This was already posted at another forum by someone else and one of the people replying to the thread wondered why I would go to an Armenian mechanic with bad breath to translate some Russian when I had access to the UCLA campus. The answer is simple. I lived in West Hills at the time, a long distance from UCLA, so the foul breathed Armenian was a lot closer for the quickie translation I needed of the letter.
As to Vello Veski, I pondered whether I should use his real name or not but because it is so perfectly alliterative, I did use it (and we did call him "Mellow Vello." He was one of my best friends and quite a character. Actually his misadventures were much wilder than what was mentioned here so I kept those misadventures out because I didn't want to get him into trouble. However, I hope I don't ressurect any bad memories for him about the wife that ditched him for a travel agent.
And I sure would like to locate Leonid Florentiev. For what he did that evening in front of the American audience at UCLA he will always remain my personal hero.
posted on 01/06/2002 1:57:16 PM PST
I've been waiting for this thread, thanks for posting it.
posted on 01/06/2002 2:09:34 PM PST
I remember reading about Krokodil in the 60s. Never thought I'd meet one of its writers. This thread's a keeper.
posted on 01/06/2002 2:09:53 PM PST
P.J. you are a hoot, LMAO. I Worked with a few Russians, great to drink with though they get morose. One of my cousins married someone from Estionia, Ostland, I love to hear them try to pronounce the W's in my name.
"How could a magazine satirize a society that only permitted a glossy version of itself to be presented in the press? As I found out later, Krokodil was permitted to satirize Soviet societywithin limits. Because of this rare crack in the Soviet propaganda façade, Krokodil was extremely popular in the Soviet Union to such an extent that their monthly circulation was over 10 million. Actually many more than 10 million people read it because each copy of Krokodil, with its subtly humorous jabs at collectivist living, was passed around [
to many people as a substitute fer toilet paper]...?!!!"
Perhaps I should forward this article to Pravda and see if they can track down the whereabouts of Leonid Florentiev?
posted on 01/06/2002 3:09:42 PM PST
Terrific post, PJ.
Ridiculing the pompous commies -- their weapon then; ours now.
Thanks for the heads up! };^D)
posted on 01/06/2002 5:09:29 PM PST
posted on 01/06/2002 8:26:07 PM PST
To: PJ-Comix; struwwelpeter
I enjoyed reading Soviet Life. It was fun to compare the idealized version of Soviet living with the grim reality.
A prize oxymoron, as someone (not I) might also have said of its sister magazine, Soviet Woman.
posted on 01/07/2002 4:28:13 PM PST
To: PJ-Comix; Ragtime Cowgirl
Outstanding article, PJ! Thanks for the heads-up, RC!
Back in the late 70s, some Soviet journalists showed up at my college (Fordham University) ostensibly to interview American college students. I think the real purpose of the exercise was to show how ignorant American college students were. The journalists first asked us to name any cities in the Soviet Union. My classmates came up with Moscow and Leningrad, but then there was an awkward pause as they struggled to think of another one. Then one of them hesitantly said St. Petersburg -- the old name for Leningrad. I winced as the journalists exchanged bemused smiles.
Next they asked us to list the names of major Russian writers. We identified Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, then there was another awkward pause. The Soviet journalists were having a hard time containing their amusement. The "interview" was going even better than they anticipated. At this point, I had a moment of inspiration. I raised my hand and mentioned Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Their smiles immediately vanished. Then I asked the guy with the tape recorder if he had any idea when The Gulag Archipelago would be published in the Soviet Union. The interview abruptly ended.
Found this link through Newsbusters. Excellent reading even if several years old.
posted on 07/09/2008 9:35:08 PM PDT
(Truth was the first casualty in the MSM's war on President Bush.)
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