A marble tile floor, a big flat-screen TV and empty bookshelves lent the room a nouveau-riche air. A couple of armchairs were shaped like seashells; green bunches of glass grapes dangled from chandeliers decorated with gold leaves.
Based in Berlin and Moscow, I’ve reported from the former Soviet empire since 1996. I recently joined National Public Radio as a foreign correspondent. Before that I contributed to Reuters, Slate, Bloomberg and The Moscow Times, among others.