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Culture

Did Alexander Solzhenitsyn predict the crisis in Ukraine? The writer’s work from the 1980s is surprisingly prescient

American Kashaya Indians explore their unique historic and cultural ties with Russia

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ELENA BOBROVA

Comment & Analysis

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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, June 4, 2014

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HIDDEN MONASTERY TREASURES

Monks celebrate a traditional Russian Orthodox liturgy at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, N.Y.

Evocative, traditional Russian Orthodox monasteries in the United States give visitors a taste of a more mystical life 1930. It includes a publishing house, an icon-painting studio, a library, a Russian cemetery and a historical museum. Dozens of monks from all over the world work in the print shop, the bookbinding shop, the book store, the kitchen, the bakery, the icon-painting studio and icon-mounting studio. During the summer, the monks and seminarians also work the gardens, work the fields and tend to the cemetery. The Hermitage of the Holy Cross Monastery was founded in 1986 in House Springs, Mo. before moving to West Virginia in 2000. The 24 monks and candidates who live there support themselves by manufacturing handmade incense in the ancient Athonite tradition as well as through selling icons, homemade soap, and other liturgical items. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, East Setauket, N.Y. was founded in 1974. The nine monks there also make candles and incense to support themselves. Although it is the smallest, St. Sabbas prides itself on evangelical outreach and is responsible for about 20 converts to the Russian Orthodox Church each year, Father Pachomy said. “We have made an enormous impact in Michigan for the Orthodox Church,” he said. “However, we are still struggling to find young men who are interested in joining the monastery.” About 8,000 people visit St. Sabbas each year to attend church services, eat in the restaurant or listen to a lecture about the history of the Russian Church. Father Pachomy began his training at Oakland University. From there his studies took him to St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he became a novice in the oldest American Orthodox Monastery and graduated in 1988.

The Russian Orthodox Church in Detroit began in the early 1900s, but by the 1980s, Detroit’s hard times sent many parishioners to the suburbs and the original Russian cathedral, located in a rough neighborhood in the city, was closed. Father Pachomy moved to a house in a neighboring suburb with the hope of finding a place for a new parish, but instead ended up founding the monastery. The monastery is surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains, and mosaic shrines, very much in the style

PRESS PHOTO

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urrounded by modest single family homes in a quiet suburban neighborhood, the decorative onion dome roofs of St. Sabbas Orthodox Monastery spring out of the landscape, hinting at the transformative experience that lies beyond its gates. Visitors to the Russian monastery in this suburban Detroit neighborhood are treated to European cuisine while surrounded by exquisite gardens and the elaborate architectural elements common in Russian Orthodox churches. Twice a week, St. Sabbas, in Harper Woods, Michigan, opens up its grounds to the public, offering luncheon teas (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) and gourmet dinners (on Thursdays). The monastery, which was founded in 1999 and now occupies six acres, is home to four monks. It’s not uncommon to see one of them quietly walking between buildings on the grounds wearing a heavy black robe, even on a hot summer day. St. Sabbas (pronounced “Sava”) Monastery is one of only four monasteries in the United States that follow the traditional teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, (ROCOR), said St. Sabbas’ Abbott, Archimandrite Pachomy, who is also called Father Pachomy. St. Sabbas, the youngest of the four American monasteries, is a center for liturgical arts in conjunction with traditional monastic standards, says Father Pachomy, whose birth name was John Belkoff. The other three ROCOR monasteries are Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y.; Holy Cross Monastery, Wayne, West Va., and Monastery of the Holy Cross, East Setauket, N.Y. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was established after the Bolsheviks, who embraced statesponsored atheism, came to power in Russia. in 1920, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Tikhon, who had previously served in North America and established the Diocese of the Aleutians and North America, issued a decree stating that all Russian Orthodox Christians abroad who were under his authority should govern themselves. In 1922, ROCOR was established in Serbia. The Jordanville, N.Y. monastery, the oldest and the largest of the U.S. ROCOR monasteries, dates back to

of ancient monasteries. The elaborate public spaces do not extend to the simple quarters where the monks reside. They have no TV or radio and there is just a single computer on the property. The restaurant, the Royal Eagle, is a non-profit venture that helps fund the monastery. Reservations fill up a month in advance. Everything is prepared by chef Petr Balcarovsky, who studied culinary arts in Europe. The servers, who dress in traditional Russian attire, volunteer their time. The venture faced a major challenge nearly from the start, however, when the local health department required $80,000 worth of renovations to the brand-new kitchen, Father Pachomy says. Church patrons Mike and Marian Illitch (owners of Domino’s Pizza, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings) paid for the changes to the facility. The seven-course tea includes borscht and patrons are offered a choice of more than 40 loose-leaf teas, served by the pot to accompany canapé sandwiches, paprikash chicken skewers and desserts. The shop offers handcrafted gifts and music CDs, including one of the evening vespers service. Brother Romanos, who is a novice, is an accomplished musician. Shorts, tank tops, low cut shirts or dresses, cigarettes and chewing gum are forbidden. Women must wear head coverings inside the church during services. But these restrictions are not burdensome; most guests say the rules add to the charm. “It’s quite lovely here,” said Dawn Bresnahan, who visited the restaurant for tea with her Red Hat Society group on an early spring day. “Covering our heads isn’t a problem for our group,” she added, noting the hats they are famous for wearing. The monastery must rely on the restaurant and gift shop to fund the property, Father Pachomy said. “The church has to find a way to be more and more self-sufficient, and monasteries even more so,” he said.

Visitors to the St. Sabbas Monastery are surrounded by exquisite gardens and elaborate architecture.

READ ONLINE: Poroshenko: I’ll pay for gas, but I’m going to court over Crimea rbth.com/37003

Winds of change leave Russia’s opposition out in the cold rbth.com/36525

Moscow’s D.C. embassy chef gives local food a Russian accent rbth.com/36585

■ TANYA GAZDIK IRWIN SPECIAL TO RBTH


Politics & Society P2 // rbth.com // June 4, 2014

Life after the orphanage

Situation in Ukraine remains tense

Orphanage system creates a vicious cycle that can be next to impossible for graduates to break

Evgeny Bespalov GRADUATE OF A MOSCOW ORPHANAGE

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I have no regrets. I am who I am thanks to the orphanage. I have many friends from the outside world including my girlfriend. She is 20 and is studying to become a police officer, at least someone in our family will have a degree. Many kids remain inside their usual circle. They even marry between themselves. I did self-analysis and it helped me to adapt.

READ THE FULL STORY at rbth.com/37077

3 billion rubles ($86 million) for 42 children’s homes in Moscow and Moscow Region – about 1.5-3 million rubles ($43,000$86,000) per child a year. And that figure does not include sponsors’ donations. The problem however is that orphanages get their funding depending on how many children they have. As a result, orphanage administrators are not interested in looking for foster or adoptive parents. In 2012, Russians adopted approximately 6,500 children. State officials have been discussing reform of the orphanage system for a long time, but there has been no decision as to what kind of jobs or life orphanage graduates should be prepared for. Until those questions are answered, there can be no firm plan for reform. According to Gezalov, it takes an orphanage graduate between 20-25 years to become fully socialized. Zhenya says he has received much help from the N.G.O. Opora, which helps orphans to adapt. When Zhenya was 20, specialists there gave him advice about choosing a job and helped him understand how people interact “in the real world.” According to Gezalov, rehabilitation centers like Opora are a good thing but they just fill in the gaps that exist in the orphanage system. He would like to see children’s homes recruit professional teachers. Zhenya thinks he managed to escape the fate of many orphanage graduates because he lived at home until he was eight and remembers what life on the outside was like. “Those who have spent their whole life in a home find it extremely difficult to extricate from this system. Thus, the children of women who were in a home themselves that end up in orphanages, and the vicious circle continues.”

Alexander Gezalov, 47, an expert in social orphanhood in CIS countries and a graduate of a children’s home himself said of the experience: “For a child, leaving a home is a like landing on the moon, where nobody knows them. And this is how they spend the rest of their life, in a spacesuit, since nobody takes any interest in them.” Gezalov, who tries to help orphanage graduates to adapt to life outside, says that in their current form, children’s homes are just a breeding ground for criminal groups. “I am in touch with a young woman from Izhevsk, who has recently left a children’s home. She says most of whom she knows have either become drug addicts or are already dead,” Gezalov said. Zhenya considers himself lucky. “I have many friends from the outside world, while those people remain inside their usual circle. They even marry between themselves.” While still at the home, Zhenya became interested in books and computers, and his teachers encouraged him. Efforts to socialize children’s home graduates are being made. They are given places in vocational schools, but generally this is the only higher education available to orphans. Few children who are raised in orphanages have a strong enough educational background to attend universities. One of the problems, according to Zhenya, is that staff at children’s homes are not qualified enough. Very often, they are orphanage graduates themselves, who have failed to adapt to “the real world.” The children’s homes are generally not underfunded. In 2012, the state allocated

■SOFYA IZMAYLOVA, ■VLADIMIR RUVINSKY SPECIAL TO RBTH

IN FIGURES

560,000 of Russia’s orphans are “social orphans” whose biological parents are living.

15,000 children leave orphanages every year. They are allowed to move out when they turn 17.

The Russian government is maintaining its willingness to cooperate with Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, although the situation in the country remains tense. Speaking before the election took place, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would respect the results of the vote and would work with the new government. However, fighting continues in the eastern part of the country, where natives of Chechnya are rumored to be taking part in operations, and U.S. and EU sanctions against Russian interests are still in place.

READ MORE ABOUT UKRAINE at rbth.com/ukraine American tourists still traveling to St. Petersburg – consul Despite the poor showing of U.S. business executives at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, American tourists are still visiting the city, according to U.S. Consul General in Russia’s northern capital Bruce Turner. On the consulate’s LiveJournal page, Turner wrote:

“The cruise ship season has already started, allowing many to take advantage of not needing a visa for a three-day visit.” However, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia has predicted a 30 percent drop in European and American tourists this year.

Russian film wins big at Cannes

PHOTOSHOT/VOSTOCK-PHOTO

IN HIS OWN WORDS

VLADIMIR RUVINSKY

Zhenya was eight years old when his grandmother died. His father did not live with them and when his mother took to the bottle again, Zhenya was left to his own devices. For about a year, he lived by himself, sometimes at home and sometimes in the street. So when he was offered a place in an orphanage, he took it. “I have no regrets. I am who I am thanks to that home,” Zhenya said. Zhenya, whose full name is Evgeny, is now 28. From looking at him or talking to him, there is no way to know he grew up in an orphanage, sometimes translated from the Russian as children’s home, although he stresses with pride that his girlfriend is “from the real world” and did not grow up in an institution. He never finished school, but he is not particularly bothered by that. Zhenya has an apartment on the outskirts of Moscow that his grandmother left him and he makes good money working as a systems administrator for a wholesale clothing company There are some 560,000 social orphans like Zhenya in Russia – children whose biological parents are living but cannot care for them. According to the Education Ministry, social orphans make up 85 percent of all orphans in Russia. Their life stories are similar: Parents lose custody because they drink; mothers give up children at birth because of real or perceived disability. All these children ultimately end up in orphanages. Today there are about 2,000 of these closed institutions in Russia, where children both live and go to school. Last year, 15,000 orphans left children’s homes. Most aged out of the system. Starting from the age of 18, orphans receive a monthly benefit of about 25,000 rubles (700$), and the state is supposed to provide them with an apartment, but the main problem, according to experts, is that children who grow up in these institutions are totally unprepared for real life.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Andrei Zvyagintsev’s new film, “Leviathan,” received the Best Screenplay award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The picture stunned audiences on the penultimate day of screenings, with critics hailing the director’s

bleak allegory of one man’s struggle against corruption in northern Russia as a new masterpiece. It is not yet certain whether the film will be released in Russia, although it was filmed with support from the Culture Ministry.

School of MIgrant Languages opens

4,500 children were returned to orphanages in Russia last year after having been adopted.

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New Moscow centers offers social orphans a live-in mother A new kind of home for children without families is springing up around Moscow, and those who work with orphans hope that this type of facility can one day replace the city’s orphanages. Called family support centers, the facilities give orphans the chance to get used to a family environment by living in comfortable modern surroundings with a “social mother” who spends five days a week with them. The centers feature a cozy living room combined with a modern kitchen, toys and desks in the rooms, and bathrooms. Unlike children who live in orphanages, children at the family support centers go to ordinary schools and take part in sports and other extra curricular activities. Five family support centers opened last year, and 12 more will be launched by the end of 2014. Most of the children who live in the family support centers are social orphans, whose biological parents are still living but have been stripped of

parental rights. Like other orphans, the children who live in the family support centers will remain there until adoptive families are found for them, or they age out of the system.

“The main thing is for our kids to be treated as everybody else at school, sports and other clubs they go to.” One family support center was recently visited by Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin. “This year we have invested over 800 million rubles ($22.4 million) into refurbishing establishments that work with parentless children, into carrying out the necessary transformations,” Sobyanin said. The head of Family Support Center #1, Valentina Spivakova, said that there have

been some challenges mainstreaming the oprhans. “Many parents [in the schools] offer to help, bring presents. But there are also some complaints. They are not numerous, but sometimes parents claim that our kids have a bad influence on their children, for instance teach them rude words. Granted, our children are not an easy lot, they require a lot of work. I always defend them as if they were my children and I encourage all my staff to do the same. I explain to those parents who complain that should my child come under somebody’s bad influence, I would think that it was my fault as a parent,” she said. “The main thing is for our kids to be treated as everybody else at school, sports and other clubs they go to. This is the surest way to overcome all troubles,” she said. Others are skeptical about the program. Yelena Alshanskaya, head of the fund Vol-

Children in family support centers have better opportunities for socialization. unteers for Helping Orphans said that it is yet too early to speak of any tangible results. “I am all for reducing the number of children’s homes. What is being done in Moscow is just in its initial stage; at the family upbringing support centers, flats for family units have only been set up. I would like to see this experience and practice continue,” said Alshanskaya. “Our state, unfortunately, does not always have enough patience to see things through. We all remember family children’s homes that were set up in the 1980s or the foster family initiative in the 1990s, but none of those projects have been completed. Family support centers should primarily seek to return children to their real families and, if that is not possible, find adoptive and foster families for them.” Alshanskaya added that she is skeptical of the idea of a “social mother.” “Children get attached to them, indeed begin to view them as their real mothers, but then they are separated from them. These are staff who look after children and they should be identified as such until a child is adopted and gets a mother there.” ■TATYANA SUDAKOVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

Muscovites now have the opportunity to study the languages spoken in the home countries of the majority of Russia’s immigrants, thanks to the opening of a special school that teaches Tajik, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Moldovan. The School of Migrant Languages is open four evenings at week. Most of the students are people who work with immigrants and want to be able to communicate better with them.

RUSSIAN EVENTS CALENDAR 34nd annual U.S. - Russia Forum June 16 - 17, 2014 Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902, Washington D.C. The forum will involve discussions of ways Russia and the U.S. can work together in the fields of security, business, science, education and cultural exchange. › www.russiahouse.org

Denis Matsuev in the Music Center at Strathmore June 17, 2014 Strathmore Hall, Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD. The dynamic pianist returns to Strathmore Hall for a recital of works by Haydn, Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. › www.maestroartist.com

FIND MORE EVENTS ONLINE at rbth.com/culture_calendar

Read in RBTH for iPad®

RBTH LITERATURE Meet the writers, listen to the critics, view multimedia and read the latest reviews and excerpts from new translations – find all this and more at our special literature section!

CELEBRATING THE ETHNIC DIASPORA IN MOSCOW DISCOVER THE WONDER OF UZBEK FOOD; THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF GEORGIAN DOCTORS; AND THE MYSTICISM OF BUDDHISTS FROM MAJESTIC KALMYKIA

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Business rbth.com // June 4, 2014 // P3

Joint venture on a paper chase International Paper thrives in Russia thanks to a local partner and a long-term strategy

1

IN FIGURES

36%

is the size of Russia and the CIS in Ilim’s sales distribution market.

16

years ago is when International Paper arrived in Russia.

$2 billion is the total IP investment into its projects in Russia.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Steven Chercover

Franz Joseph Marx

SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST WITH D.A. DAVIDSON, WHICH PROVIDES ANALYTICAL COVERAGE OF IP

ILIM GROUP CEO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL PAPER RUSSIA

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explore this vibrant city from the seven highest points in the capital

PATRIARCHY BRIDGE AND CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOR The Patriarchy Bridge was built in 2004. From one side, visitors see the Kremlin and the Moscow river embankment, while on the other side they experience views of the Central House of Artists and the buildings of Red October, a former chocolate factory. The observation deck of the cathedral offers panoramic views of the famous House on the Embankment and the Zamoskvorechye Merchant District. Tours on the deck are available only as a part of a group by prior arrangement (+7) 495 637 28 47. Address: 15 Volkhonka street (subway station Kropotkinskaya)

Solid structure provides personal engagement, which leads to higher productivity. Looking ahead, we are continuing to work on streamlining the efficiency of our business and improving productivity at the same time.”

TOWERS OF MOSCOW-CITY The new Empire and Federation Towers, located in the business district close to the city center, are some of the tallest buildings of the Russian capital. Impressive views of Moscow open up to those who take the highspeed elevator to the 58th floor of the new terrace of the Empire Tower (780 feet). The observation platform of the Empire tower is accessible only with a tour group. Tickets are 600 rubles ($17) and can be purchased at smotricity.ru or by telephone +7 (499) 272 48 46. Address: 6 Presnenskaya embankment (subway station Vystavochnaya)

place in St. Petersburg during the students’ residency there, was entitled, “Doing Business in Russia: Structure Follows Strategy.” “Solid structure provides personal engagement, which leads to higher productivity,” Marx said. He also cited, as an example of business efficiency improvement in Russia, their facility in Svetogorsk, where in the last four years they have generated more than two and a half times more earnings for every ton of product. Marx attributes the success of the mill to the efficiency initiatives the company has implemented there. “Looking ahead, we are continuing to work on streamlining the efficiency of our business and improving productivity at the same time,” he said.

After serving as president of International Paper Russia since 2008, Marx took over Ilim Group as CEO in July of last year. Ilim Group, the largest Russian enterprise in the timber industry, produces over 65 percent of Russian marketable cellulose and over 21 percent of cardboard, and employs about 17,000 people. In 2008, Ilim began upgrading production capabilities in Bratsk, in the Irkutsk Region. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade granted the project – which was described in a post on the website of the Russian Government as “the largest investment project that the national forestry sector has seen over the last 30 years” – the status of a “priority investment project in forestry development.”

BOLSHOY KAMENNY BRIDGE (GREATER STONE BRIDGE) Built in 1938, this bridge connects Borovitskaya Square with Bolshaya Polyanka Street. From here, view the soaring panoramas of Moscow, from the majestic Red Square to the restored Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Address: Kremlevskaya embankment (subway station Borovitskaya) 29 ft

FERRIS WHEEL AT THE ALL-RUSSIA EXHIBITION CENTER Fans of extreme heights will enjoy great views of Moscow from the 239-foot high Ferris Wheel at the All-Russia Exhibition Center. Both closed and open cabins are available. Tickets 300350 rubles ($9-$10).

78 0 f t

Address: All-Russia Exhibition Center (subway station VDNKH)

338 ft

PHOTO: IKAR.US (TALK)

They’re very happy with their operations in Russia. There are really four major players, and IP is two of them. It constitutes about 8 percent of their EBIDTA – not an insignificant part of their earnings – and their margins are very good.”

2

1) International Paper arrived in Russia in 1998 when it acquired the Svetogorsk Mill. 2) John Faraci and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Ilim Group’s new pulp mill in Bratsk, in the Irkutsk Region.

ITAR-TASS

International Paper and Ilim Group The effort that International Paper has been pouring into Russia seems to be worthwhile. “They’re very happy with their operations in Russia,” said Steven Chercover, a senior research analyst with D.A. Davidson in Portland, Oregon, who provides analytical coverage of International Paper. “The industry structure is quite good, it’s quite consolidated. There are really four major players, and IP is two of them. They’re doing very well in Russia. It constitutes about 8 percent of their EBIDTA – not an insignificant part of their earnings, and their margins are very good.” A key element of International Paper’s approach in Russia is expressed in the title of a master class that Franz Joseph Marx, then president of IP Russia, delivered to 50 Global Executive MBA students from Duke University last June. Marx’s lecture, which took

© RIA NOVOSTI

The investment landscape in Russia is a wild and thorny tangle of government caprice, powerful oligarchs, officialdom, and corruption. Despite this, International Paper, one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world, has put down deep roots in this unforgiving soil, and is pouring money into their Russian projects. Led by CEO John Faraci, International Paper is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee but has a presence in more than 24 countries, employing 70,000 people and taking in $1.4 billion in net earnings in 2013. International Paper arrived in Russia in 1998 when it acquired the Svetogorsk Mill, in a move to take advantage of the facility’s low production costs and to expand into growing European markets, according to thenInternational Paper Europe president Robert Amen. In October, 2007, International Paper formed a 50:50 joint venture with Ilim Holding to form Ilim Group, the largest foreigndomestic alliance in the Russian forestry sector, producing more than 2.3 million metric tons of pulp, board, and paper per year. The strategy involves around $2 billion in investment and financing in Ilim Group’s three mills over about five years.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Ilim Group’s new pulp mill in Bratsk in June 2013, and took part in its launch ceremony. In his remarks at the ceremony, Medvedev described the mill as “an advanced project that serves as a good example of coordinated efforts by business, the regional authorities, and, to some extent, the federal government.” Ilim is currently implementing two largescale projects under the Ilim-2014 investment program: Greater Bratsk, which is the world’s largest producer of softwood pulp, and Greater Koryazhma in the Arkhangelsk region, producing offset and office paper. In November, Ilim Group launched production of the SvetoCopy brand of paper, intended for daily office use, and described in the company’s press release as “an integral part of [the] Joint Marketing agreement between Ilim Group and International Paper.” Distribution and sale of all uncoated printing paper produced by Ilim Group’s mills is managed by International Paper, which conducted an audit at the Koryazhma Mill to ensure that SvetoCopy conforms to the requirements for their brands. Marx described SvetoCopy as “a significant milestone in [the] development of Ilim Group and the wider paper industry in Russia and the CIS.” Russia and the CIS make up 36 percent of Ilim’s sales distribution. International Paper reported equity losses of $12 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 for Ilim Group, compared with equity earnings of $11 million in the third quarter of 2013. These dynamics are partially due to foreign exchange movement of the U.S. dollar versus the Russian ruble, the company said. “I would submit that the recent decline in IP’s share price pretty much reflects the value of IP’s investment in Russia,” Chercover said. “It’s priced into IP’s share already. International Paper’s presence in Russia extends into the social sphere as well. Faraci is a member of the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo Advisory Board. Also on the board is Medvedev, who, incidentally, served as legal affairs director of Ilim Pulp starting in 1993. In September, International Paper granted two scholarships for Skolkovo educational programs. Then-interim president of International Paper Russia Eric Chartrain said the company is “incredibly proud to continue this great initiative by funding the scholarships and involving the students in our corporate projects and initiatives, as well as personally mentoring them.” ■DAVID KESSEL SPECIAL TO RBTH

OSTANKINO TV TOWER Ostankino Tower’s observation deck has been open to visitors for over 40 years. From a height of more than 1,000 feet, tourists will be treated to great views of northern Moscow and the Moscow Region. This observation deck can be visited through guided excursions by appointment only. The excursion lasts about one hour. Pre-registration is by phone at: +7 (495) 926 61 11. Tickets 980 rubles ($28). Address: 15 Akademika Koroleva street, bldg. 2, entrance 2 (subway station Alekseyevskaya)

IVAN THE GREAT BELL TOWER Get a bird’s eye view of Moscow by climbing up the 262-feet bell tower of Ivan the Great – “the first skyscraper of the capital,” built in the 16th century. The belfry is located in the heart of the city – on Cathedral Square inside the Kremlin. Visitors are able to view the exhibition and access the observation deck, which provides a wonderful view of the Kremlin itself and the old streets of Zamoskvorechye District. The bell tower is accessed by using your ticket to the Kremlin Museum. Tickets 500 rubles ($14). Address: Kremlin, Sobornaya square (subway station Okhotny Ryad)

SPARROW HILLS AND MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY MAIN CAMPUS One of the most popular postcard views of the Moscow is from the lookout platform on Sparrow Hills. Free stationary binoculars are provided at the platform. The views are especially beautiful on a clear day and late at night when the street lamps illuminate the city. The upper floors of Moscow State University’s main building offer an even more breathtaking view of Moscow. To schedule a visit, call: +7 (495) 939 29 76.

1 1 1 5 ft

590 ft

Address: Universitetskaya square (subway station Universitet)

26 2 ft 239 f t

T R AV E L 2 M O S C O W. C O M


Comment & Analysis P4 // rbth.com // June 4, 2014

SOLZHENITSYN’S FORESIGHT ON UKRAINE PROVES PRESCIENT The great writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn predicted the current situation in Ukraine almost half a century ago. Discussing the issue of nationalism in his masterpiece “The Gulag Archipelago,” the Nobel laureate wrote: “With Ukraine, things will get extremely painful.” Even in Soviet times he did not rule out that Ukraine might break away, with the qualification that “a referendum may be required for each region,” given the way lands that had never historically belonged to Ukraine were lumped together by the Bolsheviks.

Published in Russkaya Mysl, June 18, 1981. In Russia, published for the first time in Zvezda magazine, No. 12, 1993

NATALIA MIKHAYLENKO

The Gulag Archipelago, Part 5, Chapter 2 … It pains me to write this as Ukraine and Russia are merged in my blood, in my heart, and in my thoughts. But extensive experience of friendly contacts with Ukrainians in the camps has shown me how much of a painful grudge they hold. Our generation will not escape from paying for the mistakes of our fathers. To stamp one’s foot and shout: “This is mine!” is the easiest option. It is far more difficult to say: “Those who want to live, live!” Surprising as it may be, the Marxist doctrine that nationalism is fading has not come true. In an age of nuclear research, it has for some reason flourished. And the time is coming for us, whether we like it or not, to repay all the promissory notes of self-determination and independence, to do it ourselves rather than wait to be burnt at the stake, drowned in a river or beheaded. We must prove whether we are a great nation not with the vastness of our territory nor the number of peoples in our care but with the greatness of our deeds. And with the degree to which we plough what we shall have left after those lands that will not want to stay with us secede. With Ukraine, things will get extremely painful. But one has to understand the degree of tension they feel. As it has been impossible for centuries to resolve it, it is now down to us to show good sense. We must hand over the decision-making to them: federalists or separatists, whichever of them wins. Not to give in would be mad and cruel. The more patient, coherent we now are, the more hope there will be to restore unity in the future. Let them live it, let them test it. They will soon understand that not all problems are resolved through separation. Since in different regions of Ukraine there is a different proportion of those who consider them-

the local population rather than in remote arguments in émigré circles, whose perceptions are distorted. ... I find this fierce intolerance in the discussion of the Russo-Ukrainian problem (fatal for both nations and beneficial only to their enemies) particularly painful because I myself am of mixed Russian and Ukrainian origin, I grew up under the joint influence of both these cultures and never saw and do not see any antagonism between them. I have on numerous occasions written and spoken in public about Ukraine and its people, about the tragedy of the Ukrainian famine; I have many old friends in Ukraine; I have always known that Russians’ and Ukrainians’ suffering were of the same order of the suffering caused by Communism. In my heart, there is no place for a Russo-Ukrainian conflict, and if, God forbid, things get to the extreme, I can say: Never, under any circumstances, will I or my sons join in a Russo-Ukrainian clash, no matter how some hotheads may push us towards one.

Never will either I or my sons join in a Russo-Ukrainian clash, no matter how some hotheads may be pushing us towards one.

selves Ukrainians, those who consider themselves Russians and those who consider themselves neither, there will be many difficulties there. Maybe it will be necessary to have a referendum in each region and then ensure preferential and delicate treatment of those who would want to leave. Not the whole of Ukraine in its current formal Soviet borders is indeed Ukraine. Some regions on the left bank [of the river Dnepr] clearly lean more towards Russia. As for Crimea, Khrushchev’s decision to hand it over to Ukraine was totally arbitrary. And what about Carpathian (Red) Ruthenia? That will serve as a test too: While demanding justice for themselves, how just will the Ukrainians be to Carpathian Russians? Written in 1968; published in 1974

EIGHT LESSONS THE WEST AND RUSSIA MIGHT LEARN FROM UKRAINE

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he dramatic situation unfolding around Ukraine over the past few months outgrew its regional framework long ago. It is evident that the consequences for the entire system of international relations will be far-reaching. The Ukrainian situation is indeed convoluted, and perhaps represents the first serious test for the world’s leading powers since the Cold War. At the same time, it would be rash to predict the consequences of the Ukrainian crisis. Without claiming to offer an exhaustive overview, I would like to share my thoughts on what lesson both Russia and the West could learn from the events that have taken place in Ukraine thus far.

Lesson #1: The mechanisms of international security must be strengthened First, the crisis around Ukraine must not be portrayed as a sudden failure of world politics, or as an isolated phenomenon that runs counter to the main international trends. This has a long prehistory, dating back to the armed aggression against Yugoslavia, the military intervention in Iraq, the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and events in Libya and Syria. The entire chain of steps taken by the West can be clearly seen as undermining the foundations of international law and the role of the UN Security Council. Lesson #2: The West and Russia must overcome the legacy of the Cold War Second, the crisis has shown that the gulf of mistrust separating Russia and the West remains as wide as it was 20 years ago. We mustn’t assume that the hangover of mistrust, suspicion and prejudice from the Cold War era will disappear by itself. That will require consistent, sustained and concerted efforts. Lesson #3: European security must be addressed The crisis has demonstrated the fragility and unreliability of the existing institutions of Euro-Atlantic security. Regrettably, Europe does not have a single valid agreement on the control of conventional arms and armed forces. Plans to modernize the OSCE remain on the drawing

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The Ukrainian situation is indeed convoluted and perhaps represents the first serious test for the world’s leading powers since the Cold War. board, while even in its heyday the NATO-Russia Council functioned primarily as a technical body. Mutual security in the Euro-Atlantic region must be addressed. Cooperation in this area should be based on equal security. It should assume a transition from the outdated concept of mutually assured destruction to relations based on reciprocal understanding and guaranteed security. Lesson #4: Universal understanding of international law must be restored Fourth, throughout the Ukrainian crisis, there has been a lot of heated debate about the basic issues of international law. What is a “legitimate government?” What constitutes a “failed state?” Under what conditions should the right to self-determination be recognized? These issues were raised during previous crises in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq the South Caucasus, Libya and Syria. World politics will become manageable only if we are able to restore a universal understanding and application of basic international legal norms in the field of security. Lesson #5: The crisis must not be allowed to spiral out of control Ukraine’s associative status in relation to the European Union was seen primarily as a technical issue. But

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April 1981. Extract from a letter to the Toronto conference on Russian-Ukrainian relations, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute I totally agree that the Russo-Ukrainian problem is one of the major issues and, certainly, of crucial importance to our peoples. Yet, it seems to me that the red-hot passion and the resultant sizzling temperatures are pernicious to that cause. ... I have repeatedly stated and am reiterating here and now that no-one can be retained by force, none of the antagonists should resort to coercion towards the other side or towards its own side, the people on the whole or any small minority it embraces, for each minority contains, in turn, its own minority… In all cases local opinion must be identified and implemented. Therefore all issues can be truly resolved only by

last fall it took on a new dimension, forcing the country’s hand in terms of which economic development strategy to choose. The next twist in the tail led to armed clashes and the violent seizure of power by the opposition. And by spring of this year, Europe was looking at its most acute crisis since the end of the Cold War. We can’t let the crisis spiral out of control by constantly raising the stakes in the hope of a quick victory. Compromise is a more viable option in the early stages. Lesson #6: Do not underestimate the potential for political radicalism A feature of the Ukrainian crisis has been the rapid radicalization of the political forces. Whereas the initial period of the crisis took the form of peaceful demonstrations, by late February the radicals were dictating their will – both in terms of the opposition’s political agenda and the choice of tools with which to fight the regime. The potential for radicalism in developed countries must never be underestimated. Lesson #7: Institutions of civil society need to be activated in times of crisis Events showed the weakness of civil society not only in Ukraine, but in Russia, Europe and across the Atlantic. Institutions of civil society such as NGOs, professional societies and independent analysis centers were not actively involved in the attempts to resolve the crisis; the major players were civil servants and diplomats. The involvement of civil society cannot be a secondary consideration. On the contrary, the utilization of civil society in times of crisis is an important diplomatic resource that must never be overlooked. That means that such resource needs to be prepared in advance.

Address to Ukrainians and Belarusians To separate Ukraine today means to cut through millions of families and people: Just consider how mixed the population is; there are whole regions [in Ukraine] with a predominantly Russian population; how many people there are who find it difficult to choose which of the two nationalities they belong to; how many people there are of mixed origin; how many mixed marriages there are (by the way, nobody has until now thought of them as mixed). In the thick of the general population, there is not a hint of any intolerance between Ukrainians and Russians. Of course, should the Ukrainian people really decide to secede, nobody would dare to try and keep them by force. But, this vastness is diverse and it is only the local population that can decide the fate of their locality, of their region, while each newly formed ethnic minority on that locality should be treated with the same non-violence. Written and published in 1990 in the article Rebuilding Russia First published in Russian in Rossiyskaya Gazeta

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Lesson #8: Political contacts between Russia and the West must not be put on ice The history of international crises teaches us that the worst response is to curtail established contacts and freeze channels of dialogue. Recall that the result of one of the most dangerous episodes in the Cold War – the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 – was much deeper Soviet-U.S. cooperation on nuclear issues. This lesson should not be forgotten by those calling for a moratorium on political contacts between Russia and the West, more sanctions and the jettisoning of solutions. Igor Ivanov is president of the Russian International Affairs Council and a former Russian Foreign Minister (19982004).

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Culture rbth.com // June 4, 2014 // P5

READ RUSSIA

Bright young Soviets play a deadly game ELENA BOBROVA

Discovering a shared history American Kashaya Indians explore their unique ties with Russia through visits long time. Our people believe that when we make something, our spirit, thoughts and feelings go into that basket. So when we hold them, we can feel their energy.” The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a particular interest in the Kashaya’s historical relationship with Russia, and is financing a large part of Su-Nu-Nu Shinal‘s upcoming trip, along with the Renova-Fort Ross Foundation. Vladimir Vinokurov, Russia’s Consul General in San Francisco who was the Deputy Director of the North American Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time of the 2012 trip, played a critical role in initiating the relationship. Robin Joy Wellman, a California State Park interpretive specialist at Fort Ross, said

that Vinokurov played an important role in promoting cross-cultural ties on the Russian side. “In the eyes of many Russians, it was unclear why it was important to pursue a connection with the Kashaya,” Wellman said. “Vladimir Vinokurov helped everyone understand that a strong relationship today is hugely important. It is unheard of for a native people to reach out to someone that was on their land, but the Kashaya wanted to. Gradually, the doors are opening for the Russians and Kashaya to be brought into each other’s world.” The Kashaya believe that when the Russian-American Company departed Fort Ross, many members of their tribe went back to Russia. For that reason, they look forward to the trip

PRESS PHOTO

On June 21, Su-Nu-Nu Shinal, a small dance troupe of the Kashaya Pomo Band of Native Americans, will travel to Russia to perform. The trip will not be just a performance tour – the Kashaya have a history with Russia that began when Russian explorers settled the California coast in the early 19th century. From 1812 to 1841, Russians, Native Alaskan Aleuts, and the Kashaya Pomo shared the land known as Fort Ross. That land, known to the Kashaya as Metini, is a reminder of Russian presence on North American soil. In September 2012, the year that Fort Ross celebrated its 200th anniversary, a delegation from Northern California that included members of the Kashaya Pomo and Coast Miwok tribes traveled to Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Vologda Region town of Totma to commemorate two centuries of shared history. In St. Petersburg, the group visited the Kunstkamera museum, which has hundreds of Kashaya artifacts on display. Yuri Berezkin, the curator of Coast Miwok and Kashaya artifacts at the Kunstkamera, received the delegation at the museum. Berezkin said that after meeting the people whose ancestors had made the jewelry and baskets in the collection he “would never see the objects the same way again.” “It is essential for the Kunstkamera to hear the Kashaya’s comments about the origins and affiliations of the artifacts,” Berezkin said. The visit was significant for the Americans as well. When Kashaya tribal member Martina Morgan saw the artifacts for the first time, particularly the baskets, she said, “it felt like I had just seen someone that had been away from home for a really

From 1812 to 1841, Russians, Native Alaskan Aleuts, and the Kashaya Pomo shared the land that Russian explorers called Fort Ross.

in June to continue building the relationship, particularly among younger people. Su-Nu-Nu Shinal‘s first dance performance will be at the Jewish Center of Tolerance in Moscow. Dancer and Kashaya tribal member Billyrene Pinola is particularly interested in sharing the Kashaya’s story there, because, as she said. “despite the fact that we are from different parts of the world, we have had the same struggles. There will always be a peaceful relationship, no matter how far apart we live. It is important to tell our history and our stories from our own mouths. Now that I know our history is connected, I feel like we’re related, like they’re another tribe. Wherever our people have walked, there will be a connection in my heart and in Russia.” Former Kashaya Tribal Chair and native Coast Miwok Lester Pinola said that political disagreements between Russia and the U.S. had no effect on the way his tribe feels about the country. “No one in Washington ever invited us anywhere, but in Russia we are welcomed with open arms and they treat us as equals. I never saw the bad side of Russia. There is no animosity against us because we are from the United States, and more Americans need to know these people the way that we have. We are thankful for the help and support to show our culture, and to teach our youth that you must see things firsthand and live with the memories of the experience. We hope that the doors will open to them to travel back and forth,” Pinola said.

PHOEBE TAPLIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

TITLE: “ONE NIGHT IN WINTER” AUTHOR: SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE PUBLISHER: HARPER

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istorian Simon Sebag Montefiore’s new novel “One Night in Winter” centers on a real event: a dramatic murder-suicide in 1943 involving children from elite Soviet families. Sebag Montefiore, famous for his biographies of Stalin, mentions the story in his “Court of the Red Tsar.” In the new novel, he transposes it to 1945 and invents a huge cast of new characters. Students in a Moscow school for children of the party elite form a “Fatal Romantics Club,” inspired by Pushkin. They reject the suffocating, “philistine world of science and planning, ruled by the cold machine of history” and pledge themselves to love or, “if we cannot live with love, we choose death.” Andrei is the son of an exiled “enemy of the people.” He is drawn into this club whose “Game,” based on Pushkin’s duel, will end in disaster. There are echoes here of “Dead Poets Society” or of Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History,” but the novel segues from Potteresque school story to harrowing interrogations in the notorious Lubyanka, headquarters of the

N.K.V.D. Andrei’s mother warns him about the perils of making friends: “Factions are dangerous. Remember whose children they are.” She has taught him to live carefully, with the neurotic anxiety engendered by Soviet life. Coded messages are a recurrent theme. Lovers communicate via bookmarks hidden in library copies of Wharton or Hemingway. An imprisoned 10-year-old must work out how to answer his interrogators – “Was Pushkin, in this case, national poet (good) or romantic nobleman (bad)?” – and ultimately which parent to betray. The novel explores powerful attachments: to land or lover, sibling or spouse. Family ties are central as is the “warmth of kindness” in an age of ice. Sebag Montefiore writes in his endnote: “This is not a novel about power, but about private life – above all, love.” It is also, inevitably, about death: “every love story’s a requiem,” the heroine Serafima learns. This is a stronger, more convincing novel than Sebag Montefiore’s first foray into fiction. “Sashenka,” published in 2008, was a sensationalist story about a revolutionary teenager. “One Night in Winter” (HarperCollins) acts as sequel. There are ongoing explorations of resilience and complicity: “you, like millions of others, had no choice,” Serafima says towards the end.

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■CATHERINE TRAINOR

Kashaya members from the 2012 delegation receive a welcome from the city of Totma outside of Ivan Kuskov’s house-museum.

SPECIAL TO RBTH

PAST TENSE

Happiness is sharing dacha memories

ITAR-TASS

When Natalia Filonova talks about her dacha, she can’t talk quickly enough. She rattles off the most recent improvements she’s made with breathless pride: 23 new trees, a shower, hand-sewn curtains. “At the dacha, no one dictates anything to me, what I can change, where I can dig and where I can’t,” she said.” In summer, many city dwellers escape to the dacha, the rural cottages that occupy a deep place in the Russian imagination. They have taken many forms, from summer estates built by aristocrats, to wooden shack rentals, to palatial “kottedzhi” constructed by today’s new rich. The dacha has many meanings, writes historian Stephen Lovell in his book “Summerfolk: A History of the Dacha, 1710-2000.” Beginning in the mid-19th century, when railroad construction led to a dacha boom, “a kind of moral panic” surrounded the dacha, Lovell said, which was mocked as bourgeois, crass and unproductive. In the early Soviet era, dachas were awarded only to cultural and scientific luminaries and top officials. After World War II, people were allowed to maintain small vegetable plots, which evolved into both sources of nourishment and getaways from cramped communal apartments. Ira Kostikova’s parents built their dacha in the 1950s, when they were allotted a plot of land outside Moscow. “As soon as school ended, I would spend the entire summer there,” said Kostikova. “We would gather in groups... and swim in the river.” Many Russian teenagers find their first love at the dacha, said Ilya Kuganov, another young Muscovite. “In the city everything’s so complicated— you have to call and ask someone out, meet somewhere,” he said. “There you can just be alone together in nature.” According to Lowell, part of the dacha’s significance stems from the fact that middle class has remained in densely packed cities rather than migrating to suburbs, making the summer home a vital respite from urban life. When Filonova and her husband bought their dacha four years ago, “I had a kind of gardening orgasm,” she said with a laugh. “I just dug and

For Americans, it is a rite of passage to be invited to a Russian’s dacha in the summer.

dug.” The couple’s son, then five, also got involved: “Every morning before breakfast he would race out to check on his tomatoes.” For Americans, being invited to a Russian dacha is a rite of passage. “The first time I went to a dacha was seven years ago, to visit a friend’s host mother,” said North Carolina native Sarah Martin. “We bought bread and meat in the neighboring village and took our vegetables from the garden. Milk, sour cream and tvorog [cheese curds] came courtesy of Auntie Valya across the street.” The village of Kostikova’s childhood has given way to a densely packed settlement with houses separated by high fences. But she’s staying put. “It preserves the memory of my parents, who poured their souls into it. Then I spent my life there, and now my daughter is there. It’s truly our family nest.”

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■JOY NEUMEYER SPECIAL TO RBTH

A piece of Russia on the Chester River Though stationed an ocean away from Moscow, Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak doesn’t have to go without his favorite summer pasttime. In 1972, the Soviet government bought what was once known as Pioneer Point Farm, a historic estate overlooking the Chester River in eastern Maryland, from an American automotive executive. Ever since, the 45-acre property has been used by as a country house, or dacha, by Soviet, and now Russian, ambassadors to the United States.

“To me it represents a unique and very harmonic, though extremely unlikely, mixture of styles: American post-colonial buildings neighbor with a dozen houses built in accordance with the classic tradition of Russian urban architecture,” Ambassador Kislyak said. The dacha’s main residence, where Kislyak spends weekends with his wife and daughter, is an imposing 1920s Georgian structure built in red brick, while a more humble shingled guest lodge greets visitors. “It is an amaz-

ing combination, but it does the trick: embassy employees feel at home there....” the ambassador said. The dacha – which includes a tennis court, a banya (sauna), and plenty of space to gril– frequently plays host to international events, such as the Victory Day celebration on May 9 and a regatta held jointly with the Sailing Club of Chesapeake. “In recent years, we have invited our immediate neighbors from the Bay to join us in celebrating the end of summer,” Kislyak said.

Poet was the voice of a generation YOLANDA DELGADO SPECIAL TO RBTH

In honor of Anna Akhmatova’s birthday on June 11, RBTH recalls how “Anna of all the Russians,” spoke for a people in despair.

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nna Andreievna Gorenko wanted to be a poet from a young age. Throughout her life she would forge the image of a mysterious, extraordinary woman. Her father, on reading her poems, called her a “decadent poet” and did not want her to use his last name. She took her nom de plume, Akhmatova, from a greatgrandmother, a Tatar princess from the lineage of Genghis Khan, according to family legend. St. Petersburg at the turn of the 20th century was the cultural epicenter of Russia and a breeding ground for the avant-garde; Akhmatova was at the center of it all. In 1912 she published her first book, “Evening,” with the support of the group who founded the Acmeist movement. Her first husband, Nikolai Gumilev and Osip Mandelstam were key figures of the Acmeists who, unlike the Symbolists, demanded clarity in poetry and valued individual experience. “Evening” was a surprise success. The poems explored the unhappiness of love, and established Akhmatova’s reputation as a poet who laid bare her intimacy to readers.

Akhmatova lived through the fall of the Russian Empire, the October Revolution and the terror of the 1930s. As these terrible events took their toll on the Russian people, Akhmatova’s voice became stronger and more committed to the weakest victims of these times. Her personal tragedies were a microcosm of the era. Osip Mandelstam died en route to the Gulag and another friend and poet, Marina Tsvetaeva, hanged herself. Akhmatova was officially silenced in 1924, and did not publish again until 1940. “An entire generation has passed through me as if through a shadow,” she wrote. Despite her poverty and delicate health, Akhmatova’s generosity remained a part of her character. Between 1935 and 1940, she composed “Requiem.” In this, her most famous poem, she laments the execution of Gumilev; the arrest of her third husband Nikolai Punin; and her son Lev’s imprisonment. But “Requiem” was also an anthem of a people’s resistance. Yolanda Delgado is a literary critic and Russia specialist. She lives in Madrid.


Feature P6 // rbth.com // June 4, 2014

Dreams of Our Russian Summers Expats share their Proustian memories of the long days and long nights between May and September

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Expats agree that the best way to explore Russia is with Russian friends. Even a little Russian will help you speak to locals, who usually can recommend hidden gems. Ask friends of friends or just register at couchsurfing. com, where natives offer fun and sometimes humorous advice.

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Make some attempt to learn the Cyrillic alphabet; it’s not as hard as you imagine. Most people can get a good sense of the sound of most letters in less than a week.

ALEXANDRA KOCHO-WILLIAMS

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HOT TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST OF YOUR SUMMER IN RUSSIA

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If the metro isn’t exciting enough, try the emerging cab system. Smartphone apps have made getting a ride a lot easier. Don’t be afraid to tell tour guides just what you want to see. Russian tour guides tend to wield exhaustive knowledge but are not easily offended if you want the “Cliff Notes” version.

you know that Pushkin’s grandfather was Black?’” “We sailed out on July 18 and began the task of getting to know each other. I now have an emotional connection with Russia and Russians that will never go away, even if it fades a little.” Ajay Kamalakaran is the deputy editor of Russia & India Report, RBTH’s Indian edition. Before joining RBTH, he was the editor of the Sakhalin Times in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia from 2003 to 2007. Born in India, raised in New York and now fully immersed in Russian life, Kamalakaran has had the rare opportunity to be a part of three different cultures and dreams of a borderless world. “In the summer of 2003, I traveled along with two Russian friends from Sakhalin Island to Voronezh in an epic two-month journey across the breadth of Russia,” Kamalakaran

AJAY KAMALAKARAN

Take a metro tour and get familiar with at least the stops on the circle line around central Moscow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even locals frequently ask strangers for directions.

KEVIN KERR

Andrei Makine’s magically evocative masterpiece, “Dreams of My Russian Summers” inspired the editors of the Washington Post edition of RBTH to talk to longtime expatriates about their own personal memories of the sumptuous time between May and August, when perfumed lilacs burst through city concrete and blue Iris grows wild in the Siberian grass. Russia’s summer is hot and the country is a languid place where business deals and negotiations are put off till September. The nights are long and evocative. The deep light of the evening moon exists in a sky that still offers the daylight of sun. It’s a time when children take 24-hourlong train rides to the seaside, where they pick raspberries and get to know the loves and secrets of their grandparents. It is in this milieu that foreigners fall in love with an intimate, quiet, warm place; a place that seems to be their own private Russia. Here are a few of our stories. Kevin Kerr is a native New Yorker. He grew up in the projects on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “My parents are of West Indian heritage… and I grew up in a culturally rich family,” Kerr said. As a kid, he became interested in computers which led to his career as a software developer at the Fire Department of New York City, where he began working in 1979. “In 1989, I joined the Soviet-American-Sail and traveled to Moscow that July. After touring for about 12 days in Moscow and Leningrad we set sail from Leningrad for New York City. The crew of 40 was evenly split between Russians and Americans, men and women,” Kerr said. For him, that trip to the Soviet Union was a life-changing experience. “I consider all the people who crossed the ocean with me part of my extended family. I stayed with two families, one in Moscow and the other in Leningrad. While I was with them, they treated me the same way we would treat someone who came to stay with us. If you came to stay with us, our house was your house and it was important that you were comfortable, happy and enjoyed the food.” One Sunday morning, Kerr remembered, the mother of his Moscow host came to meet “The American” and fixed breakfast for him. “She watched me eat, and the most important question on her mind was if I enjoyed the breakfast.” In Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Kerr’s host family moved into the living room and insisted that he take the bedroom. “My host took me to one of the bridges over the Neva River. While there, he introduced my to one of the police officers that was on duty. This was the first, but not the last time that I heard the question: ‘Did

1) Photographer Alexandra Kocho-Williams has fond memories of being an expat in her 20s, when she took this picture of swing dancers in Moscow’s Hermitage Garden 2) Kevin Kerr spent 12 days in the Soviet Union in 1989, and later sailed from Leningrad for New York with a Russian-American group 3) Ajay Kamalakaran’s trip across Siberia was monumental. said. “We took a ferry from Sakhalin to a little-known town in the Khabarovsk Region called Vanino and then explored the region’s small towns and moved on to Khabarovsk, before heading to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal. We then traveled to Novosibirsk and then onwards to Moscow and finally Voronezh. We traveled on the Russian mainland only by train. Being Indian, I received curious and friendly stares throughout the journey and was invited for parties in different rooms almost every night. We also came across many interesting travelers from other countries and met a lot of Siberian folk. It was a transforming experience.” Alexandra Kocho-Williams grew up in New York in a family with an entertainingly complex background. Each of her grandparents was from a different country – Switzerland, Norway, Serbia and Belarus (though the Be-

CUISINE A LA RUSSE

Ingredients: Serves 4. 1 tbsp of olive oil • 1 tsp of table salt • 1-1/2 cups (375 grams) of slightly salted or smoked salmon, finely diced • 1 lb (500 grams) of penne, rigatoni, or orecchiette pugliesi pasta • 1 cup (250 mL) of heavy cream • ½ cup (125 mL) of lemonflavored vodka • 2 tbsp of butter • 1/3 cup (75 mL) of Parmesan cheese, finely grated • 1 small pinch of pink peppercorns, crushed • 4 scallions, finely diced • 4 tbsp of dill, snipped

PASTA PERESTROIKA side dish: infinitely inferior to potatoes. But then HRH and his pals met me, and they proceeded to eat a lot of pasta during those lean perestroika years. Food supplies were erratic and often limited, but the ingredients for Teatro’s signature dish were generally available. Smoked or salted salmon was always plentiful: Preserving fish by either smoking it in a special smoke house over a smoldering fire of woodchips or curing fish fillets in sugar and salt is a time-honored culinary tradition in Russia that dates back centuries. As for the other ingredients, vodka, of course, was always on hand, as was some form of dairy product and so, though I often had to substitute something less magical than parmesan, I was soon able to perfect my own version of what I took to calling “Pasta Perestroika.” Twenty years later, I think it is appropriate to nominate Pasta Perestroika for a place of honor in the canon of “Federal” (1991 to the present) cuisine. This period will, I feel sure, be remembered as a time of great creativity and innovation, much as the Imperial period produced so many significant dishes from the kitchens of Russia’s Francophile aristocracy. Hats off to the Federal chefs who have so successful fused all of these innovations during one of the most exciting epochs of Russia’s culinary history!

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bygone days of shooting real film. But also figuratively. It was exciting to be an expat in my early 20s... We had parties under the crumbling metro bridge, diving under the water and dodging freight barges, clinging to a buoy in the middle of the Moscow River in the fading light. Light was everywhere – in the long daylight hours, the neon casinos, the sparkling, pristine, chandelier-lit metro. We went out to the countryside in the early autumn as the nights began to draw in, and the surreal experience of observing light pollution of one of the world’s greatest cities, from a village with no electricity. Summers went by in a blur, so many experiences of wild elation, terrible culture-shock loneliness, and every point in between.” ■XENIA GRUBSTEIN SPECIAL TO RBTH

JENNIFER EREMEEVA SPECIAL TO RBTH

2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Gradually add the cheese, stirring with a whisk or a wooden spoon to combine into the butter/cream mix until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add the vodka and cook on low heat for 2 minutes. Add the peppercorns and set aside. 3. Drain the pasta in a colander, then return it to the pot over medium heat. Add half of the pasta water and finish cooking the pasta by tossing it with the water. The water will gradually mix with the starch of the pasta and evaporate. Add more water as needed. 4. Add the cream, butter and cheese mixture and toss until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the sauce. The vodka will evaporate as the sauce cooks for an additional 1 minute over low heat. 5. Add the salmon and scallions and toss to combine. 6. Garnish with dill and serve immediately. 7. If you crave a little green with your pink and cream, by all means consider adding a vegetable such as new peas, baby asparagus tips or diced zucchini. Jennifer Eremeeva is an American author and humorist based in Moscow. She is the author of “Lenin Lives Next Door: Marriage, Martinis and Mayhem in Moscow.”

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Instructions: 1. Fill a pot with cold water. Add the olive oil and salt. Bring the water to a rapid boil, then add the pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes until al dente. Decant ½ cup of the pasta water and set aside.

JENNIFER EREMEEVA

Recent events in Russia have left me pining for the Wild Nineties. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I was younger and more fancy-free then, or maybe I was more optimistic and hopeful about life in the New Russia. Things were simpler back then; scoring a roll of toilet paper was an adventure, a carefully calibrated maneuver requiring a visit to the Metropol Hotel to snitch from one of the washrooms. The poor old Metropol has since plunged downhill in the wake of more serious five-star competition, but in the Bad Old Days, it was expat Ground Zero. Everyone lived and ate there, in an elegant subterranean restaurant called Teatro. Sadly Teatro is no more – it morphed into a tacky nightclub for murky, C-list criminals. But in the 1990s, before the ruble was convertible, Teatro was a wildly extravagant “hard currency” restaurant, and for me it was a major treat reserved for only very special occasions. My favorite Teatro dish was pasta with smoked salmon in a vodka cream sauce. This dish has since been recreated endlessly in Moscow’s burgeoning restaurant scene, but at the time, it seemed a very odd combination for Russia. Russians like HRH (my Handsome Russian Husband) grew up believing that pasta was a distinctly lowbrow

larusian grandmother considered herself Russian). Kocho-Williams graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2001 with a photography degree, and set off for Moscow to improve her Russian. “I worked as a photo editor at a daily newspaper, and as a photojournalist, taking assignments for international press and doing my own reportage. For The Moscow Times, I travelled around Russia covering the 2004 presidential campaign and elections. I left Russia in 2004, and through twists and turns of fate, have mostly left photography behind and now live in rural Wales with my family,” Kocho-Williams said. But her time in Russia has never left her. “When I think back to my Russian summers, what strikes me most is the light. Literally, the day is so long in summer – a blessing for a photographer especially in those

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