Anti-Americanism creates some strange bedfellows

Poised as I am, halfway between the two cultures, it was a little strange watching British reactions to events in America last week. It was a little strange even being in Britain last week. On Tuesday after hijacked planes had hit targets in Washington, where my family live, and New York, where most of my friends live, I was standing in Bond Street, dialling and redialling their numbers on my mobile telephone, unable to get through. Continue reading “Anti-Americanism creates some strange bedfellows”

The Great Error

The most unpleasant city in Russia - and why no one wants to leave it.

North of the Arctic Circle, roses do not grow. There are no daisies or lilies; there are no sunflowers or geraniums. Only a few species of charmless wildflower have learned to take advantage of the very short, very hot, northern summers. Continue reading “The Great Error”

Soviet-style terror has the media at bay

President Putin’s tightening grip looks likely to crush his country’s last privately owned TV station.
By any standards NTV, the only remaining privately owned television station in Russia, is in a peculiar position. Its chief shareholder, Vladimir Gusinsky, has fled the country, having been arrested once already. Continue reading “Soviet-style terror has the media at bay”

The Best of Companions

  • Poland: A Traveller’s Gazetteer
    by Adam Zamoyski, John Murray in association with Azimuth Editions, 2001, 331pp.

There are countries where it is easy to be a tourist, and countries where enjoying oneself takes a bit of extra effort. Despite my long association with Poland, I must concede that it falls into the latter camp, although not for wholly obvious reasons. It isn’t simply that the communist-era hotels are not up to scratch or that food is indifferent: while sometimes true, that is no longer universally the case. Continue reading “The Best of Companions”