I was born in Russia at the dawn of the Brezhnev era, and Brezhnev died when I was a senior in high school.
At the time, Russia and Ukraine were part of the same country. War between them — which many now fear is imminent — was unimaginable. My friends and I read books about Ukraine’s anti-Nazi underground fighters, as boys read books about knights or pirates. Any wars were always “out there” — a long time ago or far, far away.
The world of my childhood was quiet and secure. There were no unemployed, beggars or homeless — or maybe I just never met them.… Seguir leyendo »
Every time some disaster hits the Moscow subway, I remember that Soviet propaganda used to call this the most beautiful subway in the world.
Incredibly, in this one case, it wasn’t lying: Moscow subway stations are marble palaces with pillars, mosaics and statues of happy swimmers and oarswomen.
Despite all this decoration, I was afraid of the subway as a child. I felt that there was some hidden terror in the gap between the sparkling stations and the dark noisy tunnels with their all-too-obvious symbolism.
Most of my life has been spent along the same subway line. Its official name is Frunzenskaya, but since Muscovites nickname their subway lines according to their color on the map, everybody just calls it Red Line.… Seguir leyendo »