Not long ago, a European professor who often lectures in the US reminisced to me about how American students have changed. when he visited Harvard and Yale in the 1960s, he told me, the students were all alike: white, male, East Coast. By the 1980s, however, they included blacks, Asians and women. Even the white …
Jonathan Brent arrived in Moscow, in the winter of 1992, bearing gifts: salami, biscuits, chocolates in the shape of the Statue of Liberty, bottles of Jack Daniels, stacks of $1 bills, cartons of Winston cigarettes.
The maps on the television screens started turning blue as soon as the polls had closed on the East Coast; by midnight, John McCain had conceded the presidency to Barack Obama. But I had known the election result many hours before.
Perhaps it was the elaborate court rituals, perhaps it was the stiff manners of the royal family, or perhaps it was the swiftness of the final collapse: for whatever reason, even the most tragic tales of the latter years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire often lapse into black humor.
Which would you rather read, The Great Gatsby or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s day-by-day account of the whisky he drank and the cigarettes he smoked while writing it? La Comédie humaine or a list of the cups of coffee Balzac downed, between midnight and sunrise, while putting all of those words down on paper?
‘It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” In recent days, this famous Churchillian pronouncement on Russia has echoed through many an analysis. In particular, Vladimir Putin – former Russian president, current Russian prime minister, the man still clearly in charge of the country – has been held up as a great …
Obwohl mittlerweile drei Jahrzehnte vergangen sind seit jenem Winter 1974, als erste ungebundene, handgetippte Samisdat-Manuskripte des “Archipel Gulag” in der damals sogenannten Sowjetunion zu zirkulieren begannen, sind die Gefühle immer noch stark.
Although more than three decades have passed since the winter of 1974, when unbound, hand-typed samizdat versions of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago” began circulating in what used to be the Soviet Union, the emotions they stirred remain today.
“Das ist die Stunde Europas.” Als ein durchaus vergessenswerter luxemburgischer Außenminister diese Worte 1992 sprach, schienen sie große Dinge anzukündigen: Nach dem Ende des Kalten Kriegs würden die Europäer, nicht die Amerikaner den Bosnien-Konflikt und vielleicht so manches andere lösen.
Once, while travelling in an odd part of Siberia, I was told of a place called ‘the English colony’. A remote spot — it was said to be several hours from the nearest town, but trains were infrequent and roads non-existent — the ‘English colony’ was the site of a former Soviet camp: a small …