Russia in transition –3: a difficult progress

Early in 1993 my friend Nini Baird, the director of programming for B.C.’s Knowledge Network, asked me if I would like to take a group of Canadians to Russia as a fund-raiser for the public broadcasting agency. Show them around, share what I’d learned. Why not? I said. Fix it up and I’d be happy to do it. I also had my own ulterior motive for agreeing: Continue reading


Russia in transition—2: fending for yourself in the new economy


In the fall of 1992, I returned to St. Petersburg for a month. Along with conducting interviews and research for my Vinogradov biography I was keen to compare the St. Petersburg of 1992 with the city that I’d started to get to know a couple of years before. This time, Susan came with me. It was a mild autumn that year in St. Petersburg; mists along the canals, deep russet tones to the sunsets over the Neva, soft grey light on the stones of Palace Square when it rained. Continue reading