September 01, 1996

Don't Blame the Weather



For better or for worse, heat in Russia — whether the climatic or the political variety — doesn’t last too long. The days of heated political haranguing quickly faded away, and now we’re all watching Boris Yeltsin take the presidential oath amid comparisons with tsars’ inaugurations.

As the show’s organizers racked their brains for lyrics to the ode to the President, (and yours truly over the contents of this letter) Muscovites sought refuge from the stifling heat as temperatures broke all records. Forget that all now — with the thermometer on the window of our office showing 12° C (54° F), we work on our September issue and lament the passing of this short, hot Russian summer.

September augurs the beginning of the harvest, as embattled Russian farmers sit entrenched between the Scylla of mistakes inherited from heavily subsidized agriculture and the Charybdis of a perilous new freedom. And this time they won’t be able to blame the weather if anything goes wrong.


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