The Free Spirit
In 1990 Anna was a 22-year-old, free-spirited translator for a committee promoting US-Soviet dialogue. By the mid-1990s she had morphed into a hardheaded businesswoman and part owner of a travel agency, nightclub, and youth magazine. Then the mafia demanded protection money, and the entire enterprise collapsed. She was then appointed editor-in-chief of a new arts magazine in 1998. But before the first issue hit the stands, the Russian economic crisis wrecked the economy and her job. Today she is an impoverished freelance magazine writer trying to put her shattered life back together.
||Anna, like many intellectuals, says Gorbachev's years of peristroika were the best in Russian history because they combined relative economic security with new political and cultural freedoms. (Photo by Reese Erlich)||
||Berkut, my last name, is Russian for eagle. The sign on this shop says "Berkut," along with a bird that is not even a distant relative to the eagle<—>one of the many anomalies of the new Russia.||
||These are my two sons, Vladimir (right) and Dmitri (left), four years ago on their first day of school. On the first day of school it's traditional for students to bring teachers flowers. That's how they looked before growing with cosmic speed into totally different people. (Photo by Anna Berkut)||
||In 1931 Stalin's government destroyed Christ the Savior church. By 1990 the Russian Orthodox Church had laid plans to rebuild it. Today it's a familiar Moscow landmark.||
||Before 1991 I was able to travel within the USSR, but not abroad. It was hard to get a visa and prohibitively expensive. By the mid-1990s, in my new job as a travel agent, I traveled abroad for the first time. Here, a pensive me rests near the famous Shaolin Temple in China.||
© 2001 by The Stanley Foundation