Sunday, September 25, 2005

I can't write or think too clearly because of the cold, so I read a lot.

The book I'm reading now is about the wars of the early 1990s: Nagorny Karabakh, Chechnya; testimonies of soldiers who had to fight there, testimonies of civilians stuck there. These stories are interesting for the little details you rarely see in newspapers.

Stuff like this: a small group of Russian infantry men is retreating somewhere in Grozny, in 1995, and they stumble over the bodies of two Russian soldiers; they find and take the dead guys' documents and tear off the strings with their personal ID numbers: "The boys have no use for that anymore, but their families have to be notified. Otherwise, the government smartasses aren't going to pay pensions to them, explaining that the soldiers were missing in action or have even deserted." (From Vyacheslav Mironov's I've Been to This War.)

It hurts a lot to read it all, but it also reminds me of how to be very positive about Ukraine's post-1991 history: no matter what, we've been so very lucky.


Also, this little text by Yiyun Li in the New York Times Magazine - Passing Through - is very nice. In a way, it's about the degrees of luck, too.


  1. You may want to check out this book: the_oath.html

    and this website: index.html

    Your blog is very informative...would love to read your thoughts on Estonia and Kyrgyzstan.


    10.05.05 - 7:26 pm

  2. Thank you for Passing Through. My luck is you found it! Priceless.

    I'm just going through the archives now, catching up, sopping up every delicious juice of your blog. I have become unstuck from ordinary time is all. Not trying to fill your comments with old news!

    Looking forward to baby pictures soon! Mine are all grown now, so I live vicariously through the children of others. You can't shrink them back once they've expanded, so enjoy them every second!