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FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK...

By David Levy

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A chapter from  David Levy's work in progress "From Chaguanas to Jerusalem: Tribal Conflict in the Global Mosaic"

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The Montréal Review, April 2012

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"Seattle, June 2, 1995. As a 16-foot-tall statue of Vladimir Lenin was hoisted by a crane to its new home in a parking lot in this city's Fremont neighborhood, a crowd of about 100 people went wild....When the Lenin statue was finally lowered to a concrete pedestal, a young man offered a toast: "Yo, surfer dude!" he shouted to the Bolshevik leader."

Melanie J. Mavrides, The New York Times

"A man who has been beaten is worth two who have not."

Russian proverb

***

"THE people," observed a security official through an interpreter, "are awaiting this gig." The "gig" was a heavy metal concert held at the abandoned Toshino Airfield northwest of Moscow in late September, 1991, AC/DC heading a lineup that included Metallica, the Black Crowes, and Texas-based Pantera and their Frank Stella guitars. The event was recorded by a Time-Warner crew.

Lars Ulrich: "The whole thing as you probably know has come together.so quick. There was a coup.What do you want as a reward, for diverting it and this kind of stuff.We want Metallica and AC/DC and metal...So here we are."

The "gig" didn't exactly happen by itself. It was organized by a slick Russian impresario named Boris Zosimov. A month earlier some high ranking communist party officials, military men and senior KGB officers, had put Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest in his dacha in the Crimea. The coup, foiled by a Boris Yeltsin-led counter coup, was, as it turned out, the beginning of the end of the Gorbachev era, the Party, and the Soviet Union itself.

For Soviet officialdom metal was a form of cultural pollution, "the moral equivalent of AIDS". Timothy Ryback in his book Rock Around the Bloc described how in the winter of 1986-87 young thugs from the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsi flooded Gorky Prospekt to do battle with "deviants" - hippies, punks, break dancers - who appeared to be too much in awe of Western fads.

Assembled at Toshino for "the gig" Russian metallisti in chokers, spiked hair, studded wristbands and leather appeared well-schooled in the metal thing: grimacing and flipping the bird for the camera, stabbing the air with the bullshit sign, doing the devil's horns, fingers pulling at the sides of their mouths to produce twisted grimaces. What might once have been hailed as ideological protest had morphed into a show of teen attitude though most of these teens were teens no longer. Up against some heavy stage acts security guards were determined not to be outdone. Cops and soldiers, some wearing white helmets and carrying nasty looking truncheons, beat out the tempo on the heads of random members of the crowd. "Communism does not exist now," said one kid, blood running down his face. In communist days, battles had been fought with authorities over metal. What made it different this time was that the event appeared to represent the public collapse of the last line of official resistance, the transformation of party perestroika into de-partied Yeltsinization.

Enthusiasm was not unanimous.

Rap, said Misha, a Russian rocker from St. Petersburg, to American sociology professor Thomas Cushman ". is American criminal music ....Here there's a guy under the influence of M.C.Hammer. Here's another guy under the influence of Prince. Under the influence of rap groups. They simply look at video clips... these people are from another... class... these young people are well-cared for adolescents... whose parents have been abroad, who've brought them nice things, and brought them music. These are not poor people from the Bronx... rap does not lay well on Russian language... kids here are using American expressions which are translated into Russian. the whole country is trying to be America..."

The crowd numbers were uncertain. Rolling Stone put the figure at between 150,000 and 500,000. Cameras sought out the American flag flying over the scene, the giant khaki Russian choppers dipping down scarily low. The Russian command of English being the worst in all Europe, was any metallisti able to make out the song lyrics? Pantera: "Come and be with me, Live my twisted dream."

A few months later, Christmas Day, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and the Russian Federation banner replaced the party's hammer-and-sickle on the Kremlin flagpole.

* * *

This Russian kid I ran into at HMV said he was looking for Prodigy CDs. Told me to call him Gene. When I appeared incredulous he corrected himself: So it's Euvgeni, so you can't take a joke. A big kid, with a pale, doughy face. A slavic Randy Quaid. Came on with the gallows humor of old time Eastern European movies: "In Russia, we say a person who doesn't smoke or drink will die healthy!" His ambition, he tells me, is to work in the computer industry in America. For Bill Gates? Sure he says with his trademark twisted smile. But he thinks his English needs work. Why, I ask, are you Russians so lousy at language learning? It is not so, he says, rising immediately to the defense of the motherland he has abandoned, his face reddening. I will tell you why language education is so poor in Russia. Up to recently people who spoke a foreign language like English could have trouble. KGB would watch you, you might be interrogated: Why do you know this language? Maybe you are a spy. So these days, if you are serious about learning English, you get private tutor. It's the only way.

Why doesn't he pursue his computer studies in Russia? The response is a hyper sour expression. You have no idea what you are saying, he mutters after a pause. Books. A student needs books. But books are expensive. Ten books for a hundred students. And sometimes they tear out the pages to beat you on the exam. And not so many machines. It's hopeless.

Was Gorbachev a good guy or a bad guy? The twisted smile. Didn't Gorbachev believe, I say, that economic development not belligerence had become the key to geopolitical influence? Wasn't that how he was different from Brezhnev? You read too much, the kid says. First, it wasn't Gorbachev, it was Andropov. Yuri Andropov, the KGB man? Another twisted smile. That's right, he said, pleased that he has seized control of the conversation. After Brezhnev died Andropov went on television. This communist system is finished, he said. Russia will have to take a different path. But he died before he could do anything. I'll tell you, it wasn't supposed to be Gorbachev, but a guy called Romanov. Brezhnev told Castro that Romanov would be the one he would have to deal with. Gorbachev was Andropov's choice. Who knows why? Gorbachev was nothing, the marionette of a bankrtupt system. It was his job was to protect the party's gold. And now? Now, it's all gone, the Yeltsin people took it. Today there's no producing, only buying and selling. For a half century these assholes destroyed anything that even smelled like initiative... Nowadays there's corruption everywhere, favoritism if you can pay. And big taxes. Extortion. Pay or die. If you are able to succeed in a business, you are told to fuck off, your business belongs to someone else. You get an offer you can't refuse. The smile.

A digitalisti, computer music was Euvgeni's passion. He was going to e-mail me a sample. The thing is that in Russia, in the Ukraine in all those places, he said, we have the most advanced stuff, we get it before you. When you see the trailer for a new movie, we have the DVD already. We get the Windows software before you. What does he know about the Moscow pop music scene? Had he heard about the heavy metal concert at Toshino? Does he know anyone who was there? I doubt it ever happened, he said. An American video fantasy. The twisted smile. Heavy metal, he said, was the forbidden youth music of the old USSR. Today? Who knows. Everything moves so fast, it's hard to say. Is that why people want to learn English, I ask, to get into American pop? No, no, he says. English is for doing business. We have our own pop. And for the internet. The Russian internet is very big, more than people think. Games, newspapers, all kinds of things. But you need English because most of it is in English.

Drugs? Like you have here. Grass. Coke. Ecstasy. Heroin from Pakistan. Especially among young people. Moscow punk? Sure. Could he get me a cassette? Yeah, he has a friend who's an expert who will send it by computer from Moscow. And maybe get the lyrics translated? Sure.

The Russian mob? There are many mobs. The government is one of them. Yeltsin? Yeltsin has Parkinson's Disease. Is the mayor of Moscow a likely Yeltsin successor? Maybe, but he's only another kind of mafioso. That's all there is. The Godfather was very popular in Russia, Don Corleone was a much-admired figure. There was even a song about him. Pulp Fiction was very good too. We like to see bosses in action, guys who control everything and make everybody afraid. A Spanish friend said the Russian people were wonderful, but the country was terrible. How come, the friend wondered? In Spain it was the opposite, the people were terrible but the country was wonderful. So I told him, said the kid, Russians are manic-depressives. We are cursed. The Russian disease. You find it in the literature, in Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Tugenev. Now its back, in the movies, the music, everywhere...

Euvgeni was a Jewish kid homesick for Mother Russia where anti-Semitism is in the air Russians breathe. A Moscovite, suspecting that a Jew may be approaching from the opposite direction, will let fly a mouthful of spittle - Pttooo!

One afternoon I happend to bump into Euvgeni downtown. He looked well. Had he done any work on the Moscow punk cassette? No, he promised with an edge of aggression in his voice, the promise punctuated by the twisted smile. No, I can forget about it, he wasn't going to do it.

* * *

Moscow - October 2003. It was late afternoon when the Lufthansa flight from Munich landed at Sheremetyevo Airport. The traffic was grim, the thirty-five km drive in the hotel Benz from the airport in the fading light took a full two hours. En route one observed billboards featuring babes posing with appliances, computers, mobile phones. Gone the demur Soviet working girls. Another sign along with the re-emergence of mat, Russian cursespeak, of the departure of socialism's puritan visage. Not many traffic lights. Pedestrians negotiate the broad multi laned roadways via underground passages.

Natalia declared Moscow noisy, dirty, energetic, "A city I love," she said. A cinema scholar, Natalia spoke of the loss of her cream-coloured Lada. She was obliged to put the car up for sale when she left for Brussels to pursue a research and writing project. "I cried when I sold it," she said. "I still miss it." Next time we visit she promised to show us around the Arbat, a trendy Moscow hood.

In Natalia's Moscow one's moods can abruptly swing for no apparent reason from the giddy to the uneasy. Food and consumer goods are now, we heard, much more plentiful, there are now twice as many cars on the road as there were a decade earlier. Lots of Russian cigarette smokers. Russians smoke everywhere. And more than ever there is alcoholism, which has the status of a national disease. A Bulgarian I met told me a story about a Moscow friend - short, had one-eye, walked with a limp, an altogether unattractive fellow. And yet every few months he was seen with a new girlfriend. The explanation? It should be obvious, said the Bulgarian: the fellow didn't drink!

We were in Moscow to visit Toshino, the last great battlefield of the Cold War, comparable to Chicago 1968, Wenceslas Square, Paris, and to see if I could find anyone who'd attended that concert or who knew someone who had, possibly track down concert organizers.

We were booked into the Hotel Metropol, an Art Nouveau beauty at the edge of Red Square. Metropol guests included Mao, Berthold Brecht, Lee Harvey Oswald and more recently Sly and Arnold. The revolution's premier poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Volodya, as he was known, would show up in the hotel billiard room hoping to win enough to pay for a vegetarian dinner.

Shalyapin Lobby Bar at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow

Iosif Unshlikht, a Polish nobleman who was one of the founders of the Cheka, the original Soviet state security organization, was shot in the hotel cellar in the summer of 1938.

At breakfast in the magnificient groundfloor dining room with its fantasy stained glass ceiling, a harpist in a pink sleeveless velvet gown and long fingerless elbow length white gloves played Elvis tunes to aid digestion.

The Metropol's Boyarsky Restaurant, with its brooding stuffed bear, time machine décor and medieval feast menu seemed a version of Alexander Sukurov's The Russian Ark, a one-take cinema journey back through the pre-socialist splendor of the Hermitage in St Petersburg. Like the film, the Boyarsky dining room seemed to represent a determination to brush aside the Marxist-Leninist past as if it were a bad dream, an accidental detour, a mistake that may never have really happened. Here we are, was the message, where we have always been, before those Marxist-Leninist idiots came along and tried to destroy a great people, a great country.

Bordering Red Square opposite the Kremlin wall and in the GUM shopping arcade are chic cafes and designer apparel boutiques. Much in evidence are the private security cops hired by the shops and bars to keep the less affluent away. The attitude of their better-off compatriots is an exaggerated disdain, verging on contempt, the pals of the czar who speed past the clogged traffic in grey box Benzes and BMWs and official vehicles with flashing blue lights in the special traffic lane reserved for them, on their way to important meetings and, one supposes, trysts with beautiful women.

Russians enjoy impressing foreigners with their high-level connections, which is to say their czaratic palship. Peggy Guggenheim recalled that one of her abortions was performed in a convent by a doctor named Popoff, who told her he was the accoucheur of the Grand Duchess of Russia.

Crossing a driveway in the path of a BMW, the car suddenly gathered speed, heading directly at us, only slowing down and turning away at the last moment. No doubt a pal of the czar behind the wheel.

At the edge of the square, an aging slightly built and bearded ex-infantryman in a worn greatcoat lifted the red hammer-and-sickle banner up to an unpleasant fall breeze. Beside him a comrade held a tape recorder playing a muffled, crackling military march. People hurried past. A Chechen bombing of a military hospital in August led to the closing of the square with its ready access to Lenin's mausoleum and the onion domes of St. Basil's. Nearby toilet booths, Ivans-on-the spot, administered by an elderly woman from whom one might obtain a supply of cheap toilet tissue, stood like sentries huddled together in the cold to keep warm. A fellow had set up a table of medals and pins for sale. For a sum one might pose with a couple of Marx and Lenin look-alikes. There were as well a half-dozen bearded old-time Russian orthodox priests offering the same service.

Beyond the perimeter of the security zone, Moscow street kids, called "gypsy" kids prey on strollers and motorists; an unfriendly action triggers a flash of sharpened tweezers. Like the underpaid cops, they are looking to score whatever they can, cash the preference.

The city's oldest bookseller has been displaced by Moscow Bentley. In the showroom window visible from the street sits a pale blue $400,000.00(US) Bentley convertible. Who might the likely buyer be? It was difficult to get a precise answer. There is, one hears, much government corruption. An official entrusted with a very large sum of money will arrange for the amount to loiter in a private bank account for a few days and pocket the interest, before dispersing most of the sum.

Among slavophiles there remains an apprehension of contamination from the west. The city's architecture is a mix of Czarist and Stalinist design. Everywhere inscrutable Cyrillic signs and notices, spacious squares and wide roadways. A glance at a city map tells you that Moscow is without the perpendicularity one expects of a city. Says Lonely Planet: "Picture Moscow as four ring roads spreading out from the centre; radial roads spoke out across the rings, and the Moscow River meanders across everything." Which is why one seems much of the time to be moving in elaborate and mysterious circles the Kremlin the ptolemaic hub in the manner of Asian cities built around the palaces of emperors.

We are driving along Lenin Prospekt with Sasha, a professor of physics at Moscow State University. Light evening traffic. Sasha explains that Nikita Krushchev had this marvelous eight-lane roadway built in 1959 for Richard Nixon's visit to Moscow. It runs from Sheremetyevo Airport almost to the Kremlin. Sasha bought a Chrysler sport coupe, a 200,000 ruble purchase. The car, he said, was the love of his life. He drove it for four days before it was stolen. No, it wasn't recovered. "They found the people who took it but not the car," he said, smiling. There was in his voice the mix of irony and pride with which a Russian will speak of his ill fortune. That was just how things were, there was nothing to be done.

Sasha drove us to the Sparrow Hills to see the Seven Sisters, Stalin's answer to the Manhattan skyline, described by William Gibson as "Little old Commie Gothic skyscrapers with wedding cake frills." Six looking one way, the Moscow State University tower, the seventh, built by convicts between 1949 and1953, behind us.

Sergei, a friend, arranged for us to visit Mosfilm, Soviet Hollywood. Not an easy thing to arrange. In the mid-1990s, a scheme to privatize Mosfilm fell through and the distribution structure collapsed. The Russian film industry has been in what was described as a state of freefall for the better part of a decade, as a consequence some say of the "capitalist" system of film financing. Production is at a trickle, many of Moscow's movie theatres converted into casinos and private clubs. The studio is busy with TV co-productions: a western, a series on 19th century Russia, one based on "The Children of Arbat", the Anatoly Rybakov novel, repressed for many years, with its unrelenting picture of the abuses of Stalinism. Sergei who lived through that time said the sparse, poorly lit sets well conveyed the grimness, the overcrowding, the tensions among building residents.

Sergei is a lawyer, about forty, slim, speaks near perfect, British accented English. Natasha, his law partner, a sleek, attractive woman, told us she and her husband enjoyed heli-skiing holidays in British Columbia with their two children. En route to Mosfilm my casual mention of the Nikita Mikhalkov film Burnt by the Sun (1994), a biting critique of Stalinism, drew a forceful dismissal. The film, Sergei said, was a cynical attempt by Nikita, a Putin supporter whose father Sergei Mikhalkov wrote the lyrics of the Soviet national anthem as well as the Russian anthem, to endear himself to Russia's enemies in the West.

At Mosfilm, Sergei introduced us to Levan Paatashvili, a famous cameraman from Mosfilm's heyday, and Juliy Fayt, a filmmaker whose father played a sailor in Sergei Eisensteins's Potemkin and who himself appeared as a child in Ivan the Terrible. Levan told us that Stalin had one of the Mosfilm architects who lost the plans for the studio shot dead for being careless. Fayt was working on a film about the udege, an indigenous people who inhabit the area around the Bikin River, a tributary of the Ussari. He believes they originated in North America and crossed the frozen Bering Strait into Siberia. He wondered whether these small tribes have a future in the emerging global scheme.

I stand outside the extraordinary cake-icing yellow building where Sergei Mikhailovitch Eisenstein created his famous montages. In 1930, Paramount studio executive Jesse Lasky offered Eisenstein a six-month contract. On his way to Hollywood, Eisenstein stopped off in Boston where the studio publicity department got him to pose for photographs with Rin-Tin-Tin. Eisenstein, who was familiar with Pavlov's experiments in reflexology, was unimpressed by the American canine screen celebrity.

The cinemas of America and Russia have been linked in mutual and problematic fascination. For Eisenstein, the cross-cut rescue dramas of D.W.Griffith pointed the way to motion picture dialectics. For American cineastes the Hollywood industry built on the insights of Griffith paled in comparison to the montage dazzle of Dziga Vertov and others. Oddly, American film aficionados in awe of the productions of Vertov and the rest have been inclined to ignore the fact that their work amounted to Stalinist propaganda in which the brutal face of the Soviet regime was hidden from view.

On the way back to the hotel, Sergei pointed out the old KGB prison and interrogation facility in Lubyanka Square just down the street, around the corner from the Bolshoi Theatre.

English-language newspapers reported an effort to rescue several dozen coal miners trapped in a collapsed mine shaft. The miners hadn't been paid since March. Earlier in the month there was a miners's strike over an arbitrary reduction in pay.

Rashit, a film history colleague, met us for lunch in the hotel restaurant. We hadn't seen him in years. On the restaurant bandstand a male pianist in formal dress was at work on a Tchaikovsky medley. Rashit thought things had begun to go terribly wrong in the USSR in 1929. On Stalin's orders officialdom tightened, before shutting down altogether.

Jeannie asked Rashit about the films Stalin liked to relax with in the evenings after signing the stacks of death warrants. Uncle Joe's all-time favorite was Grigori Alexandrov's Volga-Volga, a musical tale of young people traveling to Moscow by river boat. Released in 1936, Uncle Joe, who had seen the film countless times, never tired of it. The same may not have been true of others, but it would have been difficult to demur. It was inspired by an official hunt for ordinary laborers, miners and farmers, possessed of singing and dancing talent. Who knows but Joe, himself a teen singing sensation, might have become a karaoke devotee, strutting up to the stage and seizing the mike to warble his take on "I Feel Love". A singing contest for male and female prisoners was just then being organized by the Justice Ministry. Among the contestants was an attractive blonde woman named Yelena Kozlova. Serving eight years for robbery, Yelena told a reporter she hoped this was not some sort of government trick, that it was true that the winner's prize would be freedom.

Volga-Volga poster (1936)

After 1918, after Versailles and the Revolution, the Germans and the Russians thought they had interests in common. In the late 1920s, Junkers, the German bomber manufacturer, built a plant in Moscow. Herman Goering ran a flying school in Smolensk in the 1930s to train German and Russian pilots; there was a tank school in Kazan, and a joint poison gas test site in Samara. Apparently, the basis of Stalin's interest in Germany was his mistrust of the British and the French. Down the road was the Hitler-Stalin pact, supported by all the communist parties in the West.

It was, Rashit said, incomprehensible that while times were near unbearable in Moscow, Americans gathered in summer camps in the Catskills where they played at being communists. I told him there was one in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal, Camp Nishtgehdieget, that an American aunt and uncle, ex-communists, spent time there in the summers with family members.

Rashit said he couldn't recall a heavy metal concert at Toshino organized to celebrate the foiled coup. He'd asked around. No one seemed to know much about it.

As we spoke, a fellow who had managed to squeeze himself into an exaggerated pinstripe suit of the kind designed for sleek GQ alpha males entered the restaurant with his date, a slim young woman wearing a blue fur collar. She was parked at a table with a glossy magazine. The fellow then joined a handful of his associates a few tables away. Mr.Big seemed the sort of fellow the Russians refer to as a krutov chelovek, a tough guy.  With his arrival at their table the conversation could begin.

***

A year earlier, October 23, 2002, Chechen gunmen had invaded the Dubrovka Theatre in Moscow during a performance of Nord Ost, a popular musical. On a Wednesday evening during the second act of the show, men armed with AK-47s suddenly appeared on stage. Some members of the audience thought it was part of the performance. The Chechens were very young, average age 23, the commander 25. One of the men had the word KILLER written in English on his belt. In the group were women as young as 16 with bombs strapped to their bodies.

Vesselin Nedkov was in the theatre and published an account of the experience, 57 Hours: a survivor's account of the Moscow hostage drama. The Chechens said they would release all the foreigners, anyone who didn't speak Russian or could prove they were citizens of another country like Vesselin who is Bulgarian. They told them to phone their embassies to arrange for crews to come to the theatre to film the release. The release plan was a Chechen tactic to show that this was an internal matter, a struggle for independence and not, as Putin claimed, part of a global Islamic terror campaign. Putin had gone on the radio during the standoff to say that the hostage taking had been planned in a foreign terror centre. The Russians, in other words, wanted no images of freed non-Russian hostages on CNN and the BBC; as far they were concerned, the more terribly the episode ended the better.

Conditions quickly deteriorated. Vesselin told me that at one point a small mountain of mobile phones was piled up in a heap on the stage. Some with dead batteries, others continued to ring. We are, the Chechens said, obeying orders. Can you understand that we want to die more than you want to live?

Vesselin said he consciously struggled to focus hatred on the Chechens not to succumb to Stockholm Syndrome. He said he thought about all the hostage movies he'd seen, about how they all had a skilled negotiator who was the hostage taker's contact with the outside world. At Nord Ost, hostages needed to become their own negotiators because the Russians conducted no negotiations. On Friday, 25 October there was an interview with Mosvar Bereyev, one of the men running the hostage operation, but it was broadcast without sound. After two and a half stressful days, and following a rehearsal in a Moscow theatre, the Russian authorities made their move. That evening officials announced that General Kazantsev, the commander of military operations against the Chechens, would come to the theatre for talks at ten the following morning. At 5 a.m. the assault on the theatre began. It was, said Vesselin, swift, efficient, ruthless.

Officially, the operation resulted in 170 deaths. The security forces had ordered the use of a knockout gas, a fentanyl-like compound more powerful than heroin, that caused the deaths of many hostages and hostage takers. There was a claim of shootings, of the falsification of death certificates. Five hostages were murdered, 125 hostages, some say 129, died after the theatre was stormed by the Alpha assault force. Forty of the hostage takers were allegedly shot while unconscious, 21 men, 19 women. The number of hostage deaths has been revised to 130. But these figures as well as the official version of what occurred, including the nature of the gas employed, have been disputed. Many of the hostage deaths happened after the event, most attributed to botched medical care. The Chechens were armed with bombs, but none were detonated. Russian authorities refused to conduct an enquiry. There was anger over the meager compensation paid to victims and their relatives.

Could there have been a peaceful solution? A poll indicated that over 60% of Russian respondents, none involved in the event, approved the way the episode was handled. Because an American citizen was among the dead, there was talk of an FBI investigation.

There had been an attempt at negotiation of sorts. On the second day of the standoff, Zaur Talkhigov, a young Chechen meat wholesaler entered the theatre out of curiosity. He happened to run into a Chechen member of the Duma who gave him a mobile phone and asked him to contact the Chechens inside. Next day he was seized by FSB officers, drugged, accused of being an accomplice. Today he sits in an overcrowded prison cell in Komi, far from home.

It seemed, Vesselin guessed, a well-funded operation. Abu Bakar, one of the Chechen leaders, was wearing imported ecco boots. A Chechen used a friend's mobile phone; when the bill arrived there were charges on it for calls to Turkey.

Some Russian military officers got hold of a Chechen video of the event and sold it to a British TV channel. Vesselin said the gas caused him to lose consciousness, when he came to he found his papers and all his money gone.

Anna Politkovskaya, an American-born Russian journalist, had gone into the theatre to talk to the hostage takers. A critic of the Putin regime, on 7 October, 2006, she was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building by a contract assassin dressed in black. It was a Saturday afternoon. A story she'd done about torture in Chechnya was to be published the next Monday in Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper she worked for. Following the shooting, police investigators seized research files and photographs from her home and office...

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Born in Montreal, David Levy has worked in television and radio, in government, done journalism, travelled in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. The journalism includes an essay on media co-written with Art Spiegelman for RAW magazine. Now he is working on his new book From Chaguanas to Jerusalem: Tribal Friction in the Global Mosaic.

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STALIN'S MAN IN CANADA

FRED ROSE AND THE SOVIET ESPIONAGE

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By David Levy

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"Stalin's Man in Canada: Fred Rose and Soviet Espionage" by David Levy (Enigma Books, 2011)

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