I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Our chaotic departure from Moscow was a telling allegory for the bigger canvas that would continue to unfold in Russia. As Carole and I waited for a driver and car to take us to Sheremetevo Airport on the final day of our tour in Moscow, we were torn between our attachment to the Russian people and our desire to resume a more predictable life in northern Virginia. Of course, we felt a certain satisfaction knowing that the flags were flying in the vestibule of the ISTC facility and that several thousand former weapons specialists were beginning to receive steady paychecks. Also, we were relieved to have escaped mishaps and injuries while careening along the icy sidewalks, plunging into the wild traffic and dangerous potholes, and simply living in the midst of burgeoning criminal elements. On the personal side, however, we already sensed a psychological letdown, suspecting that the future chapters of our lives would never match the excitement of the Moscow adventure.
On a deeper level, we were haunted by the uncertainties we were leaving behind -- and there implications for the Russian people and indeed for the world.
Several Russian friends had gathered with us to exchange farewells amid a small mountain of suitcases on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building. Even our Chechen neighbor walked by, smiled, and gave a nod.
Despite the many positive forces at work, including the ISTC, the life stories of each of our Russian friends reflected the strains of economic shortfalls and unsettling apprehensions of the future. Each of them cared deeply about how the transition was affecting their fami-