March 01, 2010

Perestroika



  March 1985, Gorbachev takes over

one gloomy november day in 1982, all television and radio broadcasts were suddenly interrupted and the Soviet people, who immediately guessed what was going on, found the airwaves filled with the sounds of somber classical music. On the day of “dear Leonid Ilyich’s” funeral I was supposed to take care of some paperwork for my upcoming maternity leave – my due date was fast approaching. As instructed, I set out for my clinic.

When I got there, all the doctors’ examination rooms were empty – no doctors, no patients. Maybe something had happened? Like a scene from a suspense movie, I made my way carefully through the clinic, following whatever sounds I could hear. I found all the doctors sitting around a television set with a ring of pregnant women standing behind them. They all watched intently as a procession of 44 (44!) officers marched behind the coffin, carrying all the various medals and orders that had brought such joy to the senile old man in his later years. We could see the hands of the pallbearers trembling as they lowered the coffin into the ground.


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