The Fifth Mailbag
Learning from Nizhny Novgorod, Alternate Kennedys, and comparative Matts
I feel like this week’s questions were very serious. February has everyone in a mood.
But I’ve been enjoying doing these, so thanks to everyone who’s participated!
John: Request for reminiscences — Matt was in Perm, Russia for some time a number of years ago (I've been a reader since 2000 — it may have been a *long* time ago!). What does he feel he learned about Russia in this most Russian of cities? Does it affect his views on the current Russia crises?
I was in Perm super briefly but was in Russia (mostly Nizhny Novgorod) for most of the summer of 1998. It’s a little hard to say what I learned specifically from that experience versus from simply knowing some Russian people over the years.
But a thing that I do recall that I wish more Americans appreciated was how shocking normal middle-class Russian people found their late-'90s circumstances to be. The way they saw it, Communism was bad. They were against it, and it got overthrown. That should have been a victory for them. But instea…
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