A simple tombstone marks the grave of the lone American buried in the vast Naval Cemetery in Vladivostok overlooking Russia’s Pacific coast.
The Berlin I once knew was not the kind of place you raved about. There was no fine dining but plenty of heavy drinking. The beautiful people ran London and Munich and Milan. In Berlin, the punks were in charge.
By denouncing the war in Ukraine, Boris Nemtsov inspired the same hatred as Andrei Sakharov had by opposing the invasion of Afghanistan.
“When we passed their second checkpoint, they started shooting at us like in a shooting gallery,” Yuriy Bereza recalled. “It was an ambush.”
“When we were fighting the Russians, it was to the Americans’ advantage to help us,” says Commander Masood. “But when the Soviets were destroyed, they forgot about us.”
“We lived very well without electricity,” Tatyana says. “All day we were busy, walking in the woods exploring. And in the evenings, we would sit around a kerosene lamp and play Monopoly.”
Based in Berlin and Moscow, I’ve reported from the former Soviet empire since 1996 for NPR, Reuters, Slate, Bloomberg and The Moscow Times, among others. I currently am on a fellowship at the Wilson Center in Washington.