Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Illustrations

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p. viii

Maps

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Several people deserve recognition for their contributions to this book during various stages of its development. All of them were familiar with Russia firsthand, having lived, worked, or traveled there themselves—yet each had a different perspective on this complex country. Special thanks are due to Birgitta Ingemanson and Julian Jones, who read the lengthy first draft of...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xvii

In 1903 my husband and I went to Russia to teach in a new education program established by University of Maryland University College in Siberia and the Russian Far East. During the early period of political, economic, and social change after the breakup of the Soviet Union, we were among the first Americans to live and work in the Asian part of Russia, the “other...

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Introductions

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pp. xix-xxvii

Russia—and Siberia in particular—has always appeared rather forbidding inthe Western mind, an impression largely shaped by best-selling books from Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago. In popular fiction, nonfiction, still photography, and motion pictures, the Asian part of Russia has usually been depicted as a place of...

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Chapter 1 The Road to Russia

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pp. 3-9

When I told my family and friends in the United States that I was moving to Siberia, the following conversation invariably occurred:...

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Chapter 2 Vladivostok: Capital of Russia's Wild East

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pp. 10-40

All the passengers applauded as our Aeroflot plane bumped to a landing on the washboard runway at the airport in Khabarovsk, just north of the Chinese border, in the Russian Far East. Tom and I were scheduled to transfer to another Aeroflot...

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Chapter 3 Riding the Rails The Trans-Siberian Railroad

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pp. 41-70

Vladivostok’s historic train station gave off an eerie green glow in the dim street lights obscured by the snow. More than a century before, in , Russia’s crown prince, Nikolay, had laid the cornerstone of this building, using a silver shovel...

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Chapter 4 Irkutsk The Paris of Siberia

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pp. 71-97

It was not a typical Tuesday in Siberia. Two days before, Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had arrived by train in Irkutsk, traveling with his personal entourage in two private railroad cars, like a modern-day tsar, accompanied by a phalanx of...

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Chapter 5 Lake Baikal the Sacred Sea of Siberia

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pp. 98-122

Feeling excitement tinged with fear, I carefully climbed out of the Russian van parked on the frozen expanse of Lake Baikal. Beneath my feet the lake looked dark and foreboding, like a smoky mirror that concealed more than it reflected....

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Chapter 6 Among the Buryats

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pp. 123-143

Ten days after we first arrived in Irkutsk by train, Tom and I boarded the Trans-Siberian Railroad again, retracing the route eastward to Ulan-Ude, the capital of Russia’s Buryat Republic. We had been invited to speak at a World Bank...

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Chapter 7 The High-rise Village

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pp. 144-172

When Tom and I were hired to teach in Russia, the University of Maryland administrators in College Park told us that the Russians would provide new, fully furnished apartments for all the American faculty working in Vladivostok...

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Chapter 8 Feasts and Festivals

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pp. 173-212

Russians love to party. They like to eat and drink and offer toasts and swap gossip and propound philosophy for hours on end around a table set with a bounteous spread of foods and beverages. And, despite the time, effort, and money required to obtain...

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Chapter 9 The Market Economy

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pp. 213-240

The American slogan “Shop till you drop” took on an entirely different meaning in Russia. Although the country was moving rapidly toward a market economy, shopping in Russia was a time-consuming chore, a constant quest for the necessities and...

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Chapter 10 School Days

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pp. 241-272

Earning our living as university professors in post-Soviet Russia was a learning experience for all the American faculty in Irkutsk and Vladivostok. The duties were the same as for professors in any country: preparing lectures, teaching classes, advising...

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Chapter 11 Farewell to Russia

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pp. 273-288

Our last month in Russia was a flurry of activity—finishing up the school term, grading final examinations, sharing farewell dinners with friends, packing for the move back to the United States—all carried out within the inevitable constraints of the Russian winter...

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Postscript

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pp. 289-295

Since leaving Russia, I have traveled to many other places on the globe, but not yet back to the lands “east of the sun.” Given my longtime interest in Russia, however, I have tried to keep abreast of subsequent developments there, through personal contacts and published materials. All of these sources agree that significant...

Bibliographic Essay and Notes

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pp. 297-312

Index

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pp. 313-319