Commanding Heights

By Richardson, Paul E. | Russian Life, May-June 2012 | Go to article overview

Commanding Heights


Richardson, Paul E., Russian Life


I have a confession to make: this issue's lead story almost made me sick.

The problem is, I'm not a fan of high places, and some of Vadim Maldiorov's thrill-seeking photos made me feel a bit vertiginous and queasy. They are that good, that unusual, that high ...

It is a simple fact of editing a magazine like ours that one must often ignore one's own preferences (and weaknesses) and remember that the interests (and strengths) of our readership are rather broad.

Take for instance the long story in this issue about Victor Starffin (page 36) - a Russian emigre who went on to become one of the most famous baseball players in Japan. Surely we have plenty of readers who are not baseball fans. Yet we are not running this story because it is about baseball (though the timing is intentionally coincident with the opening of baseball season). Instead, we picked this story because it is just a great story - about how the Russian Civil War, a natural disaster, and a boy's pursuit of his passion led to an amazing life.

Similarly, we will have plenty of readers with no interest in rock and roll or in throwback (i.e. predating DVDs and even VHS) movie theaters. But both our story on Victor Tsoy (page 34) and on Moscow's Kinopanorama (page 52) are actually stories about something much broader than either of their central subjects. It turns out they are both about cultural phenomena that have long outlived what might be considered their normal, expected lifespans. …

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