Clouds Of Grey: A Week In Moscow At The International Conference World Without Nazism: Global Goal Of The Entire Humanity

My grandfather, Louis Brodsky, fled Odessa for America in 1905, in the aftermath of that year's uprising across Russia, with the Tsar hot on his heels. Until December that was the last we heard from the Russian government. On December 5 I received a two page letter, in Russian with translation attached, from Senator Boris Shpiegel, Vice Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (the Russian Senate): Would I please come to Moscow on December 17 to attend the International Conference World Without Nazism: Global Goal Of The Entire Humanity. It was the kind of title and the kind of letter that you read more than once. Grandpa Lou would have been proud. Or appalled. We were a wealthy family with major sugar interests. (The major shuls in Odessa and Kiev were built by the Brodskys) He and my grandmother Fannie were left-wing troublemakers. He came here and became a cutter in the garment business. A government invitation to visit Moscow wasn't in the realm of possibility. I had never been. Mother Russia beckoned. I'm firmly anti-Nazi. What to do? I've been around politics enough to ask the right questions. Why me? Who in Russian knows anything about me? Who's in charge? There were two possibilities. The interesting but unlikely explanation is my genuine anti-Nazi credentials. In 1985 I helped lead a delegation to witness and protest Reagan's bizarre visit to an SS cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, an awful mistake that seemed to shrug at the truth and smile at Nazi apologists. Maybe they knew? The more likely reason is my relationship with the extraordinary community of Russians in Brighton Beach. And that is a story of its' own. THE INVITATION A few blocks east of Coney Island sits Little Odessa, 40,000 Russian emigres largely from the Reagan wave beginning in the 80's. They re overwhelmingly Jewish, some observant, mostly what we used to call secular Jews, but a lot of them spend time in shul. They re from all over the old Soviet Union, Minsk, Pinsk, Odessa, Moscow, Belorussia, Moldavia, Moscow, Kursk, Kiev, some not really European (Forest Hills is now populated by 40,000 Bukharian Jews from Uzbekistan on the old Asian Silk Road who speak Russian, Yiddish and Farsi) united by a little religion, a shared experience under Communism, and a great joy in being outside of Russia. They're older, survivors of the Great Patriotic War and the insane last years of Stalin, deeply suspicious of government and authority, and resigned to the injustice and venality of the world. But the place is hopping, by any standard. Night clubs, restaurants, the boardwalk, a commercial strip under the El that feels like 1948, and a gruff, sharp-elbowed, look-you-in-the-eye feel. I had been going there for years for the food and the reminders of what my grandparents had looked and sounded like. But my 2010 run for New York Attorney General brought me close to Brighton's business, political, and media leaders who were supportive and smart, and really trying to move the community forward. They tend to be Republicans out of a sense of loyalty to Reagan and they simply don t believe anyone from government will help them at all. They listened hard when I spoke about the distasteful stereotypes of a Russian Mafia and sex trade and criminal behavior

that does in fact dominate news coverage of the new Russian communities. They took me under their wing when they saw me clutching my last remnant of Brodsky Odessa memorabilia, a sharp, jaunty Odessa studio photo of Lou and Fannie before they were married. The variety of character and type bumped into my preconceptions. Gene Borsh is a small, pink, cherubic master politician, who had been a hitter in the Soviet labor union movement and fled to the US with his Red Army father when the Army blacklisted him. He's now the head of the Russian Section of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, the venerable organization that has brought Jews to American for 135 years. He smiles real smiles, knows all the backstories, and has an unfailing instinct for people and situations. Gregory Davidzon, a tough bull of a man who has built the closest thing to a media and political organization, and owns the Russian language radio station, with television and publishing capacities. He works the streets, brooks no opposition, sleeps from 6 am to 2 pm, and is never where you expect him to be. Dr. Igor Branovan, a suave and diffident physician at NYU, who has succeeded as an American thoracic surgeon and runs the Chernobyl Project tracking thyroid cancer in Russians around the world. He has a broad view of moving the community forward culturally as well as economically and politically, and moves easily in both Russian and New York circles. Michael Belogorodsky, a wiry, young New York City policeman who heads the organization of Russian-speaking law enforcement officers and who warned me about the corruption endemic in the various Russian police forces. Tatiana, the woman who built the boardwalk nightclub of the same name where the entertainment mixes Texas, Los Angeles, and Minsk, and where vodka and orange soda is often the drink of choice. Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, a 54 year old Russian bear who emigrated from Moscow, drove a cab, ran an amusement parlor and became the first Russian-born American state legislator in about a century. He's a focal point for the political interest in the growing Russian community in the metropolitan area ( about 1,000, 000 souls, ten newspapers, five television stations ) and the rest of the US (about 4,000,000 souls with innumerable media and cultural outlets ) And dozens more who I met and liked and who were living in 2010 the kind of life which Louis Brodsky experienced in 1905. They could help me figure out what was going on. I knew the Kremlin wanted a relationship with these expatriate communities, and that the Brighton folks hated anything Russian and wanted nothing to do with the old country. My prominence in New York as as Assemblyman and political figure with Brighton ties was known. The invitation was probably part of a predictable attempt to create a Kremlin/Brooklyn link. That there was a global resurgence of Nazism was itself a surprise. What little I knew about contemporary Nazis was the American experience with kooks and white supremacists in Idaho. The Holocaust deniers and Islamist factions circulating the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the soccer hooligans beating up immigrants, the aggressive military rhetoric from Iran and North Korea, ethnic cleansing, I had never seen them as a coherent or even nascent movement. Was this just plain silly, was it Russian self-interest, was it real? Was there a change in the centuries-old intense Russian anti-Semitism? I called Borsh and Davidzon and others, who were generally negative and cautionary about the regime and the dynamic across Russia. Nothing good could come from any contact with the old country. I called Brook-Krasny. He was cautionary on the side of engagement, careful about disagreeing with his friends, but he was going, and so should I. So I did.

THE TRIP Day 1, Tuesday, December 14 JFK, 4:30 pm Monday, Alec and I on a plane chock full of Russians and a couple of wide-eyed Montana cowboys who had just sold the Russians 1400 head of prime, on-the-hoof Angus beef. We arrived 9 hours later at 10:30 Tuesday morning to be met by a Conference car and a driver who spoke no English. Moscow is not English-friendly and having Alec and other Russian American friends was really helpful. 1 1/2 hours to travel 15 miles on a road choked with traffic and fumes. And grey skys, grey buildings, grey faces. Grey. The Hotel Sovietsky is a legacy from Uncle Joe. It's 1950 solid and square, with many touches of Tsarist grandeur and Soviet shabbiness, a very good restaurant, helpful and friendly staff, and a top of the line Gentleman's Club , the first of many reminders that Moscow is the world's most transactional city. A charming and sedate young woman sits in the lobby greeting gentlemen callers and escorting them downstairs. Professional, courteous and part of the deal. 7:30 that night Alec decided to walk. It's only his third trip back, and he's wary and sensitive to the artifacts of the old world he left. We walk to Red Square, a goodly 4 miles in bone-cracking, eyelash-shattering cold. I get a wonderful monolog about the things we pass, Tchaikovsky Hall, the other Stalin-era hotels, the new crush of traffic, the Metro, Pushkinskaya Square, the Bolshoi, the Stanislavsky Theatre, the Karl Marx Statue, the old Lenin Museum, and then vasty, iconic Red Square a a sparkling, crisp moment when he's glad to be back. Ate wonderfully at a little cafe downtown, fish soup, hot bread with egg and butter, grilled lamb. Cabbed to Sovietsky, and so to bed. The City is divided between the thin and the not-thin. It is a reasonably good indicator of status, money, and aspirations, but the divide between the really rich and everyone else is always visible. Sort of like Manhattan. The aesthetic is also notable. There are old, old Russian buildings that speak of the magnificence of autocracy; the merely old of Stalinist stolidity, usefulness and grace, and the newer Modern Misfit and Concrete Shabby of the late Soviet era. Musically, it's firmly in the disco camp, and aside from the oligarchs, early Barbra Streisand hair and fashion rule. The traffic and pollution are shocking, and there's a greyness, grimness and graininess that is only partially attributable to the weather. Day 2, Wednesday, December 15 Even colder, a stark contrast to the waves of dry heat that blast you in most buildings. The City is clearly on edge, as judged from television, newspaper and just-folks conversation. There have been a series of what can be called race riots downtown, with Russian soccer hooligans pitted against Ingushian, asianish minority hooligans from the Caucasus Another strange duality: their ethnic minority is called Caucasian. (There aren't a lot of them, and the streets are not racially diverse, a strange phenomenon if you come from New York). Chants of Russia for Russians , at least one murder, but it seems the kind of spontaneous lumpenproletariat violence seen across Europe. It gives the anti-Nazi Conference a push, but there's no certainty about how deep or wide the conflict may be. Troops all over downtown, heavily armed and being held in reserve areas. They look like kids, but they all smoke.

We take the Metro (which is everything described in terms of speed, efficiency, cleanliness, cost and beauty) to Red Square which is more imposing in daylight. The authorities have placed huge Christmas trees directly opposite every monument to the Revolution or Communist leaders, including opposite Lenin's tomb, one of the many extended middle fingers pointed at the Commies. Also visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the Great Patriotic War, and the Kremlin It's a walled compound of government buildings and Russian Orthodox churches filled with icons and the burial catafalques of Counts, Saints, and the occasional Tsar including Ivan The Terrible. They are not welcoming structures, solid, post and column filled, and flat in aesthetic. In their midst was a spectacular exhibit of Lalique jewelry and glassware, another stark contrast. Dinner with Brook-Krasny's friends Michael and Irina Gluz, he a noted Russian-Jewish composer, she a journalist turned director. The Reagan exodus, which populated Brighton Beach, Israel and many other nations with millions of Russian Jews, has left the old country with a handful of its historical numbers. The guess is about 400,000 Russian Jews but no one knows and outside of Moscow, Odessa and other cities what remains are older people living out a tradition that will vanish. Many of the remaining Jews have a religious bent that surpasses a lot of what is seen in America. One s Jewishness in Russia is only partially a choice of identity. For centuries it was an identity thrust upon each infant and carried lifelong whether wanted or not. Today no one hauls the convert back to the ghetto, and by emphasizing the choice of identity, history and culture become more important. The Gluz s were early, courageous activists in defense of Jewish culture during Soviet era who are now quite successful and carry the wonderful titles of People's Artist of Russia, and Merited Art Worker of Russia. They run a theatre and center dedicated to preserving Jewish cultural life, and seem well-known and respected. He is a warm bear, intensely proud of his work, and planning a new production of the biblical Shulamith story in Moscow and maybe New York. She's attractive, tough-minded, a director and business person. They've jointly created a presence and organization, a Jewish presence, that the new Russia makes possible. Many toasts, wine instead of vodka, many hugs. Late night. Nice people. They invite me to their office tomorrow to talk about the show. Day 3, Thursday, December 16 The riots continue downtown. By now it's clear that there's a guiding hand and nobody is sure who it is. Nazis, cops, nationalists, spies, undercover agents, special forces, oligarchs, commies, a witches' brew of rumor and uncertainty. Putin on TV poo-pooing Nazi riots, and lobbying to keep Khordorkovsky in jail . He's tough, just tough, and people like it. Whatever the uncertainty and fear, he's the leader, and whether it's Tsar or Dzerzhinsky or Genghis Khan redux, or just an elected leader who knows what he's doing, it works. A late breakfast with the members of the Finnish Anti-Fascist League, four lefty intellectuals who are smart, friendly European intellectuals, and the first hint that we have re-entered the political world of the late 1930's. Then the Gluz's. He picks me up with his 80 year old mother in the car, a sprightly, coiffed and dressed concert pianist, who is promptly dropped at the Metro station as I am squired to an office in an apartment building. A staff of 5, including a cook. Fish soup, baked fish, vegetables and wine in the office. I hear the beginnings of the musical production and answer questions about the New York theater scene. They invite me to a concert that evening, together with a Conference colleague and their office manager, Elena. She's a 24 year old Russian from Tula. I had just assumed she was Jewish, and was thoroughly non-nonplussed when she told me with a smile that she wasn t and had majored in Jewish Studies because she found it interesting. She speaks more Yiddish and Hebrew than I do, and is smart and helpful. I can't figure out what kind of Russian

produces a non-Jewish professional in Jewish culture. Does Putin know? The concert is a presentation of an oligarch named Michael who runs the Bosco syndicate, making uniforms under government contract. He is short, round, bearded, genial, a Jewish oligarch who delights in hosting the event, and it's star Yuri Basmat a world class violist and his twenty string orchestra at the Pushkin Museum next to the Cathedral of Christ the King (see anecdote below) The Museum is a beautiful, free-standing mansion full of awful copies of Italian sculptures and wonderful paintings by Russian and French artists largely unknown to me. They setting and music are wonderful, short pieces by Mozart, Bruch's Kol Nidre, Schnittke's Polka. Russians come alive listening to music, warm and connected with none of the churlishness otherwise present. After a champagne and chocolate reception (No one loves chocolate more than a Russky) we are gifted with a large silver lame' goody-bag, filled with candy, pretzels and passes to the Red Square skating rink. As good as it gets. Day 4, Friday, December 17 The Conference, 6:30 am - 9 pm, Russian Senate Chamber, Moscow Even colder. Bus left hotel at 7 am with police escort, still nighttime. To Federal Senate, modern building downtown. Lotsa security none of it tough to get by. Arrive 7:30 and sit docilely for two hours. File into Senate Chamber which is a modern amphitheater hung with genuine Tsarist insignia, which is no more comforting to me than the Hammer and Sickle. Get to wear little translator earpieces. Welcome by Senate President E.M. Mironov head of Party opposed to Putin. Also Senator Boris Shpeigel, mine host, rotund Jewish oligarch who is an exact replica of Francis L. Sullivan the wonderful English character actor from the 40's who played Jaggers the lawyer in Lean's Great Expectations and Bumble the Beadle in Oliver Twist, which is a risible phenomenon throughout the day. It's Shpiegel's event and he takes the helm, the first of many long speeches. Plenary Session 9:30-12:30. 18 ten minute speeches from anti-fascists from around Europe, much explanation of why Nazism is a bad thing, but also a lot on its' resurgence especially in Estonia and Lithuania, the Baltic states next to Russia, which is clearly the Russian geo-political interest that is partially behind the whole effort. Brook-Krasny, the 1989 Jewish emigre from Moscow and sitting NY Assemblyman from Brighton Beach, speaks first, a moment fraught with genuine history. He sticks with the approved style, solidarity and don't rock the boat, but slips in language that all the Russians recognize as subtle challenge to the Conference to oppose all Nazi's not just the kind the Kremlin fear. It's really appreciated by delegates. He and Shpiegel run the days events. 12:30, no lunch, 1/2 hour coffee break, workers of the world unite. 1:00 more plenary ten minute speeches from English Marxists, Finnish anti-fascists, Ukrainian opposition (former unsuccessful candidate for President), Italian academics, Jewish RussianAmerican leaders, unreconstructed Stalinists, unreconstructed liberals from Great Neck, apparatchiks, lots of folks who want to sing the International one last time, it gets a little wearing. But they're not cranks, and it begins to dawn on the Americans that there is a fearful thing out there, not to be snickered at. In a grim sort of way the message percolates: There really is a pattern of state-blessed, hate-based politics and militarism, a potent mix, even if it's in a nascent stage.

3:00 break out in groups, same speeches limited to 5 minutes, Russian-American cops, NY Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (whose parents are Survivors) speaks movingly. Two genuine moments: Blue-uniformed, epauletted older former USSR Attorney General (Sukhorev?) unexpectedly demands podium, and pounds the table for 10 minutes in a spirited defense of Stalin-saved us from the real Nazis, built many, many things, people taken care of, crimes were committed-the room likes it mostly, but really likes that someone actually said something off-script; Then, old ex-commie, standing in front of the Tsar's double-eagle and cross, disputes Putin's recent admission that Soviets responsible for Katyn Massacre, Spiegel interrupts from dais, points his finger and yells at him-he takes it and slinks off. The Tsar wins, the Commies are truly beaten and act like it. More speeches. Wander the building with other escapees. Stopped by Russian English language TV RT (high value, news and commentary, Party line, subtle and not-subtle anti-American but smartly done) What Do I Think Of Attempt To Ban Nazi and Commie Insignia And Speech: "In America the answer to bad speech is more speech, not censorship." They'll never use it. Also stopped by Russian version of WSJ: Expecting questions about financial crisis in America, instead get "What Do You Think Of Larry King? That gets used. Ah, the press. Some phenomena are truly international. 6:30. End of speeches, some fuss on floor to change details of conference statement, much thanks from Spiegel who has done well, completely unclear what is happening, no vote taken. Champagne and herring reception, delegates ravenous: Speeches: Back on buses. It's still perpetual night. Gave us a wonderful pin by which to cherish the moment. They really, really need functioning legislative bodies and wouldn't recognize one if it landed on them. It was conducted in the vocabulary and spirit of the 1930's. Solidarity with people, role of reactionary elements, tide of history, heroic efforts in Great Patriotic War. There is a Kremlin line, but there's no reason to oppose to anti-Nazi efforts, no matter what the motivation. Strangely amateurish, English translation of conference is "The World Against Nazism: The Goal Of the Entire Humanity". But there really is a resurgence of black shirt hooliganism, local and political antisemitism, state terrorism and ethnic cleansing, rewriting of history to be fair and balanced about Germany, and nobody else called a Conference to oppose it. Spiegel and the delegates are genuinely concerned, from their own individual perspectives, but the lesson of 80 years ago is vigilance, and you don't need to be a Jew or Winston Churchill to support the effort. I'm an American Jew, if nothing else safe, sitting in the city that made anti-Semitism an art form, meeting with successful Russian Jews, and being told that Nazis' are back. It makes you think.

Day 5, Saturday, December 18 Sunrise, 8:30 am. Sunset, 4:30 PM. Snow, snow flurries like the cold is squeezing all the moisture out of the atmosphere. Last day to see Moscow. Lenin's Tomb, another round of the struggle between the Tsarists and the Commies. Hard to visit, really rude, almost threatening Russian guards, new Russia officialdom in high dudgeon

(they really want to close it), almost no visitors, waxy-but it's him and the 1870 International Flag, outside everybodys graves Stalin, Dzerzhinsky, Brezhnev every big Commie (except Khrushchev who is in exile), Big Bill Haywood and John Reed. Something happened here. The New Tretykovsky Museum, after a freezing walk across the Moscow River next to an absurd, mid-River, six story statue of Peter the Great Russian painting 1900-2010 beyond surprising and magnificent, with painters unknown in the West and very good socialist realism. My assumptions about Soviet art run afoul of the extraordinary experimentalism and quality of what's on exhibit for the first half of the 20th century. The vitality and technical excellence of the stuff is astounding, and the unleashing of energy after 1917 equally so. The dead hand doesn't arrive until the 50's, when it lays on everything like a lox. The art, just like the society, got decrepit fast. What was liberated by the demise of the Tsar was imprisoned by post-war Stalinism. The post-50's avant-garde stuff is silly, doesn't even look Russian.

Day 6, Sunday, December 17 To the airport by train, to avoid traffic. Seen off by Finnish Anti-Fascist League. Still cold, still grey.

THE LESSON Mixing Moscow and the Conference was useful. Moscow is strange and fascinating, gray and scarlet, a mix of hope and failure, with new energy and privilege everywhere. It s not the Moscow or Russia of my grandparents by any means, but I recognized my grandparents' friends on the streets, I saw Jews standing up for the first time in centuries, I saw the future and haven't any idea if it will work. The Conference itself was understandable only in the context of the ongoing struggle for the Russian soul and for the political and social future of the country that is visible in Moscow, and its streets, museums, hotels, restaurants, television and faces. Right now it s a struggle between two equally inadequate models; Communism v Tsarism, Stalin v Rasputin. An anecdote: In 1812, upon the defeat of Napoleon, Tsar Alexander I announced he would build the world's largest Orthodox Church in gratitude to the Divine, the Cathedral To Christ The Saviour. In 1931 Stalin dynamites it, to build a Palace Of The Soviets, but it eventually becomes the world's largest outdoor swimming pool for the masses, thanks to Khrushchev. In the 1990's the new Russian government in turn dynamites the pool, and with the help of donations from citizens and oligarchs alike rebuilds the Cathedral, essentially as it was. The last Tsar, Nicholas II is made a Saint of the Orthodox Church there in 2000. We come full circle, Stalin's destruction is itself destroyed and the Orthodox Church is restored to its' very public primacy by the government. No better metaphor exists for the current reality of life in Russia. Be it the Cathedral, or the Tsarist insignia in the Senate Chamber, or the Christmas trees, there's a conscious attempt to replace the icons of the Soviet Union with the icons of Tsarist Russia. To an American sensibility, there's not much value in either model, and you wonder whether they even see the need for a

third path, if Putin's toughness is just a new version of autocracy, or if this is a managed transition to a more democratic, humane Russia. My own initial and ungenerous reaction to the Conference, to the interminable speeches, the bad translations ( what do you say to a banner entitled "The World Against Nazism: The Goal Of the Entire Humanity"), the Kremlin line, and the grind-it-out patience of the participants was a New Yorkers' reaction, and missed the point. In the end, it was understandable, even admirable. There is a real battle going on and it goes way beyond Russian political self-interest. The Conference itself was conducted in the vocabulary and spirit of the 1930's; Solidarity with people, role of reactionary elements, tide of history, heroic efforts in Great Patriotic War. But Hamas is re-circulating the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, ethnic cleansing exists in Africa, Europe, Asia and little is done to stop it, and just maybe we're losing the lesson of history. Better we have an anti-Nazi effort that turns out unneeded, than find out later it's really back. The international resurgence of black shirt hooliganism, local and state anti-Semitism, state terror, rewriting of history to be fair and balanced about Germany, they're all real and nobody else called a Conference to oppose it. For all its' idiosyncrasies, it mattered.

BACK TO BRIGHTON One of the more memorable Brighton events occurred last May 9. Gene Borsh asked me to come to the old movie palace on Brighton Beach Avenue now a Russian cultural center used for concerts and meetings. Would I speak at a commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the defeat of the Germans? It was Mother's Day so I brought my wife and my energetic and opinionated 90 year old mother. We walked into dark theatre and as we adjusted to the dark we saw we were surrounded by 500 folks of mostly her age, almost all bemedaled veterans of the Soviet military and their families, stout or frail, erect of posture, and clear eyed. General who was veteran of enormous tank battles at Kursk ; Colonel who was partisan, killed many, many Germans ; Lieutenant who was saved when his ship was torpedoed. ; Sergeant who froze his hand outside Moscow . I spoke in the middle of an hour long series of speeches in Russian, a few of them furious angry speeches, full of memory of real death and starvation and unspeakable atrocities that Americans know as flickering grey images on a TV screen. And songs of spring and birds sung by young baritones standing in a spotlight as a smoke machine sent wisps and scents of fire throughout the room. I had no idea what to say, no words to match the moment. So I thanked them and welcomed them to America and for some reason, told them that my mother, in the theatre with them, had worked during the War to bring cooperation between the Russian and American people, her contribution to the struggle. And when translated into Russian they started to clap, and brought her onto the stage and gave her a seat of honor as the songs continued. And quite suddenly a lot of what puzzled me about Brighton got a little clearer. As Jews, America provided a place to be Jewish without fear, to support Israel, to think of Nazis as a sixty-year old nightmare. As Russians, they suffer the stereotypes about prostitution, the new Mafia, the grumpiness, the cigarettes and vodka, all in exchange for the sheer relief of being away from Russia. It s a bargain that doesn t admit of anti-Nazi Conferences, or a bridge to the homeland. They had the courage to wrench themselves from their homes in middle age, to

move thousands of miles to a strange new world, and to take with them an ocean of memory of German and Stalinist suffering. It s enough already. And when I returned to Brighton after the Conference I was circumspect and uncertain as to what next to say. No Russian of any age needs my advice about Nazis, and the older émigrés don t want to remember. The younger Russian-born Americans and first-generation Russian Americans see the world from a more familiar place. They don't live in a world defined by war and suffering. They're Americans first and the task before them is to get on with it, just like my parents did, just like I did, whatever Grandpa Lou thought about it. Making sense out of an anti-Nazi Conference was partially an historical exercise: Was this a real resurgence of Nazism and could it really happen again? It was partially political: Was there any useful political end in connecting Brighton Beach and Moscow, and who the hell was I to suggest it? And it was, after all the travel, a quintessentially American dilemma: How could these folks be easily and usefully absorbed into the American story? Since the Conference I ve been asked to speak at the UN about the resurgence of Nazism, and then to a live television program putting Russians in a studio in Moscow and Americans in a studio in New York to see how strange are our mutual misunderstandings and stereotypes. Those misunderstandings are strange and pervasive. But I m on someone s list of Americans who bridge the divide and no harm has been done so far. I go back to Brighton Beach a lot, to Tatiana's the boardwalk nightclub, to the markets and restaurants, to speak to new Russian-American organizations of professionals and young people, to hear the accents and smell the smells of fifty years ago. It's fun. They're good people. They've been through a lot. Maybe I can help.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful