Viktor Sumsky, 1992
Interviewer — Metta Spencer
I interviewed Viktor at his apartment in Moscow. Lindsay Mattison had given me his number and I enjoyed our conversation because he knew so much about nonviolence. He’s a specialist on the Philippines and speaks English perfectly. Later he would introduce me to other informants; see especially Libergal, Garcia, Sheinis, and Simonia.
SUMSKY: Simonia was working at the Oriental Institute. Then when Simonia switched to the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, he invited me to join him. Exactly at the time, Lindsay [Mattison] was coming around with the idea of establishing some kind of South American Centre for his international centre, or rather the Centre for Developing Countries, where I was working, of which Simonia was head. Forming some kind of loose relationship or maybe a third institution together. I became part of it. Also, this was the moment when Lindsay was getting more and more interested, not so much in regional conflicts but in getting to know more about Soviet and Russian [matters], about the chances for democracy here. I think we gave him some sort of assistance in bringing him together with people. Actually, some of them he knew very well — people from the Gorbachev team, like Mr. Shakhnazarov — but also helping him establish contacts with ____________ and all sorts of non-governmental organizations which started to emerge here. Also, I think there is one more point which I have to mention. His centre was active for quite some time in promoting democracy in the Third World — places like South Korea, Burma, and the Philippines, and being a regional specialist in southeast Asia, and having some particular interest in the Philippines, and especially in nonviolence and politics and restoring democracy, I worked with the people from his Centre. And there was a moment when he did something very important for me, helped me to get there and study ____ on the spot. This was in the summer of 1990. I spent three months there with the assistance of the International Centre._________. So I think these are the basic things about how I got to know him.
MS: You are still working there at IMEMO?
Sumsky: Oh, yes.
I think there is one fundamental problem of sociology in dealing with societies like the Soviet one was.. . One has to bear in mind that totalitarianism is an analytical abstraction. There is no such thing in real life. Under the surface of this very rigid system, things are happening, actually. And since all this goes to personal levels, it is not easy to identify what really happened. you have to get to real people and then to start forming these schemes and see how the networks were.
MS: Let’s see if you have any idea who were involved in certain kinds of decisions and who were key people in the steps that led up to those decisions. Take the Afghanistan decision. Do you have any idea how that was made? I gather the decision was actually made under Andropov.
Sumsky: Of course, at this point our knowledge is very limited about how these decisions were made, but I think we can rely on some published material. Of course, the names of Brezhnev and Andropov were
I presume we are talking now about the decision to bring the troops into Afghanistan.
MS: And get them out.
Sumsky: I think that Afghanistan was a repetition of a very familiar pattern in Soviet foreign policy, so you might look for people who were involved in bringing to life previous examples.
MS: Like Czechoslovakia.
Sumsky: Like Czechoslovakia. One interesting figure who was instrumental but who does not immediately come to the surface is Yepisher, the Col. General or maybe full general who was the head of the chief political department of the General Staff for a very long time and who was very much involved in Czechoslovakia and who if I am not mistaken visited Afghanistan just before the Soviet intervention. Anyway I can just refer to one book by a Pakistani freelance journalist who is a British citizen, Tariq Ali, who made a detailed [study?] of the Afghan issue and who focused specifically on this man to describe and make his recommendations. And of course Andropov, with his Hungarian syndrome, is another person who might be supportive of that.
MS: Of entering? I had heard that it was under Andropov that the decision was made to leave.
Sumsky: You mean in 1983? Well, it might be so because it is also a well-known fact that it was in the KGB that there was much opposition among the experts to coming into Afghanistan. Even in the very early eighties, just one or two years after the intrusion into Afghanistan, you could already sense a lot of dissension and controversy about that action.
MS: When was it permissible to say that one thought it was a bad idea?
Sumsky: Well, please do not suspect that I want to be complimentary about my chief, but I can refer you to one of Simonia’s interviews. He was talking to Lawrence Lifschultz, who is a frequent contributor to Far Eastern Economic Review, discussing the issue of Afghanistan in either late 1986 or early 1987. Simonia said at that time that it was a tragic mistake. So what happened then was I think the news came from the Soviet embassy in India, but Lifschultz reprinted it in a different format, either in the Times of India or in some other Indian newspaper and there was a whole set of enquiries coming to the ambassador: Does all this mean that the Soviet position on Afghanistan is changing, when in fact there was not much movement here on an official level. It was coming, if not from below, then from the academic side. And nothing happened to Simonia. This was probably an indication that, although reassessment is unusual, the official circles are now much more receptive to this kind of treatment of the subject and do not really disagree. To me this is the interesting moment, the moment when there are signs of dissatisfaction here, dissatisfaction there.
MS: Do you think there was any discussion of a more general level of policy — not just getting out of Afghanistan in particular, but a general policy of non-interventionism?
Sumsky: In my opinion, certainly there was a moment when a number of discussions about particular hot spots in the world combined to produce some general understanding that intervention is bad, and also the understanding about how heavy the economic and political burden of that all is. But I do not think that this happened on the level of area specialists or regional specialists because it seems to me that these things are happening on a higher political level, where all the materials coming from the regional specialists and their assessments come together and you see the whole picture. I think that, well, let’s put it this way. Of course, there always was a certain section of society, a group of people who always had that idea. I am trying to discuss now is the way this understanding is formed in the ruling structure and becomes dominant. As far as the dissidents are concerned — or, people who maybe didn’t go public on that issue — this was always around. The problem is how these ideas get into the system itself and become dominant there.
MS: Yeah. I had a talk with Randall Forsberg about a month ago. She was famous for inventing the freeze in the U.S. but her main approach has been to promote the policy of a non-intervention regime, the idea that if both the Soviet Union and the U.S. would reach an understanding that intervention was a no-no, then all these other problems would vanish. And I wonder if there had been any kind of discussion of that policy that you know of—as a general regime. In effect, it became policy under Gorbachev later, but how was that discussed?
Sumsky: I would suggest that you pose this question to some people in Arbatov’s institute or maybe to some other people in our institute because there are rather strong units working on strategic issues and I am absolutely certain that there were people in Arbatov’s institute, well I can refer you to somebody like Sergei Rogoff, for instance. Well, I could give some rather generalistic feelings about that to you, but I am sure that you are interested in more precise ideas. I am almost sure that, after all of the experiences of being involved in regional conflicts, at least some experts were already promoting ideas of mutual nonintervention to the policy-making level sometime by the mid-1980s. And indeed, the whole stuff which started to appear in the press about it later indicates that the people were thinking about it all the time. You know how it happens, when there is a flood of published material appearing in the media, that means that it was written long ago and now people are bringing it into the press. Maybe the same stuff which before they were circulating privately and in just a restricted way.
MS: What can you tell me about the changing policies with respect to human rights — emigration, religious expression?
Sumsky: Again, almost the same thing I mentioned. When these changes happen literally overnight, like when it happened here, when all of a sudden, Sakharov emerged in Moscow and when, after years and years of, if not open repression, then certainly not the most favorable treatment of religion, you have a great glorious celebration of the millennium of the baptism of Russia. So when this happened, it means that the potential was accumulated for a long time and, well, the right moment finally comes. In terms of human rights, I think that here we can refer to the groundwork made by all sorts of monitor groups and Helsinki groups and all that. The funny thing is that, although none of them was favorably mentioned in the Soviet media, it was all coming from the other way round, from the Western radio. Each of us knows types of people who are literally living hanging on the radio set every evening, absorbing all of this stuff. So here we have an interesting moment of popular and official positions finally coinciding, because it was not just a change of the rules, it was also the society which was ready to acknowledge the importance of the whole concept of human rights. Maybe people didn’t know in detail what it meant, they just knew that this is a worthwhile cause and this is how it should be.
MS: Yes, I have talked to people who said that virtually everyone they knew used to listen to Radio Liberty or Voice of America, and I guess the question is, was this also true of officials? And did officials know that the general public was having some sort of underlying shift of opinion? And did it make any difference to them? I have heard people take quite contrasting points of view on that. Andrei Melville said to me that he didn’t think any dissidents had any influence at all; they were crushed. And the revolution was one from the top — it was one person who made that happen or allowed it to happen. And yes, maybe the dissidents created an impact on public opinion and made it ready to accept this but they couldn’t have done anything about it. I have talked to other people, such as Mr. Lukshin at the Peace Committee, and he said that he thought that when public opinion changes, there is no government that can be impervious and there has to be some kind of response and that the peace movement’s effect was on public opinion — not directly on officials but on changing political culture. I don’t know how to reconcile those two points of view.
Sumsky: Well, I think that you do not necessarily need to reconcile them. You can present them separately and see how valid is each of them. But I certainly do not agree with the idea that all this was created by one person, much as I appreciate Mr. Gorbachev personally and all that he contributed. I think that maybe this is the moment that —
MS: Excuse me, but I shouldn’t have put so much into what Melville said. He didn’t exactly say one person.
Sumsky: We know what we are talking about. The notion of the revolution from the top is self-explanatory. It was a revolution from the top but very much initiated by the sense that the groundwork is there. That the situation at the lower social level is ripe. And I think that a cautious person like Mr. Gorbachev would never dare to come along with an undertaking such as this if he wasn’t sure that the time is right. So I still prefer to see it as a two-way street.
MS: That’s probably the best way to look at it. I can talk about the discourse within the dissident world and also with Westerners. And I can talk about the discourse within the Soviet officialdom (a little bit) and with the outside world — peace activists and academics. I can’t connect them very well. All I can say is that apparently this discourse with the dissidents may have indirectly had some effect on public opinion through the radio, but I cannot say that I know that anybody in that community directly influenced anybody in decision-making circles.
Sumsky: I think the problem of the connecting links is one of the most exciting ones because you can identify some people who clearly belong to the establishment who at the same time had friendly linkages with the dissident world.
MS: Can you? I’d love to see that.
Sumsky: Sure you can. Let’s take just one very small example. You probably know about Vladimir Vysotsky, the folk singer and actor?
MS: Indeed. I have a poster of him on my office wall.
Sumsky: Very good. Well, when he died the theatre had a commemoration, sort of a wake, and they were having a big set of photographs on the wall, of different things from his life, different shows, and some pictures taken at home. I spotted this picture — a group of friends at home. And do you know who was there? Brezhnev’s interpreter, Mr. Sukhodrev. Now he is in the U.S. and, if I’m not mistaken, he works at the U.N. [Tair says he works at the Russian mission to the U.N.][See the interview that I conducted with him at the U.N.]
MS: I will try to track him. This is definitely going to be in the book.
Sumsky: Another funny detail. Among people who were very prestigious were political commentators in major Soviet newspapers. One of them, for instance, was Mr. Kondrashov, spent a long time as Izvestia correspondent to the U.S. and later on was the columnist of the paper here in Moscow. It is now becoming clear that he was a rather close friend of Tarkovsky, the famous film director who later went abroad and was deprived of his Soviet citizenship and had to stay there. They were in sort of close touch. And if we just sit together and make a list of these friendships, it would be a rather long one. Some rather liberal standard bearers of the Central Committee being quite intimate, not with dissidents, but certainly suspected dissidents. And suspected dissidents are certainly friendly with real dissidents, and you are forming a real chain.
MS: Okay, yeah!
Sumsky: Okay, for instance, do you know the name of Burlatsky?
MS: Oh, yes.
Sumsky: Well, he was not in favor with the Central Committee by the late seventies or something like this, but I think that by the time that he was at Pravda, as a writer he has written a very lengthy article that created problems for him within the Party elite about this Taganka theatre, and his co-author of this particular article, Len Karpinsky, is now the editor of Moscow News and he was personally friendly with Lyubimov.
MS: I don’t know him.
Sumsky: Lyubimov was the director of Taganka, the chief artistic director at that time. And another interesting episode. You know that Roy Medvedev was not very much in favor with the authorities also.
MS: It has always puzzled me how he was able to stay out of trouble.
Sumsky: When he wrote his famous book on Stalin, one of his first readers was Andropov. He didn’t help to publish it but his opinion of the book was favorable and through some people he passed his request to Medvedev to keep the manuscript in his personal library, and Medvedev allowed. I think that one part of your study could be a study in double-think and double-life. And also I mean double-think is not something you are normally admiring, but this was one device which helped the society to stay together.
MS: I don’t know that I don’t admire it. I mean, the opposite it total rigidity so double think may be an unpleasant word for a rather healthy process.
Sumsky: Of course, you can describe it as an inevitable and natural reaction of an individual to this kind of situation but certainly the final result can be very sad and even disgusting when you talk to a person and you see that you are talking to three or four men. And he already doesn’t know what his real thought is and what is his device to cope with the situation; he is confused himself.
MS: I have found people don’t like to talk about the stages that they went through in moving from orthodoxy to their present views. It has to have been a painful business, I assume virtually everybody went through a step-by-step rather than an instantaneous conversion experience, but when I ask, I find they are touchy because it does reflect badly on them. You know, at what point did you decide you’re going to support something openly. I feel cautious about asking people.
Sumsky: I understand you are asking me now.
MS: Well, you can take it that way. I hadn’t meant it that way until I got halfway into the sentence.
Sumsky: So we are talking about stages of becoming more open. I can say two things for a start. Even in my childhood, funny as it may sound to you, I had some very real adherence to things like the revolution and socialism and things like that. My grandfather and my grandmother on my father’s side were active participants. Young communists at that time and their attitudes certainly produced some effect on the way I perceived this subject. My father is a war veteran. All the patriotic connotations which this war carried, I can sense until today, but also my grandfather went through 18 years of a prison camp and my grandmother, who died last year, in the midst of the August coup, she collected all of the bureaucratic material referring to my grandfather’s imprisonment. Some of the documents were really unique, like for instance one paper, a sort of identity — not a card but a bigger paper — not with the fingerprints as usual but the print of the whole hand. And this was the document where I first saw the word “Gulag” in print.
I was seven or eight years old when the Twenty Second Congress of the Communist Party was held. And this was the moment when Khrushchev went even harder on Stalin than in 1956, and at that time some really horrible details about repression surfaced. It was not generalistic blaming of Stalin for repressions, but now real talk about real crimes. And at that time we had a sort of — I don’t know how to call it in English, it’s not like this kind. It just plugs into the wall and it’s a one wave radio set. I remember going to school every time in the afternoon and in the morning I was staying home preparing my homework and listening all the time to that radio, transmissions from the Congress. And I wouldn’t say that I got that much about what was happening but this was the moment when I memorized this combination of words: the “cult of personality.” And I started to ask my parents what it was all about and I can’t say that they told me much but this is the moment when I got a very clear feeling that Stalin is a deviation, he is a bad guy.
MS: Had they had that opinion all along and suppressed it to protect you?
Sumsky: My father, I think, was more or less of that opinion all along because being of what was called by the bureaucracy “the son of the enemy of the people” he sensed much of the blame which was put on his father. He had his own share of suffering, although never openly repressed. I think he was wishing to be protective of me, so I think only a few years ago he started to talk to me about this. Although we had had conversations before about his father’s fate and about the whole role of Stalin in Russian history.
MS: Did your grandfather die in the camps?
Sumsky: No, he didn’t. I still had my chance to know him because I was born in 1953 and he was released from — well, it was already not so much a camp as an exile in the West during his stay there, so he was permitted to return to Moscow in 1956 and he died in 1959, so I still had 3 to 4 years to know him.
MS: I would have expected there to be a lot of ferment brewing when these people came back out of exile or out of isolation and started telling their side, how they had been persecuted. It seems that people came back and didn’t say much because it was still dangerous to speak about it. Is that it?
Sumsky: I think you said a lot. It’s not so much that they didn’t speak. They did speak. It’s a thing which still needs more thinking and more investigation. My grandfather was a staunch Bolshevik and he was very much depressed, to put it mildly, by what he saw there. They didn’t push him as far as denouncing his political faith. And an interesting fact is that most of the people of that kind shared this ideal. Very few of them went as far as to denounce the basics of the ideal, and taking the view that it is not just a temporary deviation by one person or by a certain group of people, it is something much more. So I also have to say that, as many other Soviet children and young people, I passed through all the political organizations arranged to bring up the younger generation — the Young Pioneers, and later the Young Communist League — and I can’t say that until my late twenties I was becoming rather cynical about that system. I was more or less an honest Young Pioneer and an honest Young Communist League member until maybe the age of 24-25. The mid-seventies.
MS: So things were happening to you in the mid-seventies — when you were in university?
Sumsky: Well, early seventies is maybe a better description because things were happening at that time, though I cannot say that I came to a fully critical attitude at that time. Again, rather than being generalistic, I will give examples. In 1973 there was a congress of peace-loving forces in the Soviet Union and being at that time a student of international relations, I was recruited as an interpreter. And this was one moment when I really sensed how much cynicism and how much penetration of this bureaucratic and security forces, and how much absolutely foolish ritual is around this thing which was supposed to be a rather spontaneous and civic gathering. In many ways it was a remarkable gathering. It was also a moment — 1973 — when Solzhenitsyn was publishing and Sakharov’s name was emerging for the first time in the press. We interpreters were issued continuous instructions that if you are talking to foreigners and if they should want to discuss Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn with you, you should [commit to memory the approved formula?] and you should never say anything which deviates from that. I hadn’t read Solzhenitsyn yet but I had listened to a few fragments of his writing on Radio Liberty on Voice of America, and I couldn’t say that I didn’t like it. It sounded pretty much like the thing that I knew about Stalin by that time and it was a powerful literary piece. Rather than talk about things which I hadn’t read, I tried to refrain altogether about Solzhenitsyn. But I also tried to get as much information on the subject as I could.
MS: Could you get hold of samizdat copies?
Sumsky? Well, even more interesting is the fact the Rossiya Hotel where the Westerners were staying, I saw for the first time Western papers being openly sold on the newsstand, and I instantly started to buy the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times and all that. If somebody could film me at the moment when I was reading those papers and very carefully making these clippings and preserving them, well, those clippings really looked to me like documents of history or like classified documents that I must preserve somewhere where they can’t get them! And then, I must admit I was totally frightened when somebody told me, Are you really buying these papers? They are keeping their eye on everybody who comes and buys them.
MS: Do you think that was true?
Sumsky: I don’t know but what was true was that I was very frightened. But I think that after that I still bought a couple. This is not to describe any kind of personal breakthrough. It is just a small illustration to show what kind of impact they had on people if until today I can remember it.
MS: Did the people for whom you were translating actually bring these things up? Did people ask you about Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov?
Sumsky: There was one very interesting conversation with a woman who was a French literary critic and who well understood the situation which I was in because she talked to me about her attitude to Solzhenitsyn. Other Westerners at the time could also be very naive. They would very aggressively impose their understanding of the situation on you and expect you to react as a free-thinking person in your own right, when in fact only really, really strong, intelligent and courageous people could take a stand.
And one more thing. At that time I was having a couple of friendships which were becoming more and more important in my life. One was a sort of cult figure — a minor cult figure in Moscow at that time and for somebody like you, who is interested in the process of Westernization, he might be a very interesting man to talk to. He was doing several very interesting things. First, he was the initiator of the first program on Moscow radio which was introducing Western pop music, and doing it in a very interesting way. For example, his program was always balanced; there was always a piece by some Russian singer, there was always something by somebody from Eastern Europe, and there was preferably some Westerner performing, who was singing about American Indians or about the tragedy of Bangladesh, and finally there was always something simply exciting. The program was called “Put it On Your Tape Recorders.” He’s very keen about rock music even today and I also know something about it because there was a moment in my life when I was serious about it and I think he is a real expert and he can stand comparison to any writer on the issue in the West. His name is Grigory Libergal. [See my discussion with Libergal and Sumsky.]
Another thing he was doing was simultaneous translation of non-dubbed Western movies in one special Moscow cinema which is called Illuzion, “Illusion,” and which is very much like a cinematique, screening long-forgotten movies or masterpieces which are not shown in other cinemas and all that. He was making wonderful translations and he was my model interpreter. When I make written translations, well I had the experience of translating Indonesian modern prose into Russian and whenever I do this I often trace some influences of his style or of his concept of translation and interpretation. And through these things I think I was very much exposed, not so much in pop music but in cinema, to some fundamentals of Western culture which, if you really get them at a certain moment, automatically make you an opponent of what is happening.
MS: Can you think of some examples. I mean, I still don’t know how widely distributed Western films are around Moscow, but in those days it must have been quite rare to have any Western films.
Sumsky: No, I wouldn’t say so. You could even see some Stanley Kramer films and like “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.” But certainly they were relatively innocent. Or there might be some political movies which were critical of the Western political system and society. Some you could see in ordinary cinemas. Then there came to be a practice that became very widespread during Brezhnev’s time, of showing currently popular movies on a noncommercial basis. For example, any _________ issue of Krakauer’s [?] could come in touch with a state film fund and say, Okay, we can deliver, say, a lecture for you on some subject of currently interesting international situation and maybe you can show something interesting in our place. And they would bring Godfather or Love Story. So this was a very common practice. And by the way, if you are interested in more details about this area of our cultural life, there is this guy Grigory Libergal who would be very interesting. In my life he was a great influence and he remains a close friend.
And I had another friend called — well, it was maybe due to him that I saw many of Fellini’s movies or Antonioni’s. Of Latin masterpieces. Even when they don’t have a clear-cut political message, they make you an open-minded person, which helps you to make your independent judgment on a lot of other things, so I wouldn’t underestimate it.
MS: How widespread would that have been? You were already in a very special position if you were watching such films through your institute. Ordinary people wouldn’t have had access, I suppose.
Sumsky: Well, let’s put it this way. Sometimes this particular cinema, Illuzion, had a brunch in a sort of working class club where ordinary people could come. In fact, ordinary people could come to Illuzion. They just had to stand in queue, because it doesn’t have a very big hall. If you want, you can get there. It is much easier these days. By the way, it is funny. This Grigory Libergal is still very active in doing things of that sort and he is now on the TV in a newly initiated program which introduces CBS movies. At the start of this year there was a presentation of all three of the Godfather things. And he was the one who was dubbing all of them.
MS: Music comes up a lot. You’re not the first person to mention the importance of rock music. In fact, the woman who is my research assistant —I stay with her and her husband, Alexander Kalinin, who is on the Moscow City Council; they help me a lot. She said that the reason she studied English rather than German or French was because of rock music. She was in a group of nonconformist youth who would go off into the bushes and drink and talk politics and rock music was very important to her.
Sumsky: I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of that. With me it was a little different. I had been learning English well before, in fact I started studying English in 1962, when the Beatles became famous for the first time and well before any of it got to this country. When I got interested in rock music I think I had a command of the language. There was a period of my life when the Beatles meant everything to me. Nothing else was important. And I think I was much like a Western teenager.
MS: Or even younger. My son, who is now 31, used to listen 8 to 10 hours a day to the most recent Beatles record. He would take the new one and play it until the next record came out.
Sumsky: And also, even when the time came, when it was not a matter of my everyday activities to listen to these Beatles records and others, I gave a lot of thought to why it grabbed so much and what was so good about it. And I came to the idea that this was a model of open mind and a unique example of the harmony of individuals. it was a collective which was not killing a person. And of course, as soon as you reach that, you juxtapose it with the idea of a repressive collective. I think that a lot of us who were deep in the Beatles, if not intellectually, then instinctively had that understanding. So, although today I must admit that if you study the current rock music scene in Russia, you will find absolutely disgusting examples, that degenerates into fascism. And how it produces really fascistic instincts in people.
MS: Really. You see a segment of the teenagers now who are like that?
Sumsky: Well, when I say fascist I am not saying the intellectual adherence to it, but the instincts are very much like the ones behind youth fascist movements. And maybe I’m getting older and I’m a little bit too heavy on that. Let’s view it this way too. Just a couple of days ago there was a terrible article in Izvestia about a rock group which is called Corrosion of Metal, which is playing this specific type of trash metal rock, and which is gathering thousands and thousands of teenagers around them, gives an absolute nonsense kind of performance, judging from any kind of criteria, and also produces a very ugly strip tease, which actually attracts a lot of young people to them too. And all of the symbolizes which surrounds this concert is self-explanatory. Like, for instance, one of them is called —it isn’t the name of the group, I think it is the name of one of the records of the group. It is called “Diabolic Abortion.” And it carries a picture of a pregnant woman’s stomach and somebody stabbing a knife into it. And you can see this picture all over the part of the city where I work, on the walls. This is to advertise the record and their concerts. Anyway, maybe we departed from the subject.
I just wanted to say that another young man was important to me and he was in Prague in 1968 with his father. He was a guy my age, and he saw both the Prague Spring and what happened next and he was one of the very few persons I knew who had really read Solzhenitsyn and had his own judgment and his own idea of that. The first two years I spent in college were not the most productive years of my life. It was chasing girls, drinking, listening to records, having parties, not much more than that. And then there came a moment when I realized that I am doing something wrong with my life and this was also the moment when I began forming these friendships in earnest. All these things coincided — just the sense that you have to take a stand, you have to have your own point of view; if you want to reach something in life you have to be professional in the field you choose, and you have to aware of reality. So during the next few years it was a lot of talks, a lot of conversations. I think for all of us it was a moment of some kind of self-education through each other.
MS: Not just you. All your friends were going through this?
Sumsky: Yes. I clearly see people of this kind and other similar life stories.
MS: That was when you were well into your twenties.
Sumsky: Yes, this was the first half of the seventies. Then I became, after I graduated, I was invited to work for the foreign service and I spent four years there. I was in Indonesia at that time. This was also an important moment because the foreign missions, I think it is true of many of them, the Soviet and the others, were like small replicas of their societies, of their states. And maybe some of the things characteristic of the society are brought to a greater degree, to bigger proportions. And this was a small consulate — about 20 Soviets living there. And you could sense in this very small space and small group of people, a lot of characteristics. It was like a small working model of the whole thing. And I learned there much more about my own country. Only one knowledge I was sort of acquiring purposefully, like knowledge about the country where I was staying, and the other was coming just spontaneously.
MS: Was the same thing happening to other people in that consulate or were you special in becoming deviant?
Sumsky: Well, I cannot say that I was openly deviant there but certainly I was rather special in the sense that I did things a lot of other people did not do. I was buying a lot of books. I was going places and trying to see what it was all about. I was playing my guitar. There were some deviations, but not of a political kind.
MS: Is it generally true that people who travelled are the people who are most likely to have changed their views early on?
Sumsky: It depends a lot on the way they themselves view that experience. Many of the ones I knew personally were basically interested in things material; all the rest was less important. And they were ready to come to terms with whatever happened as soon as they had this chance to __ to secure their future living back home. But let’s put it this way. I never met anybody there who was fiercely critical, but a lot of people who were reasonably critical and who were not very much excited by news from home. Although you also have to explain that this was not the moment when everybody thought the whole thing was going to hell. It looked like a state which will stay and stay and stay and which is after all, your home.
MS: I was just reading something a couple of days ago by Seweryn Bialer who was assuring people, don’t imagine that this is going to change. It’s a very stable system that will go on forever. That was about 1986, maybe.
Sumsky: Yes! It’s hard for me to generalize but I think that normally people who are away for a long time also feel homesick and there is a degree of idealization about what it’s like there. It’s not like this place. So whenever I was reading anything — well, the Indonesia press was sometimes not just critical, it was saying, along with —I can see now that a lot of these criticisms were justified, but some things were absolutely foolish. It was just a bad distortion when somebody was translating from Time Magazine or Newsweek and adding some of his own bad feeling about communism. So when I was reading things of this kind in papers I had a mixed reaction: Okay part of it is probably true, but for instance, when for the first time in 1975 I read about some Soviet military being imprisoned in Angola, by the forces on the other side, I was absolutely puzzled by the question, are we really there? And if we are really there, then what for?
MS: I am puzzled now. There is some question as to whether Soviets were in Angola?
Sumsky: No, no. There was a news items saying that some Soviet military are captured by the side opposing — some Soviet military advisors, probably, or some Soviet military of lower rank. At the time, no Soviet papers were telling anything at all about our involvement there.
MS: I didn’t know it was kept secret. I assumed that everybody knew.
Sumsky: I don’t think that at the early stages everybody knew about it.
MS: How many troops were there at the maximum?
Sumsky: You’d better ask some regional expert.
MS: There were Cubans there, too.
Sumsky: Yes, mostly Cubans. And then the whole issue of Cubans in Africa puzzled me a lot before I knew what the intentions of Castro were in signing that — his domestic political considerations, apart from the whole idea of promoting world revolution. Also, when I was in Indonesia this was the moment when Brezhnev’s cult was coming to the fore and maybe there were a few moments when I did something really small in the open — let people know that I disapproved of things. For example, the chief of the mission and I were talking together in his study, and he said that we have to have a meeting. I don’t remember what the occasion was — maybe the publication of one of Brezhnev’s books, his memoirs, or an anniversary, but anyway this was a meeting to glorify him, to wish him well and good health. I didn’t say anything. Probably the expression on my face was so self-explanatory that he started to sort of apologize for coming up with this initiative and saying that it is obligatory. Of course, this is not to be called a real protest but rather a spontaneous expression.
MS: Let’s go to Sakharov, because you mention that he was being discussed in the seventies, so he was a known figure everywhere here, not just when he was brought back and rehabilitated? He had a lot of people around him. He seems to have run an office for human rights advocates and to protect people. Do you know any of the people who had that kind of contact with him?
Sumsky: No, but I knew all the names, like Orlov, like Bukovsky, and Sharansky and other dissidents who were connected —who were advertised. I never knew anybody personally working with Sakharov, although only later on I had a very brief encounter with a girl, a secretary, who worked with Sakharov in the physics institute. She told me what kind of person he is and how the institute reacted when he was exiled to Gorky (there were a lot of people who disapproved openly) and how they welcomed him when he was brought back, but this was already after he was brought back to Moscow. Nevertheless, I must say that even before his name was first mentioned in the papers as a dissident, a lot of people knew about his polemics with Khrushchev, about the essay he had written and published in the West, so he was quite a well-known person by the time they started to punish him in the open in 1973.
MS: Do you have any idea how the decision was made to bring him back? That was part, I guess, of the early signs that there were some changes. I know a guy in Canada who was Sharansky’s lawyer. He was a human rights lawyer who just took on Sharansky, and he came here quite often. Then, one of the most amazing things at the time was when he came back here, after having been expelled from the country. He came back another time and said that he had had conversations with officials and that they told him there were going to be some real changes. There was nothing evident at the time but he was convinced by it. I remember several people — for example, Eric Fawcett, the founding president of Science for Peace in Canada — who attended a conference here. Vitaly Goldansky was chairing the meeting, and Fawcett said, “It’s really important to try to get somebody like Sakharov to our next meetings,” and he explained the reasons. Goldansky said, that’s a very good idea. We will actually work on that. I haven’t spoken with Goldansky here yet, but I wonder whether that kind of protest had any influence?
. . . ( break here — and we chat about the people power events in the Philippines. I ask him whether the FOR trainings had been important and he says yes, though they are not always mentioned in the books about the events.). .
I wonder whether you ever heard anyone say that such events as Tiananmen Square and the Philippines served as a model for later events.
Sumsky: It is funny that you ask this question because right now I am writing an article which is a comparison of the democratization process in Russia and the Philippines, and the first part I explain why I am choosing such a strange pair of subjects. The story goes like this. The coup in Moscow had just started when one of the Filipino columnists has written that there’s a way to put down this new regime without a civil war, and that is following the example of people power in East Europe and the Philippines. And I had just started to elaborate on this subject: was there ever a real reaction to the Philippines in the Soviet Union? Did it in any way contribute to what happened in 1991? It is a provocative question because if you analyze people power scenarios in the Philippines and in the Soviet Union, there is so much looking the same. In fact, the whole scenario is absolutely the same. It takes three days. It starts with a sort of rebellious stronghold appearing in the middle of the city, but which is very weak in a military sense, and the ancien regime has every opportunity to put it down by military means, but it misses the right moment. When it is ready to attack, there is already a crowd of civilians and here comes the people power experience. People come to the soldiers and say, Okay, how can you fight your own people? They present them flowers. There are lots of small details, like the priests who will perform communion for the defenders in the Philippines or here the priests baptising people right underneath the walls.
MS: I didn’t hear that part!
Sumsky: Yeah, and then the whole rock music thing, with night concerts near the gates of the military camps in Manila and on the steps of the White House. You know, this mixture in the atmosphere — everybody is ready to victimize himself for the cause. It is very grievance, but at the same time it very festive. A lot of jokes. A lot of spontaneity. It is really like a new world being born. So lots of similarities. Now the question: is there a direct link? Of course, 1986 when the Philippine thing happened, was just the beginning of the [maga?] restructure in Russia and I think at that time people in power were not yet ready to see this very unorthodox part of the Philippine experience and they preferred to concentrate on the American interference — on Mr. Reagan or someone calling Marcos from Washington— so they concentrated on that part. On the other hand, the independent public opinion, the free press, the grassroots political movements were not yet around to give their own evaluations. There was nobody to react, apart from the spokesman of the foreign ministry. But of course, there is one more thing. The Poles were talking in 1986 about the Philippines, they are Catholics, and it was the Catholic pope who sort of blessed the whole thing there. Not just that, I will refer to it later, to the way the people power idea travelled. So the way those made it work in the Philippines traveled in time and space before they realized that. But also, these nonviolent ideas and the ideas of civil resistance had to come to the Soviet Union from some areas which were closer geographically, with which we used to identify ourselves more than some other parts of the world and which have similarities in historical and political development — say, a socialist country in Eastern Europe or China. But, if we put this question this way: Did the Philippines contribute in any way to the fact that the whole people power wave finally reached the Soviet Union, then certainly yes, because first there was this switch from the Philippines to South Korea. Then it was Burma. Then Tiananmen. Two very important things happened in Burma and to an ever greater extent in China; people there were inspired both by the Philippines, being Asians, but at the very same time, were much interested in news from Poland, Hungary, the Soviet Union. This was a very interesting moment of collision of these waves of liberation coming from Asia and coming the other way around. I think in Tiananmen it was very visible, and symbolically coincided with Gorbachev’s visit.
MS: I think Gene Sharp could have helped the people in Tiananmen. He actually was there just minutes before the massacre. I published an interview with Mubarak Awad — you know Mubarak?
MS: Mubarak Awad is a Christian Palestinian who was running a nonviolence centre in West Bank or someplace there. He was an Israeli citizen but he was deported by the government because he was having a lot of influence on the intifada an a nonviolent movement. Anyway, I published an interview with Gene Sharp and he said that the students in Tiananmen Square just didn’t have some basic information, for example, in their hunger strike. They didn’t realize that you have to drink water or your hunger strike will collapse in almost minutes. And he could have taught them a few things about how you can change strategies instantly. When they got to a certain point they could have declared victory and then gone off and tried something else out in the countryside.
Sumsky: With the sense of things having gone their way?
MS: Yeah. A lot of things might have been done differently that might have made that successful. They didn’t have the kind of training they needed. He was preparing a booklet for the Burmese, which then he is certainly going to make available to other groups. The Chinese are going to have another go at it.
Sumsky: I think that apart from all this relative ignorance about how to do nonviolent action, these movements were almost destined to fail, also because of this typical authority which is existent both in China and in Burma. Here it was a moment of facing the regimes which were prepared to go along the path of repression as far as they could. They were unfortunate in both ways — both the unpreparedness of the crowd, of the people, and the decisiveness of the government.
But just to add a small patch to this — ideas traveling in time and space. In the Philippines I came to know a very interesting man, Edmond Garcia. He is one of those typical Filipino go-betweens who often are chosen by conflicting sides whenever they want to make peace. And he is respected by a lot of people there. He is interesting in that he started to propagate nonviolence in the late sixties when he was a student. He organized a group called [La Caz Diva?] in Tagalog and which means Satyagraha. It’s a literal translation. He was an adherent of Gandhi and spread a book of his quotations and ideas which he made himself. Anyway, he left the country shortly before Marcos introduced martial law and started traveling literally all around the world, being a student of theology of liberation in Latin America for maybe six years. Then working for three years in the Latin American section of Amnesty International, which probably helped him develop a global vision of human rights problems. And then in the late seventies and then eighties, I think, he started traveling around those countries of Europe which had liberated themselves from authoritarian regimes. He went to Spain, to Portugal. And everywhere he studied the languages and also studied the experience of the situation, and he ended in 1981 in Krakow with the students in dormitory, to whom he talked about the Solidarnosc experience. And one interesting thing, he says how much similarity there was between the Polish attitude toward Russians and the Filipino attitude toward Americans.
I met him in 1982 or 83. Before Aquino’s assassination he went home and became a very important figure in the next two years when the Filipinos were flexing their muscles and trying to find a way to really oppose Marcos. He was very close with two former Senators, ______ and ______, who were moral authorities at that time.
MS: Did he work independently?
Sumsky: I don’t know whether he brought back to life his old organization, but his friends were around and many of them who were close to him in the sixties were again around him. His major undertaking was to try to bring all the nonviolent forces together. And the friendly group, like [Bandilla?] and ___. I can refer you to a thick book called Dictatorship and Revolution in the Philippines, which contains some material about it, but not the whole of it; he told me a lot himself. Anyway, he was both trying to develop the theoretical and spiritual side of it and also to be instrumental with bringing nonviolent forces together. Later on, when Marcos was brought down — I think in 1988 or 89 — he went to Europe again, this time to Scandinavia, and he was having a seminar there attended by East Europeans who asked him to teach them nonviolence. Even in 1989, a few months before things started happening in Czechoslovakia and other places.
MS: Oh, really interesting! I wonder if I can track him. [Later I interviewed him for Peace Magazine. I will include the transcript in the list of Western interviews.]
Sumsky: There are a couple of books. This one is his life story, though it is much less interesting than the man himself. He is a professor of Political Science at the University of the Philippines. Books: The Filipino Quest. and Imperfect Document: Unfinished Quest. This is about the Filipino constitution, which was written after the downfall of Marcos. He was a constitutional commissioner.
MS: These are published by whom? Claretian Publications, Quezon City. There’s a man who has a peace studies institute in that area, I can’t remember his name. Do you know a peace institute there?
Sumsky: I think I heard about it but it is hard to memorize.
MS: Where is Mindinao?
Sumsky: It is the southernmost island.
MS: Maybe his institute is there.
Sumsky: Well, I am constantly working with Filipino materials and if I see anything about a peace institute, which may very well happen, I will —
MS: I have met the man twice at conferences.
Sumsky: Are we talking about Francisco [Quever?]? No?
MS: It doesn’t sound right. Anyway.
Sumsky: This was a bishop.
MS: No, this man is definitely a secular person.
Sumsky: Anyway, back to the question whether there were influences of these experiences. So I think that if we are talking about indirect experience, then certainly there were. As for direct influences, Tiananmen was a very very important moment of truth for people here. You know, China was very much in vogue after 1985 as a socialist country that reformed itself. And then it all died in one night.
MS: That’s true everywhere, I think. I don’t think very many people in the West were aware of it as a terribly repressive society. There had been a kind of a glorification of it. I’ve been there and I hadn’t fully appreciated how repressive it was.
Sumsky: Then of course, the Eastern European theme influenced the Baltics and started to travel throughout the republics. This scenario is very visible.
MS: Yeah, when I was in Warsaw on the same trip that I was just mentioning, I talked to members of Freedom and Peace. I talked to Jacek Czaputowicz and Piotr Niemczyk, who had been released from prison just hours before. They were a little incoherent because they were still dazed. But I talked to another guy in Czaputowicz’s apartment who — we had a long discussion about pacifism. Apparently the term is not the word to use, and especially is despised in Poland. I said, but you are perfect examples of pacifists — I can’t think of a better living example. But what they thought was that pacifism meant not protesting and letting people walk all over you. But he pointed out that it was impossible to get anything in Poland on Gandhi. There wasn’t a single book available. I’m not sure where they got their ideas. They did some inventive things, like this Orange Alternative Theatre — some innovative tactics — but I don’t know where their basic model came from.
Sumsky: Poland? Well, one important thing about all this nonviolence in the eighties, it was especially surprising because it happened in societies with a heavy burden of violent experience, like the Philippines or Soviet Union, and by the way, the Poles, whenever they tried to protest before, they were doing it, if not exactly violent, in an aggressive way — strikes and clashes with the police and all that. So maybe you have to go through all that and get a sense of how futile it is before you start to be inventive. Also, I think it was very much an intellectual affair in Poland. These are the people who can be inventive, who have the capacity and talent to be so. In fact, I don’t know much about it but it doesn’t surprise me that it happened there that way. In fact, one more thing that might interest you in your studies of Westernization and its tracks. Since the early sixties, Poland was a very important agent of Westernization. Polish culture, Polish music, Polish cinema, Polish literature. And Polish intellectuals themselves whom you could see and talk to here. And by the way, Polish press, which was very different from the things published here. It was very relaxed, a lot of irony, and sold quite openly in the newsstands. You had a choice of such magazines, you could choose the one you like more. And by the way, they had quite a relaxed coverage of international affairs. Unlike the Soviet magazines, you could see the real faces of the politicians. So this was an important vehicle of Westernization. A lot of people learned to speak Polish, or at least to read it, just for this purpose. There was a very big bookstore on Gorky Street (now Tverskaya) which was selling books from Eastern Europe. There was a huge Polish section and a lot of stuff, serious and just science fiction or detective stories that, with a relatively modest command of the Polish language, you could read. And you could never get in Russian, like Kafka’s books, for instance.
MS:Very interesting. I am going to be interviewing one of the guys around the Living Ring. Do you know this organization?
Sumsky: The Living Ring?
MS: Sasha tells me that after the coup, the people who had formed the ring around the White House did not get much recognition. Yeltsin and others were praising the military people for not — and so on. They were giving credit to everybody except the people who should have the most credit. And they formed, I understand, one or — I think more than one — organization. I am to talk with them. When Gene Sharp was here last, he met with them, but within a couple of months afterward, these people switched their position so they are not committed to nonviolence now and I am not quite clear why.
Sumsky: I can try and guess, and maybe their reasons are also the same as the Filipinos had, because some of them are also having a change of heart. You see, maybe this is viewed now as a sort of fake revolution, not the real thing. I think this is an important part of all revolutions. Part of the old elite is incorporated into the new realm in order to make the transition more smooth, less drastic. And maybe just because they know the techniques of ruling, they can help to keep the whole thing together in a moment of very drastic change. And this is exactly what is happening here to a great extent. And if you are reading Russian papers, in some of them you will come across articles dealing with a new phenomenon —something that they call Nomenklatura Underground.
MS: I haven’t heard of this.
Sumsky: The old party apparatchiks rearranging their forces and pushing their people up the new power staircase and keeping them there and controlling the whole thing.
MS: Do you think that’s true?
Sumsky? You see, what I don’t like about this theory is the intention to see a sort of conspiracy behind it, and some sort of evil mind which coordinates it all and manipulates everybody. From that point of view, I don’t share that. I agree that there is reason for thinking in that way — some reason— because, well, it was Gorbachev who was largely blamed for keeping old kind of party guard around him and relying on these people. Well, the problem with Yeltsin is that he also largely relies on former party people, but let’s put it this way, this was the kind of society which, even if you were not a party member, you had to come to terms with certain aspects of this system and of this life as long as you lived here, you had to make compromises. One of the aspects of Gorbachev’s greatness, in my opinion, was that he was behaving as somebody who shared the concept of original sin. All of us are sinners and let’s give a chance to everybody. I think this is the only way of transforming this kind of society peacefully.
MS: Uh huh, uh huh. Very interesting. Two lines of conversation I want to pursue. I had a talk with a fellow who is a pacifist in Canada and at the time of the coup, I expressed amazement that Gorbachev hadn’t dumped these people. How naive, to trust these people and include them in his government. The guy said, but you see, when they made their coup, they didn’t kill him. This may be due to the fact that he hadn’t politically killed them; they couldn’t quite bring themselves to do so because he had been so inclusive. Maybe that did have an influence on their lack of resolution.
Anyhow, the other thing that I am so puzzled by — and all of this is just speculation — is his intention. What was his intention during the period when he seemed to be under the control of people who became the plotters? I keep asking, had he really been captured? Did they have him by the throat when he was doing things like sacking Yakovlev, Bakatin, and people like that? Was he doing this under duress or because he agreed with those people? I get different answers. Sasha gives what I think is the silliest answer — that he was part of the whole thing and that this was a way for him to shake free. If they had a coup, one side would win and the other would lose. That would bring some closure to the situation where he was paralyzed between two forces and either way it would be better than being stuck where he couldn’t do anything. That’s the logic of saying that he was in on it.
Sumsky: Gorbachev was a typical centrist. His whole strategy was to balance the opposing parts of the structure, and try to deal with them peacefully and in that way, uphold his own status. For a sophisticated politician like him it was obvious that the only way to keep power is to keep the two poles there. If you arrange a showdown, a clash, you risk the elimination of one of them, the defeat of one of them, and this defeat is inevitably his own defeat. So I think this was a serious scenario, to which he could refer consciously, and I am absolutely sure that he could understand it as well. Also, whatever you might say about Gorbachev, for sure he is not an adventurist. So let’s just look at the situation of August 19. Tomorrow he will be signing this Union Treaty, which is actually a truce of peace with whoever opposed him at that time — an acknowledgment that the left, under Yeltsin, has got as much as they could and now they can’t swallow much more. And the right, as all typical monopolists, are very unhappy that a slice of their old power has gone but anyway, they will have time to come to terms with the fact that it’s just a slice. So he was at a historical landmark in what he was doing, and he was guaranteed that. Why should he perform such a foolish thing on the eve of that? So this is my basic reasoning.
MS: Lindsay Mattison was one who said that for a period, anyway, they had him by the throat and he was not in control of the situation. I have published something saying the same thing but I had difficulty maintaining that when, even after the coup, he never used that as an excuse for anything that he did or didn’t do. He didn’t make such a claim, himself. I would have thought he would say, Look, I didn’t do this stuff in Vilnius. It would have been to his advantage to get rid of some of the blame for it. None of them ever said they had been under anybody’s control. But if they weren’t under anybody’s control, then he was waffling to an egregious — it is inconceivable why he fluctuated so much. So I have great difficulty holding together these two notions.
Sumsky: Again, two comments. One, I don’t think there is a politician who would be willing to acknowledge that at any point in his career he was somebody’s tool. This is a sign of defeat. And when nothing really presses you to make an acknowledgment like this, why should you? He was even saying, after he returned from Crimea, that everything is under his control. It was an indication of how much he wanted other people to see it like that.
Now: why did he fluctuate? I am not prepared to give detail, but if today you open some big academic article on why the Soviet Union collapsed, like an article that I read recently in our institute’s magazine, you will have the idea that perestroika was the one-man show and all the rest is attributed to just one person, to his specific qualities. That he was indecisive, that he was too receptive to what the conservatives were saying, and all that. I haven’t yet read a single article about the mistakes made by the democratic forces during these five years. It looks like they were absolutely right, never a single small mistake. And, well, I would like to see the reaction in parliament if there is a discussion of current history and we say, okay, now we know about the mistakes committed by Gorbachev. For each five of Gorbachev’s mistakes, can you single out one mistake in the democratic camp? They simply don’t think about that! So, whereas I think that they made a lot of them and one of them was…. You see, there was a moment when they tried to corner him. He says something, they say no, we think it should be made this way. He says, okay, it should be made the way you say, and they say, No, the situation has changed, it should be made the other way around. And finally I think he had the idea that these people are not very serious.
MS: Tell me an example.
Sumsky: I think if you look through the proceedings of the first two congresses of people’s deputies, or of the 19th Party Conference, you will find a lot of examples. They were switching positions quickly, the democrats. They would just say, okay, it’s a totally different story now, and switching to his previous position. I think that their major mistake is that they were too pressing, too impatient, at a moment when you had to be patient and calm.
MS: At the time, I felt that they were not standing by him when he was the best they were ever going to be able to get and they didn’t back him. Not backing him meant that he was very much more vulnerable. They should have been more loyal.
Sumsky: Yes, he was the only politician around to work with. Unfortunately, the worst category of politicians is professor-politicians. And there were a lot of them around at that time. Of course, I am not an anti-educationalist or anything, but this is the worst kind of political person you can ever have.
MS: So what do you think is going to happen next?
Sumsky: Lindsay always asks me, will it blow up? Lately I tend to answer No. To be sure, there are a lot of dangers around and all the problems of the former Soviet Union have been incorporated now into Russia — the ethnic problems, the internal borders, the problems of Russian minorities within other ethnic areas, a lot of ill feelings and anger have accumulated. It’s a terribly explosive place, and also very controversial and with very different possibilities and different outcomes. I used to think for a while that there is some hope in the fact that when everything collapses, people have started to take care of the immediate space around them — their families, their houses, the immediate necessities they have to survive. They start to work harder and in the process they sort of restructure the social space around them and it becomes more sound and more healthy again. But it’s impossible not to notice now that there is an element of disintegration too. People become disinterested in others’ affairs. Personal survival becomes all important. This solidarity which united us in 1991 is evaporating now. People don’t care about each other.
MS: And you can sense that?
Sumsky: Can you?
MS: No. I am just touching too small a piece of the elephant. Let’s go back to Poland. Did Adam Michnik have any influence here in intellectual circles?
Sumsky: I think yes. I know somebody who used to see Michnik in Poland in the eighties, well before, or at least some years before the Gorbachev thing started. Used to talk to him and to get some inspiration from him. If you start working on this man, maybe he will lead you further. This is Mr. Victor Sheinis, who is the people’s deputy now and who worked for IMEMO. (He gives me his phone number and we exchange phone numbers of Nina Babrova, Richard Deats, etc.) I promised to send him material from FOR and to invite him and Sasha to a restaurant to meet.