Russian Diary

Diary Entries

Rollerblading to the future 22 April 2006

Time travel - a visit to the former All-Union Exhibit of the Achievements of the National Economy.

Freedom of Speech in Russia 4 July 2006

Going to Red Square to yell, "President Nixon is a fool!"

Are things getting better? What do Russians think? 7 July 2006

Opinion polls in Russia. What Russians think about their personal economic situation in the summer of 2006.

Avos'ka 28 July 2006

Russia's wine stores have empty shelves. Kremlin scandal? What's the role of a formerly secret KGB institute? Russians know that if bureaucratic bungling were ever introduced as an Olympic sport, they're set for gold, silver and bronze. Americans might be catching up, but Russians are convinced they're still far ahead.

A Cruise on the Moscow-Volga Canal 1-3 September 2006

During a cruise on the Moscow-Volga canal to the historic town of Uglich, we enjoy the company of a veterans' group from the Russian town of Podol'sk. We're the only foreigners on board and are treated to traditional, warm Russian hospitality. While the cruise has ongoing historical and touristic commentary, nothing is said about the canal's construction.

The J.V. Stalin Moscow-Volga Canal 3 September 2006

We have largely forgotten that Stalin's regime built the Moscow-Volga canal using prison labor and named it for their "Teacher and Great Leader." Some of the construction facts, recently uncovered by Russian researchers, are presented here.

Memorial 6 September 2006

As Russians face their tragic past of corrective labor camps and firing squads, is there a message for the rest of us?

Who Won, Who Lost the Cold War 3 October 2006

How does this question look when viewed from Moscow? Who were the losers in the Cold War?

Russia's Poisons 16 December 2006

What might the recent poisonings in Russia tell us about Putin's administration?

Arkhimed 2 April 2007

"Eureka, I've found it! .... Now what?" A recent exhibit for Russian inventors illustrates some progress made in tapping Russia's scientific and technical prowess, but difficulties remain. President Putin still calls reforming Russian manufacturing "a very serious problem."

Central Air Force Museum 6 May 2007

A trip to Russia's Central Air Force Museum in Monino reveals how Russians often avoid following rules. It's also a bit like looking down the barrel of a gun. President Putin and his successor face major headaches in reforming this huge industrial complex

A Package From Home 14 April 2008

Living in another country means learning how to do things their way. It's frequently not a question of better or worse, but just different. I've stood many hours in U.S. Post Office Lines. This time I queued up at a Moscow Post Office to receive a birthday present. I knew from the start I was in Russia.