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Articles tagged "Moscow"

On the Moscow Metro and Being Gay

In the catalogue of sins in his Divine Comedy, which is as random as it is insanely detailed, Dante found room for the sin that “dared not speak its name” long before Oscar Wilde’s trial—one of which Dante’s beloved guardian and tutor Brunetto Latini was also guilty. (He placed such sinners in the Seventh Circle of Hell, near the suicides and usurers, but above thieves and bribe-takers.) I always wished that Dante had added another sin, one which probably...

from “The Revenge of Capablanca”

The match was held in an arena, semicircular in shape, behind the town hall. They set the table and chessboard at the center of the back line. The audience crammed in up front. Most people sat on wood and wrought-iron bleachers. The younger men stood at the back. The children took over the empty patch of ground between the first row of bleachers and the two challengers. But not one child moved or made a sound. This was the same place, two years before, that their fathers took them to...

The Brother’s Keeper

My brother ran away from me at Kursky. The depot then was an ordinary railroad station, not the modern monstrosity of cement and colored tile that it is today. It housed a crowd of people in its lobby and had all the warmth of a truly human space. Benches filled the middle, with people sitting shoulder to shoulder. That's where they slept, yawned, ate—and kept a hand on their suitcases and eyes on the Gypsies. The Gypsies themselves were actually headed somewhere by train, just...

The Communist of Montmartre

In April 1935, the Paris Central of the Communist Party found itself in an acutely embarrassing dilemma. Moscow had asked them to bring one representative from each ethnic group oppressed by French imperialism to the Festival of Peace scheduled for that coming summer. But although when they went through the membership rolls it was no trouble at all to find a trustworthy Algerian and an active Vietnamese, likewise Polynesians and Caribbean mulattoes who enthusiastically embraced the...

from Essence

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The Geological-Surveillance Institute Part 1

"Well, let's fly . . ." "Why, a geologist of course, no question about it," said the rector with a scowl. "A spy wouldn't throw himself under a train because of a broken heart." "Bravo, correct! And Winnie-the-Pooh? That's a tough one." "Hmm, Winnie-the-Pooh, well, I would say a spy," said the rector thoughtfully. "The geologist is probably Piglet." "You see?" said Lednev cheerily. "You can already classify the examples correctly. But your one mistake is that you...

Animal Transport

The eighties began with the Olympics in Moscow. In spite of the boycott by many western countries, Leonid Brezhnev, who was General Secretary at the time, was determined to prevent the whole thing from turning into a pure propaganda show. The Olympic Games were going to be turned into a giant cultural and political event. Moscow was to be cleansed of parasites of all kinds, and new electronic billboards bought from the Americans through Pakistani middlemen would be put up in the stadiums....

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