Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 10:57:37 EDT
Sender: English Language Discussion Group
From: Paul Barfoot
Subject: back from Siberia
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L
I arrived home from Moscow at about 11pm last night (that's 11pm EDST
or 7am body time). Now I'm at work, a little disoriented, but here.
The trip to Russia was wonderful. I didn't want to leave. I will have
a lot to say re:whtmir, but for now, only one brief scene that seems
symbolic to me.
We were in Chelyabinsk, a large heavy-industry city in the southern
Urals, on 12 June. Since the declaration of Russia's independent status
from the Soviet Union on 12 June 1990, this day has been celebrated
as the new "Independence Day". The problem is that in four years, nobody
has really figured out how to celebrate it other than closing everything.
But, this year Chelyabinsk had a music festival in Revolution Square
and everybody brought the kids. It was a hot sunny day and people hung
out listening and watching and playing in the fountain. These things are
not necessarily wel publicized, so they had started the festival with
a parade right down the middle of Leninskaya. As we watched the parade
go by, it seemed classic small town America to me - some old army trucks,
a fire engine or two, some people dressed up as cartoon characters handing
out candy to the kids, a group of young majorettes and an out of tune
band. But, at the end of the parade was a horse drawn carriage. Riding
in the carriage there was a man dressed as Lenin sitting next to a man
dressed as Tsar Nicholas. They were quietly chatting and waving at the
crowd and nobody but the Americans found it the least bit strange.