Fall of the USSR, 20 Years Ago. Who cares?

The Soviet Union crapped out 20 years ago. Who even remembers?

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Back in the (Former) USSR

I never thought I’d see Moscow again, although I dreamed of it for fourteen years. I boarded a teeming Aeroflot flight in late summer 2005, as Katrina’s receding waters revealed, inch by inch, the erasure of New Orleans as I once knew it. Mourning for that blighted, intoxicating city, I rushed towards another place I…

“The Atlantic” WWII Retrospective, and a Young Airwoman’s Recollections of Barbarossa, 70y Ago

This summer, The Atlantic began running a weekly retrospective of World War Two—a series of photographs from different eras and theatres of that great war. The photographs are riveting, calamitous, heartrending. Seventy years ago this summer, the German army invaded the Soviet Union, breaking a non-aggression pact between Stalin and Hitler and raining unimaginable destruction upon Ukraine, Belarus,…

Unexpected Tailwinds

You don’t always realize it right away when the wind swings around on you. A number of life’s big changes are wind shears–sudden and sometimes catastrophic. But more often, it seems to me, your journey shifts imperceptibly, a strengthening crosswind gradually changing your course. My first Women in Aviation, International conference, a gathering of thousands of…

Russian Lessons: The Dacha Life

Again, with the musty old essays! I wrote this one three or four years ago and just rediscovered it last week. da·cha (däch) n. A Russian country house or villa. For years, I have wanted my very own dacha. Maybe there’s something about dying empires that stirs longing. In September of 1991, I boarded a…