When I was studying Russian in Moscow in 1974, it was unthinkable that in less that twenty years, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact would be no more.
For my literary invention Ivan Zlotnik, the flawed Soviet diplomat in Cairo Mon Amour, the USSR was there to stay. Zlotnik gambled his freedom on the date of the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war. Did he win or lose? That’s for the reader to judge.
Forty-three years later, tourists buy up Communist kitsch in nostalgic homage to regimes whose harsh outlines soften over the decades. But more permanent traces of the Soviet era remain, as this small gallery shows: