RUSSIA'96: A NORMAL LIFE

THE RENOWNED POLISH JOURNALIST REVISITS A COUNTRY CAUGHT BETWEEN IMPERIAL PAST AND UNANCHORED MODERNITY

Once again in Moscow after three years. First impression: the city looks better. I tell this to my Moscow friends. They are pleased. The Russians set great store by how foreigners view them. In their opinions they seek the answer to one of the most fundamental Russian questions, which recently was freshly formulated by the excellent Russian essayist Natalya Ivanovna: "Will Russia join 'the civilized world,' or will it continue along its separate path, which even today is deemed perilous by other nations?"

In the course of the past decade, the city has lived through three different epochs. First, that of...

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