORTH SPECIAL TO RBTH

A journalist’s view of the Paralympics

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ith a burst of color and plenty of hip-hop wheelchair dancing, the first Russian-hosted Paralympics wrapped up with a relentlessly upbeat closing ceremony in Sochi. In an unforgettable and inspiring image, giant letters floated in the center of the arena as double amputee Alexei Chuvashev hauled himself up a rope to insert the apostrophe that changed “Impossible” to “I’m possible.” In the 10 days since the graceful opening ceremony, the world had seen the poise and power of Paralympic sport, with more than 500 athletes from 45 countries competing for medals. From the physical intensity of sledge hockey to the glacial grace of wheelchair curling, competition was fierce. But the athletes were at the same time more relaxed and open than the Olympians who had filled the same venues a month before for the Winter Games.

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Against a backdrop of political tension over Ukraine, the Paralympics passed largely successfully, with a record 80-medal haul for the host nation and ticket sales of 325,000, a new high for a Winter Paralympics. Politics intruded occasionally, with sporadic protests by Ukrainian athletes, but overall the atmosphere was one of positivity. The absence of politics was partly the result of Sochi’s bizarre isolation – athletes, media and many spectators lived in high-security bubbles miles from the city itself, creating a Games-based society where the wider world barely existed. I’ve been based in Moscow as a sports journalist for the last two years and covered the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi. I enjoyed working at the Paralympics more than the Olympics for the simple reason that the schedule is less hectic and the athletes tend to be more willing to open up and talk. Particular highlights for me were interviewing the talented, witty U.S. crosscountry skiers Tatyana McFadden and Oksana Masters (both Soviet-born, incidentally!) and covering the first Paralympic snowboard competition, which resulted from years of campaigning by athletes desperate to be included in the Games. In short, an amazing experience. James Ellingworth is a Moscow-based sports writer; Check out his regular column at rbth.com.

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Culture rbth.com // April 2, 2014 // P5

Revisiting the adage ‘trust but verify’

READ RUSSIA

Suzanne Massie is ‘the greatest student of the Russian people’

PHOEBE TAPLIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

TITLE: “THE STONE BRIDGE” AUTHOR: ALEXANDER TEREKHOV PUBLISHER: GLAGOSLAV

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FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVES

The United States and Russia have hit a new nadir in relations, and jokes about Cold War II are familiar fare on Late Night television. Suzanne Massie’s long-anticipated personal memoir, “Trust But Verify: Reagan, Russia and me” provides some common-sense advice for those who care about frayed bilateral ties. In her new book, octogenarian and longtime Russia watcher Massie describes President Ronald Reagan as a “gentle and idealistic” man who depended on his wife Nancy for “protection.” The president’s staff reached out to Massie in 1984, in part because she had lectured on Russia and written a definitive cultural history called “Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia.” Reagan was determined to work outside of his inner circle, Massie explained, and learn something none of the Kremlinologists seemed to know: Who are the Russian people? What are they like, and what do they want? Between 1984 and 1988, the Reagans delighted in lunching with Massie, according to Reagan’s diaries. A dynamic extrovert who is blunt and salty in her language, she is also down-to earth in her manner. Reagan referred to her as “the greatest student I know of the Russian people.” The president was unexpectedly intrigued by Massie’s unabashed love affair with Russia: She had learned the language and hung out with Russians for decades; in her own words, she had “gone through the looking glass.” Massie also probably won the hearts of Russians with her combination of razor-sharp intellect mixed with healthy self-deprecation. Massie never lacked in drive and ambition, but also has a fun-loving streak. In the book, she describes her inability to eat in front of the president, and her efforts to shell a shrimp with her bare hands in front of him, the shrimp sliding across the table. The title of the book comes from the most important thing Massie said she shared with President Reagan, a Russian proverb, “Trust but Verify.” The phrase, a Russian adage that because of Massie is now part of the American vernacular, was a huge hit with Reagan. She encouraged him to learn it in Russian and use it with Gorbachev when they met for a Summit in 1986. Reagan said it in Russian-- “Doveryai, No Proveryai” -- in his speech during a tense moment, and offered a real ice-breaker. Gorbachev laughed and said in Russian, “You say that at

In fiction, a sinister matryoshka effect

Massie’s first meeting with President Reagan in the Oval Office.

Massie will speak April 12 at American University. every meeting.” The room filled with laughter. Gorbachev said later that upon hearing that phrase, he knew he could work with Reagan. A woman ahead of her time Suzanne Massie is the daughter of Swiss diplomats and grew up speaking French as well as English. She was born in New York and is American by birth. Massie graduated from Vassar and attended the Sorbonne in the 1950s, before the publication of “The Feminine Mystique.” She

came of age during a time when there was little talk of women “opting out,” because there was very few ways of “opting in.” She married journalist Robert Massie. Their first child, Bob Massie, was born with hemophilia in 1956. “When this catastrophe happened, I was in despair, certain that my life and youthful hopes were gone forever. How wrong I was!” Massie wrote in “Trust But Verify.” Massie’s lifelong love affair with Russia began with her grandmother, who read Russian fairy tales. The young Massie identified most with the tragic, ephemeral-but-enduring “Firebird.” When the duties of parenting a chronically ill child with hemophilia became daunting, Massie found herself enrolling in a Russian class. “After he suffered a particularly severe medical crisis, to save my sanity, I enrolled in an adult education course in Russian language at a local high school,” she wrote in the prologue. It was $8 a semester, which was all she could afford. Massie’s teacher informed her that she had “a Russian soul.” Suzanne and the late Robert Massie, her first husband, researched ev-

Her story Born in New York to Swiss diplomats, Suzanne Massie graduated from Vassar College, and studied at the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris. Suzanne Massie has been involved in many aspects of study and work in the Soviet Union and Russia for nearly 40 years. A fellow of the Harvard Russian Re-

search Center (now the Davis Center) from 1985-97, she has also served on the Board of the International League for Human Rights. She has written extensively about Russia. She has briefed the U.S. Congress and she advised President Ronald Reagan during the critical years at the end of the Cold War.

erything they could about hemophilia, its history and the quest for a cure. They became fascinated by the story of Tsar Nicholas, Empress Alexandra, and their son Alexei. They concluded that the royal family became more isolated in their reaction to the illness, and that this insulation, and the resulting influence of Rasputin, led to the destruction of Imperial Russia. The result was the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic, “Nicholas and Alexandra.” Their own son, Bob Massie, spent his childhood in braces and lost both his knees to hemophilia. He would eventually contract Hepatitis and HIV from blood transfusions. Yet Bob Massie is among the first patients to show a natural resistance to AIDS and is participating in medical studies at Massachusetts General Hospital. An activist and Episcopalian priest, he published his memoir ,“A Song in the Night,” with Doubleday in 2012.

ne bright June evening in 1943 two teenagers died on a Moscow bridge. “Stubborn, hotheaded” Volodya, son of the head of Soviet aviation, was in love with Nina, the beautiful daughter of a diplomat. Nina’s father, a former Soviet ambassador to the United States, had been posted to Mexico; she was due to leave with him the next day. They quarreled and Volodya shot the girl at pointblank range, then shot himself. Stalin called them “wolf cubs.” This actual event forms the elusive heart of Alexander Terekhov’s celebrated 2009 novel “The Stone Bridge.” Finally appearing in English this month, the work was translated by Simon Patterson and Nina Chordas. The novel took Terekhov ten years to write; its English editor, Camilla Stein, told RBTH: “We all felt very strongly that the story … needed to have an audience outside Russia.” Part-documentary, part-postmodern-fiction, this is a story within a story, constantly revealing new layers, like an intricate matryoshka doll. The murder-suicide becomes a convoluted mystery, raising more questions than

it answers, while the novel itself refuses to stay within the boundaries of genre. One of Terekhov’s many layers involves exploring the historical palimpsest of the Moscow landscape. The Great Stone Bridge itself, which overlooks the Kremlin and was rebuilt over the centuries, becomes an image of the way the changing past obtrudes into the present. Many landmarks become symbolic: the demolished-and-resurrected Christ the Savior Cathedral, the murky Moscow River, the “sweaty guts” of the metro, and the Kremlin with its “indifference” and “malignant, long memory.” When we first meet the story’s narrator, he is selling toy soldiers in the labyrinthine Izmailovo flea market, a perfect location for raising the novel’s central questions about history. Terekhov shuttles between intractable narratives of both the Soviet and the post-Soviet era; at one point his narrator cheerfully urinates on a concrete fence with the slogan “United Russia is a strong Russia.” At the same time he despises the ability “to boil the past down to simple, easily digestible anti-Soviet mush,” or “mix the truth with marketable fiction.” For Terekhov, history is bleak and unforgiving. A dying man in a dacha whispers: “Love had nothing to do with it.”

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Never right about Russia “Why Are We Always Wrong About Russia?” is a speech Massie wrote in 2001, though it has been updated many times. Recently, she added her thoughts on the complexity of Russia’s relationship to Ukraine and Crimea. “I keep updating the speech, but the essence of it is the same,” the historian said on the phone from her home in Maine. She wants to offer observers of current events more historical context, she said. She warns Americans with a Russian proverb: “Ignore history, you lose an eye,” Massie said. “Forget history, and you lose two eyes.”

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PAST TENSE

Lermontov, forever young

■NORA FITZGERALD

ALENA TVERITINA

RBTH

RBTH

Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov (1814–1841) was a man capable of stirring strong emotions – and not only with his verse.

How Russian aristocrats became fashion pioneers tions featuring these elements were presented in the 1920s by Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel and many others. The parents of one of the founders of modern U.S. fashion, Ralph Lauren, immigrated to the United States with their parents from Russia in the 1920s. Until he turned 16, the legendary fashion pioneer was known under his father’s surname, Livshits. He started out selling neckties that “looked expensive but cost little to make,” from an office without windows. Today Ralph Lauren runs a fashion empire of his own and is a regular fixture at New York Fashion Week. Similarly, the father of modern cosmetics Max Factor (Maksymilian Faktorowicz), the founder of industry giant Max Factor & Company wielded huge influence. A Polish businessman of Jewish origin, he too was born in the Russian Empire. He opened his first cosmetics store in Ryazan, Russia, and later worked in Odessa and Nikolayev, both in Ukraine. Today one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame bears his name. Another incredible success story took place in Italy, where Irina Borisovna Golitsina, a girl from a titled family of first-wave émigrés, brought up in Russian aristocratic traditions, became a princess of the Italian fashion world.

GETTY IMAGES/FOTOBANK

Every year, the world of fashion fixes its attention on what innovation can be seen on catwalks and behind the scenes at fashion week. Industry professionals search for new It-girls as everyone who’s anyone from all over the world puts New York, London, Milan and Paris on the calendar. One event unlikely to feature on their itineraries, however, is Moscow Fashion Week, which is still not that well known. Although the Russian couturiers of today lack the high-profile enjoyed by the giants of France and Italy, there was a day when Russian designers dressed fashionable people on both sides of the Atlantic. The history of Russian “expansion” into the foreign fashion market began with the break-up of the Russian Empire following the revolution of 1917. Hundreds of members of the Russian aristocracy found themselves making a new life abroad as refugees. Most of the women among them were welleducated, with fine manners and impeccable taste. Moreover, as young girls, they had all been taught embroidery and needlework. The Russian Revolution created ripples even in the world of fashion. Chic women in Europe began to wear styles à la russe: kokoshniks (headdresses), furs and boyar (aristocratic) collars. Collec-

O

Did you know about Max Factor cosmetics’ Russian roots? Her fashion house, Galitzine, was on par with the houses of such established masters as Gianni Versace, John Galliano and Yves Saint Laurent. It was she who in 1963 designed the famous “palazzo pajamas,” silk pajama sets that were chic enough to be worn as eveningwear. ■INNA FEDOROVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

READ THE FULL STORY AT rbth.com/34345

f the many charismatic, romantic and tragic Russian poets, Mikhail Lermontov, born 200 years ago, was among the most beloved. Yet he died at the age of 26, and was surrounded by controversy long after his untimely death. This month, the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (ARCCF) celebrates Lermontov’s bicentennial at the Library of Congress on April 24 with an evening of culture in his honor. Lermontov became famous overnight: as Russia was mourning its greatest poet Aleksandr Pushkin, who had been killed in a duel, the 22-year-old cavalry officer wrote a bold and very emotional poem, “On the Death of Pushkin.” The work became an instant hit in St. Petersburg as its denizens copied the verse by hand and passed it on. In the poem, Lermontov went on to assail society, effectively blaming Pushkin’s death on the authorities and the fashionable customs of the times. The freethinking poet was arrested and exiled to the Caucasus, where a seemingly never-ending war was in progress.

Lermontov was dispatched to Georgia and fell in love with the place; he returned from exile full of ideas and storylines, which fed most of his best-known works written over the next couple of years. However soon the poet attracted the authorities’ attention and he was sent to Chechnya to quell the resistance of Islamic mountain tribes against Russian forces. Lermontov showed reckless courage, ruthlessness and even a kind of malice on and off the battlefield. As a cadet at the cavalry school, he often pulled toxic pranks. And yet, no matter how dubious some of his behavior may have been, his talent for poetry was transcendent. In 1841, Lermontov was on holiday in Pyatigorsk, where he dueled with a former friend, Nikolay Martynov. Was there a lady involved, or was it a provocation by the tsarist secret police that wanted to destroy the freethinking poet? It remains a mystery why Lermontov was killed, and why Russia lost its most promising poet. Alena Tveritina, the first editor of the Read Russia section, is a culture writer living in Moscow.


Feature P6 // rbth.ru // April 2, 2014

Space conversations with a cosmonaut

CUISINE A LA RUSSE

A WARM SPRING WITH KURNIK JENNIFER EREMEEVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

that was left was to overcome my pastry phobia. Fortunately, Darra Goldstein’s cream cheese pastry is the most forgiving of doughs, as is her soothing tip that you don’t always have to go the traditional route and make the pie in a spring form pan if you are in a rush, a layer of pastry on top is sufficient to keep it in the pie family without the nail biting agony of wondering if your encased pie has cracks in the bottom. The real challenge is to spice up the rather basic flavors of the traditional recipe. I started by substituting chicken thighs, which have more flavor than breasts, and infused more flavor by poaching them in white wine and herbs. Instead of sour cream, I made a white sauce with the poaching juices, spiked with Cayenne pepper. Dried mushrooms reconstituted in Madeira added depth to the mushroom layer. Fresh tarragon added just the right finishing note. Kurnik is a fun dish to assemble with children, who will enjoy constructing the layers and cutting out pastry shapes to decorate the top of the pie! NASA

So far, it’s been a record-cold spring, and the only consolation for that is Kurnik. Russia’s chicken potpie is certainly absorbing: using rice and hard-boiled eggs as coagulants for its rich chicken and vegetables in sauce. Kurnik, which means “chicken coop,” is a pirog, or filled pastry taken to the highest level of the art form. Chicken, eggs and mushrooms are layered in a thick dough and baked until the fillings are piping hot and wafting appetizing steam as the kurnik is brought to the table. Its round or oval shape and the inclusion of eggs make it a potent symbol of eternity, wholeness and fertility, which is why kurnik often takes center stage at major festivals and weddings, where the bride and groom are each presented with their own decorated pie. I initially found kurnik daunting. Nineteenth century recipes call for a layer of blini at the bottom and top of the pie. I don’t mind an absorbing afternoon in the kitchen, but a week? Not so much. So I leave out the blini, but I keep the hard-boiled eggs. All

In the Academy-award winning film “Gravity,” now available on demand, George Clooney tries to break the spacewalking record held by Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev. RBTH talks to the Russian cosmonaut about the film, everyday life in space and work and cooperation in space.

Instructions: 1. Pastry: Cream the butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the dry ingredients. Form into 2 disks and chill for at least 30 minutes. 2. Fillings: Rinse the dried mushrooms then submerge them in the Madeira, topped up with 1 cup of hot water. Let stand for at least 20 minutes. Strain the juice through a paper towel and reserve the liquid. 3. Sauté the fresh mushrooms in 1 Tbl of butter and a lug of Madeira wine until they leach their liquid and re-absorb it. Add a pinch of salt and 2 Tbl of heavy cream. Toss with the reconstituted dried mushrooms. 4. Sauté the chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil until soft. Set aside. 5. Bring the white wine, 2 cups of water, one celery rib and parsley to a simmer, then poach the chicken thighs for 9 to 11 minutes. Reserve the liquid. Place the chicken inside the standing mixer with the paddle attachment and process on medium to shred the chicken. Combine the chicken with the onions/carrot mixture and toss with tarragon. 6. Make a white sauce with the combined poaching and mushroom liquids, adding heavy cream and a pinch of cayenne pepper to finish. Toss with the chicken mixture. 7. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 8. Butter a spring form pan and line with dough. Layer the ingredients, beginning with the rice, then chicken, then mushroom. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan. Insert the hard-boiled eggs, yolk side up in a decorative pattern on the top. Cover the pie with the remaining dough. Decorate the top with the extra pastry. Cut a slit in the top to let steam escape. Brush with egg and cold water. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue until the crust is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes then serve. Jennifer Eremeeva is a freelance writer who has called Moscow home for 20 years. She is the author of “Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow,” which is available from amazon.com.

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But what about the visual side of it? Was it at all like what you saw in space? Yes, the sunrise above the planet was indeed mesmerizing; it was well done, one hundred percent as it really is. As for the rest, there is nothing even to discuss. Laws of physics are completely ignored: Newton, Kepler, Lagrange and others are just nonexistent. You know, I show this film to physics and math students with the task of identifying all the numerous mistakes in its representation of the physical reality and to demonstrate, with the help of scientific formulas, why what happens in the film is not what happens in space. Did you ever fear spacewalks? And just going into space, into complete isolation? I personally was not afraid: I had been trained not to be. On the contrary, it was exciting. One needs to understand that at the Cosmonaut Training Center we receive comprehensive training before the flight. That includes work in a hydrolab, zero-gravity flights, simulators, etc. After such intensive training and after practicing real scenarios, work in space seems like the most natural thing for a cosmonaut to do. And when the moment of truth comes, you open the hatchet and walk into open space for the first time, all the actions have been rehearsed a multitude of times. Of course, there are emotions too to deal with, but they are manageable. Confidence is born and built on Earth. During your spacewalk assignments, did you have time to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding world, to contemplate the mysteries of creation? There is of course very little time for distractions like these. When the station is in Earth’s shadow or when the Mission Control gives you time to take a break, then you get a moment to look around, to see the magical beauty of the planet gliding under your feet. It is an truly overwhelming sight! It’s one’s first spacewalk missions that are particularly memorable, when the psychological pressure is still there, as well as some quite natural anxieties, such as when you hold on to that railing slightly stronger than necessary. In a situation like that, it is in fact necessary to look around,

HIS STORY

ITAR-TASS

JENNIFER EREMEEVA

Ingredients: Pastry: 12 oz. of cream cheese • 1-1/2 cups of butter • 3 cups of flour • 2 tsp. of baking powder • 1 Tbl of salt • ¼ tsp. of cayenne pepper Fillings: ½ cup of heavy cream • 2 Tbl of flour • 4 Tbl of butter, divided into two batches • 2 Tbl of olive oil • 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely minced • 1 lb of fresh mushrooms • 1 cup of dried mushrooms • 2 cups of uncooked rice, boiled in 4 cups of water • 1 cup of Madeira or dry white wine • 2 cups of dry white wine • 2 cups of diced carrots • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved • 1 raw egg and cold water • 1 small bunch of parsley • 3 celery ribs • 2 Tbl of fresh chopped tarragon

Anatoly Solovyev, what’s your take on the film “Gravity”? It’s like a Tom and Jerry cartoon: they chase each other in space, spinning now 90 degrees, now 180, defying all imaginable laws of nature. It reminded me of Disneyland: all those breathtaking rollercoaster rides, combined with the special effects. Had the chairs in the theater been rocking and tossing, the feeling would have been complete.

In the film “Gravity” George Clooney tries to break the record held by cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev

Anatoly Solovyev, born January 16, 1948, in Riga, is a retired Russian and Soviet cosmonaut and pilot. Solovyev holds two world records – on the number of spacewalks performed (16), and the accumulated time spent spacewalking (over 82 hours). Since August 1976, he has been associated with the Yuri A. Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Solovyev’s first spaceflight took place in 1988. It lasted nine days and was conducted with an international Soviet-Bulgarian team. From February 11 to August 9, 1990, Colonel Solovyev accomplished a long-duration (179-day) flight aboard the station. He was the commander of the back-up Russian crew of the Mir-18 expedition on the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft as part of the Mir-Shuttle program. In 1998, he took part in his fifth and final spaceflight as a commander of the Mir space station’s crew.

to take a moment to marvel at the beauty around you, in order to get one’s feelings under control. Did you take any pictures? Of course, we tried to take pictures of all that beauty. When digital technology arrived, it became possible to fully capture the magnificent views of Earth from space. Which the makers of “Gravity” managed to do: to show what Earth looks like from the orbit. I understand you lived in the United States for a while. What can you tell us about this experience? I gained enormous experience working in the United States. I completed a space-training program in Houston. Then in 1995 there was the Atlantis docking to the Mir station, and I took part in that expedition. That was the first docking of a shuttle to the Russian station. I flew to Mir together with the Americans. We carried out a joint program, then the Americans went back to Earth with the previous Russian crew, while my partner Nikolai Budarin and I remained at the station for several more months and returned to Earth on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Interestingly, in my passport I have a stamp made on my arrival in the U.S. but none on my departure, which means that I left the country via space, since no one on Cape Canaveral thought of putting a departure stamp in my passport. Later I coordinated cooperation between our Cosmonaut Training Center and NASA. That work gave me a lot of extremely valuable experience. I had to deal with astronauts, engineers and managers. We prepared documentation and developed a common, standard language for communication since the criteria for assessing situations and taking decisions should be the same. There was a very active exchange of opinions and approaches. What are the differences between U.S. and Russian approaches to space training? I would not say that there is a fundamental difference between our school of space training and exploration and that in the United States. Generally speaking, the training concepts are very similar. But they have by far better funding. And they have very good simulators. Although our simulators can cope with their tasks. As my colleague Gennady Strekalov - incidentally, he was one of the people in the Russian crew on Mir whom we replaced in 1995 - once said, we can do all the same things, but cheaper. Take the spacesuit, for example. I had practical experience of using both the American and the Russian one. Ours is simpler, cheaper and covers a wider range of survival speeds and altitudes. Besides, their spacesuit is rather complex, one cannot put it on unassisted.

■IVAN NIKOLAEV SPECIAL TO RBTH

THE BEST OF RUSSIA 2013 PHOTO EXHIBITION ALL EYES ON THE MOST EXCITING AND DARING PHOTOGRAPHERS AT MOSCOW’S HIPPEST VENUE LIKE TO BE A COP IN RUSSIA?

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