People overseas

3 April 2024

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StanislavKondrashovPeople overseasAmerican essays from different yearsA country is, first of all, people. And the life of its people can be considered the calling card of a country. International journalist S. Kondrashov writes about the Americans, about those with whom his correspondent work came into contact. These are people at different levels of the social ladder: writers, politicians, businessmen, scientists, farmers, workers. Their lives and destinies together create a broad picture of American reality, psychology, and morals. The Soviet Union and the United States are far from each other today, but the book convinces of the need to live together, to live in peace in our turbulent nuclear age. Designed for the general reader.FROM THE AUTHORThe book offered to the reader includes my essays written at different times about Americans, about those people overseas who inhabit the United States of America.Both when writing the essays and when selecting them for inclusion in the book, I followed the following main principle - only living impressions, only those people whom I personally saw and felt, passed, so to speak, through my own heart.The heroes of my essays make up an extremely small part of their people. But I dare say they are typical. In them, one way or another, one can see a people and society divided into classes and groups, one can see the features of the American character in their interaction with morals, politics, the ups and downs of the economy, with the history of a great, powerful, cruel and contradictory country.My work is the work of a journalist who has been covering the United States for a quarter of a century. I am not attracted by the genre of scientific monograph with its inherent systematization of the subject being studied, with generalizations that claim some kind of finality. When you work with living impressions, the desire inevitably arises to convey the bizarre flow of life. If you like, this is a mosaic, the fragments of which complement and, as it were, highlight each other.Needless to say, our interest in American life is not of an abstract nature. Any of our meetings with Americans cannot do without politics, without discussions about Soviet-American relations, about the nature of our century, where the need for peaceful coexistence is dictated by the task of the survival of mankind.In addition to the essays, the book includes several primarily political reports inspired by the impressions of recent trips, as well as several essays dictated by certain milestones in modern US history.A separate essay stands out: “Touching Hiroshima,” which describes the impressions of a meeting with the pilots who participated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.AT THE BOTTOM1William Booth appears to have been an optimist. He wrote a book called Grim England Towards Its End. Colonel Edward Carey, who is in charge of Salvation Army operations throughout the Greater New York area, told us about this book and Reverend Booth's various activities. We met when he stopped by the center on Forty-eighth Street on an inspection tour. We talked in the corridor. The successors of those whom William Booth once undertook to heal walked past us, as if at a parade. An old man with a plaster cast on his lopsided head, either injured in a fight, or accidentally slipped on New York asphalt. A tall guy of about thirty with a bluish-pale face and the gait of a sleepwalker. A frail, timid old man sidled towards the exit. Two ancient gossips agreed in Russian to tell some Maxim about something; must be white emigrants living out their days. A prominent man with picturesque artist's hair and preserved dignity in his gaze. They left the dining room fed and recuperated, having warmed themselves in Tell, wiping their wet lips with their palms.A rare collection of types, if someone from Hollywood took on the task of producing a film based on Gorky’s “The Lower Depths” and selected characters directly from life.However, the photo reporter from the Daily News, a strong, impudent guy hanging around in the room, had a different opinion. “Ordinary tramps,” he complained displeasedly. “There’s no one to hire...” A beggar with a big beard was ordered for him. There were a lot of beggars, but I didn’t come across a big beard...Why do I remember this reporter in a thick jacket and a hat with a flirtatious feather, who, for lack of beards, filmed Colonel Carey and me? His cynicism revealed a bitter truth. Yes, of course, ordinary tramps, ordinary unlucky people and losers. Poverty did not fall on this rich city yesterday; it fit into its landscape as naturally as the giant bridges on the East River and the spire of the Empire State Building. She stopped surprising anyone.The photographer's cheekbones ached from yawning. To his Associated Press colleague, slum dwellers were a thankless, insipid, hackneyed subject. The attendant at the door did not blink an eye, throwing out the rowdy visitor. And Colonel Carey has seen enough of everything in 37 years of his paramilitary-religious service: he has 125 such and other objects throughout New York. He does not expect miracles, and Major Edwin Hinkel is already proud that 20 percent of the depressed people living on the upper floors of the rehabilitation center return to normal life at least for some time. 20 percent is a good result!Senior Major Hadley Burrell, who served in the Salvation Army for 23 years and is now the head of reception at the center, said goodbye to illusions long ago.This layer of society will never rise,” he said. “The Salvation Army is doing the wrong thing.” We need to open camps and train people to work.Labor, work... Salvation Army employees cite a lot of reasons that plunge Americans to the bottom: unsuccessful family life, an innate tendency to vagrancy, general mental disorder, alcoholism. Such a fundamental social phenomenon as unemployment will appear almost imperceptibly in this enumeration. And the threat of unemployment and the uncertainty it generates, fear of the future, and the desire to forget ourselves explain, if not everything, then a lot.Here is Henry Stone, a little old man with a pitiful smile. Even by the way he willingly enters into conversation and smiles guiltily all the time, it is clear that the person is accustomed to loneliness, humiliation and the oppressive feeling of his own inferiority. His wife and daughter died. At 60 you won't find a permanent job. And once he worked on the railway, was a sailor. The pension is worthless. Housing is expensive - any kind of housing, even the lousiest, seems expensive with such a pension. He usually eats once a day - in the evening. In the morning, just a cup of coffee. He earns extra money wherever he can, delivering advertising brochures from companies and placing them under doors. apartments With such work - and it is not always - be happy with what you are given. She doesn’t feel well, she should get treatment, but there is no money for treatment.- Why did you come here? - He is surprised by this question.- Because I'm hungry.It's a question that strikes Frank Havlak, 66, as well. Hungry! He is also without a permanent job. There is not enough money. Of course, he remembered the day when, young and full of strength, he sailed to America in search of luck and happiness, and now the circle is closed after 39 years. He again came to the pier where he had once landed on the American shore - he came to the kitchen of the Salvation Army. Wherever he visited, this former Austrian: Czechoslovakia, Germany, even Odessa brought him during the First World War. The pilgrim was out of luck.Frank Havlak came to America, but the opposite happens.An employee of the center spoke about one of its permanent residents. He was a soldier in the US occupation army in Germany. He married a German woman and brought her overseas. There are five children, but no means of subsistence, no suitable work. This is how the soldier came under the wing of the Salvation Army. His wife and children also came to eat on Forty-eighth Street from time to time, until she gave up on everything, escaped from American captivity, and “went back. The soldier also saves money, lives in the hope of saying goodbye to his native land...On the street where we found ourselves again, having been in the center for two hours, the line did not decrease, although more than a thousand people passed through the dining room. She was still sullen and patient. The same terrible faces. They remain silent when they are photographed. Try to take a photo of anyone in another place - they will be indignant and curse. They are silent here. For a free lunch you have to pay at least a camera lens.Across the street, in a narrow gap between a garbage can and the wall of a house, a man in a blue pea coat, one of those who had dined, was sleeping in the subsiding rain.Meanwhile, the door to the dining room continued to let in those waiting and let out those who had eaten. They went out into the piercing wind, pulled their heads into their shoulders, and scattered. From the masses they again turned into loners. Now they will meet again one at a time. mu, living reminders of how many tragedies are hidden in the gateways, in the entrances, in the dosshouses, on the streets of the gigantic cruel city...Even after the Forty-eighth, the Bowery was as terrifying as it always is. For thousands of former people, this street in the southern part of Manhattan has become their territory; others go there with great caution. On Thanksgiving Day, when rain forced all the prosperous residents to stay indoors, the Bowery was perhaps the busiest street in New York. It appeared before us in all its ugliness of collapsing houses and people. Its savage inhabitants slept on the hard sidewalks, swayed drunkenly on unsteady legs, fought, and bought their last clothes for pennies in order to get over their hangover in the nearest stinking bar.The hunt for traditional turkey and a holiday addition to the occasional daily diet was on here too. The people of Forty-eighth Street looked, perhaps, aristocrats in comparison with those who stood in line on Houston Street adjacent to the Bowery. A branch of the Volunteers of America organization, modeled after the Salvation Army and founded by the son of William Booth, operated here. The house was once a movie theater, but having a movie theater next to the Bowery is a crazy idea. The building was sold to "volunteers". The new owners aren't complaining about poor traffic, especially when the former movie theater serves an action movie like fried turkey.By the way, a unique system of sessions has been preserved. 150 people are admitted into a small, dull hall and seated. A tapper on stage, draped in an American flag, plays cheerful tunes. Hungry tramps clap their hands and sing along. After this obligatory - like it or not - tribute to the behests of William Booth, the feeding begins. First, the first, then gradually the remaining rows move behind a wooden barrier at the end of the hall, where simple, durable tables are placed. They eat while standing. And so wave after wave rolls closer to the door, behind which others are waiting. Then - goodbye. If you’re not full, you can stand in another line and get a second helping. This is not forbidden, and many people do this.Americans respect press credentials. They let us in right away. Half the hall was already empty. To the sound of a piano, gloomy tramps and alcoholics from the Bowery, like three-year-olds in kindergarten, clapped their hands discordantly, depicting in their own way a feast during the plague. Their comrades were leaning over the tables behind them, eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and sandwiches handed out from cardboard boxes. On this day, three thousand people were covered by the “sessions” on Housetop Street.Colonel John Ford, national secretary of Volunteers of America, answered our questions. An intelligent, educated man, he himself once touched with one wing the abyss that was splashing at that moment behind the walls of the house, but did not drown, managed to break away and take off.Volunteers of America is much weaker than the Salvation Army, but they also have more than 400 organizations in the country. In the former cinema, those in need are fed free of charge in the evenings and on weekdays. Here is a hospital like the one on Forty-eighth, and about a hundred people are being “rehabilitated” there. On Long Island there is still a small production base that financially pays for itself. There, a hundred people repair old furniture, which the population donates to charitable organizations. Then the furniture is sold.John Ford spoke about alcoholism. This is the terrible evil of modern America. There are millions of alcoholics. But alcoholism, according to him, is only a side problem; there are deeper reasons for the emergence of areas of poverty and loss. For example, inherited uncertainty in life. Or ignorance. Or the existence of hundreds of thousands of “people without roots” wandering from place to place. Ford explained that this is a long-standing phenomenon. Back in the 9th century, European states passed laws against vagrancy.  If we reduce everything to psychology, to base human nature, then, willingly or unwillingly, the most terrible conclusion is drawn: poverty, moral decay, people rotting alive will remain forever. But, on the other hand, this conclusion was natural and logical in the mouth of Ford, since he proceeded from the practice of capitalist society. Wasn’t this conclusion confirmed by such a particular indicator as the growth of the Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, and the expansion of the scale of their operations?! This figure reflects not so much a growing desire for charity as the spread of social ills, new and new Bowery.When we left, the “volunteers” spent a long time consulting on which door to let us out through: the “front door” or the emergency one. The time for the next “session” came, but the tables were not yet completely ready. Behind the wall the crowd was noisy with impatience. Here she was bolder, her domain stretched all around. They finally let us out through the front door. We pulled back the three reliable bolts, we left, and the crowd rushing to the doors remained the last vision of Thanksgiving on a New York day.A few days later I received a package in the mail from the Salvation Army. It contained pamphlets describing its objectives, principles, operations, and a kind note from Colonel Carey.There are people who join the Salvation Army, motivated by compassion for their neighbors, taking to heart its motto: lend a helping hand to those who need it. This is not easy work, worthy of sympathy and gratitude. But the Salvation Army only heals the diseases of society, without eradicating the causes that cause them again and again. It is no coincidence that this is apparently the only army in the world that has never carried out mass demobilizations or reductions.One more thing. In the brochures they sent me, I didn't find the scary faces I saw in the turkey lines on Thanksgiving Day. But, confident in themselves, the faces of 27 members of the board of the Salvation Army of Greater New York adorned their pages. Almost all of them were presidents and vice-presidents of large corporations. Their photographs were accompanied by an advertising notice entitled “Democracy at Work.” That's right at work, democracy, capable of turning even its vices into virtues on paper! The hungry stretch out their hand for alms to the Salvation Army, and she herself stands with her hand outstretched in front of the offices of millionaires. And they work with both hands. One pushes people out of the thresholds of their offices and enterprises, and the other gives them pennies.2In New York, everyone has their own place. The Bowery is the bottom, the rightful place for the drowned and the sunken. At least, this is what this street was like during the years when I lived in New York. A terrible stamp of desolation lay on everything there - on people and houses, and it seemed that no outsider would ever dare to appear there if this street did not lie on the way to one of the bridges connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn.Driving along the Bowery, New Yorkers usually rolled up their car windows, because tramps stood guard at traffic lights and, when cars stopped at red lights, ran up, wiped the windshield with dirty rags and begged for quarters, frightening respectable people with their scary appearance, the sullen glances of the reds, watery eyes. It was unsafe even for a man to walk there alone.  But there were, as usual, better or worse establishments. And they ironically said about the Memorial Hotel that it was a fashionable lodging house. Those who knew about its existence spoke, of course. The Salvation Army knew - after all, they owned this hotel and it was there that they sent curious journalists. One day they sent me too.  Even in the hall, the atmosphere of lifelessness and even, I would say, doom, was terrifying. It seemed to come from that special deathly purity, which testifies to the poverty of life, and from the cheap armchairs, sparsely arranged, which emphasized the emptiness of the room, and, first of all, from the silent old people sitting in the armchairs with extinct eyes, in which faint sparks darted frightened at the sight of two unfamiliar and still quite healthy and cheerful people - I arrived with an escort from the New York headquarters of the Salvation Army. And this impression of a funeral home was terribly strengthened by the fact that there in the hall there was an expressive embodiment of young playing life in the form of two well-fed, well-groomed, playful dogs. Where did they come from? Who was looking after them? A bulldog on short legs with a smooth, shiny, dense body was playing with a German shepherd, and his movements had the energy of a satisfied animal, and his gaze showed contempt for old, powerless and helpless people.However, not everyone was old. The director of the Memorial Hotel, Captain of the Salvation Army, John Idin, was a blooming man in a white shirt and blue tie.He willingly took on the explanations, from which it followed that the Bowery was a rather random formation on the body of New York, although it had existed with its rooming houses for more than a century. The poor people in America, the hotel director explained, are just a small group, and they became such through their own fault, unable or lazy to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in America. In New York alone, he continued, there is so much work to be found that there is simply no reason for these people from the Bowery to live the way they do. And, therefore, there can be only one conclusion: they simply choose this sad, regrettable path. But to our satisfaction, the director added, the number of these unfortunate people is decreasing: twenty years ago there were 25-30 thousand residents on the Bowery, and now there are five thousand, no more...However, gradually, under the pressure of my questions, and the very reality sitting in his mind, he moved from what might not be to what is. Of course, the main problem, he said, is the lack of any good relations between people, understanding, sympathy, compassion. here we can say that every person is, alas, a lonely, naked island in the cold ocean of indifference of others. They are homeless, and watching them, you understand that a person, like a tree, cannot live without roots - without family and loved ones, without friendly participation. “Have you heard of the Bowery Code? - he asked me. - Don’t help when someone else is beaten or robbed, but share a bottle with him. Our goal, sir, is kind and humane - to raise people to a level where they could leave this unfortunate area, this malignant ulcer on the body of our city, and return to normal life. To achieve this, we are doing everything in our power. But I have to tell you that most of these people don’t want to get up, yes, they don’t want to...”Then, narrowing the topic, John Idin moved directly to the Memorial Hotel. He said that the drunkenness and completely dropped tramps were not allowed there. Half of the guests are old people over 65 years old. On his guests, he emphasized, we look at people no worse than those who live on the Avenue park. Many of them receive a pension, as well as removing from the New York City Hall, but they are afraid of tomorrow, save money, are extremely lean, mean and poorly eat, save on food. There is no dining room at the hotel, it is difficult for us to trace how they eat. But we provide cleanliness and - safety, which is very important on Baueri, as you can guess. We want our guests to feel at home - at a very reasonable price...Then our conversation was unexpectedly interrupted. Glistening with a badge on his chest and a badge on his cap, playing with a polished baton, with a protruding Colt on his side, as filled with the power of life as the bulldog in the hall, a policeman in a blue uniform entered the office. He had to either interview someone or take it. John Idin, apologizing, went out with him.When he returned, I asked to show how his wards live. The director took me to the eighth floor. In the elevator, we met a man who, as it turned out, headed the hire Bureau hotel. He said that, yes, there were job offers, but not 600, as the captain said, but 50 - and all for dishwashers.On the eighth floor, a narrow, dull and completely empty corridor opened. The duty officer, who looked like a guard, for some reason became timid at our appearance. The suspicion crept in that SCA was prepared in advance: it was the eighth floor, it was this warned corridor. Taking the keys from the corridor, the director went forward. He knocked on one door, on the other and opened them. Not a single guest was in place, and this strengthened my suspicions, although the director explained that according to existing rules, they leave their rooms at the tidy hour. The rooms were 4-5 square meters, part without windows. Furniture, as in a prison cell, is an iron bed, covered with an official dark gray blanket, a chair, a nightstand. Single cameras. The director of the hotel spoke about this with satisfaction. I thought: the pre -nye apotheosis of the American individual Alism, the holy protected concept of Privacy - the only "I". Further - the last and eternal loner - grave ...When we returned to the office to the director, in the end he suddenly told me that the “former Russians” live in the Memorial-Hotel. I asked me to show me someone. Very quickly, after a couple of minutes, the captain returned with a little old man. The visor of the cap, which he never took off, the coat that hung on the stooped shoulders, the gray stubble made the old man like a sparrow, sorry for the overwhelming and frightened. How easily lonely old people with Baueri are easily scared! I asked him a question in Russian, but he apparently forgot his tongue, and even immediately confirmed that the concept of “Russian” Americans, as usual, interpret expansion. In front of me stood a Russian Jew, born in Berdichev, who participated in the Russian-Japanese war and even before the revolution moved to America. He worked his entire American conscious life as a waiter. And now he was over 80 years old, and the last 15 he spent in the "memorial". His legs trembled and did not bend, and he almost fell, sitting on a chair ...It is a misery that a person is a sad topic. It was stern when he healed. When, according to the poet, "living life has long been behind." When his last days is serving in a place, which during life is called a memorial hotel.KENTUCKY WITH AND WITHOUT DYNAMITE1The small town of Hazard, Kentucky, has much of America, which is considered rich and famous for its technological civilization.Lots of cars. Even traffic congestion on the High Street during the pre-Christmas trading days. The town is small, less than 10 thousand inhabitants, and in the center there is not enough space for cars on the roadside; paid parking lots are open. In snack bars there are machines from which, by throwing the required number of coins into a slot, you can take out a pack of cigarettes or hear a popular song performed by a popular singer. There are even mechanical fortune tellers on the streets and in shops: for just one cent they will count the number of your pounds and tell you, for example, that smiling will make you more attractive. The Hazard Herald recommends the latest electric beater for housewives. At the top of the mountain there is a motel, called the “Citadel” for a reason; it’s difficult to get there on foot, and not every motor can handle the steep climb. There is grace, a panorama of the calm Appalachian Mountains covered with bare winter forests, silence, excellent air. The local Olympus, however, is closed. Transit gods hurry past. Not a season? Yes, it's not the season. A few days ago, heavy snow fell, cars could barely make their way through the mountain passes, heavy icicles still hang like stalactites over the roadsides, and due to drifts, the local Santa Claus canceled his date with the children in the city square.But isn't it just the season?Hazard in translation means danger, risk. At the beginning of his history, there was, however, not danger, but a young, round-cheeked, sideburned, leggings and boots, judging by the latest images of him, Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry. In 1812, he passed through this region, recruiting soldiers for the army. In a young country, cities were named without much thought. Hazard appeared. And the county of which it became the center was named Perry.Now Hazard was suddenly filled with danger.Poverty hung miserable clothes on the clothesline for everyone to see. About two hundred meters from one village, a fire was still smoking - a week ago, someone had set fire to a mine. Other mines were mournfully silent and did not work.In Hazard you immediately feel an atmosphere of anxiety, sad cynicism and some kind of shame.As soon as we entered the Hazard Herald editorial office, we just met her employee Louise Hatmaker, and she already warned the questions with a sad joke: “Not everyone here is still starving.”A pretty woman in a knitted blouse, receiving guests, for some reason apologized: “You know, workers live here.” In the evening, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Club, where the cream of local society gathers and where we found ourselves with new Hazardian acquaintances, the mayor of the city, Willie Davahar, found us. He was upset. “How could you stay at Hearst? Who recommended it to you? But this is the worst hotel in the world. world!" The next day, early in the morning, almost dark, he came running to us in the frost and personally supervised the relocation operation.The mayor, with a round belly, a puffy Arab face - his father came from Syria - and a key-clip in his tie, as if symbolizing his power, was energetic to the point of fussiness. Hospitable. When we had an unpleasant encounter on Main Street with Sheriff Combs, who demanded to see documents and talked about all sorts of journalists who frequented Hazard, the mayor and his assistant came to the hotel to apologize. He really wanted us to leave Hazard with good impressions. Alas, not everything depended on his power and hospitality.There were four of us: three Soviet correspondents and a Bulgarian journalist. From one policeman we heard stories, terrible in their everydayness, about how dynamite is stolen from large mines in order to resell it cheaply to the owners of small mines, and how hungry people attack schools at night, taking away food stored for school lunches.Things have moved on in Perry and surrounding counties since last October. Dynamite is being used. Two bridges belonging to the Louisville and Nashville Railway Company, the largest mine owner, were blown up. The company posted white notices on Hazard's telegraph poles. $2,500 to anyone who leads to the trail of the dynamite men. There is no one to give the reward yet. Someone threw a bomb at the church, someone blew up and set fire to mine structures, houses, cars. Who? Unknown. Driving around the area early in the morning, we saw the burning lights of the mines. It turns out that the mines shine with illumination all night long - and not on the occasion of Christmas. The owners are afraid of attacks, arson and explosions.Having first stopped at the Hearst Hotel and gone to explore the city, “we immediately discovered an old courthouse with red columns nearby. Behind the rickety door, almost half the left wall was covered with notices from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Wanted by the FBI” is large at the top. Below were the gloomy faces of those accused of murder, burglary, and theft. The FBI is on the state budget and is not as generous with rewards as Louisville and Nashville, but it also promises $100 or $250 for help in catching criminals.The courthouse stands on the busiest part of Main Street. This is the city center. In the tiny courtyard there is a Christmas tree, an old cannon - a memory of some kind of war. The plaque appeals to the wisdom of motorists by reminding them that six Hazardians have died in car accidents in the past year. But this mourning is somehow not noticed, as if obscured by a crowd of unemployed people standing near the court from morning until sunset. They have shabby clothes and gloomy, indecisive faces of unnecessary people. What are they doing? Witnesses? Onlookers? There are some, but most just wait. Is it not the moment when the last push of despair will force them to cross the line of the law? Then they will no longer be there, near the red columns of the courthouse, but new faces will appear on FBI advertisements.The crime curve is the extreme and, so to speak, the most spectacular consequence of the general situation. “FBI Wanted” ads are multiplying because there have been no “Workers Wanted” ads here for a long time.The coal fields of Kentucky and West Virginia are afflicted with a long-standing and progressive disease of mass unemployment. Across the United States, the unemployed make up about 6 percent of the workforce. In 32 Eastern Kentucky counties, unemployment has remained at 15 percent for more than 10 years. 6 percent can be scattered and scattered, they are not noticeable. At fifteen, antagonisms stick out in sharp angles; at fifteen, they break through with crisis, collapse, a cry of damnation to a society in which such disasters are inevitable. In Hazard, the 30th year is the year of the “great collapse” and catastrophic crisis - a recent, not lingering psychological shock that still oppresses the older generation of Americans. The year 30 was repeated here in the 60s.    What exactly happened? The authorities, the unemployed, and ordinary residents have no two opinions on this matter. Reduction in demand for coal - once. Appalachian coal cannot compete with oil, gas, and electricity. Automation - two. Automation... In the mouths of Hazardians, this word sounds like a curse. Even if demand for coal increased, we were told, even if abandoned mines reopened, the number of miners would never be the same.   - During the war...I became convinced that every story of Kentucky's past prosperity began with these words. During the war, the state lived well, unemployment was forgotten, and wages were high. I asked a state Department of Minerals and Mines official if things might be getting better. “It all depends on the circumstances,” he began academically. “If ’41 happens again...” And he stopped short. “We don’t want the matter to be resolved this way,” he became confused and quickly turned the conversation to something else. I believe him. Tedescu says: I went to two wars, let them drag me to the third. And yet, isn’t it terrible when, as a memory of the best time in life, no, no, and even it comes out of someone’s mouth: “During the war...”But let's get back to the 15 percent and how it impacts the local community. Nearly half of Perry County's population is so poor that it is covered by the federal surplus food program. The Commodity Line line for food benefits stretches out like a sad tail from the unsteady dawn at the railway warehouses. This is a local attraction. They willingly show her.Families of the unemployed are starving, schoolchildren sometimes have nothing to clothe them, there is no money for a school bus, or even for milk. The Hazard Herald wrote about it, and it was featured in a dramatic report on CBS. The wages of many working miners are meager, and their families are also poor. When a miner died in a mine accident, only potato peelings were found in his lunch basket, and he never had time to eat. It turned out that potato peelings are a fairly typical miner’s “diet.” In the Mary Jewel family we visited, the eldest girl works part-time caring for other people's children. When the husband was unemployed, the boys were hired to pick up trash, clean yards, and wash windows. “Is there enough money?” - we asked Mary. “Of course, we could spend more,” she replied. Here is a diplomatic formula for poverty that is hidden from outsiders. Herman Maggard, owner of a grocery store on the mining outskirts of Hazard, has 90 percent of his customers.The loan, of course, is limited by duration and amount. In Maggard's shop we met a young guy with an exceptional, but hardly accidental fate. Served in the US 6th Fleet and was discharged. Since then, no work. The guy has crazy eyes. And he told us that he was going to Jerusalem. Shouldn’t we atone for sins—not our own, but those of society?The economic crisis is pervasive. Traces of it are everywhere, not only in wallets and stomachs, but also in the souls of victims. As a result of the trials that befell them, families are torn apart and disintegrated. In Perry County, there has been an unusual increase in cases where wives are filing lawsuits against their husbands, accusing them of “violating the family peace,” that is, of not supporting their families, abandoning them, abandoning their children. Women are encouraged to make such claims by lawyers and practical considerations. Under Kentucky law, a family is not entitled to assistance simply because the head of the family is poor and unemployed. When it is proven that he abandoned his family, dependents receive benefits.Finally, and this is very important, with 15 percent unemployment in Kentucky, the wall that workers had worked long and hard to build to protect themselves from the ills and evils of the system collapsed. The slogan of solidarity is being replaced by selfishness - save yourself who can. The United Mine Workers of America has gone from being a defender of the unemployed to being their enemy. In an effort to preserve trade union privileges for workers, management excludes from the ranks of the trade union those who have been unemployed for more than a year. This act of betrayal left many without a pension and without a chance to get a job. Further more. Some mine owners, contrary to the agreement, refused to pay 40 cents from each ton of coal to the union’s medical fund (the fund supports hospitals that treat union members free of charge). Then the foundation administration slammed the hospital doors on those who work in these mines. You need to know how successful American doctors are in the art of picking out the pockets of patients to understand why this has overwhelmed the cup of patience. The unemployed felt even more harassed by people who were besieged from all sides.So 15 percent of unemployment turned into dynamites. In America in the second half of the twentieth century, their own Luddites suddenly appeared, who, seeing no other way out, attacked technology: they set fire to mines and blew up bridges. This is how “mobile pickets” arose, causing hatred and fear among the mine owners and adding explosives to the already tense atmosphere. The pickets move through the eight counties surrounding Hazard, blocking roads and forcing the temporary closure of 50 small mines, the very ones whose owners refuse to pay 40 cents a ton to run hospitals.The colorful figure of Berman Gibson, a former truck driver for a dairy store and now the leader of the “mobile pickets,” appeared on the local scene.We had read and heard about Gibson before coming to Hazard, and when we arrived, we were convinced that he was elusive. In the morning in Hazard, and in the afternoon - in the car and 80 miles away, to another county, where his supporters gather. How can I find him? In vain we asked our new acquaintances from another, wealthy Hazard, for help; they did not know or did not want to help. The crowd of unemployed people outside the courthouse helped. They knew where he was an hour and half an hour ago, because they pinned some hopes on him. A tall old man with a pale, clean-shaven face promised to arrange a meeting. We walked along the same Main Street, went up to the second floor into an empty office belonging to lawyer Noble Jr. A few minutes later, a large man in a brown suit quickly entered. “Gibson,” he extended a heavy palm to each of us. His wife was with him. About ten people crammed into the office. Gibson was very excited:  You must know the truth. The real truth. These people want to hide it. They have big houses and white Cadillacs. This is how they want to show this country. And here people are starving, they cannot send their children to school... We will tell you everything...The picketers were getting excited. In their excited, confused speeches there was pain, and anger, and despair, and the desire to speak out, and the fear that they might not be believed - so strong and self-sufficient, so driven into their brains was the picture of a different, rich and prosperous America. The old man who brought us pulled out a carefully kept union card from his wallet. For 41 years he was a member of the union and paid his dues accurately, now the union leaders threw him out. There was very little time left until the retirement age of 65 years. The man in the constable's uniform repeated over and over, “I'll show you Happy Kentucky. It is twelve miles from Hazard. There are families there with fifteen children, they have nothing to eat. You can’t even imagine this...”He left these words in my notebook: Constable Dillard Akers. Happy Kentucky, I don't understand whether this, Happy Kentucky, is a real place name or an irony? It turned out to be a name with more than enough irony.We didn't talk long, we were in a hurry to have lunch with the mayor: wanting to overcome unfavorable impressions, he wanted to talk about the future of Hazard. Saying goodbye, we agreed to meet with Gibson in two hours for a detailed conversation about his pickets and the situation of the unemployed. We also agreed with the constable about a trip to Happy Kentucky.We never got to know the whole truth promised by the leader of the picketers. When we arrived, as agreed, at the law office, the figure of lawyer Noble Jr. appeared in the doorway of the office. He looked at us with an icy gaze.“Gibson will meet you downstairs,” and pointedly turned his back to us. He didn’t even want to let me in the doorcommunists.Gibson, meanwhile, was in his office, shouting something into the telephone receiver. Then he jumped out, said that he needed to go to the telegraph office, and told us to wait for him downstairs. Below there was a door, a street and a group of pickets. We waited long and in vain for Gibson.He appeared one more time and again disappeared like a meteor. It was clear that he no longer wanted to talk with us. Obviously, they managed to intimidate him with the idea that a meeting with Soviet journalists could damage his reputation. Even before our appearance, they tried to label this rebel a communist, so that it would be easier to deal with him.We never saw Gibson again. After a short meeting, the impetuous figure of the worker leader remained in my memory, in whom, believing and trusting themselves, the picketers see their last hope. Ostentatious determination, I realized, coexists in him with the tossing and turning of a man who doesn’t know what to do. Indeed, what can Gibson do against the combination of two forces: falling demand for coal and automation? Whatever the fate of the “mobile pickets,” they can, at best, bring only temporary relief to the workers.The future does not promise deliverance. Of course, the city authorities are doing something. The mayor has secured some allocations from the government for the improvement of the city; a certain number of people will be employed in public works. But this does not solve the problem of unemployment. Other solutions proposed by local residents seem naive and even ridiculous. Elmer Holiday, the owner of two stores that sell fertilizer, seeds and other goods for farmers, told us that he saw a solution for miners to plant vegetable gardens around their houses and switch to subsistence farming. Priest Bill Brown calls for the organization of small craft cooperatives, such as knitting woolen sweaters. And this is in America, where standardization and mass production have long crushed artisans! Fantasy or helplessness? There is a lot of talk about developing tourism, about turning Kentucky into a “national playground” Meanwhile, about a thousand natives leave Eastern Kentucky every year in search of work elsewhere. And many return without finding it...Pastor Bill Brown has lived on the mining outskirts of the city for 20 years, thoroughly knows the concerns and needs of his parishioners, and thinks about their fate. He is also known and respected, moreover, he is considered the conscience of Hazard. We talked with him in a small office behind the chapel. The pastor was wearing a sports shirt and trousers. This is how he appears to parishioners, who simply call him Bill. He got carried away, got lost in the sermon, his gaze went somewhere where Bill Brown seemed to appear before God, then he returned from this distance, apologized, remembering that in front of him were not parishioners seeking consolation, but correspondents seeking specific information . He answered our questions openly and honestly. One thought haunted Bill Brown. “Commodity Line” will not help. You need to put a person on his feet so that he can help himself. A person must assert himself by earning his living.But what can put a person on his feet? The servant of God looks at this in an earthly way. Job. But where is she? Brown talks about artisans' cooperatives. We do not argue, although the utopian nature of his project is obvious. Okay, artels... But even if it succeeds, it will take years and years. Where is the way out? Brown hesitates, thinks, clasps his hands tensely, admits: “I wish I could see a way out. Frankly speaking, there is no answer, I don’t see a way out...”There's no way out... Is there really no way out in Hazard, Kentucky?2I returned to Hazard more than five years later, just before the end of my New York correspondent tenure. By that time, the Kentucky town, which had suddenly shouted about its existence with mysterious explosions in the mines and unrest among unemployed miners, had again sunk into obscurity. The American newspapermen and television crews who put us on the trail then forgot about Hazard, and the complete lack of attention on their part indicated that nothing was happening there now that could tickle the nerves of the rest of America.Oddly enough, this is what prompted me to take a second trip. Knowing that I was leaving soon, I hurriedly triedfinish what is unfinished. And one of the ideas was to return to old places where snapshots of what was happening were once taken, and compare the present day with the past. What is he like, Hazard, without dynamite? I wanted to look at the ordinary course of his life. And one day in mid-May, without any companions who had left the United States, I traveled 500 miles from New York to the town of Elkins, West Virginia. And the next day, deep into the green, spring-blooming Appalachians, another 300 miles of difficult mountain roads, almost falling into the abyss on 119 between Nyckville and Jenkins (these names mean almost as much to me as they do to you). And late in the evening, along the worst of the roads there, past the sparsely lit mining villages, I drove into Hazard, peering at its houses, at the lonely men wandering along the Main Street and as if floating straight out of my memories of five years ago.Stayed at the Grand Hotel. Outside the window, the sirens of the coal trains pulling along the Louisville and Nashville Railroad could be heard, but at night they fell silent, and in the morning there was a clear, blue sky over the green mountains. After two days of rain, hot weather set in. The local telephone directory, which lies in the bedside drawer of every room in every hotel in even the most remote American city, assured me that my fleeting acquaintances remained loyal to their city. Going out onto Main Street, I saw that at the courthouse a crowd of restless people was also shifting from foot to foot in an incomprehensible expectation, but I no longer found the old cannon in the square, as well as the large shield that last time reported the number of victims in roads.It is worth explaining that in my pocket I had an official American document issued by the Foreign Correspondents Center in New York. It was addressed to all Americans locally, recommended me as a Soviet journalist and a Soviet citizen, and by the very fact of its presence, it seemed to legitimize my appearance in this or that city, where, to put it mildly, they were not used to seeing Soviets. Of course, I did not forget it at the hotel, having begun my tour of Hazard with the local newspaper, the Hazard Herald.The small house with a porch running onto the sidewalk under a canvas canopy was the same, and in the room at the entrance sat a plump, gray-haired provincial woman in a black dress - the publisher’s wife, whom I had forgotten and almost mistook for a secretary.Martha Nolan hardly remembered it either; of course, there was that only case in history when four “Reds” arrived at once. Following the old footsteps, at first I could not resist a note of sentimentality: here, they say, you see, I’m here again. But the publisher’s wife interrupted this strange note and asked point-blank: “Are you looking for something to profit from again?”I just wanted to profit from facts from their lives.— Louise Hatmaker?— Yes, she’s still at the newspaper, but she’s sitting at home, sick.— Berman Gibson, the main character of those winter days, over and unemployed, the leader of the “mobile pickets”?—Disappeared, thank God. I don’t know exactly where he is, they say somewhere in Virginia he sells used clothes.You cannot come to the same city twice, just as you cannot enter the same river twice. Especially in America with the extreme changeability and mobility of its life. The sensational story was long ago crossed out and forgotten; the rebel Gibson was reworked by the time machine and the American way of life, turning him into an unromantic ragpicker somewhere in the state of Virginia. At the same time, and as if throwing a pebble at my garden, Martha reported that one writer, who then published an exposing pamphlet about Hazard, was brought to court by local authorities for libel and that he was fined three thousand dollars or six months in prison.—Bill Brown? — I continued to adhere to the old guidelines.— Bill Brown moved to London.— In England?!“No, to London, Kentucky,” corrected the publisher’s wife. “It happens to them, priests: they change places when they feel that they can no longer be closer to their flock...”This last remark, which betrayed a capacity for reflection, intrigued me. Neither I nor she had anywhere to rush. We got to talking, and I discovered a typical representative of the so-called middle class, whose self-confident automaticity of thinking in general matters was peculiarly combined with common sense acquired by his own, not very easy, experience. He made his own way to money and prosperity, and in the process of achieving his goal, he seemed to have the right to despise others - lazy and unhappy people, lazy and unhappy countries. My interlocutor was quick to voice this philosophy. Merciful and simple-minded America, on the one hand, and on the other, those who envy her, deceive her, use her.“We help others too much,” she outlined her understanding of the international situation. “And the response is black ingratitude.” Did you get help during the war? They helped. And now you are eager to dominate the whole world. Before China could get back on its feet, it turned against us.And then there is national self-criticism, arising from common sense.We have taken on too much. We should do more work at home and help others less, but just have a big stick at hand.And then there’s the consideration of human nature:- Do you believe that people are equal? What nonsense. They may have opportunities - America stands on this, but not achieved and done. Take my husband and I, we both come from simple and poor families. As a boy he started out as a newspaper delivery boy. And we achieved everything that we have ourselves, with our own hands. Now both he and I are over sixty, but we still work tirelessly, every year we take care of our garden, every fall we fill a large freezer with our own fruit. And how many of those who live differently, are idle, do not know how to save money? He earned money and immediately drank away his earnings. And you want us to live the same way?!And in the end her speech sounded like a call for peace between people and countries:- I don't want to offend anyone. Please take this into account. The more you live, the more you understand how little time we have in this world. If people believe in a supreme being, in God, they should live in peace...Thus my acquaintance with Hazard was renewed.The second was Victor Tedescu, an American with Italian roots. I visited him at the jewelry store he ran on Main Street. In my memory there was a living, ironic man, and in the depths of a small narrow room sat a pale man with glasses, the dome of his bald head tilted over the clock. His wife, having opened the glass of the display case, was wiping the goods - gold and silver items, watches, rings, bracelets. Their other property, a small factory for the production of cheap brooches and some Kentucky souvenirs, was destroyed by a flood, and when they both managed to forget, from which I concluded that the factory was apparently insured and the disappearance did not cause them much damage.“There’s too much work without it,” Tedescu complained. — There are no watchmakers in the area, this business does not attract young people. This requires the hands of a master, but where can you find them in our age of mechanization? And it’s cheaper to buy a new watch than to repair it...Last time Tedescu was more cheerful and sociable, he helped us and drove us around. Now he accepted it kindly and warily. About Berman Gibson expressed himself in the same word as the publisher: “Disappeared.”Disappeared. Missing. It was as if he never existed. And again I thought: Americans are too busy with today to remember the random heroes of yesterday and the day before. Their forgetfulness - as a consequence of the pace and stress of life - is amazing. So Gibson disappeared, and the days in which he made noise, and the problems of those days, exploding like dynamite in the night mines.My third interlocutor was Hazard Mayor Willie Dawahar, who was re-elected twice in five years. On the same main street, he was represented much more solid than Victor Taescu - two stores of women's and men's clothing. The men's store was larger and richer, but neither the owner was found in either the other, and the clerk, calling, took me to his house. The mayor, somewhat embarrassed, accepted the guest at home, in the colorful shorts, who expelled hairy, sluggish legs in scratches and sores: he was crippled, falling from the bicycle. The clerk with me reported on the current difficulties of selling male costumes. Then came the city manager with papers and checks to pay a salary of a municipal employee. The mayor signed the checks, looked through the papers and, sitting in the chair of his living room, hesitated in my presence to throw up his painful legs on a puff that was standing next to a white cloth. Nearby, protecting the patient, dressed in a yellow home robe, was his wife. Through the open door of the dining room, a large, popular character was visible a picture on a biblical plot of the secret party.The house was located on the street climbing the slope of the mountain. The mountain was green and picturesque, and the mayor dreamed of turning it into a Magic Mountain - a magic mountain, dotting the slopes with viewing venues and various establishments that would attract tourists and bring additional profits to local merchants. The project was hindered by the Governor of the state of Kentukki, whom the mayor, without hiding American secrets from a foreign guest, called selfish and ignorant-the magic mountain would have repelled tourists from some picturesque neighboring lake, on which dollars were already made by other businessmen and must be the governor himself .The mayor gave a brief overview of the business situation in general. The miners, who primarily interested the guest, did not appear in this review, ceasing to be a solid group of customers. In the district, I found out, perhaps the coal was mined- no less than the same, but people were required ten times less- powerful productive machines, automation. As for the city, the decline, one might say, ends; “They hit the bottom” and now they began to emerge, rise. The construction of the 15th road helped. Having given the work of a part of the population, strengthening the transit through a hezard, it increased the volume of trade by 20 percent. Although unemployment is still high, people have gotten used to it; the unemployed, having resigned themselves, no longer rebel. With the new road, new enterprises should move to the city. But, on the other hand, which entrepreneur needs people under 50 or for 50 years with poor education? Those who could have already been retrained and sent to other places. Yes, life in Hazard did not stand still.I left the mayor with Paul Towns, the city manager, who actually ran the day-to-day affairs of the city, reporting to the elected mayor and four other elected commissioners. You couldn't find a better guide to Hazard. Guessing what I needed, Paul said, “I’ll show you poor houses and rich houses.” I started with the rich, in clean, well-greened neighborhoods near the future Magic Mountain. Driving by, he named the value of the house and the occupation of the owner: “Doctor... Still a doctor... Insurance business... Coal miner... Still a coal miner.” In the small town, according to residents' estimates, there were eight millionaires, but showing off wealth in an area of decline is not accepted and is fearful, and the one who was considered the richest kept a rather modest house. For the poor, there were municipal housing projects - relatively cheap housing, for which you had to wait in line for about six months. We passed such houses for poor whites on the side of the mountain and for blacks at its foot; de facto segregation was observed, despite legislation prohibiting it. The Negro chicken coops looked the most miserable - on the outskirts, with rusty, abandoned cars.On the mountain at the Citadel Hotel, over a bottle of Coca-Cola, Paul summed up the tour:— In general, as you can see, we have the conditions for communization: there are few rich people, and more than enough poor people.— Old and new Hazardian acquaintances somehow quickly got used to me and became more supportive. The next day, on the advice of Martha Nolan and Paul Townes, I went to the nearby villages of Duane and Hardbury. In Douen they recommended Mr. Smith, the owner of a small shopping center, to me - he could give information about the life of the miners. And Hardbury is a dying place, a ghost town of tomorrow.   Marta suggested how to get there:— Follow 80th, then stay on old 15th. Or turn to the courthouse and, just to be sure, pick up one of the tramps who are always hanging around there. For a couple of beers he will show you everything you need...I reached Mr. Smith without any help. At first he was intimidated by the Soviet journalist who had fallen out of the blue and by my mandate issued in New York. He was an elderly, neat man with a clean face and a gray beaver on his head. His small establishment housed a grocery and department store under one roof.Smith had been involved in the trading business for more than forty years, and he also came from a trading family - his late father was a merchant, and his brother owned a store nearby.He confirmed what I had heard from the others. The miners were ruined by automation. Now five people produce the same amount as three hundred before. Younger people, having left the mining profession, moved to industrial cities. But his business, Smith said, is generally going well. Half is for cash, the other is on credit. Working people have a salary, old people have a pension. Truck drivers and tourists also stop by.He explained the conditions under which he issues a loan: usually no more than $100, and no longer than a week, having first checked the creditworthiness of the person being loaned. You can check it. Firstly, he knows his customers like the five fingers of his own hand. Second, Hazard is home to the Credit Bureau, an organization of local businessmen that collects data on the creditworthiness of residents throughout Perry County. The credit bureau collects debts in various ways, including court, and for these services takes a certain percentage from client merchants.In his attitude towards the miners, Smith had typical condescending and sympathetic notes:— They live one day at a time. When there is money, they do not deny themselves anything. Earnings were high, but there was no savings.  After saying goodbye to the merchant, I turned right at the Gulf gas station and drove three miles to Hardbury. The narrow highway ran along the railway track. The near and distant mountains were curled with May forest. There were platforms for loading coal near the railway. They had served their purpose long ago, were empty and abandoned.The traditional sign at the entrance to Hardbury said: “Population 400.” But the village looked like a graveyard, where instead of tombstones there were two-story plank houses on the sides of the road with walls darkened by rain, snow and coal dust. Behind the village there was another railway platform, and further up the hill a broken dirt road stretched to the site of open-pit coal mining. The heavy Macs politely slowed down or stopped in front of my car. There were black mountains of coal in their bodies.A man in a miner's robe was trimming acacia bushes near his house with garden shears. I looked in surprise at the stranger in a car with a New York license plate. I stopped and, approaching him, handed over my mandate so that there would be no omissions.— Do you understand?“I understand something,” he answered, turning the paper over in his heavy hands.His name was Charles Crace. He was 56 years old, and his profession was revealed by a face in whose pores coal dust was forever ingrained. On the dark face, watery eyes gleamed like transparent, faded blue triangles. He was toothless, like a baby, and spoke without opening his lips. My clothes as a resident of a big city - a jacket, light low shoes, a shirt with a tie, my profession as a reporter immediately became inadmissibly frivolous in the presence of a man whose life was reduced to difficult and dangerous work underground in the name of obtaining daily bread for himself and his loved ones.He had once been handsome, but work had worn Charles Crais out, and in this wilderness, among people like him, he had no time for looks.— How is life as a miner?He answered in two words:— Pretty rough...What could be translated:—Is this life?The miners say the mine is a dog hole. This is what Charles Crais said about his life “like in a dog hole.” He worked in a mine 11 miles from Hardbury. There were three children in the family, but the eldest daughter and son had already separated. The son worked as a driver on a coal dump truck. The youngest daughter remained with her parents - a fat girl with a dull expression on her face sat on the veranda, looking in our direction, but not interfering in the conversation.Once upon a time there was a large coal company operating there, employing many miners, and they had their own protection and support - the trade union.—And now what, without trade union protection?— Yes, that's right. Now I’m no longer a member of the union, and it’s easier to kick me out of work - that’s also true. Previously, you had twelve days a year of paid vacation, but now you work hard without vacation, and if you want to rest for a day or two at home, it’s at your own expense. There was medical insurance in case of illness, but now, if you end up in the hospital, they say - pay. Try later to return what you paid to the insurance company! And to tell the truth, I don’t even know its name: after all, the trade union used to do all this. Previously, under the trade union, there was a law: if you died in a mine, the family received 10 thousand dollars in benefits. Now die, family - not a cent. How did it happen? I wish I could figure it out. Under the Blue Shield or Blue Cross health insurance programs, each person previously had to contribute eight to ten dollars a month. Now, without a union, thirty-five to forty dollars. I can not afford it.Charles Crais lived in darkness. In the complex, cruel world on the surface of the earth it was more difficult for him than in the mine, and it seemed that there were traps all around. He invited me into the house. In the living room, as expected, there was a sofa and two armchairs - cheap and colorful, the floor was covered with colored linoleum. A TV was glowing in the corner, and it showed a rich, fast, fashionable country, and in the gaze of the plump, blurry woman, the miner’s wife, there was the emptiness and loss of a person who, one way or another, was told that he was not needed, that he was getting in the way of progress , has no right to exist in a televised, prosperous America.Crais, however, works. People without work are killed not only morally, but also physically by the loss of self-esteem, the consciousness of their own uselessness, and the contempt of their compatriots from the middle class. There is evidence that after several years out of work, men who are not yet old find themselves physically unfit when work comes along.At the Hazard Herald, Oscar Combs was the information manager. He said Combs is one of the most common surnames in Kentucky. The first five Combs brothers appeared here in the 18th century. Since then, the family has multiplied unusually and has gone through a lot of different stories. For example, Oscar Combs knew about his great-grandfather that he sold 500 acres of land for a hunting rifle, ammunition for it and a bottle of White Horse whiskey. From the point of view of posterity, this was an extremely reckless move: it was on these acres that coal companies were now earning millions of dollars.The Combs - close and distant relatives and simply namesakes - 4 hold from time to time something like general meetings. From a thousand to one and a half thousand Combs come from no less than 15 states.Oscar Combs also enlightened me about Kentucky life. He explained that tourists, mentioned in conversations with local residents, usually mean yesterday's Kentuckians, fellow countrymen: they like to visit their native places on weekends, go south on Saturday, and return north on Sunday. People are attached to these mountains and lakes, and after the opening of the new road, traffic has almost doubled. In addition, old coal mines are also attractive, there are fewer and fewer of them, tourists want to look at them. The population will grow again, but not because of coal.A total of 70 percent of the miners were out of work, Combs said. But the workers, he said, get paid no less than me, a newspaper editor. Those who mine coal in open pits earn more than in conventional mines.Automation is irresistible, no matter what is said about its harmful consequences.“A man goes into business to make a profit,” said Combs. “And he is ready to do anything for the sake of profit, and nothing will stop him.”In the evening I was left to my own devices and, having nothing better to do, walked along Main Street.Main Street stretched out before me as a dual symbol of America. A symbol of abundance. In an area of depression, on a small town street deserted in the evening, there is a tantalizing triumph of illuminated shop windows, flaunting the power, flexibility and sophistication of American industry beyond our imagination, the ramifications of foreign economic relations, the proximity even to the American outback of the rest of the world, willingly bowing to the dollar and unusually high purchasing power. capabilities in the US domestic market. Color televisions, elegantly covered with leather, and cameras from Japan, Swiss watches and a selection of cosmetics, their own and French, ladies' clothing of the latest style and fashionable men's shirts, various lawn mowing machines, home electric saws, elegant and durable shovels, pitchforks, rakes, furniture walnut wood, safety glasses... What was there!And a symbol of spiritual emptiness. Everything is there, but what next? Deserted street. In the lobby of the Grand Hotel, sitting in armchairs, four male guests silently look through the window onto the street like mannequins from a display case. Opposite the steak house is a cafe that serves cheap steaks - slices of fried meat. I can see two men straddling the high stools behind the counter in the cafe. Also silent. When, having climbed down from their perch, they leave, you understand - they are friends. There, in the cafe, another resident, having charged the jukebox with a coin, is bored alone. I see, having reached for the beer, without waiting for anything, he stands up, with both arms outstretched wide, showing the seller - he’ll charge me two beers. A red Impala is waiting for him at the curb. A clear and soft slam of the adjusted door. Left. So without waiting for anything. There is a liquor store on the corner. And there a lone man sticks out like a motionless sentinel. Next is the bar - and a lonely girl looks on. through the window and also waiting for someone or something on Main Street with its silent languor and melancholy of people who have bottled up their souls and are eager to pour them out before the living soul that has opened up to meet them. But where is she, this open living soul?And I, doubly lonely, feel uneasy on this evening street. It begins to seem to me that their expectations, at once sluggish and tense, are converging on me, a stranger. Everything around them is familiar, they don’t expect anything from anyone, and only I have a mystery: who is this strange guy who, while walking along the sidewalk, spends a long time looking at the shop windows that are so familiar to them and, on the sly, at them, who are tired of each other.On the third day in Hazard I became my own man. At least for publishing wife Martha Nolan. She now took an active part in my correspondent's research, was concerned about a trip somewhere to the site of open-pit coal mining - this economical and effective method was slowly crowding out the old mines with their workers.— “Listen,” said Martha, “for everything we have done for you here, send me some book about Russia.” Only simpler - after all, we are simple people. And in English...  An acquaintance with a Soviet correspondent, who turned out to be an ordinary person, awakened her interest in Russia and the idea that it might be worth taking a tourist trip to this strange country, where there is no private property and, as they say, everything is regulated and regulated by the government. She asked me:— Is it possible for you to speak as freely with people on the street as we do?I answered: why not, but here, like you, in Hazard, not everyone wants to enter into a conversation with a stranger.John Aubin, local director of the Kentucky Department of Mineral Resources, showed me open-pit coal mining. Ten inspectors under his command ensured that coal miners complied with the procedures established by law and restored the damage caused to nature when extracting coal from its depths. Originally from Montana, then a resident of Missouri, the new acquaintance was a forester by education and vocation and would have remained a forester, but the Kentucky Department of Mineral Resources paid more.He lived in the same Grand Hotel, in a bachelor’s apartment on the top floor, having divorced his wife and missing his daughter and son, whom he was not allowed to meet.A well-built, handsome, blooming man in his forties, John Aubyn was one-armed - his right arm was cut off at the shoulder. Where did he lose her in peacetime? A uniform, well-fitting khaki shirt with short sleeves did not hide the absence of one arm. When, while talking, he began to gesture with his whole hand, the stump also rose to the beat, and then he stroked his right armpit with his left hand, as if wanting to calm the stump. However, even with one hand he could handle his official Ford Jeep perfectly well, climbing the mountain steeps. This is what I was convinced of when I went on a country trip with him. But first he took me to his city office, where he gave me all sorts of brochures with information that could be useful.I immediately felt affection for this man. It was easy with him. The way he walked, opened the door, and talked to his secretary radiated strength and confidence.John Aubin explained that open-pit coal miners avoid reporters who denigrate them in the public eye with descriptions of mutilated, skinned land.“When we get there, don’t take pictures or write anything down,” he warned me.— Well, what if they ask who and where from?John thought for a moment.— Then admit it - from Russia. Let them be scared. From Russia - and a student. In exchange.Am I a little old for a student?— Nothing. It'll do, because you're not going to write to the Hazard Herald? The rest doesn’t interest me or them. By the way, they can also be understood. Maybe they are also worried that the mountains are being so disfigured. And the reporters are good too. They lie recklessly. They lie to us, and they probably lie to you too. I don’t read newspapers myself—I don’t believe them. But one day I was marked too. Some reporter called and then wrote this - he made up half of it. Or did you misunderstand me? And it could be. Everyone looks at everything with their own eyes. If everyone were the same, life would be uninteresting.He waved his good arm as if he had chopped it off, and the stump under his short right sleeve shook in time.— And let them write what they want. If only the Hazard Herald didn't get it...We went out of town along the new 15th road. Warned by my companion, I looked around, searching for traces of violence on the beautiful green land. But from the road the ground looked normal. Only here and there among the forest cover were glimpsed quite innocent brown bald patches on the mountain slopes. After driving a few miles, we began to climb steeply up to the old areas of overburden coal mining. The deep scars of the mountains were revealed nearby, and it became clear why coal miners are afraid of “bad publicity” and why the hearts of lovers and conservationists bleed.In love with this land and mountains, John Aubyn was one of them. What joy his face shone when he showed me one place where mining was completed in March: the freshly sown grass was thickly green, and the entrance holes of the adits were carefully covered with turf. “I won’t lie,” he said. “This is the best place. If only everyone were like this..."We visited active mining sites, and for the first time I saw what it was like. They open up the mountain slope where a layer of coal is found. They expose the black-glittering edge of the formation, which goes off into the distance in an even stripe. They adjust a harvester of cyclopean dimensions, and with a sort of giant drill about a meter in diameter, with a tooth at the end, the harvester cuts into the formation at high speed. The drill is extended in new sections about eight meters long. This lengthening operation takes about ten seconds, no more, and again the drill stubbornly and powerfully bites into the coal seam.We stood by the combine, shaking with tension. Half a minute, maybe a minute - and one more section. So, dozens of adits pass through every day, and each one is more than 30 meters long.Capturing coal, the drill drove it from the depths, pouring it onto the conveyor, and along the conveyor belt the coal immediately went up, falling into the back of a forty-ton dump truck.— So simple and great! -e escaped me. John Aubyn looked disapproving. But he was also fascinated by this fantastic technique, and he did not fail to tell about an incident that was difficult to believe, even knowing American labor productivity: once four forty-ton dump trucks were loaded with coal in just eight seconds.“I have a delicate job,” he shared on the way back. “A mediator between the people and coal miners.” My boss tells me this: you will still be cursed both from below and from above. To avoid being cursed, I must be a friend to both sides.— Who has the most influence?The biggest money here is in the coal business.John Aubin's work specifically was as follows. Land in Kentucky, including mountain land, is in private hands. Many small and medium-sized landowners, retaining ownership of the land, but in need of funds, sell so-called mineral rights to large companies, that is, the right to own natural resources stored in the subsoil. Thus, some have the earth, others, often newcomers from other places, have its subsoil. And finally, the third are entrepreneurs who mine coal. From those who own mineral rights, coal miners buy the right to take coal from the ground by paying them a certain amount for each ton mined. Landowners cannot prevent these transactions because they have lost their mineral rights. But in turn, they receive small sums from the coal miners for the forest that needs to be cut down, for each foot of road built to the coal mines, etc.Within the framework of this multi-stage economic contractual activity, a certain place belongs to people like John Aubyn. They make sure that the laws of the state of Kentucky are followed during strip mining - that a particular mountain is “shoveled” only in a certain area, dumps of earth are dumped at a certain angle, the entrance holes of the mined adits are covered, so that the soil is drained to prevent landslides. And so that damage to the land is minimized by mandatory sowing of grass and planting trees. The work of these inspectors, acting on behalf of the state authorities, is financed by coal miners. In addition, even before the start of operations, they are required to pay a cash deposit, the amount of which depends on the area of ​​the excavated land, and the deposit can be returned to them only as they restore it according to the requirements of the law.If the rules are not followed, inspectors could in principle impose a ban on coal mining. But in practice JohnAubin never resorted to such a measure: “How can you close a business when a lot of money is invested in it?” However, you have to make a scandal and threaten closure. Well, if some rich large coal miner, who is tired of the guardian of nature with his circulars, wants to get rid of him, will he be able to achieve this? It’s unlikely, John answered, but added that he himself never leads disagreements to rupture and war.We spent almost the entire day traveling together. And in the evening I no longer toiled among the loneliness of the Main Street: John Aubyn invited me to dinner in an apartment on the top floor of the Grand Hotel.There was a long conversation at the kitchen table. He was very worried about the divorce from his wife and separation from his children. He considered money to be the reason. “Everything was not enough for her - a new house, a car of the latest brand, and a husband who worked like an ox in three places at once - as a forester, at a gas station, and even helping someone in the forestry business. He extorted up to a thousand dollars a month, and she kept reproaching him with the income and lives of others.Having talked, John attacked the eternal topic - about the stress of life, about the rat race, about the fact that middle-class Americans live up to their necks in debt, all their lives chasing status symbols - prestigious things. A better house, an even more luxurious car, vacation trips to somewhere in the Caribbean.— Do you want a joke? One girl was lucky and married a rich man. After some time, he meets his less fortunate friend and begins to show off.- Mary, he's so rich. You know, our honeymoon lasted three whole months.— Amazing! - says Mary.— We were in Paris, then in Rome, stayed in the most fashionable hotels and went to the most expensive restaurants.— Amazing!“And when they returned from their honeymoon, he rented a penthouse in a fifty-story building.— Amazing!— We have it there. three bedrooms, swimming pool, winter garden. And he bought me two Cadillacs at once. Do you understand, Mary?— Amazing!— However, why am I all about myself, and about myself. Tell me what you were doing.“You know,” Mary answers, “I attended special courses.” There we were taught how to walk gracefully and how to wear a dress elegantly and how to smile charmingly. And they also taught us how to say with a smile: “Amazing!” when the language just begs to be: “What bullshit”...I listened to John and thought that perhaps his ex-wife left this handsome, strong, hard-working man, because having a one-armed husband is not prestigious.The next day I left Hazard at 7 a.m. and drove my Chevrolet 650 miles to Washington, over mountain roads, rain and sun, until 11 p.m. It was Saturday, rare cars, glimpses of the jubilant Appalachian spring and, in the evening, a long, smooth sunset. I said goodbye to it several times, descending into another valley, but when I took off to a new pass, I saw that the sunset did not disappear, was in no hurry to burn out at the edge of the wide darkening sky. And he drove the last 100 miles in the dark, catching the mysterious night highway running towards him with his headlights.BUTTE'S CHROMOSOMESA mile up, a mile down - and everything is levelMotto of the city of Butte, Montana1Mr. Tom Weigle from the Anaconda copper company, seeing two Soviet correspondents that fine morning, became wary, and a shadow of annoyance ran across his face: these “reds” were still missing! But Mr. Weigle is a public relations man, that is, a person whose job it is to get along with the public and the press, no matter what color they are. A minute later, a flash smile played on his face - an instant, automatic smile like a photo flash, which should always be ready during official hours, from nine to five.  We descended from the famous sixth floor of the building in Bute, where the Anaconda office is located, in Mr. Wygle's car we began to examine the famous Bute Hill, the cradle of Anaconda. On the cut off top of the hill there were mine headframes, mine yards, railway trains, dusty roads. The city of Bute itself lay on the slopes, but the mines also ruled in residential areas, dug into the city, their buildings flickered every now and then around the turns of the steep streets.The signature number in the Butte concert of “Anaconda” is “Berkeley Pit” - a gigantic quarry, a steep amphitheater plunging into the depths. Multi-ton trucks crawled along its uneven tiers like tiny bees before our eyes. These bees were not carrying honey, but copper. Their buzzing came from behind the high fence. “Berkeley Pit” is being kept behind bars: “the man dug up the ground there so boldly that if you stumbled, you could break your neck.” What can this pit be compared to? What came to mind was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park, which we had just visited. There, from an unimaginable kilometer depth, menacing and picturesque rocks rose up, as if painted in all the colors of the rainbow. And at the very bottom of the canyon, the tiny Yellowstone River pulsated with emerald and streaks of polished malachite - the creator of all this miracle, living evidence that a drop really wears away a stone.The Berkeley Pit pit is still far from the Grand Canyon. Well, the man started later. But, like a mountain river, he is great in his tenacity. A mile up, a mile down - that's what they say in Bute about the colossal reserves of copper ore in the depths of the hill. Geologists claim that there is more of it left than was selected, although a very, very large amount was selected. One Bute mine has already sunk a mile down. As the pit deepens, it seems to stretch behind her. In short, Mr. Weigle, the advertising man for the Anaconda Mining Corporation, could be professionally pleased: he drew exclamations of approval, respect and delight from the Reds.  But now, having sat down at my desk to describe my Butte impressions, I think not so much about human perseverance as about its nature, its purpose. And, strangely enough, the Berkeley Pit, majestic in its tousled working-class beauty, is almost overshadowed by one Butte boy, 12-year-old Bobby Chace.Then we met Bobby Chase at a wooden platform with a canopy, from where they overlook the pit. On a small table covered with oilcloth, pieces of Butte minerals were laid out. In the drawer next to the table there were also samples of ore, glued onto neat multi-colored squares of cardboard. On the top of the cardboard was stamped: “The richest hill on earth. They beat. Montana". Bobby owned and sold this product.“Meet Bobby,” said Weigle, not without playfulness. “Two communists, newspaper men from Russia.”Bobby glanced at us from under his long cap. with a sharp visor, approximately the same look that Wygle had at the first moment of their acquaintance on the sixth floor of the Anaconda. But, like Wygle, he quickly recovered. Like Weigle, he knew he had to do his job. And in a breathy, thin boyish voice, licking his lips and touching the stones on the table with his hands, he began to babble:— All these minerals from the Hill of Bute... The Hill of Bute... is the richest on earth... In eighty-two years, from 1880 to 1961 inclusive... copper was mined here... fifteen billion four hundred and fifty nine million... nine hundred sixty-two thousand six hundred fifteen pounds... Zinc...  “Wait, Bobby,” I tried to interrupt him.I wanted to talk to the boy, find out how he ended up here with his goods and why they were showing it to foreign guests of Bute. But it was not there. Bobby spoke like an automaton, like a mechanical toy. We had to wait until the factory finished. — Zinc four billion five hundred eighty-four million... one hundred four thousand six hundred ninety-nine pounds... manganese three billion six hundred sixty-seven million seventeen...When Bobby stopped talking, I bought a cardboard with samples glued on for a dollar and a half. I realized that along with the cardboard I would also buy the right to talk with this business guy. He answered reluctantly, in familiar words, to boring questions, and meanwhile his hands were gluing new pebbles onto pieces of cardboard, and his eyes were looking for new customers. As the cars pulled up and people got out and went to look at the steep amphitheater of the pit, Bobby, cutting off our conversation mid-sentence, again began shouting his short, number-filled information about the Hill of Bute. He had already done business with us - now others were important.In a 12-year-old boy, the narrowed psychology of a businessman, reduced to self-interest, to the desire to use another for his own benefit, was clearly visible, sticking out in its original essence, without the bells and whistles that are acquired with age and experience. And then there was a very childish, round face and even an ice cream on a stick, which he could not refuse and which he was ashamed of, hiding it behind his back. And then his little eyes frowned, and hostility towards us and our condescending ironic views flared up in them. He was not busy with a joke, but with a very serious matter, and busy with conviction. Our irony and condescension hurt him all the more because in Bute he had already been spoiled with admiration, set as an example to other boys and girls.Before us stood a small, but at the core of his character, a well-established businessman. Bobby's family is not poor, his father works in a mine, his mother is a clerk in a bank. From the age of three, like all the boys from Byut, he collected pebbles on the hill. But unlike others, he already started trading them at the age of nine. Now he not only finds pebbles, but also exchanges them; he has suppliers among the boys. Decorating the tray, an ingot of almost pure copper weighing 4 pounds was purchased by him for $5. Now sold for 25. To make commerce look no worse than for adults. I ordered pieces of cardboard from the printing house myself.And so Tom Weigle took us to Bobbin's stall to show us a Bute landmark, a small local miracle. Yes, Bobby is a famous person. The boys selling pebbles at the Kelly Mine are desperately jealous of him: last summer, they told us, Bobby earned $2,300. Don't believe me?..Tom Weigle himself lacks stars from the American sky. But he speaks of Bobby with adult respect: this one will probably catch him.When the management of Anaconda wanted to drive away the juvenile traders from the viewing area at the Berkeley Pit, Bobby alone managed to talk to them - like a businessman with businessmen - and proved that he personally would not interfere or harm, on the contrary, he would give the place a sentimental appeal coloring.What about Bobby's parents? They, too, were shocked by their son’s tenacity, they told us. His father, however, tried to restrain him and forbade him to stand at the pit for more than 14 hours a day. But Bobby, defying his parents' will, hangs around for 16 hours, all long summer days, all summer holidays.You may say that all this is shallow philosophy in a deep pit. And I want to seriously emphasize: Bobby Chase is a phenomenon. This Butte boy reveals the inside of America more clearly than many thoughtful but abstract discussions. There is a touching half-truth: oh, poor thing, he dreams of becoming a mining engineer in a country where higher education is expensive, and now he is forced to save money from childhood. Bobby Chase probably outgrew this half-truth with the psychological changes that could not help but occur in him during the three years of trading pebbles at the edge of the Berkeley Pit pit. There is a hard truth: from one generation to the next, people like Bobby Chace pass on the chromosomes and genes of American capitalism.What is the stubborn Bute boy up to? And judging by the fanaticism with which he reduced his life to trade, the commandment. It will last forever, if not forever. Let's turn the story around, move away from the seed and take a closer look at the Bute tree of the "Anaconda".A mile up, a mile down - and everything is on the level... There is a secret smile in this rollicking motto, for the historical cross-section of Bute Hill is a cross-section of American capitalism. Butte Hill stood in the middle of the last century on the lands of the then non-existent state of Montana, standing untouched, as its surrounding brethren still stand. A dashing horde of gold miners rolled west and ran into grains of Yellow Metal in the narrow Bute gorges of Dublin and Missoula. The “Gold Rush” did not last long in these places; Having picked up the grains, the horde rushed on. Then they found outlets of silver, and again on Bute Hill there was a short drunken excitement and play of fortune. The era of foam removal ended as abruptly as it was born. Cobwebs covered the log cabins abandoned by searchers and innkeepers. Nevada City (a few dozen miles from Butte), where in those years there was a gold mining camp, is now just a tourist attraction, a so-called ghost town. In an old store that has become a museum, you throw 10 cents into the slot of a machine, and a creaky voice, as if from the past, will tell you how to get crazy luck, where, when, who and for what they were killed, and how the free life and lynching were replaced by an orderly life and justice.Meanwhile, the Hill of Bute, only slightly scratched by lovers of the precious metal, awaited its long copper age. The real history of Bute began in the 70s of the last century, when copper mining began. And this, too, was a bloody story, although in retrospect self-interest and violence are presented as romance and brightness of character. The bones of the “copper barons” crackled in the arms of the two “copper kings” - Marcus Daly and William Clark, but the two winners could not divide the “richest hill on earth.” Clark used dollars to elect himself to the US Senate, Daley, with the help of dollars, overtook him in Washington, threw him out from under the dome of the Capitol and, ultimately, from Butte Hill.Ordinary people looking for income poured into Butte from all over the United States and from other countries. They suffered hard work, injuries, silicosis, the demagoguery of their owners, and also their own romance - the slang-laced romance of the smelly bars "Cemetery" and "Cesspool", prostitutes in the red light districts. Yes, there were also red-light districts there, in the remote town of Montai. what is not a “romantic” touch from the morals of that time, which tourist brochures laugh about. Prostitutes hid silver dollars paid by clients in stockings. Stockings used to tear, and the silver earned on copper would jump loudly on the paving stones.It was under this ringing tone that Marcus Daly founded in 1879 a copper mining company with the snake name “Anaconda”, which operated not only in Bute. For decades, she controlled the entire state of Montana with its elected governors, legislators, judges, newspapers and lawyers. It silenced voices of protest and stifled competitors who wanted to poach its miners. It has bled the state both economically and in terms of human resources.Then this snake crawled out of the Montana mountains to 15 other states, where it acquired mines, plants, factories, and onto the international arena, wrapping its suffocating coils around Chile, Mexico, and Canada. We are already talking about the Anaconda copper mining empire. It has grown so much that it has become more convenient to view its holdings from the skyscrapers of Wall Street, where the company's main headquarters moved. Only the leadership of the so-called “Western operations” remained in Bute. After...But let's return to the city, which even in the names of its streets reflected the geological section of the hill: Copper, Granitnaya, Kvartsevaya, Platinovaya, Silver, Zolotaya...Bars have become boring, prostitutes have disappeared, gambling is prohibited. In the evenings Bute is empty. quiet, dark.Miners buy houses on installments and sit after work in front of televisions, which, according to the head of the local miners' union, Reginald Davis, are brainwashing them with programs paid for by the National Association of Manufacturers.We also met with the mayor of Butte, Thomas Powers.He was diplomatic with visiting journalists, assuring that Anaconda had now become more flexible. His diplomacy, however, did not break away from the local copper ore land.“I won’t say that Anaconda voted for me during the elections,” the mayor told us in his twilight office, “but she didn’t mind.” If her people were against it, they would, of course, look for another candidate.And he admitted what it would be foolish to deny: they are very powerful...In the miners' union hall, above the stage hung a faded portrait of an activist brutally murdered by company agents before the First World War. This is a clear reminder and a clear warning, a call for vigilance. The trade union leaders are in the same mood as soldiers at the front: they are embarrassed by the calm and are wondering what other trick to expect from the enemy.And not within the walls, not in a closed room, but in the open air and visible to everyone, there is a monument to Marcus Daly in Bute - the winner of Clark and others, the founder of the snake corporation. He is bronze unshakable. He is immortal.Yes, he is immortal as long as he inspires boys like Bobby Chase.However, let's not insult Butte by equating the city with the Anaconda company.There are cities towards which it is difficult to be indifferent. Bute - with its detractors and supporters - are from such cities.The American John Gunter, who has traveled and described almost the whole world, in the book “Inside the USA” put his mark against Butte harshly and irritably: “The rudest, obscene city in America, with the possible exception of Amarillo, Texas... Here is the only thing in United States cemetery, flooded with electric light at night. In daylight, Bute is one of the ugliest places I have ever seen."A Bute resident, Mr. Nelson edits the Montana Standard newspaper. When we reminded him how the famous John Gunter had disgraced Bute, he said that this snob, having stopped in Bute, had never set his nose out of the Finlen Hotel, but had collected all his dirty information in the Gun Room bar, located in the same hotel. As a local patriot, editor Nelson was deeply wounded by the travel writer's verbal assault on his hometown.And a certain Bill Burke, on the contrary, created a verbal apotheosis, and moreover in poetry - about how the heavenly angels painted a masterpiece for the Earth saloon, taking colors from the generous palette of the summer rainbow, and God, loving their masterpiece, named it Bute . Bill Burke, as you see, is a primitivist, his imagination is naive. He was born the grandson of a miner and the son of a miner, and in his life he became a miner and the father of miners. In his old age, he took up a pen, an unusually heavy tool. Don't look for graceful style in his poetic "Rhythms of the Mines." But how much harsh warmth, how much clumsy pride for their rough countrymen and faithful comrades. Every morning they go underground on Bute Hill, and when they come out of the hole, they will slam a glass of strong Irish drink “Sean O'Ferrell” in a familiar bar, adding to the first and second - because a bird cannot fly on one wing. Once a year, on June 13, they go out to the traditional miners’ parade, suffer and rejoice, and, in turn, having raised new recruits for the mines, they finally go into the ground not on an ore-bearing hill, but under the crosses on the nearby plain - the descendants of the Irish, Finns, Germans, Serbs, Italians, Greeks, Scots, Norwegians, Swedes.In terms of national diversity, Bute is New York in miniature, even, imagine, with its own China Town.— Russian? - an old man in the elevator of the Finlen Hotel asked after hearing my speech. Having received an answer, he asked:—  Where ?— From Gorky.—  Isn’t this in Kyiv?It turned out that his ancestors had once come to the States from Kyiv, and he himself had already forgotten whether this was a city or a country. The fathers came from different countries, the children became patriots of Bute. Americans are an agile, mobile, easy-going people. And if you ask anyone in Bute, he was born and raised on the hill. What keeps them here is their love for the vastness of this “God’s country,” the big skies of Montana. Those who left are drawn back. By the way, that’s what it says on Montana license plates: “Big Sky State.” But still, man lives more by bread than by heaven. Gustav Hastvedt, a miner for 25 years, told us that miners' sons were leaving Bute - there was no work.Who is right - John Gunter or Bill Burke? What is Bute - the most obscene city or God's masterpiece? Everyone is right and wrong in his own way, both the know-it-all snob and the old miner, a native and son of these places.Trade unionists said that the miners' relationship with Anaconda was ambivalent. As the name suggests, Anaconda can choke. But she also gives work, she is the main employer. The miners are forced to both fight and get along with Anaconda. The union, one of the oldest and most militant in the United States, has glorious traditions and considerable merit. We have repeatedly sought to increase wages and improve working conditions. And if you take the entire protracted war together with the respites, if you look at the entire historical curve of Bute, then the company emerges victorious.Due to mechanization, ore production is constantly increasing, and the number of miners and city residents is generally decreasing. The confrontation was especially brutal in 1959-1960, when Anaconda, cleverly maneuvering, forced the union into a grueling six-month strike in order to get rid of accumulated surplus copper and at the same time organize a Mass lockout. The number of miners was then reduced by more than three times to one and a half thousand. The economic crisis, like a severe fever, shook the city, merchants curtailed their business and left: there was not much profit to be made from the penniless striking miners, all construction was curtailed. Eight thousand people then left Bute.Of course, this local tragedy was not noticed in America and, in general, can be seen philosophically from afar, but it had its victims who fell and never rose again.When we came to Bute it was going through a period of uncertain boom. Anaconda expanded its local operations, new bank branches opened in the city, and road construction picked up speed. According to trade unionists, the company was afraid of the nationalization of its enterprises in Chile and therefore prepared reserve positions in Bute in advance.Ah, Chile, Chile! The Butte miners thought more often of this distant land than of the lands from which their fathers had reached the big skies of Montana. What's in Chile? They were politically blind and isolated and did not have any contact with their fellow Chilean miners. In justifying its harsh policies in Bute, Anaconda told them that it had no choice because it was making losses in Bute and would only recoup them in Chile, where labor was much cheaper. They didn’t believe her, but they couldn’t check her either.“Of course, they say the opposite,” we heard from John Glace, the union secretary. “We are sure that everywhere Anaconda only takes, and does not give.”A mile up, a mile down - and everything is level.Tom Weigle, the Anaconda man, was up to his task when he took us to a park called Columbus Gardens. Who said that the company does not give anything? So she gave the park to the townspeople and their children. Is not it? But, according to trade unionists, this is just a drop from the billions of dollars that Anaconda has mined on the hill.Jimmy Shea, the mayor of the mining outskirts of Walkerville, took it upon himself to show us other gifts from the copper kings: empty, deserted streets almost in the very center of the city, abandoned buildings with broken dusty windows, residential buildings with cracked walls, collapsed sections of sidewalks. Like after an earthquake. But no, it was “Anaconda” that for decades waged an underground and underground war against the townspeople, digging under houses and streets with its mines. Houses cracked and collapsed, sidewalks shook as underground ore was torn with dynamite close to the surface. The miners from the Emma mine, going down to work in the hole, did not know that they might be digging for their own housing. And go get the truth, if the company has its own lawyers and geologists at its service, and the entire state of Montana in its pocket.Jimmy Shay took us around the streets and talked about people. They need to be treated humanely. He hated the Anaconda as a man eater, Jimmy Shay is a true friend of the Bute people.— Hello, Jimmy! How are you doing, Jimmy? — that’s all we heard from passers-by and motorists as we walked along the streets with him.— Hello, Jimmy! - the Walkerville boys shouted in their own way to the man with gray temples.Everyone knew him. Still would! Jimmy fought the Anaconda and forced it to retreat. A mile up, a mile down, and the mayor of the mining outskirts is truly on point.Jimmy calls what happened a war. Anaconda began developing the Ellis Pit pit right under the windows of Walkerville residents, 7 meters from the outlying houses. Bulldozers blew up the highway, blocking Walkerville, and broke water and gas pipes. Making life unbearable, threatening the collapse of houses - and handing over a pittance of compensation to residents when the prices of houses and land went down - that was the calculation.But Jimmy Shay, a miner's son who works as an insurance agent, took up the challenge on behalf of 1,500 Walkerville residents. He arrested the bulldozer drivers sent by the company and sued them. “Anaconda” was at first speechless from such insolence, and then, when it came to its senses, the local newspaper, a servant of the company, began to throw mud at the mayor of Walkerville and the residents who elected him. They were accused of self-interest, of wanting to reduce employment in the city. Jimmy was kept awake at night by phone calls containing threats and obscenities. They set miners' wives against his wife: your hubby wants to deprive our breadwinners of work. Jimmy, without giving up, patiently persuaded them: remain human, try to put yourself in the place of those whose houses are about to tip over into a pit.  In a word, the instigators from “Anaconda” attacked disunity, the fact that man is a wolf to man. And Jimmy Shay relied on solidarity. When he was silenced in Butte, he made his way to the newspaper of another Montana city, Great Falls, and to television. I got involved in a legal battle that lasted two years. In the end, the matter ended in an honorable compromise - the company bought the houses closest to the pit for decent compensation, and the pit itself was surrounded by a fence for safety...Jimmy drove us to Walkerville. The pit was already abandoned; only the collapsed foundations of the houses reminded of the former Willis Street. We climbed to the dump from which the rock was dumped. Below, almost under the embankment, stood a brown school building. Stones flew almost onto the children's heads. It’s a long time ago, but the mayor of Walkerville seemed to have seen dump trucks carrying their loads along these now abandoned tracks.  “The children’s lives were in danger!”You're a good man, Jimmy Shay, I'll say it straight out, and let my sentimentality be excused for showing it in an essay that you're unlikely to ever read. What were we to you? Two unknown journalists, and from that distant country that they scare Americans with! And besides, you had urgent business at your insurance agency. And you were noticeably nervous and worried, because it was on that day that your daughter was supposed to fly in from Paris, from her first trip abroad. But you put aside your business and didn’t even go to meet your daughter. You chose the two “red” Russians because, for reasons of human justice and solidarity, you wanted to give them the information about Bute that the Anaconda people with the flash photos of their official smiles are hiding.This is also a child of Bute. He grew up near Anaconda, but retained his simple-minded, holy faith in justice. When the company was starving out the striking miners, Jimmy Shea sent telegrams to Washington: children are starving!Are children starving? This phrase will not move officials who know that thousands of children are starving in the mining towns of Appalachia and in black ghettos across the country. But Jimmy Shea did not know and does not know anything stronger than this phrase. And then the Minister of Information of Chile received a telegraphic warning from the mayor of Walkerville: be careful, do not trust “Anaconda”! Naive? Maybe, but he couldn't help it.In Bute, some looked at Jimmy as an eccentric, the local Don Quixote. But the residents of Walkerville, apparently, understand that such eccentrics adorn the world, and have been re-electing him for more than twenty years. Twice he tried to refuse: after all, he had to think about his family, and the mayor of tiny Walkerville was not entitled to a salary. But both times he was put on the ballot and elected again.Are children starving? This phrase will not move officials who know that thousands of children are starving in the mining towns of Appalachia and in black ghettos across the country. But Jimmy Shea did not know and does not know anything stronger than this phrase. And then the Minister of Information of Chile received a telegraphic warning from the mayor of Walkerville: be careful, do not trust “Anaconda”! Naive? Maybe, but he couldn't help it.In Bute, some looked at Jimmy as an eccentric, the local Don Quixote. But the residents of Walkerville, apparently, understand that such eccentrics adorn the world, and have been re-electing him for more than twenty years. Twice he tried to refuse: after all, he had to think about his family, and the mayor of tiny Walkerville was not entitled to a salary. But both times he was put on the ballot and elected again.—  This is still America! - Jimmy repeats, waging his local wars for justice and believing in the democratic traditions of his people and in the ability of American workers to stand up for their rights. But when friends suggest that he run for something higher, such as governor of Montana, he gives up.—  This requires too much money, and where do I have it... It consists entirely of simple truths, and this is one of them... And now, when I remember my acquaintance with Bute, I think about two stubborn people - about the tenacious mayor of Walkerville and the tenacious 12-year-old boy who returns home in the late summer twilight under the big Montana sky, counting dollars in his memory and pockets. Yes, this is still America, where the spiritual heirs of the "copper king" Marcus Daley are stronger than the miner's son Jimmy Shay.WHERE WAS HEMINGWAY SHOOT?Ketchum (Idaho) - 746 us, h. 5821 ft.A well-known sheep crossing, a mile away  from Sun Valley, a popular resort.From the American Automobile Association's GuideErnest Miller Hemingway July 21. 1899 - July 2. 1961.Gravestone inscription at Ketchum CemeteryHills, clouds and sun. But above all, the high hills, which captivate with their soft lines, simplicity and peace. They do not crowd each other, stand freely, and their gentle slopes smoothly descend into the valley. Shadows from rare white clouds glide peacefully along the slopes and up to the round tops of the hills. The sun floods the valley with its August warmth and light.Then there were quiet, lingering rains for three days, alternating with stripes of sun and light. The spruce trees on the hillsides silently darkened and became wet. Water bubbled on the shiny roofs of the cars, and the asphalt of Route 93 glistened wetly. And behind the lattice floors of the two bridges, the Big Wood River, which translates as the Big Forest River, rustled louder in the rocky bed; it is not large and not wide, but flows through curly forest banks.Quiet rain fell on the trimmed grass of an unfenced rural cemetery near the road, washing the rare spaciousness of the dead - tombstones and one large slab of gray marble. And from the small town of Ketchum to the tiny airfield in Hailey, the hills ran along the road, revealing the calm magic of their smooth lines to the eye of a visiting person, and the person willingly surrendered to it.Hills and sky, sun and clouds, rain and the Big Wood River enter like owners through the large windows of Hemingway's house on the northern outskirts of Ketchum. The house is located at the eastern foot of one of the hills. Before the valley has even had time to color, the first morning rays pour into the living room. From below you can hear the splash of a river running through the thicket. The rays of the setting sun fall on another hill, beyond the river, behind the railway line, behind the 93rd road - on the hill, at the foot of which the cemetery clings. Further to the northeast, the dark Sotouf Mountains rise above the hills.I stood with Mary Hemingway, the writer's widow, in the courtyard of the house. Dusk and its special silence were coming. Nearby two dogs yelped affectionately.“What is this bushy greenish-ashy grass that grows on the hillsides?”— Don’t you know? - Mary said reproachfully. “This is our famous sage.”We picked sage stalks. When you rub them between your fingers, they give off a sharp, offensive and bitter smell. Same as the story I learned in Ketchum—the story of how Ernest Hemingway first came here and how, 22 years later, he returned one last time to die.At Ketchum, known as the "sheep crossing point", the airfield is owned by the Sheep Breeders' Association. The airfield is covered with grass like a pasture, and nearby there is a dusty path called a sheep path. An old twin-engine plane lands on the grass after an hour and a half of shaking over the mountains. The plane belongs to the modest West Coast Airlines, which the governor of Idaho threatened to shut down if it did not improve passenger service. Road number ninety-three belongs to the state. In fact, about thirty years ago, these remote American regions were part of a kind of empire, ruled by the Union Pacific railroad company, and, deciding to make a profit on the irresistible magic of the local hills, it opened the Solnechnaya winter ski resort in 1936, a mile from Ketchum. valley. Gradually, local residents became more involved with resort guests than with sheep, although the Union Pacific railroad empire itself eventually fell under the onslaught of highways, the automobile and the airplane and sold the resort to a large land firm from Los Angeles, which, not sparing millions, set up the business on a grand scale.Let us return, however, to the 30s, when the story that interests us began. The old film “Sun Valley Serenade” was also popular here. So, it was ordered by Union Pacific to advertise its new and still little-known resort. For the same advertisement, celebrities of all kinds were invited to the hills, one might say, in dozens. Thus, the popular writer and famous hunter Ernest Hemingway came to the attention of the chairman of the board of Union Pacific, Averell Harriman, a millionaire, governor, and later diplomat. Hemingway then wrote and hunted in the south of Montana, in the town of Cookie City. By order of Harriman, three young resort employees were sent there in the early fall of 1939 with the task of luring the writer to Sun Valley and “attaching” him there. Lloyd Arnold, an old Ketchum photographer and hunter, told me about this. He was then one of three, responsible for photographic advertising of the resort.Harriman wanted photographs of Hemingway in the hills of Sun Valley to appear in newspapers and illustrated magazines. Hemingway needed a quiet, secluded place to work and good hunting during autumn afternoons and evenings. That's how they got along, without even knowing each other.Plus the hills. Maybe there was a clue in the hills. They are somewhat similar to the green hills of Africa and the Spanish hills. About thirty miles to the south, Ketchum's hills give way to stony white foothills. They reminded the writer of the mountains of Guadalajara. Basque shepherds, brought under contract from Spain by Idaho sheep farmers, lived and still live in the area. And Hemingway was then working on his Big Book - the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, where the action takes place in Spain during the Civil War.So, he was lured to Ketchum, and during the holiday off-season of 1939 he lived alone in the new, large and comfortable Lodge Hotel. I got up at dawn and in my pajamas, started my writing work right in the bedroom. I loved concentrated silence. Nobody bothered him. The three lived at the nearby Challenger Hotel, although their hunting rifles were kept in the living room of Hemingway's suite. Sometimes, at noon, not earlier, Lloyd Arnold would carefully enter there to pick up the guns. There was silence in the bedroom. If necessary, Arnold would tiptoe into the bedroom. Hemingway, sitting at his desk, did not seem to notice him and did not say a word. The three waited patiently for the last burst of a typewriter or the sound of a pencil being desperately thrown onto a pile of paper. That's it!He came out to them, powerful, handsome, 40 years old.— Good morning, damn it!They got into the car and drove to where the hills resembled Spain and where on Silver Creek near the town of Picaro there was a resting place for wild ducks flying south, or even further to Gooding, where there were pheasants, or to the farmers' fields to shoot fertile and voracious rabbits . One of the three was driving the car. According to Arnold, Hemingway was the worst driver in the world.Sometimes he told them about his heroes - about the American Robert Jordan and the young Spanish woman Maria, about how he couldn’t figure out the image of Pablo. He told me when he wanted. He did not like questions about his work, they knew and respected this habit, and they were not very interested in this strange work for them. And the silent companion - the 93rd road unfolded an uneven formation of hills in front of them, until they made a left turn onto the rural 23rd, and it rushed like a narrow arrow along old telegraph poles, meandered around some villages and finally led to a low bridge, under which the Silver Stream, shimmering with dark silver, squeezed itself, and then its flow expanded again, embracing a considerable space of islands, branches and creeks.There was silence and solitude all around, tall grass along the banks and yellow daisies. Shots rang out.“They say that Hemingway was clumsy,” Lloyd Arnold grins. “Not with a hunting rifle, he was a damn accurate, fast shooter.” I myself come from a hunting family, from an early age I dealt with weapons, I knew hundreds of hunters, but, to tell the truth, I have never seen anything like this.Returning from the hunt, they sat down in the evening for a hearty dinner with conversation and wine at the Challenger Hotel, and after dinner Hemingway also took them to his Lodge Hotel for a “nightcap” and a last glass before bed.And in the morning, silence and concentrated working loneliness reigned in his bedroom again. Through an effort of will, the writer harnessed talent and labor in search of what he called the fourth dimension, the most reliable truth.“I, who loves only the word and is trying with words and sentences to create something that not a single bomber can destroy, that will remain when we are no longer there and long after that...This is what he said about himself in one of two poems addressed to Mary, written in 1944 and published after his death.A third of For Whom the Bell Tolls was written in Sun Valley. The Big Book went well there, and in front of his three hunting companions, Hemingway called it “our book.” So he was “attached” to Ketchum. And for three Ketchum residents, this whole story began with an order from the boss and ended with male friendship. From Mr. Hemingway he became Ernie for them, and then Dad. In October 1940, when the novel was published, the writer was in Ketchum. Congratulations went there.“If it weren’t for this place, not for you guys, and not for the hunt, I wouldn’t have written the book in a year and a half,” he admitted.Hemingway, Mary says, had the memory of an elephant. He did not forget the new place where he felt good, his Ketchum friends and the surrounding hills, the ducks on Silver Creek, although his favorite home was still Cuba, and he also traveled a lot in Africa and Europe. In 1946-1948, he and his wife lived in rented houses in Ketchum several times. Then there was a break of 10 years, but one of the three, the chief game warden of Sun Valley and passionate fisherman John Williams Taylor, often visited Hemingway in Cuba and upon his return said every time that Dad remembered Ketchum and would like to visit him. In 1958, Tilly and Lloyd Arnold received a letter from Mary. Dad would like to know if the places have changed, if they have become worse. Arnold answered as if in spirit, without the tricks that Hemingway did not tolerate: the places have become more crowded, but the hunt is almost the same, except that you have to work harder.And Hemingway returned to Ketchum in October 1958 and stayed there until March 1959. His work was with him again: he was polishing a book of memories of Paris in the 20s - “A Holiday that is Always With You.” The hunt, he found, was still excellent. And then the writer bought a house and a sage-overgrown plot of land on the hillside beyond the Big Wood River, the most extreme, most reclusive of the Ketchum houses. He celebrated his housewarming in November, spent the Christmas holidays in Ketchum, and left in the bitter cold of January. Returned again with Mary in the fall of 1960.They thought they were settling in permanently. It turned out to be dying.He looked depressed physically and mentally. In bitter moments he said that life had passed and that he had written himself out. The hurried moments happened less frequently, and then he was the Pope they knew in Ketchum, who shot just as accurately and had just as much fun.After some time, he went to a clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Returned at the end of January 1961, wrote and hunted again, and everything seemed to be normal. But in April he again and for a long time went to Rochester for his last treatment.And now his last days have come. On Friday, June 30, he and Mary were brought to Ketchum in a car by George Brown, an old friend, a former professional boxer, and the owner of a gym in New York. The three of them were seen in the town on Saturday. And then Sunday morning. Early. Nobody knows what his last moments were like. Hemingway usually got up at dawn. Mary was still sleeping in the bedroom on the second floor. George Brown is in the guest house in the yard. Behind the massive front door, which opened into a small hallway, was a rack for hunting rifles. From Cuba he brought a twelve-gauge double-barreled shotgun from the English company Scott.A large body collapsed on its back in the small hallway. Suicide or accidental shooting? Where Hemingway is buried, there are no two opinions on this matter. He committed suicide. I didn't ask Mary Hemingway. And in a conversation with me briefly, avoiding this topic, she said:“He shot himself over there.”And she pointed towards the hallway.“The shock was general, but we were not surprised,” Lloyd Arnold told me. “I knew that if the Pope decided to do this, he would do it for sure.”He did it thoroughly, as he liked to do everything.A local sheriff who examined the body concluded that both barrels had been inserted into the mouth. Little remains of the large, gray, beautiful head. He died like a vein, adding two more bullets to half a dozen head wounds, two hundred shrapnel marks, to wounds in the arms, legs and stomach....One of the three Ketchum hunter friends knew the writer for only six weeks. His name was Gene Van Gilder. He died while hunting from an accidental bullet from an inexperienced shooter. “Old bitch” death often walked close to Hemingway, but he too was shocked by the absurd death of a 35-year-old handsome and healthy man whom he had come to love. The widow of the murdered man asked the writer to compose an epitaph. Hemingway did not immediately agree; he was superstitious about this. But he still agreed. On a bronze plaque, already darkened by time, embedded in the gravestone, I saw simple and piercing words: “he returned to the hills that he loved, and now he will be part of them forever.”In 1959, another stone appeared nearby - John Williams Taylor.In 1961 - a large marble slab: Ernest Miller Hemingway.“He returned to the hills he loved, and now he will be a part of them forever.”He seemed to say these words about himself.I came to this house twice. On the northern edge of Ketchum, you turn left from Route 93, the railroad crossing, the Big Wood River Bridge, and the first right. Three poles instead of gates, a gravel track among thick wild grass, a parking area in front of the house, a garage below, and a huge living room window above it.Along the concrete steps to a massive door with a metal ring...With a strange feeling you cross the threshold for the second time, already knowing that behind this door in the last moments of his life, having already said goodbye to it, Hemingway stood, and then, merging into one, two shots thundered, and a large body overturned, and lay dead and lonely until the realization of what had happened burst into this outlying house.As a farewell, I brought a bottle of vodka to Miss Mary - that’s what Hemingway and his friends called his wife, and, knowing this, it was difficult to call the middle-aged but light-as-a-bird woman anything else.“Russian vodka is a little sweet,” said Miss Mary.I didn't agree.“Let’s try a sip,” said Miss Mary. Let's break all the old bourgeois traditions and have a drink in the morning.We broke traditions, and then, with cups of tea in our hands, we went out onto the veranda: And again there was sun and hills, silence, enhanced by the cooing of the river, and the elusive sadness of autumn, which is just around the corner. Miss Mary recalled how beautiful autumn was in East Africa, Spain, and Italy. I thought about Hemingway's Ketchum autumn months...He did not build the houses in which he lived. In Cuba, his home, Villa Finca Vigia, was once a watchtower. The house in Ketchum was built by a millionaire named Topping for his honeymoon with his young wife, from whom he soon separated. Hemingway was attracted by the place. Perhaps what he liked most about this solid concrete house was the huge, frameless windows that let in the surrounding nature.The house had not yet been inhabited; there were almost no material traces of the writer left in it. He liked to work in the bedroom on the second floor, by the south-facing window, where only three old, dull pencils reminded him of Hemingway. The table with the slanted board, at which he wrote while standing, was taken to New York. There is a corner in Miss Mary's bedroom where amateur photographs are pinned directly to the wall: Dad eating from the same dish with his beloved cat; a cheerful, lively man sits at a table in a cramped carriage compartment with his wife and some young man. Miss Mary remembered the day this photograph was taken: it was on that day that the Russians launched their first satellite. In the living room above the fireplace are two pairs of beautiful impala antlers, shot by Hemingway in 1933 in Africa. There are finely tanned skins on the floor. Wooden cabinet made by peasants from Spain. A coffee table with scenes of a bullfight made in glaze based on Goya's drawings.And in the wall near the hallway, as a renunciation of death and painful memories, is the famous portrait of the bearded, young-spirited owner.Hemingway's large library, personal belongings, and a collection of paintings remained in the Cuban villa, which was turned into a museum.-What do you want to talk about? - Mary asked when, after calling me, I arrived for the first time.About what? I was one of those many who, in my youth, went through a passion for Hemingway - even before the time when it became fashionable and portraits of a bearded man with a broad face appeared in abundance on the walls of Moscow small apartments. No, even earlier, like a beautiful young mystery, I was attracted by his famous subtext, his courageous laconicism, called telegraphic style. Sometimes, having closed myself off from my wife and neighbors, I would sit late with my bosom friend in the small kitchen, and, like poetry, we would eagerly read to each other Hemingway’s short stories filled with poetry. No, I was not an indifferent reporter when I came to the place where he took his own life, and I had something to ask his widow about.Miss Mary was not busy that day. I was the first Russian, Soviet guest in Ketchum. We talked for a long time until the last clouds of the day, colored by the setting sun, hung over the hills. They drank tea and even whiskey with ice, walked around the empty house, she as the hostess, and I, as if in a museum, plucked sage stalks in the yard, and Miss Mary slowed down her speech when I did not have time to take notes.Guns were never banished from this hunters' home. The gun lay on the couch in the bedroom. There was some mischief in the area, at a gas station in the center of Ketchum, I myself saw an advertisement promising 5 thousand dollars for help in catching some criminal killer, and Mary Hemingway, the widow of a famous hunter and an experienced shooter herself, was ready for self-defense.They met during the war, in 1944, and soon got married. Is it easy to be the wife of a great writer? Mary Hemingway advised us to remember the life of Sofia Andreevna Tolstoy. Hemingway had his own intimate world of the creator, into which even those closest to him were not allowed. He didn’t even like to talk about his work with his wife. Miss Mary takes a humble place for herself: assistant, gatekeeper. She guarded silence, protected from unceremonious, rude intrusions. Hemingway had a sacred attitude towards writing. And no one can say this better than his books with their courageous rhythm.And outside the desk his soul was wide open. He had a lot of fun, loved all sorts of practical jokes and people with a light heart who exuded the joy of life. He admired Italy and the Italians, and adored the passion for music and dancing inherent in the nature of the Cubans. Miss Mary smiled as she told how they played and fooled each other.But, assessing people, identifying the human essence, the core, Hemingway was passionate and extremely serious, as at his desk.What qualities did he value most in people?“I think that most of all he liked people who have what we call an inner boundary, those people who, even in the face of danger and death, behave so naturally, as if they did not see them. That's why he loved bullfights so much.The second quality is honesty, and here his demand was stricter, more severe than is usually customary. They say: an honest man. But how honest, to what extent? For me, he was the most honest person I knew. Well, of course, if my new dress was praised in front of him, but for some reason he didn’t like it, he could agree out of courtesy. But, with the exception of such small things, he always spoke the truth, saw people clearly, sharply, in the merciless light of the truth. He despised dishonest people. He hated everything false, feigned, ostentatious.Mary remembered the incident with a book about the Second World War by a good American writer, whose last name she did not mention. When advertising the book, the publishers wrote in the annotation that it was superior to War and Peace. Hemingway was furious that the writer allowed his publishers to prostitute the truth: “Next to Tolstoy, he is like a puppy next to a bulldog...”Miss Mary is a living and, in public, easy memory of Hemingway. But not only. A few years before his death, in a handwritten will, the writer made her the sole heir to his fortune - literary and otherwise.Hemingway entered not only American but also world literature with his works, published in millions of copies in dozens of languages. There is a museum of the writer in Cuba, and the widow said that it is well maintained and that the Cuban government treats her well. In the United States, funds for the monument were raised by the Hemingway Memorial Committee, which included his close friends. Not far from Ketchum, near a mountain river north of Sun Valley, a “Memorable Trail” was opened: a bronze bust, forest paths along the winding banks. Hemingway's image will seem to merge with the nature that he loved.Hemingway did not like the name Lloyd, and therefore he nicknamed the photographer and hunter Lloyd Arnold Pappy (Daddy). “Dad and Pappy,” friends in Sun Valley chuckled when they saw them together. Pappy was shorter than Papa and seven years younger. When I met him, he was fifty-nine. A loving smile lit up his face as he began to talk about Dad. It was like an inner smile - his friend came to life in his mind and with him the most interesting time in the life of the unknown photographer Lloyd Arnold. Working at a fashionable resort, he saw a lot of “big people”, but for him they were just shadows next to the “simple giant”I spoke to Lloyd Arnold and his wife Tillyin their house. These are modest people who have nothing to do with literature. Two provincials from poor families. Arnold's father was a worker, Tilly was from a farming family. “If there were no good hunting and good places; he wouldn’t have come here,” they both make a reservation. Only chance brought them together. However, they call him Pope without false familiarity. He was a good friend, more than once he came as a guest to their house, sat in this wide wicker chair, in which they sat me, at this table. And then Tilly was busy in the kitchen, the food was not God knows how fancy, but tasty and healthy, and there was wine, and fellow hunters, and Dad kept telling funny stories, they laughed until they cried. On frosty days, they sometimes went out into the yard and shot at clay plates there, and Pappy, I must admit, never managed to beat Papa, although it happened that they walked evenly.On the bookshelf in their home are books by Hemingway with autographs: “Pappy and Tilly with much love” and with a playful signature: “Dr. Hemingstein.”They were up at seven that Sunday morning in July, going to visit Papa and Miss Mary. And suddenly a phone call: Hemingway shot himself. When they arrived, the body had already been taken away. Lloyd and Tilly repeated: “If the Pope decided to do it, he would have done it for sure, he could not be stopped.”Memories remained, and while collecting them, Lloyd Arnold, a retired resort photographer, was writing a book about Hemingway in Ketchum and willingly told a visiting Russian journalist about “a very, very good man,” about “kind and gentle,” about “a brtgliant with fifty-six edges."A simple man, he remembered that Hemingway loved simple things and simple people. He became friendly with his sick father, an old worker, the head of a family where the only luxury was hunting rifles. He was a “great man of habit”: he started every hunting season in the same place, after the first hunt he dined with the same farmer, he wore out his leather hunting jacket to holes and pinned it together, not wanting to get a new one. He was also tough and could not stand careless shooters and careless handling of weapons. Life magazine once scolded him: having published a photograph of Hemingway, the magazine reported that he hunted for 10 days in a row and during all this time he never missed. They were disgraced, the Pope lamented, any hunter will say that this is a lie.“We had the relationship of hunters, not writers,” Lloyd Arnold again stated. “But sometimes Dad shared his thoughts about literature.” You have to write as you say,” in short, he explained. Even the most difficult things can be expressed briefly. After all, the English language has only five vowels, and they give it all its music. Use your tongue just as sparingly.There are three dimensions in the physical world, Hemingway liked to repeat, and the writer’s task is to get as close as possible to the fourth. He believed that in the story “The Old Man and the Sea” he came closer to this goal than anywhere else...From Haley Airfield I got to Ketchum in a black, antediluvian, but still running fast taxi. In the back seat were two bags of mail and parts for a gas station, delivered by the plane on which I had arrived. I have never seen such taxi drivers in New York. The gray-haired woman with glasses sitting behind the steering wheel looked more like a stay-at-home grandmother. Her name was Lorita Maddix, or simply Rita.For the sake of Hemingway, I spent an hour and a half hovering over the mountains in an old air tarantass and immediately attacked the first local resident with questions about him. It turned out that Rita and her husband, the owners of the only taxi in the area, knew Mr. Hemingway. The funeral was “quiet,” I learned. The Madixes were among the fifty invited, and Rita kept the invitation to the funeral as a “souvenir”. Having found out where I came from and flew to her region with a purpose, the old taxi driver spared no time, immediately took me to the cemetery and at the same time showed me where Hemingway’s house was and where the house of Lloyd Arnold, his friend, was.“He was a very nice man,” she said. “A friend to everyone.” It didn't matter to him whether you were poor or rich.I asked if she had read Hemingway's books, Rita answered evasively. Yes, Miss Mary gave the writer. to her “A Holiday that is Always with You” - the writer’s posthumous book. From the evasiveness of the answer, I guessed that this woman, who spent 16-18 hours a day tending her old black car-nurse, had not read the gifted book.After spending three days in tiny Ketchum, I discovered that everyone personally knew or at least saw Hemingway, met him on the street, greeted him, respected his right to privacy, and considered him a pleasant person. And almost no one read his books.The waitress at the Chateau cafe, serving me boiled “rainbow” trout, said with surprise and reproach for some reason in a whisper:  -You would never believe that he writes books. He looked like a tramp.She had not read Hemingway either, but in her simplicity she believed that books were written by important-looking people, gentlemen in tuxedos.I spoke with the manager of the Alpine Villa Motel where I was staying, with the bartender who boasted, presumably for publicity purposes, that Hemingway came to see him two or three times a week; with the saleswoman at a gift shop that sells wide-brimmed Western hats, patterned cowboy belts and ankle boots, colorful postcards celebrating the summer and winter beauty of Sun Valley, and brochures about Ketchum from the "wagon days"; with a garage worker; with the kid from Haley Airport; with the resort's sports instructor. Only the instructor read Hemingway, and the airfield boy patted the classic on the shoulder in absentia: “He was a good writer.”  At the local pharmacy, which also sells books, I looked through the entire standard detective, sexy set on a rotating rack. Hemingway was not there. I don’t believe it, I asked the seller. He confirmed: in fact, they did not keep Hemingway’s books.When I told Mary Hemingway about my research, she jokingly replied that she respected the freedom of her countrymen, even if they chose the freedom to be stupid. Seriously added:— Most Americans are not educated enough to read good books. I'm sure that in half of the houses here you won't find a single book at all.Ketchum both lived and lives as a resort, and not in the memory of its temporary great resident. They complain about the rains, which have reduced the influx of guests. They are catching trout. They shoot the ducks that have gathered to the south again. They drink beer in bars where the regulars know each other and call out in a friendly manner: Hi, John! Hey Sally! Cars park diagonally at the edges of the sidewalks. A rain-soaked road sign lures vacationers south to the Harold's Gambling Club in the Nevada city of Reno, promising "more fun than anywhere."By evening, Main Street is dying out. It's only at the Conoco gas station that Lorita Maddix waits patiently for the shuttle bus from Twins Falls, hoping it will give her passengers. Yes, the doors of the bars slam, and along with the dashing sounds of jazz coming from the music boxes, swaying guys burst out of the doors onto the street, somewhat similar to the heroes of early Hemingway stories.During the day, cars occasionally turn off Road 93 and rustle along the gravel of the road, which cuts a small cemetery in a semicircle, where there is room for the dead, and stop for a minute or two at the most noticeable gray marble slab. An American values time and convenience and does not like to part with his car, so this is the road to the Ketchum cemetery, although you can get around it on foot in about five minutes.STEINBECK'S HOUSEJohn Steinbeck admired those reporters who, finding themselves in an unfamiliar place, would talk to the key people, ask the key questions, take the public pulse and then, without hesitation, as if on a road map, unfold life in their report. In this admiration is the mockery of the artist, who poses a more difficult task - not of schematization, but of recreating living life. "I envy. this technique and at the same time I don’t trust it as a mirror of reality,” he wrote, “I feel that there are too many realities... Our morning eyes see a different world than our daytime eyes and, of course, our tired evening eyes can to tell only about the tired evening world.”I once visited Steinbeck at home in New York, asked him questions that I considered key, tried to feel his pulse, but I left without confidence, with doubts and the feeling that there was no way to quickly take and master the vast territory of the writer’s personality and the world. created by him, seen with morning, evening and various other eyes. And now I’m not thinking about a road map for traveling through this territory, but about adding to my notes the impression of one New Yorker...I was woken up by a telephone call from the editorial office and demanded to immediately contact John Steinbeck and ask him for clarification regarding the letters that the American Embassy in Moscow sent on his behalf to Soviet writers, including for some reason those whom he had not met in his trip around the Soviet Union, but to whom he addressed in letters as good friends. The call came late in the August night at a dacha in the town of Bayville near New York, where we shared a two-story house with an American, a mechanic by profession, who often and loudly quarreled with his wife (once it even came to the point of shots being fired, but, judging by the fact that in the morning they went out to their cars alive and well, they turned out to be unimportant marksmen). I didn’t know Steinbeck’s phone number, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have woken him up at three in the morning, and to the urgent, fire, emergency request that brought the whole house to its feet, including armed neighbors, I responded over the transatlantic cable with approximately the same words that were probably the writer himself would have responded - in English - if I had managed to contact him at this hour. But the editors are right even when they forget about the time difference, and the morning is wiser than the evening both in Moscow and in New York, and therefore in the morning, repenting of my nightly fervor, I got down to business. I got through to Steinbeck's secretary, found out that he was not and would not be in New York for a long time, but she contacted him, and he soon gave clarifications, first verbally through the secretary, and then in a letter to Moscow, in which he apologized for the misunderstanding that had occurred. (as expected, the embassy overdid it, doing its business by sending out Steinbeck’s letters to the list of the Writers’ Union) and asked again to “gather the fat man Humpty-Dumpty into a single whole.” The fat man was collected. I was promised an interview, and less than eight months after the August night, cut by a long telephone trill, I met with him, having managed to understand that Steinbeck does not favor correspondents and does not encourage their idle curiosity.He lived in a cooperative house; a familiar concept with unfamiliar content, for the reader would be mistaken if, in the image and likeness of the Moscow one, he imagines a New York cooperative building, where apartments cost many tens and even hundreds of thousands and can occupy entire floors. The new, 35-story building was called the East Tower and was located on the other side of Central Park from our Riverside Drive, on the noisy corner of Third Avenue and 72nd Street. I drove past it more than once, not imagining what kind of tenant might glance at my Chevrolet. Before East Tower, Steinbeck lived for a long time nearby in his own small town house. His two sons grew up there and, having grown up, separated. Maintaining his own house was becoming more and more troublesome, leaving it was becoming more and more dangerous, but every summer he and his wife left near New York for Long Island, beloved by New Yorkers, where there was another house by the ocean, a yacht and fishing. I had to sell the old house and rise above it by buying a cooperative apartment on the penultimate floor of a grey-glass, spectacular, new tower.It was there that I arrived on the appointed day, worrying as a person can worry, also related to the word, albeit in a different language, before meeting with the world famous writer, crowned with Nobel laurels, the only living classic after the suicide of Hemingway and the death of Faulkner American literature, and so on and so forth. On the way, I stopped by several stores to stock up on his autograph books and once again see how popular and recognized he is. I'm convinced. In bookstores his books were prominently displayed, and even in the drug store near the East Tower, where bestsellers of no more than fifty titles were displayed on revolving shelves in paper bindings, I found famous essays about his last journey, together with his French poodle Charlie Steinbeck's America, which he rediscovered already in adulthood, at the first approach to old age - a yellow book with the subtitle "In Search of America", with a picture of him and his four-legged companion, alone on a small hillock, among the vast prairies with mountain folds on on the horizon, and with a red stamp on top: “National Best Seller N1, Now Only 75 Cents.” Steinbeck's essays, which began with a repentant confession that he, an American writer, had not felt his country for 25 years and wrote about America from memory while living in America, were included in the mandatory assortment - like Colgate toothpaste, Gillette razors, aspirin Beyer company.After buying a national bestseller and crossing the road, I entered the glass door and found myself at the East Tower security checkpoint, to its doormen, who. With their black tailcoats and important “gait, they resembled opera singers, but their vigilance was not inferior to customs officers and border guards. The two worlds were very close, like other countless and contrasting New York worlds - the cent public democracy of the drug store and the home of the rich, protected from unwanted intrusions, where, among the rich, lived a writer of a democratic, popular type, clinging to ordinary people and who chose them as his heroes. I was immediately detained at the glass doors, like an unfamiliar, unverified person, but I foresaw this kind of complications and therefore came early so as not to waste the pre-agreed, meagerly measured time - only half an hour. Using the internal telephone, one of the black-tailed gatekeepers tried to contact the apartment - and received no answer. Then, without letting me in, they sat me down on the sofa in the impressively cozy hall that looked like a winter garden - in full view so that I wouldn’t break through to the elevators without permission. I sat and saw how our own people passed by without reporting and how the gatekeepers respectfully greeted them. John Steinbeck was not a recognized writer, not the pride of American culture and a living national treasure, but a tenant, like everyone else, a member of a cooperative, and it was not talent that was his main property, but wealth, which made him equal to other members, moreover, it seemed to raise him to their level, and only in this capacity, without sentimentality and literary commitments, was he perceived, honored and protected by the servants at the door.Meanwhile, time was running out, I was nervous and protested, but Mr. Steinbeck’s apartment continued to be silent, not answering calls from the internal telephone. Finally, yielding to my persistence, the eldest of the porters made up his mind. I was let into the elevator, in solemn silence the elder and I ascended to the 34th floor, and he was the first to march to the door at the end of the corridor. The elevator operator did not leave, he was waiting for his comrade, exiting the elevator and looking after us, ready to come to his aid if something happened. The elder called, respectfully and timidly touching the mother-of-pearl button. There was some noise behind the door, but no one was in a hurry to open it. He once again touched the bell button with his finger and, bending his tail-clad body, carefully pressed his ear to the door so that he could pull back in time if they didn’t open it. Again there was no answer, and the same result after the third call. Having slurped lightly, we were already moving back to the elevator, when suddenly the door opened, and a plump black woman appeared in it with a trash can in her hands. We have returned. The owner was at home, and she, working as a vacuum cleaner, did not hear our timid calls.The living room was visible from the hallway, and through the large windows a spacious and uncluttered sky, rare for New York, flowed in, breathing the beginning of March. The owner came out, greeted him rather dryly and somehow looked at the guest not very friendly before inviting him into the office. He was tall, although 6 feet is the norm, and somewhat stooped at over 60 years of age. The scraper of years and a restless life ran horizontal wrinkles across his forehead and vertical lines along his cheeks—brown and sagging, and once red, inherited from his Irish mother. The remnants of his hair stood up unruly at the back of his head, and his rough, unkempt beard looked like the stubble of a man who had not shaved for a long time. Eyes are the mirror of the soul. If so, then his eyes could not be compared to an unclouded mirror. These were the polysyllabic eyes of a seasoned man, inquisitively absorbing the world, seeing a lot, asking the brain a lot of work and reflecting it.On the 34th floor it was simpler and more complex than on the first, among the monumental doormen, reminiscent of border guards and opera houses. singers Simple clothes: cotton trousers, a cowboy shirt, slippers, a rough face, stubble of a beard - nothing from an intellectual except the expression in his eyes. He had the appearance of a tramp. “Once a tramp, a tramp for life,” he wrote about himself, laughing; not intending to give up his youth and knowing the value of his vagrancy.He greeted me coldly, and in the office, like a friend, he immediately asked: “Would you like a drink?” Interviews rarely started like that. “As you wish,” I tried to dodge the unexpected proposal. “Not as I please, but as you please,” he retorted in a hoarse patter, and I did not notice the playful intonation in his voice. American automatic courtesy was completely absent from him. He was faster. angular and rude, and his hoarse, inarticulate tongue twister offended a person who did not care whether he was understood or not. Then I was consoled by learning that my wife did not always understand him and often complained about the muttering of her famous husband, who valued intelligibility more in the written word than in the spoken word.While the owner was preparing whiskey and soda in the living room, the guest was looking at the office. It was simple and uncluttered with furniture. Old lithographs of cityscapes line the walls, with a portrait of President Lincoln prominently displayed, framed by a diploma for the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award, which the American president bestows on about a dozen distinguished compatriots each year. The diploma was a sign of recognition of John Steinbeck by that America, which is called official, or ruling. The microscope on the table by the window was puzzling, but the nerve center of this small room was clearly in the corner, where on a low table stood an electric typewriter and in front of it a light green wide chair with a high back thrown back. Near the typewriter, a meager and mute witness to the silent, lonely work, lay a stack of long, lined yellow sheets, and the top one was completely covered with handwriting that seemed too clear for an elderly man who writes a lot.Having brought a glass of whiskey, Steinbeck wearily sank into a wide, soft chair, rubbed his forehead with his fingers, restlessly touched the yellow sheets, reached for a cigar as thin as a cigarette, and flicked the lighter. He stood up again and moved around the room with a swaying gait, looking for something. His hands wavered and moved strangely, and he was all restless, like a man who had not yet emerged from a state of self-absorption and had not cooled down from the tension of work, which he had to interrupt once again without finishing.“I’m always losing my glasses,” he muttered. The glasses were found next to the typewriter and the manuscript. He put on glasses with double lenses, in which the outer glasses rose and the wings hung over the inner ones, and in the glasses he looked like a craftsman engaged in precise, filigree work that required patience and art - a watchmaker, a jeweler.Yes, it was easier and more difficult on the 34th floor than on the first floor, than in the bookstores, where I easily stocked up on his autograph books. There on the shelves and racks were the finished products of the Nobel laureate, and the demand for it was supposed to be satisfied as uninterruptedly as for everyday items produced on the assembly lines of corporations known throughout America. Here, in the silence of a high-rise apartment, where the noise of the city did not reach, fading below, where the vacuum cleaner hummed in the hands of a housekeeper, there was no conveyor belt, there was no continuous production, but there was a single artisan, an elderly gloomy man, like a convict in the galleys, chained to paper, a ballpoint pencil and a typewriter, and his calling was to again and again confirm to the reader and himself the title of a world-famous writer, and no one could help him with this, although his young, bright years were behind him, his strength was diminishing, With age comes fatigue.Here, in the morning, another invisible battle was playing out for the word that creates pictures of the world. What is the count for more than 30 years? Victory or defeat? The text lay neatly on the table, without marks. Before my arrival, returning to it again, he retyped it on a typewriter.Are you tired? Yes. Didn't hide it. And when, having softened the initial inhospitability, he admitted to me, a stranger, that he did this every day in the morning, there was fatigue and bitterness in his words, but also the tenacity of a worker who does not indulge himself. Not without pride, Steinbeck spoke about the difficulty of writing, with mockery about brilliant amateur amateurs who “know everything,” and in his sarcasm one could hear echoes of some American literary disputes and accounts unknown to me.What was he working on? Rough and prickly on all sides, Steinbeck branded not only amateurs, but also talkative writers: whoever talks a lot will write little. But that day he changed his rule of keeping silent about unfinished work, because the thing he was working on was almost two-thirds written and was quickly coming to an end. He called this thing a “zoological” essay about Americans. The idea was born from his longtime publisher, who planned to release a large album of photographs of outstanding American photographers: America and its nature, Americans, the fruits of their labor, their morals. But even the most beautiful photographs are still dead; as Steinbeck put it, “you can’t even look into the brain of a photographed bug.” And the participation of a famous writer will increase the commercial success of the album. He was offered, and he agreed, to accompany the photographs with text - not with captions and explanations, but with an independent, extensive essay in which he would once again express what he thinks about America and Americans.“This book is about Americans as a people different from other peoples,” Steinbeck said. “What traits can be called purely American?” Imagine that you are writing about the Russians, trying to analyze them, and not only analyze them, but also explain them to others... As a nation, we have existed for almost two hundred years, and as a group of people living in one area, for about three hundred and fifty. During this time, we began to resemble each other, a breed was created, so to speak, different from others... For example, I, an American, come to Italy and live there. I’m wearing a suit made by an Italian tailor from English wool, a French shirt and tie, and let’s even say that my grandfather came to America from Italy. However, they immediately recognize me as an American. Why? Why won’t anyone confuse an American Negro who came to Africa with an African Negro? And the same story happens to a Japanese American who ends up in Japan. what do they have in common?.. I want to talk about Americans with an open mind without drawing conclusions, although in the end a trend should emerge. I do not like generalizations and see my goal in accuracy and specificity, I do not claim depth and do not offer medicines for the treatment of our diseases, although correct observations are medicines in themselves.Either because a foreign journalist was sitting in front of him, who had come to ask him about America, or because the topic occupied him, he added:— It seems to me that the feelings that foreigners have towards Americans are more like complaints. The impressions of outsiders are not what Americans really are...It was the spring of 1965, the anti-war movement had not yet acquired its maximum strength and scale, but America was restless, it was torn into parts, into two camps by the struggle of black Americans for civil rights. As a correspondent, preoccupied with current events and the topic of the day, I found it untimely, unforgivably academic, to seek community at a time when the nation is so openly divided. But I was aware of the great difference between us. It is one thing to be a correspondent, and a foreign one at that, with only three years of experience in his personal discoveries of America, and quite another to be an American writer, one of the authoritative spokesmen of his nation. Of course, he sees it differently; he lives and works in a much wider, historical range, and isn’t the subject of his search legitimate in the years of the next American turmoil - national character? After all, its features are the same among different people from different divided social and racial groups. After all, blacks, like their white allies, fought for justice with the same American tenacity with which Alabama racists defended the unequal status quo. It was in conditions of growing disunity that the process of self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-criticism developed more strongly, and, obviously, Steinbeck’s new work was inspired by this active and contradictory process. The writer was absorbed in his country, said that he wanted to “live at home”, that he avoided any trips abroad.The phone call they were expecting never came. The wife was away and flew to Texas for the funeral of a relative. The housekeeper left after cleaning the apartment. We were left alone, no one disturbed us, we talked for a long time.An apartment in the center of Manhattan, and even on the penultimate floor of the East Tower, must have been expensive (the American principle is the higher, the more expensive), but it was not that big. The owner showed it: a living room, a bedroom, a second office, very tiny. On the windowsills there were many pots with flowers and dwarf plants - New Zealand palm, American oak, and tiny Siberian pine. A special lamp provided light and warmth to the tender green grass, which he carefully tended. Touching the dark, oily earth raised in the sky with his fingers, Steinbeck said: “I grew up on the earth and feel unhappy when I don’t put my hands in it.”But the main charm of this apartment was the views from the windows on three sides of the world - east, south and west. Almost all of New York lay before us - the East River and the huge bridges spanning it with their old-fashioned beauty and architectural excesses, the skyscraper cliffs of Middletown and Downtown, and even the Hudson, and beyond it the state of New Jersey, buried in haze.It was getting dark. The sky thickened and darkened, giving off the blue of the day; twilight was born on earth and began to ascend through the floors, and, meeting them, the lights of the big city lit up higher and higher.Steinbeck said how he loved the poetry of New York evenings: listening to music and, without turning on the electricity, from the windows of a dark apartment admiring the hypnotic play of light in the houses and on the streets. Now he seemed to have relieved the stress of work, relaxed and softened, even his tongue twister became slower and clearer.Evening shadows were creeping into the living room, but we sat in the darkness, not wanting to part with the passing spring day and looking at the evening approaching the windows.The topic of conversation remained the same - America and how he sees it. He expressed judgments, simple and weighty, about the growing complexity of life, about the fact that man is in anxiety, cut off from nature, finding himself in a frightening dependence on things and phenomena beyond his control, often incomprehensible. A cabbage farmer stands stronger on the ground because he relies on his hands and efforts. And a city steak lover can die of hunger in the midst of first-class walking meat - he does not know how to slaughter and butcher a bull. A nation of motorists, but the engine malfunctions - and the American stands in front of the raised hood, confused and helpless.“I know how to fix a car and how to deal with a bull,” Steinbeck seemed to fence himself off from these anxieties, asserting his ability to be a real man and an experienced person, his ability to withstand the pressure of powerful forces and protect individuality in a country that, as he put it, is heading towards assembly line production and human souls.But he loved his country and it was by right of love that he spoke about its troubles to a Soviet correspondent. I didn’t agree with him on everything, but I didn’t dare argue with Steinbeck about America. I came not to argue, but to listen to him, and, in addition, I was kept from arguing by his words that the feelings of foreigners regarding America are like complaints. He seemed to warn that he did not want such complaints - I did without them.And I would have concealed a lot if, in talking about this meeting, I had not recalled to the point what is sometimes tiresome to remind, but which must always be kept in mind for the sake of truth: between us there stood and did not melt a wall - an invisible ideological wall, which each of knows, feels, feels Soviet people who lived in America in almost every experience of communicating with Americans. The wall can be lower or higher, depending on the interlocutor, and to some extent, on the topic of the conversation. With John Steinbeck, I have to admit, it was a high wall. Despite critical words about his country, he was a staunch supporter of the American socio-political system, and on the other hand, he did not at all sympathize with the Soviet system, although he wanted good relations between his country and ours. It seemed that there, on the 34th floor of the East Tower, we got along with each other, even got slightly used to each other, but again I would have concealed a lot if I had not said that wariness and mistrust never left his gaze, in which read with more or less clarity: here you are sitting here, a “red” propagandist, all your attention and nodding your head in agreement, and then, probably, you won’t be able to resist, you will clip and pull out the necessary quotes from my words and not say a word that, even While we agreed, we disagreed because we see the same thing from different points of view...And so we sat, talked - out loud and to ourselves, and finally admired from the windows the electronic neon extravaganza of evening New York. It had already captured all of Manhattan, right up to the roofs of skyscrapers that reached up into the now completely dark sky. Directly below us, car headlights flooded Third Avenue with a damn beautiful river of light...Steinbeck turned on the light, extinguishing the charm of the evening. I took the hint - it was time to say goodbye and leave.  Seeing me off, he opened the apartment door. Tossed by the elevator operator as news of the passing day, a fresh newspaper lay at the door. A big black headline screamed across the front page about a new American air raid on North Vietnam; they then became systematic, and each one caused a strong reaction. We exchanged our last words - and the wall between us jumped even higher. In my opinion, John Steinbeck was too complacent about what the Americans did in Vietnam. “I don’t believe in a black-or-white approach,” he said, emphasizing the undertones and refusing to condemn the bombings...He died three years later, in 1968, leaving his books to readers, and to literary scholars, whom he could not stand, the task of dissecting his life and literary work. We never met again, and soon after that meeting I went home on another vacation , taking with him the image of a gloomy, strong and tired inhabitant of the East Tower, protected him in every possible way in Moscow, transported him to the Kislovodsk sanatorium and there, fearing that he would be forgotten, spilled and completely faded on health paths and on excursions, with difficulty , shreddedly, not as I would have liked, he fixed it on paper and dictated it from the cab of a long-distance telephone to the Izvestia stenographer.It was in vain that I was in a hurry, spending my vacation time on work—the material was not published. My attempts to break through it were unsuccessful, neither immediately nor afterwards. It was felt that the final alarming note was dissonant with those very definite positive ideas about John Steinbeck that we had managed to form. His reputation was guarded more jealously here than in America and than he himself. But then something happened that, fortunately and unfortunately, happens to living people. To spite the zealots, Steinbeck himself took care of amends to his reputation, going to South Vietnam at the end of 1966 in order - without any halftones - with reports sent from there to the Long Island newspaper Newsday, to glorify the American military, and, moreover, at gunpoint cameras to shoot from a 105-mm howitzer towards the partisans, calling them the “gangster mafia,” and take the cartridge case as a souvenir, and commit other defiantly, tantalizingly chauvinistic acts that caused sharp protests from the progressive and liberal-intelligent anti-war America, whose, in his words, “dirty clothes and dirty minds” caused him to “shiver with shame”: He was always frank and here he did not betray himself, turning white into black and black into white. And then I returned to Steinbeck, writing the correspondence “A Pen Given to the Pentagon”, it was immediately published, as were the materials of my colleagues on the same topic.Meanwhile, shortly before his scandalous trip to Vietnam, the Viking Press publishing house published the very photo album that he told me about, and there was an essay “America and the Americans,” which turned out to be his last major work. The essay did not make much of a solid impression, but it contained strong, precise, expressive phrases that vividly revived in me the image of a seasoned, complex and somewhat bitter person. I remembered the conversation with him, having read on the first page how he angrily and without bothering with evidence rejected everything - ancient and current writings about America by foreign authors and - as if they were the ones who prevented him from doing this, as if he was doing it contrary to them, he proclaimed his love for his country - “complex, paradoxical, reckless, shy, cruel, noisy, incredibly expensive and very beautiful.”His “zoological” method turned out to be rather paradoxical. The essay, like a hedgehog in needles, was dressed in paradoxes, but they not only pricked. With paradoxes, he tried to embrace, hook and convey the moving extremes of American life, its dialectics. These were harsh paradoxes, riddled with anxiety and pain, and in comparison with them, the hated complaints of foreigners about America sounded like sweet chants. It was as if he felt that life was leaving him, but even before he parted with it, what was dear to him was leaving his country.A few paragraphs so as not to be unfounded.  “We spend our lives seeking security and confidence in the future, and once we get it, we hate it. For the most part, we are unbalanced people: we eat too much when we can, drink too much and cannot control anything. We are unbalanced even in our so-called virtues. A teetotaler is not content with not drinking; he must ensure that the whole world becomes sober. Vegetarians in our country are ready to outlaw all consumption of meat. We overexert ourselves in our work, and many die from nervous tension, and yet, in order to make up for lost time, we also play with violence, which is as suicidal as hard work. As a result, we are always in a state of confusion, both physical and spiritual. We believe that our government is weak, stupid, meddling, dishonest and stupid, and at the same time we are deeply convinced that it is the best government in the world, and would like to impose it on everyone.    Americans overindulge their children and don't love them; in turn, children are overly dependent on their parents and are full of hatred towards them. Americans are very kind, hospitable and open when welcoming guests and strangers, and yet they will not approach a person dying on the pavement, lest they become involved. Fortunes are spent plucking cats from trees and dogs from sewer pipes, but a girl calling for help on the street is met only by locked doors, closed windows and silence.It seems that Americans live, breathe and act in paradoxes, but in nothing else are we more paradoxical than in our passionate belief in our myths...”And so on. The fact that the land was raped like invaders in the ruthless 19th century and the violence continues in the second half of the 20th century. About the traps of things and the fact that pleasures have been replaced by shocks, and all that remains of love is one word, perverted and mutilated. About the fact that the American is afraid of age, and his children are even more afraid of his aging. About the excess of widows as a sad consequence of a lifestyle in which husbands, especially in the business world, die earlier - victims of nervous tension. About the epidemics of not only sleeping pills, but also various invigorating pills, with which an insecure person creates a second, falsely cheerful “I”. About the struggle of everyone against everyone and everyone against everyone... And the like. Right down to the prophecy, more gloomy than comforting, at the end: “Why have we found ourselves on the verge of spiritual and, therefore, nervous collapse? I think because we have reached the end of the road and have found no new path to follow, no duty, no goal. I think we will find a road to the future, but we don’t yet know what its direction will be... The road must have a direction, there must be a goal - and the journey must be filled with the joy of anticipation, for if today’s boy hates the world, then he creates the world , full of hatred, and then will destroy him, as well as himself.”This is how he saw his country with his evening eyes. And so paradoxical was the love for her - this lover of paradoxes - strong, demanding, keen-sighted and blind (it seems that a kind of blindness led him to Vietnam; he did not want to offend his native American guys, dressed in military uniforms, participating in an unpopular war and rejected by many in their own country).Why did this fierce critic deny the right of criticism to foreigners? How can we explain this, another one of his paradoxes? Probably the same thing - love. He did not accept criticism from foreigners because, in his opinion, it lacked the main love for America. That love, the expression of which was his own, not shy in expression - cool.GRAND CANYONAND JACK COOKEREvery time you get lost in front of the miracle of an ordinary birch grove, which turns white before you with its trunks emitting an indescribable light. But this is a dear and sweet miracle. How can we talk about the great phenomenon of the Grand Canyon? How to describe this piece of the universe, this mountain range, on the contrary, opening up the earth, this result of the work of the devilishly stubborn Colorado River, which for millions of years made its way among the slowly rising plateau, piercing it deeper and deeper, pushing it wider and wider, fancifully transforming it in union with winds, rains and frosts until it turned out, the Grand Canyon, the most majestic in the world, one and a half kilometers deep and 6 to 23 kilometers wide.You look into it as if into an abyss. You see the lower layer of dark rocks, at the foot of which, in the very depths, the Colorado River glows as a barely visible, narrow and seemingly motionless emerald strip. Above the dark lower rocks are plateaus, cut by gorges, rising up with pristine architecture of nature, fantastic temples, mausoleums, sphinxes made of reddish sandstone. Extraordinary, wild beauty. Wanting to tame and hobble it, people took names for it from their man-made world - the temples of Buddha, Ra, Zarathustra, the Pyramid of Cheops, although this elemental architecture is much more ancient than human architecture.  Above the temples and pyramids is the opposite far bank, flat as a table, the northern edge of the canyon...The canyon is a matter of imagination. These are panoramas and mood. Memories and sadness. Your own life, which you took with you here to mark eternity for a day and a half. The canyon is a bird flying nearby with a whistle, aiming not for height, but for depth. This is the music of the wind on the cliff, also flowing down. At night there is pitch darkness, there is no light in the sky and the bottomless space lying under your feet is blacker than the sky...But it was not yet night, but the beginning of evening with smoky lilac shadows flowing in the canyon. I walked toward the Hopi House, following the notices posted in the lobby of the Bright Angel Hotel. The announcements announced that every evening, from half past five to six, the centuries-old indigenous inhabitants of the Grand Canyon, the Hopi Indians, would show the white people who came to admire the canyon their traditional ancient dances in authentic Indian clothing. Free and in authentic clothes. No cheating. These were the main enticing words.  I guessed that I wouldn’t see anything good or genuine, that there would be a cheap circus, a humiliating spectacle of Indians extracting handouts from a white man. Was it worth going? I was going on a date - to Arizona, to the Indians.I was late... The drum was already sounding dullly, quietly, and in time with it there was a low-voiced cry: “Yaha-yaha-ha...”The platform was solid, asphalted, square. Behind it, on the other side, is some small store-type building - the “Hopi House”? Tourists with cameras and movie cameras crowded around the platform. The crowd stood densely, in several rows, children were let forward so that they could better see the Indians, and belated photographers and film enthusiasts ran from place to place, looking for a point to shoot, in a hurry, afraid of missing the best, most spectacular shot.And towering above the public, on the main platform, as if on a place of execution without an executioner, two young Indians and one middle-aged Indian woman were already stomping around. The dancing men were wearing soft moccasins trimmed with fur. Their legs to the knees and above were secured with rawhide belts, on which silver bells were hung in several rows. Square capes covered their Indian loins in front and behind, and it all looked authentic and natural, without deception, and only a careful look revealed that under the capes, fluttering with the movements of the dancers, ordinary American swimming trunks with a left back pocket fastened with a button were blue— from the nearest department store or drugstore, and the moccasins were worn with thick white cotton socks, which are loved by Americans, especially from the provinces. Blue swimming trunks and white cotton socks cast a shadow on the completeness and authenticity of the Indian clothing of the dancers, but what kind of pettiness, what kind of nit-picking? But on their heads, clearly not from a department store, black and white fluffy feathers of Indian headdresses stuck out, and their cheeks were painted with some kind of stripes radiating from the bridge of the nose.This is how they looked, having gathered a considerable crowd of onlookers. Stocky. Short. The bellies and breasts of the dancers, barely covered by anything, were dark, with fat, and folds of skin bulged over their swimming trunks and over the ropes that fastened the square capes to their hips. The men were inactive for dancers, and the woman was completely fat, small, bow-legged, and ugly. Her boots were higher, and in general she covered herself more thoroughly and warmly - it was getting cooler in the evening; although it is south, it is only the beginning of April and the altitude above sea level is more than 2 kilometers.This is how another meeting of mine with the Indians took place. This time they did not cry, but danced. Or rather, they pretended to be a tan. kiss. They stamped their feet lazily, ineptly and reluctantly, as if the spectators had to be content with the mere spectacle of authentic Indians in authentic clothes on this platform. And their heads were not proudly raised in the excitement of the dance, and their eyes did not sparkle, but were lowered down, and these hiding eyes said that, although they were engaged in this activity every evening, they could not get used to it, they knew that it was disgusting, that they come to look at them like animals in a circus.Evening, like a curtain, was slowly falling over the great stage of the Grand Canyon, and this great stage was their homeland, and they undignifiedly ended another day, lazily buffoonering on their platform near the Hopi House. Thus the secret philosophical meaning of this pathetic Indian dance was revealed to me. Eyes down, and no smiles for you. And shortness of breath. And keep it short, keep it short and quickly - and out of sight.In a quarter of an hour they performed three dances. Soon after the first dance they appeared in new feathers, announcing the "dance of the eagles". Already without the woman, there are feathers not only on the head, but also on the legs, and on the arms - a funny resemblance to wings. Of course, they never took off, these “eagles”. They were seen off with thin claps, when, flapping their amusing wings, they went off to change their plumage once again; and I saw an old white American woman (who apparently managed the dancers and a commercial establishment called the Hopi House), folding her wings and hiding them in a closet so that some overly active lover of authentic Indian souvenirs would not be flattered by them.The Indian woman, no longer dancing, appeared on the platform, bowing to the audience, and placed wicker plates along its edge, on a low stone barrier, for monetary offerings. It felt like the finale was approaching. And in fact, two of her comrades again climbed onto the stage, fully feathered, adding red feathers to the black and white ones on their heads, and stamped their feet in soft moccasins vigorously, trying to stir up and make the disappointed audience pay up. And the audience clapped at the curtain and threw American quarters and dimes into wicker plates. Someone didn’t spare the green piece of paper, pressing it down with small change so that the wind wouldn’t pick it up and carry it into the abyss of the canyon...As the spectators were leaving, a new bus with tourists arrived at the Hopi House. Another group of tireless old men and women got out, and for the new arrivals another session was announced - the same three dances with a flood, a change of feathers and wings, and the same short reminder that monetary rewards for free Indian amateur performances would be accepted with great gratitude.I met an ugly, hook-nosed dancer later in the bar of the Bright Angel Hotel. She sat in the corner, from where she could view the visitors, alone, with a bottle of beer...I have never been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where people descend on foot or by mule; I have never approached the bed of the Colorado, and I have not seen from below, with my head thrown back, what work this river has done over the millions of years allotted to it. I had no time. Checked in - and further. Saturday - for moving from New York to the outback, Sunday - for worshiping the Grand Canyon, and work - time, fun - an hour, even on the road, the work week begins on Monday, it hurries and drives on...The Continental Trailways bus was leaving for Flagstaff from the Bright Angel Hotel. The driver, who resembled President Truman with his lipless mouth and thin, predatory nose, stood at the open door and loudly hurried the passengers: —  Last call! Last call!The bus was full. There was only a free seat next to me. The last one to enter was a man of about thirty-five, of a simple working-class appearance, wearing dark glasses. I looked around for the place. He stopped nearby: “Isn’t it busy?” I threw my travel bag onto the mesh at the top. Sat down. Companion. He put on dark glasses for a reason. They covered the bandage, which in turn covered the bruise under his right eye.— Well, guys, how did you like the Grand Canyon? Are you satisfied with the trip? — Without demanding an answer, the driver greeted the passengers, closing the door and gently moving away.At the bus stop there remained an elderly Indian man and a young white woman, tall, pretty and not like an American - she was wearing a dress and white high-heeled shoes, while American women prefer trousers and avoid high heels when going on a country trip. Something connected the old Indian man and the foreign woman, since they stood side by side in the empty area, but something also separated them, there was something in the posture of the woman, who was embarrassed by this connection, the proximity. As the bus started moving, my fellow passenger with a black eye waved goodbye. Neither the old man nor the woman noticed his gesture.From the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff is 80 miles, more than an hour away. The bus rolled strongly and smoothly along the highway, laid in a sparse pine forest. The forest was lined with moss, and low mossy bushes grew under the pines.I offered my neighbor a cigarette. He refused.—  I do not smoke. I already have a lot of bad habits. It sounded like an invitation to conversation.— Alcohol?—  Not only.With his remarks, he worked on the image of a dashing cowboy, not without those masculine weaknesses of which one is usually proud.We started talking. He asked who I was and where I was from. I explained that I was a journalist, that I was from the Soviet Union, or Russia, as Americans more often call our country, that I work in New York, get to know America and write about it in my newspaper, and now I flew here to get to know the state of Arizona, where I had never was not. I didn't say to Arizona, to the Indians. I felt that this cowboy was actually an Indian and might not understand either my irony or my task, which made him an object of observation and study. He wasn't surprised to find out who I was. In any case, I didn’t notice any surprise. And he didn’t immediately reveal himself, he didn’t say that he was an Indian.Name - Jack. Last name: Kuker. Not just any Montigomo Hawkclaw. When asked about his occupation, he answered: “I guess you could call me a cowboy...” He works on a ranch near Albuquerque, in New Mexico, and came to the Grand Canyon for only a day, because his father lives here, who loan bought a trailer - a mobile home and urgently needed money for the next payment.— Have you seen my grandfather? He was standing at the bus station. And my friend was nearby. German. We drove up with her, but she decided to linger, she didn’t see the Grand Canyon.Jack Cooker turned out to be a sociable fellow. My willingness to listen encouraged him. He talked about his life, about how he had to wander around the American Far and Midwest. Was a cowboy in Arizona, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico. Laborers in a seismographic party. Workers in uranium mines were paid up to $50 per shift, but, Jack said, “it’s bad to earn a lot—all the money goes to taxes, and then they tell you that you still haven’t paid enough.” In coal mines. At the North American Aviation plant it was a clean job, and they paid well, but he couldn’t stand it, he left, he doesn’t like life among the walls and under the ceiling, he prefers to live and work in the wild, where the ceiling is the sky itself.“I want to see everything for myself.” They tell you that they live there like that. Why should I trust other people's eyes? Maybe I’ll see it differently with my own...And at 38 years old - no stake, no yard, no wife and children. Bachelor. As we talked, our bus quietly arrived in Flagstaff, and as it pulled up to the bus station, the driver with Truman's face urged passengers not to forget that there is a bus company, Continental Trailways, always ready to serve them.It was time to leave, but I didn’t want to leave. We reached out to each other, and I realized that in the evening the same thing awaited him as me - loneliness. And we didn't break up.There was some “Blue Bar” he knew, and he pulled me there. But I dragged Jack to my room at the Monte Vista Hotel. And then, on the way to the hotel, establishing friendship, he admitted, confided in me: an Indian, from the Hopi tribe, which lives not only there, in the Grand Canyon area, but also in the northeastern corner of Arizona, next to the Navajo. An Indian, so to speak, on a waste trade, on free bread, having left the reservation. A lover of nomadic life from the sedentary Hopi tribe.An Indian in cowboy clothes and dark glasses covering his black eye, and a Russian who miscalculated the Arizona climate and took unseasonably white summer trousers and a light checkered jacket for the trip. Odd couple. We walked along the street as if we were swimming against the current, under the surprised glances of passers-by, the inhabitants of the city of Flagstaff, awakening from the drowsy stupor of the weekend. But what do we care about glances if the holy spirit of camaraderie has already caught us up! And in response to Jack’s confession, I also could not hide, I said that the catcher, brother, and the beast runs, that I flew to Arizona for a reason, but with an aim - to see how the Indians live, and that I would not go anywhere from Flagstaff - anything, but to the Navajo reservation...In the hotel room, our conversation was heated and confused, I did not forget, of course, about my duty as a correspondent, friendship is friendship, and service is service, and I greedily absorbed information from an unexpected new friend. And he wasn't just talking about himself, Indian Jack Cooker. Each of us speaks not only about ourselves, especially with a person from another nation. And Jack Cooker already spoke as he reported - from all Indians and about all Indians, about their history and fate. He immediately poured out what was boiling in his soul and which he could bolder and freer to express to me, a foreigner, than to his compatriot, a white American, because a white compatriot must, as it were, be called to account, and a foreigner is only a sympathetic, grateful listener.I understood him perfectly, and nothing was more natural than this unexpected meeting, as if, even while flying here, I knew that I would sit with him like this in a friendly manner at the Monte Vista Hotel. And what was there that I couldn’t understand, everything seemed to me to be falling brick by brick, it was still the same story, which began (no, not by chance!) with the crying of an Indian baby in the night and continued with the pathetic trampling of Hopi dancers on the edge of their native great canyon , and now Jack Cooker’s confession was woven into the same line. It seemed that we had found a common language and common ground, both strangers in America, but the difference was the size of the Grand Canyon. He is a stranger in his own country, which does not recognize him as one of its own, and I am a stranger and a very critical foreigner who does not want to belong here at all. It was immeasurably easier for me - a foreign country, it’s easy to say goodbye and you know where to return, there is a native country. And he had an Indian destiny and no other country except this stepmother.In the Flagstaff hotel room I was not a researcher examining an experimental creature with scientific composure. A wave of sympathy swept over me and carried me, but I did not forget, I repeat, to collect material, and he confessed, he vented his soul, and there was so much bitterness in this that this bitterness seemed to blame me, the collector of the material, and poisoned my success as a correspondent.But all this is philosophy, and the conversation was simple, everyday. He looked through the places he had visited and worked, and came up with the mining town of Butte under the big Montana sky. I also visited Bute a few years ago. And I remembered how there I was again surprised by something that had surprised me before, in other American regions: a small city, but what a motley, multi-tribal, multinational, people from all over the world had sailed there and migrated there to the famous copper mines of “Anaconda”. .. And then, with this passage of mine about the Babylonian pandemonium in little Bute, something trembled in Jack’s wide, sallow face and bluish lips, and an uncontrollable spasm of pain ran through. Yes, people came from all over the world to Butte, and to America in general, and many managed to get settled, make their way into the people, but his, Jack’s, ancestors were always here and this was their curse, an inescapable misfortune.And, noticing this spasm, this grimace of pain, I could not resist:— Jack, the Indians are the most unfortunate!— So what to do? - Jack responded with bitter sobriety, coming to his senses. “We need to adjust.” There is no turning back. You can't pick up spilled milk...He changed his mind a thousand times - throughout his life. And rightly so. You can't pick up spilled milk. But you won’t be consoled by this truth.— Why should we be like them?And it has been changed a thousand times. And Jack, who knew the truth about the spilled milk, could not get rid of this question.— Why can’t we live the way our ancestors lived? Why can't you be happy with what you have? Don't rush anywhere and achieve nothing?! Don't chase the dollar and don't participate in their rat race?!He himself left the reservation and did not think of returning. But how hard and lonely, how unusual it still is for him, long gone! And how he understands those who recently left, who could not stand it, who return to escape loneliness - to the pitiful, poor and doomed, but their own, dear, from the vast, motley, powerful and indifferent, mercilessly alien world. When he worked for geologists, in a seismographic party, there were three more Indians there, younger than him, who had just left the reservation, and he took pity on them, educated them, inspired them that time cannot be returned, to live with wolves - howl like a wolf, that it is necessary , gritting their teeth, unaccustomed to everything that was theirs (even their own language), to assimilate, to get used to someone else’s, but the three could not bear the test, left, and returned to the reservation.And there were many such cases in his memory, and he listed them, plunging me into the root Indian problem - assimilation...Suddenly Jack drew a line to our conversation:“The whiskey was yours, and I’ll have dinner.”He stood up, pulled his hat down, and swayed elastically, picturesquely, like a Hollywood cowboy.We went down to the hall. It was already quite late. A young guy was on duty behind the counter; judging by his appearance, he was a part-time student. There was another Jack in the hall. In the room he confessed, then he ordered a taxi, asked about the best restaurant in the city and even about a nightclub with a show, with dancing girls. The student was at a loss under the pressure of the bully boy, embarrassed, and explained that Flagstaff is not at all rich in terms of nightclubs, that you won’t find any in the area.A young taxi driver, who also looked like a student, arrived in response to a phone call. And he was polite and helpful, but could not offer more than what was available. Through the dimly lit streets of Flagstaff, which had already fallen asleep, we drove to the outskirts, where Interstate 66 burst into the city and where, even at night, life did not fade away with its glow of neon signs at motels and gas stations. The taxi driver was taking us to a new restaurant, which he had never been to, but which he had heard about in a local radio advertisement.The restaurant consisted of a bar with an intimate half-light and half-darkness and a large, completely empty hall in which there were tables covered with starched tablecloths, and red chairs with plastic upholstery at the tables. Nothing more than a provincial claim to fashionability. But as soon as we entered there, I saw another Jack Cooker. A touch of debauchery and debauchery (Flew from him. Even when he was tipsy, he did not forget about his place in this life and, quickly sobering up, looked for it. And so we found ourselves not in the restaurant hall, not in respectable armchairs behind starched tablecloths, but in an ordinary, through a transparent glass - in a cafe that Jack immediately discovered in this complex. True, in the glass, having found his place, he again made noise, commanded a young, mocking waitress, but, I noticed, now my friend was working... under a Mexican. Where was his lively and expressive American language gone? He suddenly spoke with a heavy Mexican accent, every now and then interspersing his speech with a Spanish word addressed to me - amigo, friend. Just there, in Monte Vista, he opened up to me, but then, in front of strangers, he closed himself off again, disguised himself, was embarrassed to be an Indian.The establishment belonged to the American Chinese, who were apparently carrying out a culinary offensive on Flagstaff. Each one from his place, the Chinese head waiter, the Chinese cashier and the Chinese waiter, looked with silent contempt at Jack, at his dusty boots and jeans, at his wide Indian face, at his sweeping gestures. And I, too, experienced something of this polite Chinese contempt.After dinner, we waited at the door for a taxi called by the cashier. An expensive Lincoln drove up, three white Americans got out and headed to the restaurant, and another little touch cut my eye: Jack instantly stepped back from the door, making way for the owners of America.It was not without reason that he worked under the Mexican. The Mexican is also an unsettled, persecuted creature, and yet the Indian is lower, on the lowest rung, and behind him is not a nation or a state, but just a tribe on a reservation.A recent student taxi driver, the only one in the city at night, took us to the hotel, but Jack got wound up, couldn’t calm down, and was eager to go to a bar somewhere. And then our paths diverged. I couldn't afford new pleasures. In the morning, the work of a correspondent awaited me, getting to know a new place. And Jack didn't convince me otherwise. We got to the hotel, he came out with me and a curious detail - leaving a twenty dollar bill in his wallet, he deposited the rest of the money with the student on duty, dictating and taking a receipt: “Received from Jack Cooker...” He was careful, he must have remembered the lessons that his unlucky life taught him.I went up to my room and went to bed. It was a deep night, deadening all sounds, when a crash at the door brought me out of my sleepy oblivion. “Stan! Stan! - a loud voice was heard behind the door. In this city I had only one acquaintance so far, and only for him was I Stan (Stanislav, abbreviated in the American way). I had to get up and open the door. Jack Cooker was staggering behind her. "Are you sleeping?!" - he shouted angrily and disappointedly, making sure that I was actually asleep instead of waiting for my new friend. It wasn't enough for him, he demanded whiskey. I took out the unfinished bottle, and, taking the glass, swaying, he went to his room...The cowboys, even having had too much the night before, wake up earlier than the correspondents. Jack banged on my door in the morning while I was still in the shower, and again while I was shaving. In his dashing hat, with a bag in his hand, he was ready to go. He reeked of fumes.  “You get up late,” and immediately: “What’s left?” And the bar is still closed.He called the bar unsuccessfully while I washed and got dressed. Then they went downstairs together, and the morning attendant, an unfriendly white lady, looked at Jack with the contempt of yesterday’s Chinese.I didn't go to the bar. We decided to have breakfast together. And in the cafeteria at the Cables restaurant, my Indian cowboy was again embarrassed, because, refueling with his morning scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee, one hundred percent Americans, incomprehensible to his Indian soul, sat at the tables in ironed suits and crispy fresh shirts. Jack was pierced by their gaze. He jumped out as if scalded: “We won’t be served here for a long time.”And he again looked for his place and found it in a nearby cafe called “Hong Kong”, where we were the only visitors. There Jack regained his confidence.I opened the local newspaper. As always, at the beginning of April, it was reported about the Oscar ceremony in Hollywood. I read out loud the list of films, directors and actors who received gold statuettes.— Jack, have you seen these films?—  I don’t go to the movies. Everything there is fake. Will they showa worthwhile life? - Jack answered, devouring the scrambled eggs.— Are you reading anything?— I love reading. Most of the articles are about medicine.The names of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov meant nothing to him. But he boasted that he knew Hemingway personally.I didn’t believe it right away. Jack said that he met Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho, where the writer had a house, right down the street.“I approached him,” Jack said, “I said: “Mr. Hemingway, I would like to meet you. My name is Jack Nucker." Told him I was Indian. And he advised: “Don’t take it to heart.”— In what sense, Jack?— Well, in the sense that the Indians have a hard time, that they are crowded and pushed around everywhere. He said, “Don't take it to heart. Behave like a boxer in the ring - avoid the blow."After breakfast, Jack went to the bus station to go to his ranch in Albuquerque. We said goodbye warmly and touched. They shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder. I left him my New York address. He jokingly admonished me: “Don’t be too zealous in your work.”We did not say goodbye for long, however. About two hours later, having made notes in a notebook and leaving the hotel, I ran into him at the elevator. He was with the same bag in his hand, in the same hat, in the same dusty boots, getting ready for the road and not leaving anywhere.— Jack?He turned around. His face was scary. He could barely stand on his feet. For the first time in my life I witnessed an Indian binge. And in this state, Jack Cooker did not forget that he had one and only friend in this city, who was also Russian, and came for me. However, I had my own things to do, I was on a business trip and could not waste my time.— Sorry, Jack, I can’t, I’m going to the chamber of commerce...Our paths diverged. He swayed heavily in the other direction and swam away, floundering in the heavy waters of unconsciousness.To Arizona? To the Indians? There was Arizona, and there was an Indian named Jack Cooker from the minute he spoke to me as he plopped down next to me on the bus seat to the minute we sat down across from each other. in the room at the Monte Vista Hotel and in those minutes when we rode in a taxi around the city at night, already comrades, already friends - and why not until the grave? Yes, what you were thinking about came true - both Arizona and the Indian, reaching out to you, trusting you, opening up. And - who knows? - maybe this is just what you need - look and guess the sea in a drop, share this desperate path of Jack Cooker through the streets and bars of Flagstaff, his loneliness and rushing in search of human contact, an understanding soul, imbued with his fear of whites and their contempt for the Indian, listen to these revelations to the end, even this drunken delirium, fill yourself with a feeling of compassion, without looking back, as much as your mental strength allows - and from one Indian, who abandoned his tribe and wandered restlessly across America, you will extract the story of all Indians , about how, rejected on the land that was once entirely their land, they drag out years, decades and centuries of their loneliness, carrying its burden on American streets and in American homes. And only some German woman, who ended up in America on her own path, will not reject him as a man, and only before some Russian who seemed to have fallen from the sky can he pour out his soul.Spit on all the conventions of your profession and the rules of your stay in a foreign country and extend your hours with Jack Cooker - and then, in a journalistic and human way, you will fulfill the duty of a person who tells some people about other people.But no, I didn't spit. And the day was given not to Jack Cooker, but to the city of Flagstaff. In a drunken stupor, he went to God knows where, and I went to the local chamber of commerce, where, like all other chambers of commerce in America, business people worked, busy trying to keep their city from falling apart, how to lure new business into it, which will provide new jobs for local residents, who in turn will bring new dollars earned to stores, banks and other old business establishments.IS THERE A LOT OF AMERICA IN SONG MI?Sir, I reject violence of any kind, but I would consider it an honor to take part in the shooting of the cowardly murderers of C Company, 11th Infantry Brigade, and thereby pay tribute to them.From a letter from American Naomi Fox to Time magazineMy child, whether he is 16, 26, or 106 years old, is much dearer to me—and should be dearer to every American—than the life of any enemy, whatever the age and position of that enemy.From a letter from American Gianni Hudson to Time magazineAnd there will still be two extreme flanks - those who want the immediate withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and those who want to drop the atomic bomb. And between them are people who don’t care about anything.From a letter from American Richard Macmillan to Life magazineCaptain Ernest Medina, who is believed to be responsible for the My Lai massacre, arrived in his hometown of Montrose, Colorado, yesterday to a warm welcome from old friends and classmates who filled the streets for a fiesta to raise money for his defense in court. ... Two pretty party princesses sat on either side of him as he rode in an open car through the center of town... His friends contributed three thousand dollars to the defense fund and were expected to add two thousand more—half the proceeds from the party.From the Associated Press, August 9, 1970Seymour Hersh writes his book about My Songmi in the traditional style of an American journalist. Emotions and thoughts are excluded, facts are spoken through the mouths of participants and eyewitnesses. His sympathy goes to those who rest in three mass graves and in a former drainage ditch. But Hersh hides this sympathy, apparently fearing accusations of bias and partiality. His descriptions are like the outline of a murder that Charlie Company soldiers sketch out to military investigators. Their testimony is monotonous, like a butcher's blows. “Hit him in the back with a bayonet...” “Picked up a man and threw him into a well...” “They shot these women and children in the backs of their heads...” “Collie started shooting...” “Charlie West killed six Vietnamese...” .” “Medina shot her with his M-16...” “She was in the same position, only dead...” “The boy was shattered to pieces...”The scary synopsis contains few details. Main classification: Vietnamese. This means it is subject to liquidation. And one more, gender of age: woman, child, old man. But it is no longer significant. What's the point of separating papa-san from mama-san when everyone is in black pajamas and when everyone is subject to elimination? What did they look like, these women, old people, children? The girl was pretty. And they remembered the pretty one only because they wanted to rape her. The child did not cry - I remember that too. The village was full of crying and groaning, and the executioners were probably stunned by the silence of the stunned child, who did not even know what death was, but felt its proximity.What did they shout before they died? It was not the phrase books that were in the hands of the executioners, nor were there any translations of the dying laments in the soldiers’ phrase books. A foreign language, strange people... “It was all quite disgusting, but not that much,” Private William Dougherty explained this ease. “If these were Americans, I would have felt differently. I never really understood these people." Call it what you want: racism, Superman heartlessness, imperial psychology.But this is a soldier’s direct interpretation of those lofty speeches that are heard in Washington, the most correct interpretation, since it comes from a practical performer.And the incomprehensible screams of nameless people were drowned out by machine gun fire. Five hours later everything was clear. Only American soldier speech. The crackle of fires. And the lonely whistling of the Vietnamese wind.In 1944, one writer asked Ilya Ehrenburg: “How can you write about the same thing for three years?” Ehrenburg replied that war and the atrocities of the Nazis “is not a literary topic, it is grief.” “The human heart is a dark forest, it’s easy to get lost in it,” Ehrenburg wrote in the article “The Breath of a Child.” “Suddenly something flares up. It will suddenly go out. It happens that a person stops loving the woman with whom he lived half his life, or grows cold towards a bosom friend, but one cannot betray the dead.”I don’t know what Seymour Hersh has more of: pain or calculation, civic duty or simply the excitement of a journalist who has attacked a sensational vein. But he, an American, does not betray the dead Vietnamese. He was the first to break the truth about My Lai into the American press. Seymour Hersh is not betraying America either—concealing the crime would be betrayal.At 33, Seymour Hersh had worked as a crime reporter in Chicago and as a Pentagon correspondent for the Associated Press, with whom he broke up after his material on US secret preparations for chemical and bacteriological warfare was cut sixfold. He wrote a book about this “hidden arsenal of America” and was working on a book about the Pentagon when the phone rang in his Washington apartment. “The Army wants to secretly try a guy from Fort Benning for killing 75 civilians in Vietnam,” Hersh heard the voice of a Pentagon acquaintance. So by chance he came across the mountain and the theme of Songmi.“The guy” was William Calley, by then just an Army clerical officer at the huge base at Fort Benning, Georgia. The message about his bringing to trial had already been sent to the press, but in vain did Pentagon officials, who knew the explosive power of three short paragraphs, prepare for an avalanche of questions. The American press did not pay the slightest attention to the first, deliberately vague public news about My Lai, it drowned in the abyss of indifference. Indifference and Cruelty are two sisters in this story.After the call, Hersh began to unravel the tangle: he flew to Salt Lake City to see lawyer Latimer, who undertook to defend Colley, then to Fort Benning, where he found the lieutenant himself, still going to officer parties, where they saw him not as an executioner, but as a victim.At first, Hersh offered his material to Life and Look magazines, but they were not interested in the dead of My Songmi. Not really believing in success, Hersh resorted to the services of the unknown “Dispatch News Service” - with a staff of two yesterday, anti-war students - David Obst and Michael Morrow. Obst called the editors, selling sensations. Of the 50 American and English newspapers he contacted, 36 agreed to pay $100 for Hersh's message. On November 13, 1969, 20 months after the My Lai massacre, the truth came out. In the following days, information poured in like an avalanche.The world shook, and on the pages of newspapers and magazines, not only in America, portraits of the snub-nosed, wide-cheeked 26-year-old Lieutenant William Colley flashed. The embodiment of evil could not be discerned in his raised eyebrows in bewilderment under the hard visor of his army cap. Excursions into biographito and into the psyche began. Compatriots from Miami, who knew the lieutenant under his childhood nickname Rusty, recalled a wonderful, “typically American” boy. His former soldiers - the funny platoon Napoleon, who curried favor with Captain Medina, and liked to repeat to them that “here I am the boss.” And the most compelling characterization was given by the dead of My Songmi.They wondered: where is the true Collie? As if modern executioners did not have time to prove that they have not a vocation, but a function, that they are just cogs in a military-bureaucratic machine. They can even become kinder or wilder if the machine becomes kinder or wilder...On March 16, 1968, the soldiers of Charlie Company behaved differently. One of them vomited from the corpses. Another escaped from participating in the executions. Private Carter shot himself in the leg to numb his mental pain with physical pain. But there were only a few of them. How do you want to treat the sobs of soldier Midlo, if he sobbed after shooting dozens of people? A man was sobbing, and a machine with an M-16 rifle was working. The majority carried out the order with bitterness, and even cruel pleasure. Three soldiers organized. competition: who can kill the most?Photographer Haeberl is indignant: “There was no expression on the faces of the Americans. I couldn’t believe my eyes... They did all this in a very businesslike manner.” This army photographer took with him three cameras - one government-issued one, with black and white film, and two of his own, loaded with color film. He handed over the official one to headquarters, and kept the colored one, which was more spectacular, with him: it was useful to him. Under one of the photographs, which he later sold to Life magazine, there is the following author’s explanation: “The guys were about to shoot these people. I shouted, “Wait a minute!” And I took this photo. As I was leaving, I heard them open fire. Out of the corner of my eye I saw falling bodies, but I didn’t turn around.”He didn’t turn around because he had already photographed enough corpses. He was missing a shot showing people a second before death, and he got this shot. The picture shows four terrified women and two children...Reporter Roberts, returning to headquarters, learned the version of the day prepared for sending up: 128 Viet Cong killed, the largest success in all 40 days of combat activity of Barker's special group. And Roberts, having obediently crossed out the true Song My, sat down at the typewriter and portrayed the Song My that his commanders demanded. The two-page report went to division headquarters, and from there to Saigon, to the Pentagon. It was reproduced by Army newspapers, and on March 17, Americans learned from the New York Times of “a new offensive to clear enemy concentrations threatening South Vietnamese cities,” and Commander-in-Chief General Westmoreland congratulated C Company on “an outstanding operation.”The Mystery of My Lai was buried in the American Division, whose command helicopters circled over the execution site and where many, starting with Major General Samuel Coster, knew that something dirty and bloody had happened, even dirtier and bloodier than what had already happened. got used to it. The mutual responsibility of the killers was called front-line camaraderie, and the soldiers of Charlie Company were not very scared when others made fun of them: “Hey, they say that you killed a bunch of women and children, and then reported the destruction of 128 Viet Cong.” And the evidence - Haeberl's negatives - no one needed, gathered dust for a year and a half in a desk drawer in the information office of Barker's special group.By the spring of 1969, the composition of Charlie Company was completely renewed. Some were killed, the rest were demobilized or transferred to the States. From the dangerous and alien country of jungles, rice fields and hostile people, they returned to their native, out-of-the-world country of continuous cars and automatic machines, highways, gas stations and cafeterias, where in the morning, getting ready for the working day, they grab a cup of “instant coffee”, scrambled eggs with ham and the famous apple pie - an ageless symbol of homey, cozy, virtuous America. In addition to soldiers' dollars, Saigon souvenirs and federal privileges, they brought back memories of a very long year and one morning in a village they nicknamed Pinkville - the Pink Village. In such cases, it is customary to ask what the demobilized soldiers of Charlie Company thought when they ruffled the hair of children, cleaned hunting rifles, saw boiled rice on a plate, stepped off the asphalt onto a forest path - it was there, in Vietnam, that in just one year they walked more on the ground than in the entire life of Americans who have become accustomed to a car on the asphalt. What did Midlo think, for example, when he encountered an ordinary ditch without corpses?When they looked into them later, journalists discovered: “Almost depressingly normal people... Decent in everyday life... At home, in Vermont or Ohio, it seems unthinkable for them even to hit, much less kill, a child in anger” (Time magazine). Depressingly normal. Although a strange, but apt phrase. A deranged killer is less "depressing" because it is easier to explain. The fact of his abnormality is even consoling: it means that there are still moral principles in this world, and you have to be abnormal to encroach on them. Where are the foundations if the killer is a normal person?Maybe these normal people would still grow old with their secret if it weren’t for 22-year-old Ronald Ridenauer from Phoenix, Arizona. It was he, and not Hersh, who saved the dead of My Lai from oblivion. Ridenauer, a helicopter gunner from the 11th Brigade, flew over the village a few days after the Charlie Company invasion. He was struck by her graveyard lifelessness. Outside the village, in a rice field, I noticed the naked corpse of a woman. The pilot descended lower, and on the body of the dead Ridenauer they saw a piece of cloth with the emblem of the 11th Brigade. Then he collected information and rumors - bit by bit, on the sly, without taking notes, fearing revenge. After all, in that environment, killing Vietnamese was the norm, and the search for justice smacked of betrayal.Riedenauer was demobilized in December 1968. “I wanted to get to these people,” he later said. “I wanted to show what they had done. My God, when I got home and told my friends about it, I cried, literally cried.” He cried, and his friends talked him out of it. In Arizona, as in Vietnam, he discovered mutual responsibility. But the military emblem of the 11th Brigade on the body of a woman killed in a rice field haunted Ridenauer, as a symbol of a distant country raped by the Americans... in the name of freedom and democracy.In early April 1969, he sent letters to almost 30 addresses: the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and many senators and congressmen. “Something rather dark and bloody happened in March 1968 in the village of Pinkville,” he wrote, laying out the facts known to him. He insisted on a special investigation into what happened, as a “conscious citizen” who “no longer wants to tarnish the image of the American serviceman in the eyes of the world.”As it was later established, Ridenauer’s letter was not even registered in the offices of 22 legislators. But there were also attentive, sensitive people. One of them, a critic of the war, Congressman from Arizona Maurice Udall, sent a request to the Pentagon and was not satisfied with replies and excuses. Requests came from several other congressmen. Under their pressure, the machine of military justice finally made its first turns: the investigation began, in June Colley was summoned to a police identification procedure, and in September a court case was opened. The strictest secrecy surrounded these steps - the Pentagon hoped to avoid publicity. And only the hair stood on end among congressmen, whom military investigators informed about the emerging details.Weeks and months passed. Ridenauer did not believe in the Pentagon's Themis, wanted to get the material into print, and sent a copy of his letter to Michael Cunningham, a literary agent in Hartford, Connecticut. 'A literary agent, that is, a paid intermediary between the author and periodicals, bombarded many magazines with telegrams. Only Ramparts magazine responded, but Riedenauer did not want to deal with a critical, anti-war magazine, fearing that he would be labeled “red.”And since this man was fighting like a fish on ice, he had in his hands the “story of the year” that no one needed. On October 22, Michael Cunningham stopped his efforts at mediation, having lost hope of securing material.Ronald Ridenauer did not know that it was on that day that a telephone call from a secret informant was heard in the apartment of Washington journalist Seymour Hersh.After Hersh made the first breach, the American press began a frantic hunt for sources of information. Songmi became a national shock, shame, disgrace, South Vietnamese Lidice and... a commodity. A product for which there is a sudden high demand. The demand had to be satisfied quickly, according to all the laws of competition. Yesterday, no one needed the truth about Song My, today it was worth its weight in gold, tomorrow they will be fed up with it. Participants and eyewitnesses of the massacre, not yet becoming defendants and witnesses in the trial, which the Pentagon hastened to announce, were already businessmen. This also relates to the question: is there a lot of America in My Lai?In November 1969, Ronald Haeberl became the main character. When they started talking about My Lai, the photographer realized that his time had come. First he offered his photographs to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, then rushed to the big press, and they, of course, were already waiting for him. Now Haeberl realized his true price: 20 thousand dollars from Life magazine, 7 thousand dollars from the West German Stern. Without waiting to be called as a witness to Fort Benning in the case of Captain Medina, Lieutenant Colley and their soldiers, Ronald Haeberl himself sued those American newspapers that, violating copyright, printed his photographs without his permission. (These newspapers, we note in parentheses, respect copyright, but they were in a damn hurry and deliberately ran the risk of court and fines.)Here is a most interesting American type. On the one hand, he performed a useful service - his photographic evidence is irrefutable. On the other hand, a cynical businessman. How would you like to treat him? But he simply does not miss the opportunity that presents itself.Those who were in Song My with rifles rather than cameras were less fortunate. But they weren’t bad either. Serviceman Midlo demanded payment for his participation in the CBS television program: appearing there (with his father and mother!), For the first time, he told in detail how it happened. The tiny agency Dispatch News Service was paid $10,000 by the giant CBS corporation for bringing Midlo to television.Herbert Carter, the man who committed the suicide, made it clear that he expected payment for his information about the murders. He lived in the Texas city of Houston, surviving by day work, and was just getting ready to visit his mother in California for Christmas. “He wanted money and nice clothes before the Christmas holidays,” wrote Newsweek magazine. “When one reporter tried to reason with him, Carter replied: “You want me to be a humanitarian?!” Roll away." And he added a dirty word."Even pain and remorse do not prevent them from being traders. Grief? Not for all. Literary theme? Perhaps. Product? Yes, if there is a demand for such a product. And so Lieutenant Colley, while in custody awaiting trial, writes his memoirs, having signed a contract with the publishing house for a quarter of a million dollars. We have to hurry. The product falls in price.Meanwhile, My Lai was reported long before Riedenauer and Hersh, whose revelation of the story earned him a Pulitzer Prize. Already in March 1968, Hanoi newspapers wrote about the crime. In May, the details of the mass executions were revealed in a printed bulletin of the DR B delegation at negotiations in Paris. In July, My Lai was discussed in the French city of Grenoble, at an international conference of lawyers on Vietnam.Why was America deaf and blind? Didn’t automatically believe “communist propaganda”? Conspiracy of silence? Of course, there was a conspiracy of silence in Charlie Company, Barker's special group, and the American Division. There was a reluctance in the Pentagon to know the truth. But for the American press, everything was simpler and worse - a conspiracy of indifference. To understand this, we need to remember the background against which Songmi happened.In late January 1968, the heroic attack of a handful of patriots on the grounds of the American Embassy in Saigon heralded the famous offensive of the Liberation Army. Dozens of South Vietnamese cities and the most important American bases were attacked. Fierce fighting took place in Saigon itself. Confused and embittered American generals, who do not feel sorry for foreign land and people, but have to account for the lives of their soldiers, responded with all their monstrous firepower, an orgy of bombing and artillery shelling. Thousands of civilians died. B-52 strategic bombers even bombed the outskirts of Saigon in those days. Entire cities were bombed.The practice of “free fire zones,” where it was allowed to shoot at anything that moved, was more rampant than ever. Richard Hammer, the author of another book about My Lai, writes: “The Americans operating there had a license to kill, and any Vietnamese had a license to be killed.”The staff officers derived the “kill rate,” consoling their compatriots with estimates that many times more Vietnamese were killed than Americans. The coefficient increased at the expense of civilians. Charlie Company had a record.There were many Liditsa on Vietnamese soil, and was one of them the only one? — went unnoticed, only to go down in history a year and a half later next to Hitler’s “death camps” and Truman’s Hiroshima. The warriors who had cut their teeth in the “free fire zones” were sincerely perplexed; What actually caused the fuss to flare up?Corporal William Kern, who visited My Lai, says: “Nel. There’s no point in blaming one platoon of Collie, then we have to blame everyone. There was a free fire zone there. And then, if shells and bombs were flying there every night, what was life worth there? I just don’t understand why everyone is so shocked...”The corporal is brutally right. You can't betray the dead. And it is even more blasphemous to block others with some dead people. Paradoxically, My Lai has some benefits for the American government. He ordered the trial, initiating a case against General Koster and 13 other officers of the American Division. Washington has started an important psychological manipulation. In the eyes of simpletons, he appears as a saddened but unyielding champion of justice, a guarantor that evil will be punished and virtue will triumph, albeit posthumously, that the dead of My Lai will be avenged.“We are not Nazis,” it seems to be heard from Washington. “Look, we are ready to condemn war criminals from our own ranks if their guilt is duly proven.”And they are going to wash only one piece on the body of the “dirty war”.The My Lai Murders Trial is Meadlo's sobbing between two executions, but the sobbing is at a high level.And Captain Medina, nicknamed the “mad dog” by the soldiers, rides through the streets of Montrose to applause, and next to him are two pretty princesses, proud of their noble countryman. We need to help our fellow countryman, since he got into trouble at the whim of the Washington guys; They sent him to Vietnam, and now they are holding him accountable for the fact that he intercepted the excess there and killed the wrong “Gooks”. The whole world must rescue this fellow countryman and father of three children. And in such a world it is easier to appear with the views of Mrs. Hudson than with the views of Mrs. Fox, who herself is ready to shoot the cowardly murderers from C Company.Polls have shown that two-thirds of Americans do not believe that My Lai happened. And two-thirds thought that even if there were such actions, then in the conditions there, in Vietnam, they were completely excusable. This is a story about an indifferent ordinary person, a victim and a stronghold of the existing system. The German man in the street said that he did not know about the “death factories.” An American can learn about Song My, but he doesn’t want to. It's easier for him this way. He doesn't have time, he's too busy. The worst thing, perhaps, is that he got used to everything. I’m used to the fact that Vietnam is a country where both partisans and civilians are killed, people are burned with napalm, and forests are destroyed with defoliants. Until it touches a nerve, this is just a television chronicle. “Is the national consciousness so overwhelmed by public deaths and political surprises, so amazed by the incredible triumphs of technology, that it has created a kind of natural defense? From powerful emotions?.. The mind is tired of compassion... The longest war in the history of the nation seems at the same time terribly strange and familiar.”So wrote Time magazine, marveling at how poorly many Americans react to Song My. A habit of death... A habit of violence... Bitterness, brutality of a society in which the second landing on the moon coincided with the revelation of the secrets of My Lai.By the way, in the same Time, there was a note about another “hero” of Songmi. Sergeant Torres, accused of killing three Vietnamese, arrived, like Medina, in his hometown of Brownsville, Texas, to collect applause from his fellow countrymen and dollars for a lawyer. A celebration was also planned, and they also wanted to help the killer with peace. But the day before, the sergeant stopped at one of the local bars, got drunk, and quarreled with the bartender. And he rushed to the trunk of his car, pulled out a gun, and in a rage fired four times into the ground. The police fined him for shooting within the city limits. And the fellow countrymen were confused. The celebration was cancelled. The sergeant collected only 50 dollars, which was not enough for a police fine.Sergeant Torres only shot at the ground, not at people. But his fellow countrymen became thoughtful. And then, from his shots, a faint echo of Song My passed over Brownsville, Texas.CRIME WITHOUT PUNISHMENTColonel Oran Henderson clearly saluted as he walked up to the table where two generals and five colonels were sitting, and stood at attention as he listened to the brief verdict of the military jury, which found him not guilty of all charges. He saluted again, made a sharp turn in a circle, and, maintaining an impassive expression on his face, returned to his seat in the court-martial room at Fort Meade, Maryland. The chairman of the tribunal, Colonel Peter Wondolowski, praised everyone involved in the process - the jury, the prosecutor, the prosecutor, the defense attorneys, and the sound of his gavel announced on December 17, 1971 that the Pentagon, with a clear conscience and a sense of duty, closed the My Lai case.Songmi... Who doesn't know this matter? It happened in March 1968, when soldiers of the Charlie Company of the 11th Infantry Brigade of the American Division, descending on combat helicopters into one of the villages of the South Vietnamese community of Song My, brutally exterminated almost its entire civilian population - women, children, old people. It began a year and a half later, when the truth about the crime miraculously broke through into print and the stories of the killers themselves, illustrated by the terrible photographs of an army photographer, shocked America and the whole world. The “Dirty War” seemed to need a dirty symbol - and found one. My Lai put a sign of equality between the American army and Hitler's army, and official Washington hastened to cover up this sign, promising its own similarity to the Nuremberg trials, its investigation and punishment for the crime.Two years have passed. Military justice worked slowly, and in its slowness there was a calculation: to allow other events and the simple passage of time to push aside and erase the cruel truth and the cruel lesson of Song My in the memory of Americans and other peoples. And here is the final point, set by the blow of the judge's gavel. Result? There is a crime, but there is no punishment. On the one hand, an investigation was conducted, graves were excavated, participants and witnesses were interviewed and confirmed by an American military court - yes, on March 16, 1968, in the community of Lai My, the platoon of Lieutenant William Colley, part of Charlie Company, killed at least a hundred and, perhaps, , up to 400 innocent civilians who had no weapons and who offered no resistance. On the other hand, of the 25 soldiers, officers and generals of the American Division brought to justice, 19 were acquitted before trial, and five were acquitted during the trial.Only one accused was found guilty - Lieutenant Colley. In April 4968 he was sentenced to life imprisonment. In August his sentence was reduced to 20 years. And together with his defenders, he climbs the steps of appeals, where, most likely, the sentence will be reduced again. In any case, after seven years, Colley can apply for amnesty, and for now he is imprisoned (by personal order of the US President) not in a military prison, but in a comfortable officer’s apartment on the territory of a military base. Meanwhile, he himself admitted - and the court proved - that he was a murderer and directed the murders.  His company commander, Captain Medina, was proven to have personally killed and knew about the murders - he was acquitted and in October received an honorable discharge, with the privileges of a retired officer. General Koster, the division commander, had one of his two general's stars and one medal taken away.Half a dozen murderers are awaiting not judicial, but merely disciplinary punishments,The last to be acquitted was Colonel Henderson, commander of the 11th Brigade, who was accused of covering up the crime. With soldierly directness, the colonel explained the meaning of the process. “The army believed that someone should be put on trial so that the public would not think ... that something was being hidden and hidden under the rug,” he told the correspondent. And he added: “I think I was chosen to play this role.”And he - along with the jury, the prosecutor and the defense - played his part in the finale of a multiple performance that proved that in My Lai there was a crime without criminals, victims without executioners, and that the soldiers and sergeants of Colley's platoon were innocent, since they were simply following orders, and the officers and the generals above Colley are innocent because they knew nothing.There were no tears in the courtroom during the last act. There was no laughter when the chairman, Colonel Wondolowski, said that “every time a fair verdict is reached, the people win.” There was mostly indifference. Over the two years of its work, the skillful machine of the so-called military justice reduced the cry of My Song to the level of some kind of indistinct, boring muttering. After all, it was not only a performance, but also long, unsuccessful sessions of calming social psychotherapy. And the American newspapers, already fed up with this sensation, drew the line sparingly and purely informationally, without deigning to provide editorial comments with an epilogue to the story that had blown up their front pages two years ago.And yet, an epilogue in court and in newspapers is not yet an epilogue in history. Usually the war remains in the memory of the people with the names of the heroes and the places of their exploits. What about the Vietnam War? Ask the average American who he knows among the rank-and-file participants in this war. And he will most likely name the killer Colley, because there are no heroes. There are no places of military glory and exploits, but there is the Vietnamese word “Song My” and what is associated with it.R.S. In the spring of 1975, William Colley was acquitted and released. The My Lai Case was finally closed from the point of view of American military justice.STILL THE SAME DOCTOR SPOCKHe was a legendary doctor, alive, and not a fabulous Aibolit, and could, as if on Olympus, sit on the astronomical print runs of his most popular book, according to which many millions of American women raised their children. He became an anti-war leader - also famous because he was a famous children's doctor, and since then the passions around Dr. Benjamin Spock have not subsided. Some wanted to see him in prison, others in the White House. And this new life of his began when it was time to take stock - in his seventh decade. Then, when, due to his age, he was asked to leave his scientific teaching job, and he turned out to be quite young to get involved in politics.In his jacket pocket, like a young man - the image of his beloved, he carried photographs of his two sailing yachts; one near the chalk cliffs of Maine, where he spends the summer, the other in the south, near the Virgin Islands. This is more than a hobby. This is a passion - spending whole weeks alone with the sea, with the eternal elements. This means that there is something about him from a philosopher, a hermit. In this case, a strange, very easy-going hermit who feels good on the podium, among crowds of people. He traveled the length and breadth of his considerable country, there was a time when he spoke at colleges and universities twenty or more times a month, and for peers not only of his children, but also of his grandchildren, he became the elder brother - Ben Spock.What is youth? Freshness, openness, novelty of attitude. I was struck by the freshness of this old man - 4 only in terms of age. Moreover, I saw in him the historically established, attractive, Whitman-like features of the American character: innate democracy, rebellion in the name of justice, the feeling and right of the owner of the land, where his ancestors - on equal terms - came along with others, the sovereignty and independence of the individual, passion and greed for life, restlessness, willingness to experiment, make big bets...It was January 1968. An anti-war rally was taking place in the Manhattan Center. The case of the “Boston Five” was thundering, which the government brought to trial for inciting young Americans to refuse military service and participation in the Vietnam War. Dr. Spock was the first of five. He was expected at the rally, and he flew straight from Boston, released by the judge on bail. “Here he is, our hero,” said someone nearby in the hall, and in the voice there was jubilation that the hero had finally been found, and the hope that the hero would win. Everyone jumped to their feet, clapping and hooting in every possible way. Above the people, a gray, strong, bald head was moving towards the stage. And now the hero is in full view, standing at almost two meters tall. He is wearing a dark blue doctor's three-piece suit, which he has not parted with for a long time, just as he did not get a beard for a long time, despite his bearded young surroundings. An old-fashioned gold chain stretches across the vest. The face is small in relation to its height, closed until it was revealed by a smile, and in the smile there is a characteristic without lying: pure and pure, perhaps naive, but a whole person. This was the first time I saw Dr. Spock. 5 thousand in the stalls and on two balconies (and 800 people on the street in the pouring rain) greeted him with applause. He began with a joke: “People ask me why I’m funny. Because I became popular. Do you want to become popular? Do as I do..."The next time I saw him, Spock wasn't kidding. It was April of the same year, 1968, the most stormy of the decade, inexhaustible in surprises. The day before, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Fate briefly connected these two dissimilar people, making them the most prominent figures of the anti-war movement. The memorial was held in Central Park, in front of the Mall's music sink, where free concerts are held from time to time. It was sunny and windy. A determined black woman in a black leather jacket and a black man's hat presided. Anger and powerlessness - what to do? Once again Spock towered over the stage like a bell tower. Again, his black suit and white handkerchief from his breast pocket looked strange among the leather jackets and tortoiseshell sweaters, against a predominantly black background. He stood in front of the microphone in his characteristic pose, bending over, as if shrinking his height; after all, his interlocutors for so long were children. And he did not speak like a tribune: rather explanatory than inviting. But his main word was not from the vocabulary of a pediatrician - belligerence. Yes, King preached nonviolence, but he was an unapologetic militant for peace and justice, and this should be remembered.After the rally, I approached him and said that I would like to meet and talk in more detail. Spock did not object, but - a trait of Americans who are busy weeks in advance - advised him to arrange a meeting through his secretary, who knew his schedule better.The secretary (not a personal one, but from a special “secretary service”) set up a time, then called back - there was a problem, the doctor was scheduled to appear on a television program in Philadelphia that day. Would you like to join his trip so as not to have to look for another time? I agreed: Philadelphia is a five-hour round trip, a long interview on wheels.He lived in a new building a dozen and a half stories high, squeezed into a narrow space on the corner of Laxington Avenue and Eighty-third Street. He opened the door himself - without a jacket, in suspenders, youthfully slender, with very long legs. Small hallway. Whitewashed bookshelves in the living room. The desk-table is littered with papers. A couch by the window, curved like an ancient galley.While we were waiting for the limousine that the Philadelphia television studio was supposed to send, he showed me a thin book, more like a brochure, bound in paper. In large print, the headline read: “Famous Dr. Spock Speaks About Vietnam.” The cover was of a girl crying on an empty, destroyed street. At the bottom in small print: “Authored by Dr. Benjamin Spock and Mitchell Zimmerman.” The doctor told a story from which I understood that he was devoid of vanity and was not concerned about the pedestal. His co-author is a very young unknown scientist from Princeton University. One day he called and offered to write a book about Vietnam together. Spock didn't know him, but he was excited about the idea. A “very sincere, modern American boy” arrived, almost with a backpack, and spent the night in this apartment. It was he who wrote the original text, which Spock ruled - “strongly, mercilessly.” And now he goes to Philadelphia to appear on Mike McDouglas’s television show to promote his just-released book. “Have you heard of the Mike McDouglas show? Don’t you watch enough TV?” He laughed knowingly. This McDouglas and his show used to work in Cleveland, where Spock lived for 12 years. “They invited me, but at first I pretended to be inaccessible. They respect that. This makes it easier to say what you want.” Now McDouglas has moved to Philadelphia. “They are associated with the Westinghouse Corporation.” Her products are advertised. In a sense, this is a Westinghouse show.When the doorman downstairs announced that the limousine had arrived, the doctor put on his jacket, carefully folded it at the corner, and inserted a white handkerchief into his breast pocket. The rented limousine turned out to be a long, black, important Cadillac. Standing next to him was a driver in a black uniform and cap. We sat in the back seat. The doctor, having tried it on, with obvious pleasure, stretched out his legs to their full length. The driver slowly drove the limousine. Looking around at the luxury of the Cadillac, chuckling, Spock incidentally said that all his life he had been buying rather cheap, modest, “not for his height” cars. Only once did he own an Oldsmobile—a car above the middle class. “We had to raise our prestige. And when the prestige increased, he returned to simple cars again.”With jokes, he created a friendly atmosphere, breaking up awkwardness and tension. I felt that for him I was not a foreigner, not a journalist with whom I had to keep my ears open, but simply a person whom he willingly and trustingly allowed into his life.Not even half an hour had passed before he couldn’t resist introducing me to his passion.” He took a piece of paper out of his jacket pocket and unfolded it; lovingly stroked with strong fingers.“Here,” and I saw a typographical drawing, corrected by hand, “Thirty-five feet long.” Ideal for the tropics. Not elegant and not fast, but comfortable. You see,” he ran his finger, “it’s wider than usual.” It can go both under engine and under sail. Water supply for two weeks - one hundred and seventy gallons. There is a refrigerator.He carefully folded the piece of paper, put it away, and sat back contentedly in his seat. He leaned towards me again, smiled, revealing small, strong teeth, and sighed:  “This is what I’m trying to achieve—one month to work for the cause of peace, and the other to spend on a yacht.” Then my conscience as a pensioner will be calm...Leaving New York behind, the car rustled triumphantly along the New Jersey Turnpike. The windows are closed. Air conditioned. Ahead is the broad, plump back of the driver. On the sides there are other cars running between the dotted lines on the concrete. And then April, fresh emerald green grass and trees. And there, in the Caribbean Sea, on the Virgin Islands, where his yacht is waiting for him, what kind of gentle turquoise must be sparkling under the sun, what sunrises and sunsets, what breezes caress a body not shackled by city clothes? What does a person need? Still 65 years old. - Retired. Endowed with fame and money. The sons fledged: What else? Dr. Spock, author of the classic work “The Child and His Care” (tens of millions of copies, about 200 editions), is retired.“Below him is a stream of lighter azure, above him is a golden ray of sun...” And he, rebellious...Isn't it funny? One month - the fight against war, the other - yachting and relaxation. Yes, and it was said as if in jest. But in all seriousness (“My wife was angry when I became interested in the yacht, but now I’m humbled... Now she says it herself, if it weren’t for the yacht, I’d be screwed”). Seriously. Don't give up anything, combine everything. Life, counted and painted in American style. Now, in the second half of April, it’s all rallies, universities, trips, court summonses and television shows, and in May the first 17 (not 16 or 18!) days are pure, only the yacht. And then again the process, again the Boston Five, and this is very serious. The government wants to teach them a lesson so that they don’t trouble young people and discourage others. True, Spock hopes that the trial will take a year and a half, and in the meantime the war may end or the rage of the pursuers will subside. But suddenly it’s not a lighter option, suddenly it’s really a prison in your seventies, instead of a yacht and Caribbean turquoise. As the crown of a long honest life. Is he ready for this? He, sitting next to him on the comfortable leather seat of the Cadillac. Not a loud, famous name, but a person with his own innermost thoughts and feelings, which cannot all be expressed in public speeches.These are the questions I ask myself when I am alone with him. And he answered them a long time ago. Only those who look from the outside can have bewilderments and questions. But his choice has been made, and there is logic and a life line in it. Are you ready to be yourself? But what about?! And without joking, he says, with determination and pressure:  My friends think I'm crazy. I really became belligerent, intolerant. I hope that young people will forcefully say: “Let's stop this monstrous stupidity! Let's straighten out this world!" Do you know why they put me on trial? I decided that since young people go to prison in order not to go into the army, then we, the elders, should support them. I’m not going to pretend to be young, but the approval of young people encourages me. Now, wherever you go, there are three times more people, they are greeted with applause, they are seen off with applause. They get up...The driver was silent for a long time, listening out of the corner of his ear to our conversations. Finally he dared to intervene.  “It is my honor to carry you, Doctor Spock.” I want to tell you about this, although many have a different attitude. I am for peace, Dr. Spock...Then there was Philadelphia, a television studio, and everywhere Spock's appearance caused a strong reaction of attraction and repulsion, and I saw that he had become accustomed to such contradictory reactions since he stepped into the minefield of politics from the peaceful field of pediatrics. There was a murmur in the line of ladies waiting in front of the television studio to be allowed into the show as a familiar figure strode quickly past. A long-haired guy in a light brown leather jacket jumped up, shook hands, and expressed “the greatest respect.” Curious people looked into the passage room where we sat, waiting for the doctor to be called. Checking them and teasing them a little, Spock introduced me, and this took them by surprise, on their faces I read: “And here he showed up with the “red”.”The show of the cheekily experienced, standard-charming Mike McDouglas was the usual television vinaigrette: a black singer thoughtfully discussed whether it is possible to smile when performing sad black blues, in a jazz quartet of schoolchildren a girl played the trumpet, a fashion model visually proved that Philadelphia is no stranger to records for parts of the miniskirts of that time. And all this was used to advertise Westinghouse brand refrigerators and vacuum cleaners. Doctor Spock was also called. He disappeared from the room, leaving me alone, and a couple of minutes later appeared on the television screen as another participant in this mishmash, along with the funny and important girl trumpeter and the bare-legged fashion model. The cheeky presenter treated him only a little more respectfully, and I felt embarrassed for Dr. Spock and felt sorry for him, but he knew that there was no other option and that one must coexist peacefully with the television mess, and, showing his book, he made his way, solemn and even prim, with the truth about Vietnam. They asked him questions, naive, angry, bourgeois, and he answered patiently.— Doctor, is it true that the presidential daughter Lucy, according to your book, is raising the presidential grandson Patrick?— Is it true, doctor, that many American women send you your book, not wanting to raise their children according to the anti-American method?— Doctor, how do you feel about being called a traitor and a communist?In this audience of Philadelphia housewives, he was clearly a stranger. He talked about how, while participating in the election campaign, he campaigned for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater, who threatened to expand American intervention in Vietnam, and how, two days after his election, President Johnson personally called him, thanked him for his help and assured him that he would be worthy of the trust placed in him. “And three months later, he betrayed all of us who believed in him, did exactly what he promised not to do,” Dr. Spock said these words angrily, like a deceived man. He valued this argument, which the Philadelphia housewives could understand: the president violated the code of decency - and he, the children's teacher Spock, cannot and does not have the right to forgive him for this...We were returning to New York in the same Cadillac. I asked how to explain the colossal popularity of his book, which was so obvious even during this show, which was unlikely to give him pleasure. He answered very briefly: firstly, it’s cheap, secondly, it’s complete, and thirdly, it’s written very simply.Very simple... His words are simple, and he himself is simple, but this is the rare simplicity of a whole, large person. He was told that in the complex matter of war and politics there is no place for a children's doctor, but he does not recognize the monopoly of the president, ministers and senators in matters that concern everyone. Here is his starting premise: as a citizen, he has no less the right than anyone else to judge his country and its policies, to be responsible for everything.Dr. Spock became actively involved in politics in the early 60s, when he was once outraged by President Kennedy. The President said that although the United States outnumbered the Soviet Union in nuclear weapons, it must resume nuclear testing to continue to maintain its superiority. Spock understood and deeply took to heart a simple thing - with such logic, the arms race will never stop and one bad day the world will go to hell. He asked himself: what is the point of raising healthy, good children if their destiny is to die in a senseless war? And this was not an idle question, but a search for new life behavior and action. In his search, he first agreed to become vice president of the moderate-liberal organization Americans for a Sound Nuclear Policy. However, she quickly disappointed him with her passivity, spinelessness, and timidity (“They couldn’t even write letters of protest to the President or Secretary of State”). It is in the nature of things that when the radicalism of youth wears off, it gives way to the grumpy conservatism of old people. Benjamin Spock took a different path. In 1924, taking part in the presidential election for the first time, he cast his vote, on the advice of his father, to the conservative Calvin Coolidge. Then he moved to the left towards the liberals. By the mid-60s, he was no longer satisfied with the liberal middle ground, and already at retirement age he went to the young radicals, although he does not turn a blind eye to the weakness, disorganization, and fragility of the protest movement. This latecomer to politics learned to call things by their own, unflattering names. He, of course, is not a Marxist; he draws his faith in traditional ideals - American democracy and freedom, but condemns the imperialist nature of American politics. He also understands that most of his compatriots think differently.“Most Americans don’t think we are imperialists.” They have this opinion: we are good guys. For example, they dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and then sent help there through the Red Cross. Are they bad guys?He came to politics by force, and for him it is not a field, not a goal, but only a means to achieve the same, his previous goal - a worthy person, a worthy life, a worthy future. He came to politics in the same way as to pediatrics - as a humanist, concerned about the fate of man and humanity, rebelling against the mood of hopelessness and pessimism and full of determination to act. It was not complacency, but a difficult hope, undermined by anxiety, that sounded in his words when he touched on his most cherished topic.— Since the turn of our century, Western literature has tirelessly insisted that the noble qualities in man have perished, that man is just an animal. But could an animal create the Taj Mahal, Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony, or Shakespeare's plays? The cynical view is wrong. By nature, a person is inclined to ideals and creativity, but there are also dangerous tendencies in him that need to be controlled. It so happens that in our country these tendencies are now developed, perhaps more than in others. All my books are about instilling in young people faith in people...The conversation shortened the journey. Overpasses and interchanges flashed more and more often, the freeway became wider and wider, the flow of cars became thicker, and finally the rotten spirit of the chemical plants near Newark testified that New York was very close. The last turn near a granite cliff on the high right bank of the Hudson - and, like a curtain rising on a huge stage, a bewitching panorama of Manhattan opened up, columns of skyscrapers shining under the April sky, a host of houses, white smoke above the chimneys of thermal power plants. A huge, all-containing, great and cruel city, where it is incredibly difficult for the dream of peace, brotherhood and harmony between people to survive, and where - in alienation, loss and melancholy, under the yoke of life - this dream cannot but be reborn, just as it cannot but be reborn life.In a crowd of other cars, the Cadillac dived into the tiled hole of the tunnel under the Hudson and emerged on the other side, under road signs, traffic lights, captivated by the Manhattan streets. The end of the road is the end of the conversation. We said goodbye at Columbus Circle, where the marble monument to America's discoverer stands, and I watched Dr. Spock leave until the black limousine disappeared from view, heading north along Central Park West.We said goodbye for a long time, although, having returned to Moscow, I continued to meet Dr. Spock in absentia on printed pages and, occasionally and fleetingly, on television. His name in our country has become, as the Americans say, a household item, that is, generally known. He was the personification of the protesting America that we liked, and it seemed that he participated in all its achievements, and was subjected to all the hardships that fell to its lot, although he still escaped prison bars - the case of the “Boston Five” was hushed up. Every time I encountered mentions of him, I felt a certain sense of personal involvement—my acquaintance. An acquaintance whom you can be proud of not because he is world famous - how many are there, empty celebrities in the age of sensations and mass communications? But because he is a Man. Of those rare great people who, precisely with their inexhaustible, selfless, unyieldingly persistent humanity, unite people, connect others with their country and with all of humanity.We met in person, in a familiar apartment on Lexington Avenue, four and a half years later, when I, working as a correspondent for Izvestia in Washington, introduced my New York colleague Vitaly Kobysh to Dr. Spock as an old acquaintance. Spock remained almost unchanged, except that the wrinkles on his face became deeper and more pronounced. Just as willingly and simply, seriously and laughing at himself, he explained the state of affairs, sitting us down on the sofa and offering us a can of beer each. It was December 1972, only a month had passed after the elections in which he ran for president of the United States on behalf of the People's Party, actually not even a party, but a motley, somehow cobbled-together coalition of left-wing organizations. A children's doctor - a presidential candidate? But there were no other equally famous national figures in the People's Party; Spock alone was a “household item” in millions of American families. Ion bore this burden, making no allowance for his age, wandering from end to end of America for weeks and months, speaking, explaining, agitating. He received only a few hundred thousand votes and, of course, did not expect to get into the White House, reserved by the two-party system for Republican or Democratic candidates. His election campaign was more of an educational nature - to support young people, not to let them despair, because the protest movement was on the wane. He himself, in any case, did not despair: not having the Archimedean lever to turn America over, he still retained the hope of the sower who threw good seeds into the soil...Several more times I contacted Dr. Spock by telephone, taking short responses for the newspaper, and he invariably responded, speaking out in favor of disarmament, SALT negotiations and détente in American-Soviet relations, although each time, grunting disapprovingly, he wondered how anyone could things with the “son of a bitch” Nixon—his dealings with American presidents continued to go wrong. Our telephone conversations were all about politics and about politics, and it turned out that the politician had completely blocked out the children's doctor in him. But later a new controversy arose around Dr. Spock and spread beyond America, gaining international resonance. I received a request from the editors - to contact and find out whether it is true that he has changed his pediatric principle, that in his approach to raising children he now puts in first place not affection, but severity. N-yes... So, back to pediatrics, back to normal.And I went from Washington to New York with the question: what is better - severity or affection? I went with a yellow-bound book - the second Soviet edition of his classic - cheap, complete and simple - instructions for mothers - “The Child and His Care.” (When we met, he signed an autograph and said good-naturedly and flattered: “But you didn’t know me as a pediatrician until they started persecuting me in America for my anti-war speeches. Then they probably thought he was a good guy and translated my book.” I regretted that for the translation they took not the latest, but a ten-year-old publication.) Educating me in advance about the subject of the dispute, Spock, through his secretary from the same “secretary service” on Madison Avenue, sent by mail a photocopy of two pages of the American family magazine “Redbook” , where he regularly published consultation articles. “The inability to be firm with children is, in my opinion, the most common parenting problem in America today,” he wrote. “In order for a child to do what needs to be done, or stop doing what he should not do, you need to be with him every time.” clear and definite." This advice came with a caveat: “I do not recommend the overbearing, sergeant-training method of recruits—that would be the other extreme.”So what is controversial here? And where is the alternative between affection and severity? The same calm kindness in this consultation as in the famous book. But no, truth is not only born, but also dies in disputes. Nervous comments appeared: Spock has retreated from his principles, preferring the stick to the carrot. Some, who believed that young people had blossomed “like Spock,” rejoiced. Others were upset and indignant (and even one of our pediatrician scientists managed to publish an article in one of our newspapers, the meaning of which boiled down to the following: “And you, Dr. Spock, sold out to Wall Street”)....The familiar light gray house, not yet darkened by the New York smoke. The same apartment on the 11th floor with views of the neighboring floors and roofs. The same music stand instead of a chair. The same bookshelves. And this - I don’t remember if it happened before? A reproduction of Picasso on the wall—the outline of Don Quixote on Rossinante, sketched with precise black strokes. Cervantes's hero is long and thin, like Dr. Spock.Where, however, is the owner himself? I stayed in the city, buying tickets somewhere for my grandchildren who were coming to visit from Boston. And here he is - with his head uncovered, although it is windy and chilly outside, in a light raincoat. Throwing off his cloak, he quickly steps forward, rubbing his hands. Same. Sitting down in a chair, he tucks his right leg under him like a youth. Same. Strong tanned wrists peek out from his shirt. Everything is an intercessor yacht. And the time will come when, at the end of the conversation, he cannot resist - he takes out two color photographs, and on them - white sails...The same, but the conversation is no longer about students, but about his book, about his pediatric principles. No, they haven't changed. He believed and still believes that children behave normally and reasonably because they love their parents, and they love their parents because their parents love them. (“The essence of discipline, nine-tenths of it, is the love that a child feels for his parents.”) But in the same principles, time forces us to place emphasis differently. The first edition of his book was published in 1946. American pediatrics was then, by Spock's definition, extremely tough. For example, they ordered feeding the child at 6 and 10 am, 2 pm, 6 and 10 pm - neither earlier nor later. Against this background, his advice was revolutionary liberating. —  In my book, I wrote that such rigidity is not necessary, that throughout their history people ate when they were hungry, and this did not affect their psyche or digestion. I called for flexibility and humanity.The book, perhaps, was also such a success because it met the natural human need for love, kindness, and affection. American mothers began to raise the “Spock generation.” But...  “But ten years later, when I published a revised edition, some parents went to the other extreme, believing that it was the children who should determine everything - when they should eat and when they should sleep. Such children became tyrants, and mothers pointed at me as the culprit, the creator of tyrants. But I never believed that the child should decide everything, and for a long time I consciously emphasized in my book the need for firm, unambiguous parental guidance...More terrible than misunderstanding is hatred and revenge. When Dr. Spock began dividing pediatrics with politics, his opponents quickly multiplied. They didn't disdain anything. In politics they labeled him a traitor, in pedagogy - as an advocate of permissiveness, and all together were combined into one lie, according to which the insidious and even “red” Doctor Spock, having penetrated millions of American homes with his book, deliberately corrupted American children right from the cradle - and here it is, the terrible result of his machinations - a generation that rebels, refusing to serve in the army and kill in the jungle.— What nonsense! Spock was indignant. “For twenty-two years after the book was published, no one accused me of being a supporter of permissiveness.” This charge was brought forward only in 196$, when I was put on trial for my opposition to the Vietnam War. And do you know who was the first to accuse me of corrupting American youth? New York priest Norman Vincent Peale. This old coot has written a ton of books on how to make a ton of money by practicing so-called positive thinking. Have you heard what it is? Pray in the morning, pray more often, convincing yourself that everything is going well, and that God is on your side, and that soon you will be richer and richer. Do you know who started this accusation? Another rogue is Spiro Agnew, a former vice president who taught everyone all sorts of virtues until he was caught in bribery and forced to resign in disgrace...I have a tape recording of this conversation. I turn it on and hear Dr. Spock speaking with rare excitement and energy. Rogues! The word literally explodes on his lips. They won't be able to intimidate him. Rogues!Yes, he was the same. Not going to get along with scoundrels. And he believes that a person can still be turned to the side that he likes to call delightful. He puts the highest meaning into a simple word - decency. And the black outline of Don Quixote looks at him from the wall, and it seems that the Knight of the Sorrowful Image is about to open his lips and say in the words of Dr. Spock:— Let's stop this monstrous stupidity! Let's straighten this world!AUTUMN IN WEST VIRGINIAFirst east on 50 along the big Virginia farms, then south on 81, squinting left at the dull lilac haze of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then east again as old 60 obediently twists and turns, obeying the folds of the Appalachians, and the new 64 boldly cuts straight through the mountains - a Sunday-like deserted, high-speed concrete strip, in which rocky cliffs stand in tiers, pushed back and tamed, imperiously smoothed by the builders. And all the time around, climbing the slopes, the crimson and gold of late autumn... Finally the sun goes away, the crimson and gold go out, twilight thickens in the valley of a seething river named Kanava. When the meter clocked up almost 400 miles, the evening lights of the oil refinery shone sharply and a gas torch from a high chimney flared like a flag.The city of Charleston is the capital of the state of West Virginia (population about 2 million people). The state calls itself a mountain state, and the motto, of course, is in Latin - “Mountain people are always free.” The coat of arms depicts a stone in the center, with a miner and a farmer on the sides. Coal is the basis of the economy.So, in eight not very rushed driving hours from Washington to Charleston - an old city according to American standards, where two rivers merge, there are several chemical plants - after all, its own network of roads, its own small army of officials, the capital, - its own life, politics...FIRST EVENING. The car - to the third floor of the garage, himself - to the ninth floor of the Holiday Inn, where everything you need - from a bed to a Bible, it is already open on the chest of drawers, and in the red corner, on two powerful brown pipes protruding from walls, a television box that rotates left and right, but with its front looking at the bed, from where you can turn it on and off without getting up. Multi-channel colored serpent-tempter. The magician is a time-swallower. A modern icon, not mute, talkative, many-sided. And at the same time, the Bible is not like the one on the chest of drawers, with the gospels not from Matthew and Luke, but from Ford, General Motors, the Schlitz beer company, and so on, and so on, and so on - you can’t count their current apostles, who have all their wisdom in one single advertising commandment: “Buy ours!”And to relax, out of the way, I click the wheel of the electronic Bible and select the gospel from the Mutual of Omaha insurance company. That evening, she convinces that nowhere will elderly Americans live out their lives so calmly and cheaply, as under the protection of her insurance policies, convinces the charming, ageless, popular Lawrence Welk with his young men in red jackets and young faces in blue and white with a concert. national stars dresses. Beautiful nostalgia of waltzes and tangos, and in between - Welk’s soft assurances that not everything in life is so black and blue, that the good, perhaps, outweighs the bad, for God has not deprived America of his blessing...Eh, vanity of vanities... Did you travel through the mountains to look out of the TV window in Charleston? It is always at hand in Washington. The same. I parted the curtain and through the low, but wall-length window - a real one - I looked at the evening, Sunday, unfamiliar city. It appeared as an illuminated, deserted intersection of streets. And it was only ten o’clock, children’s time. Having passed the hall, where old white men and women who had arrived at the local “friendliness congress” and black young people, who were also holding some kind of event, were dueling with sidelong glances, he went out into the open air. And I immediately felt how alarming this evening’s will was here, in Charleston.The lit eyes of cars rushed headlong along the invisible and inaudible Kanava River. The humps of cars with dull eyes gleamed darkly at the roadside. A street appeared around the corner, with lanterns and signs on it. The street was empty... But from afar a dark male figure comes towards me. On my side of the sidewalk. And I wanted: away from such will, back under the roof of the Holiday Inn, into a room with a closed door, to a safe television narrative about American life - without experiments. Save and have mercy on the sinner, Mutual of Omaha! Saved. We became close to a stranger. We...smiled at each other, cautiously and gratefully. And with their smiles they sealed the mutual non-aggression pact on Summerstreet. The good outweighed the bad. You're right, Lawrence Welk...Remember that evening melancholy of Blok “night, street, street lamp, pharmacy...”? A lonely, restless, pre-television person wants to go to the big world, to the city, which was created by people for this purpose, to live together, and there is night, a street, a street lamp, a pharmacy... There are no people there, cold, empty nakedness. On Summerstreet, prophecies from Alexander Blok came true. Only there was more light than outside the poet’s window, but this light was chilling from lanterns and jewelry display cases, in which watches and rings, protected by thick glass and a special alarm, glittered on velvet. And instead of a pharmacy there were two cinemas, diagonally from each other. In one photo, negligee beauties invited to the film “Teenage Fantasies”, in the window of another, with relish, pitchforks plunged into the chest of an overturned man, there they talked about “bloody farmers”. The vulgarity of lust. The vulgarity of cruelty. And evening anxiety...THE MORNING IS WISER THAN THE EVENING. The light of day, albeit cloudy, autumn, and the people on the streets ended the impression of a piercing evening alarm.In the morning the city was peaceful and working. Low mountains stood around as silent witnesses to the fact that everything here began at the end of the 18th century with a log fort that protected the first settlers from the Indians, and continued with salt mines, coal mines, and chemical plants.Next to the hotel there was a local skyscraper - the Charleston National Bank; through the large windows, business people with business papers were visible on all its floors. Bridges crossed the narrow Kanava River, with moving dotted lines of cars on them. On the other side of the river was South Charleston, an industrial extension of the city...The mayor of Charleston, a youthful brunette, John Hutchinson, sat me down on a large leather sofa in his office and touched upon the topic of evening anxiety, saying that, compared with others, this attack has sidestepped the city, that the number of “major” crimes even seems to be decreasing, and with drugs, thank God, “we are several years behind big cities.”The population has declined. There is a crisis in the coal industry, there is not enough work, but those who work are paid well. A prosperous tiny capital of a small, economically distressed state in which, according to government statistics, a third of the population is classified as poor...The face of a city is, first of all, the faces of its people. I was lucky and the faces and people were friendly and welcoming. Especially Ned Chilton, publisher of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginian, patriot, and critic. He gave me good, smart companions - the young reporter Andy Gallagher and the veteran newspaper John Morgan, the author of the historical chronicle "Charleston - 175 years old." Invited me to a “very capitalistic” private club located above the city on a mountain. There were two more lawyers with their wives, a liberal and a conservative. Ned good-naturedly provoked a fight between the Soviet guest and the “real capitalists,” and then reconciled us with calls for broad-mindedness and understanding, and talked about his two trips to the Soviet Union.The Charleston Gazette has a circulation of about 70 thousand, the largest in the state, practically a family newspaper: Ned has shares, his aunt has even more. Chilton is over fifty, but with a gray sweater on his strong tennis chest, he looks much younger as he sits at his substantial publishing desk. The face is boyishly mischievous. Local die-hards consider Ned's views to be mischievous. And he is just a liberal - for the growth of humanity in America and is sharply against the inhumane war in Vietnam: “Write it down for history - from the very beginning.”He picks me up in a friendly manner, talks about his admiration for Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and that, of course, we need to live in peace, tells his sweet secretary Kay to pick up the clippings I need, but, sitting across the table and making notes in a notebook, I raise my head and Sometimes I see Ned’s unexpectedly sharp, questioning look: “Why did you come here, brother?”A Soviet journalist is a curiosity in West Virginia, and suspicion of the “Reds” has become ingrained in American flesh and blood. But where is your breadth then, Ned? Do you really not believe that I came just to be curious and understand a little about your conversations about coal, the economy, about Rockefeller IV?Please arrange an interview with Rockefeller. And the cordial Ned reaches for the phone, explaining that Jay is his friend, and Jay’s wife, Sharon, is a friend of his wife Betty... And then he hesitates, thinks, and takes his hand off the phone. I feel a lot of distance between these two friends. Although Ned's newspaper strongly supports Rockefeller IV, although because of him Ned quarreled with Governor Arch More and Mayor John Hutchinson...ROCKEFELLER IV TRANSPLANTATION. To be honest, I came to West Virginia to have a look. on young Rockefeller. And long before Charleston, the local airwaves burst into my car radio with calls: “Vote for Jay... Jay stands for the people.” They also called: “Vote for Arch Mora! Re-elect a good governor!” And two opponents often glanced at me from roadside posters. But who - outside of West Virginia - cares about Arch More, even if he's a good governor?And Rockefeller is genuine. The eldest heir in the fourth generation, with the same name as his great-grandfather, who amassed wealth that became a symbol of wealth in general, who founded a dynasty that became a symbol of American capitalism in general - John Davison Rockefeller. Only not the First, but the Fourth. With the diminutive name Jay. He has such a condition that he considers it “inconvenient” to give numbers. Such uncles that not everyone is given. Uncle Nelson is a longtime governor of New York State. Uncle Winthrop is a major landowner and former governor of Arkansas. Uncle David is the head of Chase Manhattan Bank. And Jay's father, John Rockefeller III, is a philanthropist. His hobby is charity. He is, for example, the financial trustee of Lincoln Center, a famous cultural complex in New York.One journalist said of Rockefeller IV: “The man who has everything.” And he agreed - without thinking. But even the Rockefellers are missing something. For example, there was no president of the United States in their family. It wasn’t, although Uncle Nelson tried to go to the White House several times.In the Appalachian Mountains, the Rockefeller family is engaged in long-term political investments that will eventually bring them the White House. Investment 35-year-old Jay Rockefeller. At the current intermediate stage, he wants to become governor of West Virginia.The stages, which were achieved without difficulty, are as follows: a privileged private school, privileged universities - Harvard and Yale, an emphasis on “Asian problems”, Chinese and Japanese languages, access to the world, including a three-year stay as a Rockefeller student in Japan (in particular, “for experience "to a family, for $25 a month), service in the "Peace Corps" - as an assistant to its director - Sargent Schriever, service in the State Department, where the diplomat Rockefeller was involved in the Philippines and where, according to evil tongues, he was bombarded with glances in the corridors by pretty secretaries , Cinderellas dreaming of a prince...In vain they ran out into the corridor. Among Rockefeller's many rights and privileges is the right not to value his position in the State Department. And there is the right to experiments that are risky, thoughtless, and inaccessible for a mere mortal. In 1964, 27-year-old Rockefeller took an unusual step. There was a time when rich and official America, under pressure from a protest movement, predominantly black, discovered the eternally forgotten America of the dispossessed. President Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." It was then that the scion of a wealthy family had a fantastic rendezvous with the mining village of Emmons, 15 miles south of Charleston: about 300 residents, 60 families, and only 13 breadwinners had jobs.West Virginia had a place to fight poverty. In the mines, having encountered competition from gas and oil, including Rockefeller’s; Coal companies intensively introduced mechanization and automation. As a result, the number of miners decreased by a quarter in a matter of years. Half a million residents were left without a regular piece of bread. Hundreds of mining villages were shaken out of life and soul, they became “ghosts”.In short, the residents of Emmons were thinking about a piece of their daily bread; young Rockefeller wanted to “get a broad idea of ​​his country.” And they met.In Emmons, at first they could not understand why a guy with a frighteningly famous surname had arrived in a brand new car. He was mistaken for an agent eradicating moonshiners, for an inspector checking whether the unemployed were cheating and whether they were worthy of welfare and benefits. And he looked at them as if they were Papuans. The two poles of America have met. One had everything, including the right to zigzags in his career. Others have dilapidated houses, fear of looking into tomorrow... But there were also there, in Emmons - here it is, America! - bad TVs, and what horrified Jay most was the natives sitting in front of the TV screens. “They watch TV from morning to evening,” he shared his discoveries. “They will stare at it, not seeing or hearing anything, just so as not to talk to each other.”Children did not study because adults did not work—there was no money for textbooks or school lunches. And the TV in Emmons showed daily the latest news that it was at this time that billions of dollars were flying into the abyss of war in the name of “equal opportunities” for Vietnamese children being destroyed by American bombs and napalm.Rockefeller did not come for this. handing out dollars and jobs. He wanted to inspire residents and convince children to study. The newspapers wrote about a romantic billionaire who went to the people. Walking did not bring a miracle. “Emmons is the same as before he came,” said former miner James Angel. “I gave two years, but achieved little” - this is the assessment of Jay Rockefeller himself. Helped several kids with their studies. By the way, he himself received a salary - free services are immoral according to Rockefeller ethics.“They treat outsiders there very suspiciously,” Rockefeller said of Emmons, “after all, they come there only to check something, take something, promise something and not fulfill it.”And after two years, he himself stopped visiting Emmons, and took there more than he gave - an expanded biography. Now not only was there a dollar halo around his name, but also the halo of a people's defender.The transplant took place. The New York native and recent Washington resident declared himself a West Virginian, registered as a Democrat (unlike his Republican father and uncles), and moved from small causes to larger ones. In 1966, he was elected to the West Virginia Legislative Assembly, and two years later he became the secretary of state of this state.Pete Thaw is his deputy. According to local experts, there is no one closer to Jay Rockefeller. In Rockefeller's empty office, this bilious and apparently intelligent man said disdainfully that the position of Secretary of State was a trifling, albeit cushy, job: keeping the official seal, ensuring the correctness of voter registration. Some sat in this cushy place for decades; one of those who sat managed to transfer the position to his son. But this, of course, will not tempt the great-grandson of Rockefeller 1. The office on the first floor of the West Virginia Capitol is just a supporting platform for jumping across the corridor into the governor’s office.Undisguised hostility reigns in the corridor. Taking me to the governor's reception room, briefly pointing at the carpet (the third largest in the world, according to local directories), Mr. Thaw said that he would not go further. “Then only with a fight?” I asked. He chuckled. A week before the gubernatorial election, the battle was in full swing.We... Rockefeller now spoke this word on behalf of the people of West Virginia:— We have people. We have natural resources. We have determination. I want to lead this state to bring it all together for progress that will last. I believe that I can work better than anyone else for the greatness of this state...He promises 50,000 new jobs, 20,000 miles of improved roads, he promises to crack down on coal companies, to personally go underground to monitor safety regulations, and to put an end to strip mining, the kind of coal mining that is destroying the Appalachian soil and the beauty of the mountains. Its propagandists proclaim that luck has finally struck the unfortunate state - in the form of John Davison Rockefeller IV, who has now become West Virginia's "greatest natural wealth."JAY... JAY... JAY... This morning I've been riding with John Morgan, emeritus reporter of the Charleston Gazette, chronicler of West Virginia and namesake of its famous discoverer, Morgan Morgan. In front of our car looms an elegant gray semi-bus with blue stickers “Jay... Jay... Jay...” and a line of cars with most of them “Jay... Jay... Jay...”. We're on the Rockefeller campaign trail.Grey sky. Light rain. Wet mountains. Wet roads. The wet communities around Charleston—Mermet, Cabin Creek, Miami... Clusters of people outside a red brick store, a white-board eatery with a menu sign right out front: “Cheese sandwich—45 cents. Ham sandwich - 40 cents."If there are more people, a metal stable platform extends from the back of the gray camper with blue decals. If it's just a little - polished boots right on the ground. A man in a light brown tweed suit towers above everyone - almost 2 meters. His head is always half-tilted, as happens with very tall people. Ambition is not inaction, and Jay Rockefeller is working from seven in the morning until midnight in these final election days. He is proud that he has traveled all over the wilderness of West Virginia and that no less than 150 thousand of the most diverse residents have seen him in person; Ambition is a family job in America. His wife Sharon, daughter of Illinois Senator Charles Percy, also gets it. She “processes” women and youth. Idiot work, a funny ritual of handshakes and short self-praises at short stops. Not for everyone. I feel that the stooped John Morgan is embarrassed in front of a foreigner for this “democracy in action.”Since eight in the morning I have been trying my hand at physiognomy, observing Rockefeller IV up close. Well, height, parting in dark brown soft hair. Well, eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses, a regular nose, beautiful lips. Besides his height, the only thing that sets him apart from these people is his tanned and sleek cheeks, perhaps too fresh for a 35-year-old man. Well, he's cute. is that enough? I look into the eyes, the forehead, the movements of the lips, listen to the intonations of the voice - after all, they reveal a person, even if his speeches are empty. No, I don’t see the strength and play of a living mind. I don't see a strong will. However, I don’t see any trickery. There is also no one more quality that, like talent, is valued in the local market of political careerists - magnetism that attracts and captivates the crowd. Take away the famous surname and immediately a perplexed question: why is this one a candidate for governor, and not that one from his retinue?..With his head half-bent, his right hand as if groping for someone to half-hug and bring closer from above (from above!), Jay looks like an entertainer. Looking at those gathered, he is about to exclaim: “Loaf, loaf, choose whoever you want!..” And next to him is the former vice president, presidential candidate in 1968, Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey with his shabby, smart face and deep undereyes, an experienced politician , a grated roll, which, however, has not lost the ability to sincerely light up from its own eloquence. Today he is both a touring star of political show business and Rockefeller's mentor pilot. He knows how to spot a baby in his mother’s arms and take him without the baby making a sound. He knows how to approach first-graders huddled at the school door and keep them busy while photo reporters capture this touching moment. The young Rockefeller watches Humphrey with the delight of a student. One can read in his gaze: “It gives!”Only in the hall of the Daniel Boone Hotel in Charleston, at a dinner with Democratic activists and trade unionists, after a shocking invocation speech, Humphrey Rockefeller also lit up and, towering over the podium, waving his long arms, demanded from his supporters “extra energy and extra effort” in the remaining days.— Go to church on Sunday morning, but don't sit in front of the TV on Sunday, and then we will have a holiday on Wednesday...I approached him after the lunch meeting. He asked why he, Rockefeller, for whom all paths were open, chose politics. He did not deny that all paths were opening. I received a polite response:“Because, sir, politics is the best way to serve the people.”At the same dinner I was introduced to Robert McDonagh, a sharp-nosed gentleman who looked like a Dickensian solicitor. They say that he knows all West Virginia politics inside and out, he keeps many West Virginia politicians in his vest pocket, in 1960 he was a pusher here for John Kennedy, and now he is an intercessor on Rockefeller affairs. Pleading my ignorance as a foreigner, I asked the experienced Mr. McDonagh why a man who only eight years ago appeared in this state, untested in any significant matter, having practically no track record, so confidently claims his rights to leadership. Mr. McDonagh did not hide—or reveal—the secret.— Money, my friend, money...Rockefeller money looks different. For example, on the walls of office premises there are bright strokes of abstract painting instead of ancient generals with telescopes. These are prettier secretaries and a larger staff of workers, half of which are paid by Rockefeller out of his own pocket. Of course, this is his own house, one of the best in the Charleston area, and another house worth half a million, being built in the mountains, with which he would like to dispel rumors about the transitory nature of his life in West Virginia.But these are also minor things. His money significantly changed the political landscape of West Virginia, took control of the Democratic Party organization and unleashed a competition of local ambitious people jumping into the Rockefeller “VAN”, which could eventually be driven all the way to the White House. His money is a reputation for integrity in a state where corruption is a way of life and where, for example, former Gov. Wally Barron was jailed for 12 years for bribery. “No one can buy me and my voice,” Feller IV, with the confidence of a person accustomed to buying, declares Rock and not to sell. This argument is impressive where politicians have been and are being bought by coal companies.And perhaps the most important thing is that Rockefeller’s money and connections promise to attract new capital and provide 50 thousand new jobs to the economically disadvantaged state.COAL... COAL... COAL... But coal remains king for now.In the north of the state, in the city of Morgantown, where it is located. West Virginia University, I had three long conversations in professors' offices with people who write books and academic articles about West Virginia. Most of the talk was about coal - the blessing and curse of this region. Everyone agreed that the history of American capitalism in West Virginia assigned the place of an “inland colony”, in which “outside interests” had long been in command, that is, coal companies that uncontrollably exploited the state, and had their headquarters in Pittsburgh, New York, when - even in London.Professor Robert Mann, a famous historian of this region, spoke about the fourfold reduction in the army of miners, about half a million residents left without a livelihood.“This was the first example in the United States, if not in the world, when a large industry, competing with oil and gas, cut its workforce so sharply and so quickly,” he explained. “Coal companies shifted their problems onto the miners.—  The problem of unemployment has never been essentially solved. Economically, the state sank deeper and deeper. A few years ago, we could say we hit rock bottom and began to rise again - not thanks to economic growth, but because some of the unemployed, mostly young people, left for other places, and the old people died.This is the assessment of Professor William Mernick, a leading expert on the local economy. It contains both an obituary and hopes for the future.Coal... Election passions were in full swing around coal. Since the Rockefellers had no capital in the West Virginia coal industry, the young millionaire considered his hands free and branded Governor Arch Mohr as a lackey of the coal companies who had sold his soul to Consolidation Coal and Island Creek. His opponent did not remain in debt, calling for the solidarity of West Virginians against an outsider with “the most ruthless name in the world,” against “the largest fortune in the world”, which is carrying out a sinister plot - the total liquidation of the state’s coal industry in favor of its oil and nuclear interests, a plan “destruction of a miner and his family.”Coal... For several hours I became a guest of the Consolidation Coal company, the largest in West Virginia and in the United States in general.Bob Verboski, a young employee in the company's advertising department, took me into the hills right on the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border to the Blacksville II mine.We met with the manager at the one-story, light building of the directorate. He was in a hurry somewhere. Having said hello and immediately saying goodbye, he admonished me: “Write kind words... Look, what a beautiful mine.”I’m not a miner, I haven’t been to the mines, and at first I had no idea what was so beautiful about three solidly powerful “silos” storing coal before shipping to customers, in the inclined lines of conveyors hanging above the compacted earth covered with crushed stone, in a high building sorting plant... After walking around and listening to the explanations of Forrest Vannoy, in charge of ground operations, I guessed that the beauty of extreme mechanization is the highest labor productivity. They didn’t let me go underground, saying that it would take too much time, but I saw how silently and quickly two “tubs”, similar to vertical, closed cars, walked up and down on a steel cable. Every 69 seconds, 18 tons of coal are released onto the mountain, and while one “tub” is unloaded at the top in five to seven seconds, the other is loaded at the bottom in the same seconds, so that, having met halfway - one empty, the other full - they disperse and after which -Switch roles for a minute.It must be a beautiful mine if only one person pressing buttons is responsible for the loading and unloading operation underground, and if only five people are employed per shift above, and if the coal trains do not even stop, they move slowly - each car is 120 tons are loaded in half a minute.It was a beautiful mine, and the foreman himself, Forrest Vannoy, was handsome, tall and leisurely, in blue trousers tucked into work boots, a beige jacket and a white helmet with a long transparent visor. He did not take off his helmet, even while sitting in a chair in his office. Hereditary miner.There was some kind of sad pride in the mention of his father, who died of “black lungs” - a miner’s death. Fought in World War II - Pacific Ocean, Italy, Africa. After five years of service, he returned to his native land, where he began mining before the war, with the intention of graduating from college and going to a “clean job.” He dropped out of school, became an accountant, and one day he was overcome with such melancholy, such despair that he would spend his whole life sitting behind four walls behind boring pieces of paper. He returned to the mine. Now his son Mark is down there on Blacksville 2. The miner's blood also began to flow. Americans rarely talk about love for their work, for their profession, but from the lips of Forrest Vannoy I heard an almost sentimental and very sincere confession: — Mining is my life, and I love this business very much... On this note of love and pride, one could end the story about a beautiful mine and its handsome foreman. But I was interested in the question of what happened to the former miners if labor productivity quadrupled. Already armed with professorial calculations, I also wanted to get an answer at the mine. No matter how delicate I was in formulating my question, it was impossible to change its essence. And then silence fell in the office of foreman Vannoy, but it was no longer the silence of a model mine and automated labor, where they are waiting for a coal train, but that silence when they remember a great misfortune.  “That’s a tough question,” said Forrest Vannoy, and the gesture with which he pulled the transparent visor of his helmet further down onto his forehead was similar to the gesture with which suddenly appearing sweat is wiped from the forehead.And after a pause, he looked at Bob Verboski: this, they say, is in your line. And Bob, who knew his duties as a full-time explainer at the Consolidation Code coal company, reported in a polished, lifeless language of general numbers and phrases, a language that erases the individuality of human destinies, that many left to look for work in other lands, and some switched to welfare, then is on assistance received from the state authorities.I looked at Vannoy. And he saw: no, this smooth answer did not satisfy him, a man born and raised in these places, the son and father of a miner. Living destinies, some living pictures flashed in his brain, and even though those people were not injured here, it would have been a betrayal to remain silent about them. But he, the man, did not want to talk about their fate. Consolidation Cole, in a good place and account, on a strong financial hook for pension plans, some preferentially purchased shares and other incentives. He survived and learned his lessons and reliably insured himself on all sides, even buying some land so that if something happened he could farm in his old age. Farmer and miner - such “mountain men” are depicted on the coat of arms of the state, which lies in the Appalachian Mountains. If one thing doesn't work out, hold on to the other.And Forrest Vannoy, after listening to Bob, said as he exhaled:— Damn it, how they didn’t want to leave here!..Having said goodbye to the foreman, we went out to the mine yard. It was still impressively deserted and impressively quiet. There, under our feet, deep underground, intense and noisy work was going on, but here there was only the silent and strong movement of the cable pulling coal from the depths.Bob Verboski was driving me back to Morgantown. The road wound among the hills, late autumn continued to do its job, changing the crimson to a faded yellow, but the day was beautiful, sunny and quiet, majestic... The day is a gift, as the poet said.Ten years ago, when I was still getting acquainted with America, I was driving through these parts with my friends, and somewhere here, nearby, on a slippery December mountain road, a huge truck with a trailer touched the trunk of our Ford. We were then traveling to Eastern Kentucky, where the losers, thrown out of the mines, even resorted to weapons, to dynamite, in desperation. It was the same as in West Virginia, only worse.And now it has become quiet both there and here. And looking at the scenery of autumn in the Appalachians, I thought that the tragedy of mass unemployment hid behind the bends of this road, in the small villages behind the crests of the hills, became silent, went to other places, and even to premature graves.FOUR MEETINGS WITH MADISON(Including correspondence)1I first came to the city of Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, in April 1963.A fellow correspondent and I were then traveling to the corn-growing state of Iowa, already famous among us, and further to the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, through the cities and towns of the American Midwest. The journalistic urge to cover more, to put another tick in our memory and notebook, lured us a little further north, to Madison. There is a fine transit mixture in the notebook. We arrived late, the Arbor Motel on the western outskirts of the city, sandwiches with melted cheese at the U Under Cafe, a waitress timidly listening to the unfamiliar speech of two night owls, a local phone book for bedtime, it contained a lot of Scandinavian, German, Czech, Polish surnames - Wisconsin was once settled by immigrants from Central and Northern Europe. After spending the night, we drove around the city and the university, looking for the Unionist Church of Frank Lloyd Wright, mentioned in the reference books, the great American architect who loved the Wisconsin soil and left on it many masterpieces of his “organic” architecture inscribed in the landscape.In the evening, as the sun was setting behind the city named after the fourth president of the United States and behind the beautiful lakes with Indian names - Monona and Mendota, we left Madison, having bought half a pound of Roquefort at the House of Wisconsin Cheese store. The state is called the dairy farm of America. Milk tankers rushed towards us, signs of “cheese colonies” lit up in neon, cows appeared in idyllic evening silhouettes in the vastness of the land, which more often than church crosses raises the duralumin tops of silos to the sky.We didn’t make any friends there, but we managed to make some acquaintances. A memorable meeting was with Mr. William Eview, publisher of the Capitol Times newspaper in Madison.The old man was 80 years old, he ran his newspaper from home. When editor Miles McMillin, having previously called the owner, took us to him, we had to come to terms with the role of exotic vagrant birds, which, like a child, would be shown to an old man in order to somehow arouse his fading interest in life.The old man was sitting by the window in a deep armchair, with his feet on a pouffe. Outside the window, two workers were repairing a balcony. They were also middle-aged, and therefore their white overalls with many pockets looked childishly amusing. And beyond the balcony, celebrating the recent freedom from ice, Lake Mendota sparkled invitingly under the April sun. In its triumphant spring radiance there seemed to be a reproach: “Who did you exchange me for?..”The exchange, as it turned out, was not without meaning. This old man, famous in his city, was not just a newspaper merchant. His small newspaper (circulation 47 thousand) carried a certain local banner of liberalism, or, let’s say, progressivism.An ally of the famous Wisconsinite, Senator Robert La Follette, William Eview founded his newspaper in December 1917, shortly after America's entry into the First World War. La Follette, nicknamed Fighting Bob. voted against participating in the war. The Capitol Times, following the senator, hinted that the war was unfair, that the poor were dying in it, and God, you, were profiting. From the first issue, the newspaper began to be strangled - by its conservative rival State Journal, the Madison Chamber of Commerce, the church, and women's groups. To strangle, of course, under the slogan of “protecting our guys,” that is, those young Americans who, in the then jackets and windings, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. At times, an incensed crowd, with chains and sticks, approached the “German agents” with their poor typesetting cash desks and printing press.William Eview, the tenacious son of a Norwegian, persevered. In the 20s, he denounced the Ku Klux Klansmen, defended the rights of workers and farmers and attempts to create a progressive party, and in the early 40s he promoted war - the war against Nazism. And all this time he defended what had sunk into his soul from a young age. the "Wisconsin Idea" of La Follette, who died in 1925 without ever reaching the White House as the candidate of his independent Progressive Party.“Who will rule - wealth or man? Who will occupy public positions—educated and free patriots or serf servants of corporate capital?” This was the question asked by publisher Evue.In general, we were accidentally lucky. At 920 Castle Place, the Tuts saw a local thunderer, a “muckraker,” a democrat who never kept his mouth shut. Stocky Mr. McMillin sat on the right hand, the ideological heir, so to speak. Their speeches that capitalism is not at all equivalent to democracy were bold for the American times of that time.The last of the old man’s enemies was the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy, a demagogue who found “red agents” everywhere - in the State Department, the Pentagon, Hollywood, on television, etc. It was the Wisconsinites who sent this monster to the US Senate, and William Eview was extremely offended, that his home state inscribed the era of McCarthyism into modern American history. Their scores were settled by McCarthy's death in 1957. But even after this, the publisher did not reconcile; he spoke of the dead man as if he were a living brawler from a neighboring yard. Joe McCarthy, it turns out, began his scandalous career precisely with the Capitol Times newspaper and its publisher, accusing them of being “communist in nature.”So, with the change of eras and chauvinistic hysteria, almost in his eighties, Mr. Eview turned from a “German agent” into a “communist fellow traveler.” Funny? It's funny in hindsight if you survived. It was scary in those years. McCarthy pushed many “anti-Americans” into social oblivion...We sat with the publisher for an hour and a half. When the time came to say goodbye, the old man’s faded blue eyes sparkled vividly, and he suddenly connected his political story with spring, with a clear April day, with Lake Mendota sparkling outside the window.All my life I have fought, often alone, so that this beauty, which Providence has given us, becomes the property of the people.We said goodbye and left, leaving William Eview to live out his life on the shore of a beautiful lake.2On August 24, 1970, at 3:40 a.m., the police received a phone call. The duty officer heard:— Okay, pigs, now listen, listen well. Bomb at the university, at the Army Mathematical Research Center. It will explode in five minutes. Clear the building!The bomb exploded at 3.42.A blinding flash shot up over the sleeping city. There was an explosion that reached the August fields.The walls of the massive Sterling Hall stood, but the inside of the building was torn apart from the basement to the fifth floor. Glass shattered in dozens of houses around.The night passed to the hissing of fire jets and the crackling of fire, and in the light of the coming morning, Madisonians saw uprooted trees, mangled cars, traces of premature leaf fall and a lot of broken glass. Someone's jacket was hanging mysteriously and frighteningly high on a tree. Burnt folders and papers lay on the asphalt and grass...In the basement, in the water, they found the body of a 33-year-old physicist, candidate of sciences Robert Fasnacht. He died by accident - he stayed up late, and the physics department was under the same roof with the Army Center for Mathematical Research. The dynamites were aimed at this center, working for the Pentagon.Students stormed Sterling Hall more than once to protest the Vietnam War. Glass was broken. This time the matter was not limited to glaziers. The explosion destroyed an electronic computer and damaged a nuclear particle accelerator—a total loss of $6 million. The burned papers contained the fruits of 20 years of secret research. Proclamations that appeared in Madison explained the political meaning of the explosion:“Their research has literally killed thousands of people and created devices to deliver nuclear and chemical-biological bombs... If the military suppresses life and freedom, it is our duty to suppress the military.”Soon, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover launched a nationwide manhunt for brothers Carlton and Dwight Armstrong, 23 and 20, David Fine, 49, and Leo Bart, 22, accused of trespassing on federal property, conspiracy, and “violating the civil rights” of Robert Fasnacht. . The University of Wisconsin has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. But four disappeared into thin air.I was in Moscow then: I heard the echo of the explosion from the pages of American newspapers and magazines. I remembered that I once visitedMadison. Just in case, I looked into my old notebook for a clue and didn’t notice the elephant! — I read about half a pound of Roquefort in the telephone book, “dairy farm.” What could we find out then?! students were not paid much attention in those years. In the universities, another generation of the self-satisfied “affluent society” seemed to grow obediently and silently.Recording of a conversation with Evju. There is, of course, no connection between his opposition to Joseph McCarthy and the Sterling Hall bombing. None, except for the connection of contrast. Where did all this come from in just seven years?!Vietnam... This clue word was not in the recording of the conversation with William Eview. Vietnam didn't rhyme with America back then. But that time came when the war and anti-war protests escalated. It was the children of the Vietnam War who were those American guys who, under the August stars, parked their pickup truck with explosives near the walls of Sterling Hall.In those years that passed between my first visit to Madison and my second, in absentia, meeting with him, a third of the lives of these guys fit in, and the only, more or less adult third. For them, this was the time of entry into the world of adults, its intense discovery. Year after year they heard rhetoric about the “mission of freedom and democracy,” about duty to Saigon allies, about “the light at the end of the tunnel” and “victory waiting around the corner,” “about the honor of America.” And we saw - on television - soldiers' lighters near the straw of Vietnamese huts. The faces of slanted people, distorted by pain, covered in terrible scabs of napalm. research. American helicopters, like kites, above the water and green rice fields, the crackle of their heavy machine guns. Drops of bombs seem to reluctantly separate from American planes... Explosions... Explosions...Is it possible to list everything? There was an initial risk and sparse crowds, then the scale of anti-war protests, mass mathematical marches on the Pentagon, siege of the White House, then despair: the meat grinder in Vietnam did not slow down. And in May 1970, after the invasion of Cambodia by American troops, corpses in America itself - white Kent students, black Jackson students...This formula exists, although no Army mathematical research center has yet derived it. If millions of American bombs are falling on Vietnam year after year with monstrous methodicality, surely some homemade bombs will begin to explode in America itself out of despair and powerlessness, out of protest against cruelty. The laws of retribution do not always fit into the logic of political gain. Violence gives birth to violence, it cannot help but give birth. And bombs began to explode in America. In banks... In corporations working for the war... In universities... On high-voltage transmission lines... From January 1969 to April 1970, authorities counted more than 8 thousand explosions, attempted explosions and threats of explosions classified as "student unrest and unrest."Old Eview spoke critically about the corrupting power of big capital. And those four, who drove up to Sterling Hall in a pickup truck at night, apparently learned with a young, burning hatred to hate the cast-iron, death-champing pig of the “military-industrial complex.”Then a special commission created by President Nixon after the shootings of students in Kent and Jackson was finishing its report on student unrest. The Madison bombing is mentioned briefly there as an extreme example of the actions of “tactical extremists.” But here's how the overall picture was described: “The past decade has seen growing frustration and alienation for many. American students. More than three quarters of students now believe that “fundamental changes in the system” are needed; many claim that their efforts to “work within the system” have been unsuccessful; a large number of students approve of the tactics of undermining (the system - S.K.); a tiny but important minority resort to violent tactics without facing the direct condemnation of their teachers and fellow students."  By the standards of the early 1950s, three-quarters of the 7 million American students would have to be dragged to Joe McCarthy, to his subcommittee that separated the pure from the unclean, the Americans from the “un-Americans” and “anti-Americans.” The University of Wisconsin, located in Madison, was one of the centers of anti-war and left-wing protest. The state of Wisconsin was shaking off the legacy of the 1950s left by a dangerous demagogue.3I visited Madison again in 1972, during the early stages of the next race for the White House, when the star of liberal Democrat George McGovern suddenly shone brightly and deceptively in the Wisconsin primary. It was April again, but spring was late. Two snow-covered lakes, like two asymmetrical hedgehogs of the city, were directed into the heavens, where the sun fought with clouds, rain, and wet farewell snow. A chilling and invigorating spring dampness and freshness permeated the air.It was not a sentimental impulse that brought me back to my previous place, but a desire to feel the movement of time. The task is tempting and difficult. How to take measurements in the invisible thick river of time flowing in this city, where there are already 170 thousand people - and destinies?Just as commanding stood on the hill the white Capitol, the official abode of the governor and the Wisconsin State Legislature. Just as modestly, he hunkered down across the square at the House of Wisconsin Cheese, where a cheerful, big salesman assured that the larger and more expensive the box with a selection of souvenir Wisconsin cheeses, the better it was. There is more gray concrete and clean glass in the business center of the city, the brands of cars, of course, have changed, the telephone book has grown thicker. Even the black Bible in the motel room was in a new edition.From the grated drawer of the newspaper machine, having already thrown in 10, not 5 cents, I took out the latest issue of the Capitol Times and, with the sadness that I foresaw, discovered that time had completely stopped for the old publisher. One line on the editorial page was like a tombstone: "Founded 1917 by William T. Eview, 1882-1970." The line below announced the heir: "Miles McMillin, editor and publisher."And where is Sterling Hall, which flashed a year and a half ago on the newspaper pages with its charred walls and empty window sockets and again sank into obscurity?Sterling Hall showed. to us the main student of Madison, the president of the Wisconsin Student Association Tim Higgins and his pretty bride Susan, small and clean, like a bird. Standing at the granite parapet at the top of Boscomhill, we saw below a massive six-story building with unglazed windows, covered like a raincoat with transparent plastic. The appearance of houses, like the faces of people, is subject to time. The tension of that night was no longer in Sterling Hall - only renovations, only the addition of a new wing. To avoid teasing the students, the Army Center was moved from there to a remote gray tower on the very border of the university. The FBI was still looking for the terrorists. One of them, Carlton Armstrong, was arrested in Canada, and American authorities insisted on his extradition.We had several meetings in Madison.Professor Tarr, from the Department of Political Science, looked wary. He sensed some kind of catch in the visit of two Soviet correspondents, and besides, American professors, after the stormy end of the 60s, are afraid to talk about students. Nevertheless, he stated the truth of the day, which also applies to Madison: student protest, without turning America upside down, is in decline; students, spurred by unemployment and economic stress, think more about studies and less about politics; terrorists are yesterday, not today.We went into the cramped space of the Capitol Times. With the State Journal, its longtime rival, the Capitol Times was now housed under the same roof, albeit on different floors: general considerations of financial economy and survival were stronger than political differences, Publisher Miles McMillin was away. John Hunter, the grizzled, burly “director of editorial,” agreed with Professor Tarr on many things. Yes, the most important change in recent Madison years has been in the student population. But this change is also fickle. That explosion shocked and somewhat frightened the students who were toying with the idea of revolution. But an explosion is something extraordinary, an isolated act, a criminal terrorist act. The explosion is atypical. Hundreds of times more than terrorists were those who peacefully challenged the dominant system, who tested its responsiveness with anti-war marches and sit-ins. They became convinced that they were fighting like fish against ice. They calmed down. But how did they calm down? - asked John Hunter. And he answered: the youth have lost hope, the authorities have lost contact with the youth. Many students “do not feel attached to our form of persecution”; some of them sympathize with radicals who see a solution in socialism...John Hunter was very harsh in his assessments of the government, and our notebooks did not bother him. He denounced the “senseless and dirty” Vietnam War. The wing of Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, another Wisconsinite in Washington's corridors of power. He assured that here, on the local stage, “they are tired of the policy of supporting stupid adventures and corrupt dictatorships.”John Hunter spoke more critically and boldly than the late publisher William Eview, but as I wrote down his words, I found myself thinking that, damn it, they didn’t surprise me. They were ordinary. Different times, different evidence.For two days, Tim Higgins was our guide around the university, the city and the surrounding area. I called him the leader of the 30 thousand Madison students. In August 1972, he took a step higher: he was elected president of the National Association of Students of the United States. Calm, modest, active guy. Native Wisconsinite. Born in the north of the state, in the city of Appleton, where, by the way, Joseph McCarthy came from, starting his career as a district judge. The senator is buried there, two blocks from Tim’s father’s house. Curious! One place - different years. And different people, different destinies. By the way, Higgins the father adheres to conservative beliefs. He is a businessman, and probably not a small one - his son drove us around in an expensive car. Tim studies economics. but is thinking of going into law and becoming a “people’s lawyer.” Also something new: young lawyers, pushing the size of their earnings and fees into the background, want to protect the population from the omnipotence and deception of corporations. Tim treats professors with skepticism, and conservative students like dinosaurs. At the same time, he considers the violent student unrest of the late 60s to be ineffective “undirected actions” and outbursts of emotions. Tim Higgins - for the search for a “practical alternative”, for “social action against capitalist institutions.”More specific? From the student association hall, across the tiled plaza, in front of the university library where students gathered for their anti-war meetings, Tim leads us to 720 State Street, nervous as a freshman about a test. A store is like a store. Medium size. Tall racks up and down: walk and choose. Cash desk at the exit. Goods like goods: cigarettes, toothpaste, thick socks and calico training shirts, sneakers, books, university notebooks, records and much more, even lecture notes, for $6 a set. The cashiers are students, but that’s no difference either. Students work part-time wherever they have to: at store checkout counters, in cafeterias, at gas stations. A very young girl taxi driver drove us from the airport. Here the state university, and not a private one, means it is cheaper, but even a native of Wisconsin, for whom the authorities pay three-quarters of the tuition fee, needs about 2 and a half thousand dollars a year for study and living.What is unusual about this Store - with a capital letter? Principle. Non-profit Wisconsin Student Association Store. They don’t make a profit as a matter of principle, the income goes only to expand turnover and provide modest salaries to enthusiastic sellers. Giving up profits makes it possible to lower prices. The markup against the wholesale price is on average 10 percent, and in neighboring, regular stores - from 40 to 80.The Store Director is young and shaggy. Student. His name is David. Sitting at the director's desk in the basement, David talks about principle and how difficult it is to defend. The merchants neighbors on State Street are hostile, the wholesalers who sell goods to the Store look askance... Although the Store is more than two years old and its doors are open to everyone, not just students, the mass citizen buyer does not know about it, about its cheapness, about its the noble principle of non-profit. And shaggy David has no time to learn.But... “By its existence and its actions, the Store teaches that there is no need to rely on a system of private enrichment and exploitation of man by man... Our Store represents a political organization, for in a corrupt, profit-based society, economic power is equal to political power... We are talking about establishing control over State Street, about finding an alternative to the corrupt system, about uniting students... We dream of a world without war, discrimination, hunger...”This is from the unique, so to speak, Store Declaration of the Wisconsin Student Association. We received a copy of the declaration - campaigning is no less important than trade.Listening to Tim and David, reading the declaration, I thought: of course, this young declamation and ardent linking of a non-profit store with great principles is naive. In this case, even the famous American enterprise looks naive, demanding quick results and therefore immediately translating principles into practice - with the danger of compromising the principles with hasty practice. Nevertheless, is there a movement of time in the anti-capitalist direction of student searches? Previously, the student entered the shopping area of State Street as a buyer from the large and small shopkeepers located near the university. Then, in the 60s, students took to State Street with slogans for anti-war marches, and sometimes with cobblestones against the mirrored storefronts, these closest manifestations of the system. Now a student, politically active, goes to town with an anti-capitalist sermon.The university sends young politicians to the city, to the municipality, and here is, perhaps, the most interesting of the new meetings in Madison.In the evening, under a light rain that ate up the wet snow that had fallen on the sidewalks, we came to a house on Washington Street, suggested by the old newspaperman John Hunter. I have only seen houses like this in Eastern Kentucky, among unemployed miners. The owner was young and frail, with a mustache and hairstyle slightly resembling Gogol. The hostess is young and tall. In rich American homes, a guest will be shown everywhere with pride, like a tour of a museum. The owners would prefer not to show the poor house. By showing, they will apologize. And there were no embarrassed apologies. With a sweetheart, heaven and in a hut... If, moreover, there is a common cause.  Paul Soglin began with business, as soon as he seated us at the table in the kitchen, in front of large mugs of coffee brewed by his wife Deyan. From a public matter. A 27-year-old guy in a frivolous pink shirt and with dark, serious eyes is the third person in the city, after the mayor and the chairman of the city council. He is a senior alderman and a member of the city council. He was first elected in 1968. Then concerned, well-meaning citizens called the mayor’s office: “Aren’t you going to throw this mustachioed troublemaker to hell?” These citizens saw him at anti-war, anti-government demonstrations. At the head of the demonstrations. With his appearance and views, he shook all their ideas about the foundations. Paul was then a fresh university graduate, but he made his living driving a taxi.The outraged citizens continued. The new mayor of Madison is no less an opponent of Paul than the old one. But now it's easier. Now out of 22 aldermen there are six like him. Two days before our meeting there were elections, half of the city council was changing, and the radicals taken together received more than half of all votes.That evening, sitting at the kitchen table, Paul Soglin was in no hurry. We drank coffee, listened to music (they even played “Kalinka” for us, performed by the Alexander ensemble) Paul talked and talked.The story began in 1967, when students created the group “University Community Action” - for communication and joint actions with the population, primarily with workers. The workers did not believe them then, the students’ anti-war protests were considered a whim, and the mayor fanned hostility. But the Vietnam War - this main American educator of the 60s - was doing its job. In April 1968, there was one unusual referendum in Madison, in which 40 percent of voters (an unprecedented figure at that time) supported the unilateral withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. It was then that Paul was elected from the eighth district - despite local labor unions and, alas, the liberal newspaper The Capitol Times. In 1969, another young radical became an alderman, in 1970 two more, and in 1971 another.The new aldermen began their attacks, shaking the usual balance of power and influence. Paul Soglin founded the Madison Tenants Union, which protects the rights and pockets of residents from the tyranny of homeowners and land speculators. When a private bus company went bankrupt in 1969, he led a public movement to have the municipality buy the buses and keep them on the streets. When the firefighters went on strike, Soglin was the first to support them. A year later, when he was arrested at an anti-war demonstration, the firemen's union posted bail to get the alderman out of jail. “That was probably the beginning.” The beginning of the Turn to Trust.Solidarity with city employees demanding higher wages and better working conditions... Political resolution in the city council for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Indochina... Educational resolutions not directly related to Madisonian affairs - in defense of poor migrants, in defense of American Indians... Successfully resisted businessmen who wanted to expand the "business center" by demolishing part of the residential neighborhoods... The fight to banish the car from State Street so that there would be a street in the city where you can walk calmly, feeling like a person, and not captive of cars and traffic lights...“The population began to understand us,” Paul saw this as the main achievement. “They are no longer afraid of us.” We have proven that we stand for the interests of students, workers, and poor residents. It was very difficult, but people realized that we not only talk, but also act.The “fathers” of the city associated with business, of course, are not giving up their positions and are counterattacking. They labeled the black alderman, postal worker Joe Thompson of the Wisconsin Alliance, as a “red,” who is trying to unite workers, farmers and students in the fight against racism and militarism. But Thompson was re-elected. Soglin ran for a third term. At first he had no opponent in his eighth district. Then the mayor persuaded the young - and stupid - conservative Davidsader. Result? Davidsader received 293 votes, Soglin - 2342. Paul was supported for the first time by the local leadership of the AFL-CIO trade union. Trade unions no longer turn away from radicals, and liberals in the council vote more often with them than with conservatives, fearing to lose in the eyes of the voter...I saw before me a smart and sober politician beyond his years. And there was no shadow of boasting in his story, but underneath the outer restraint beat the passionate excitement of a man who tried his hand at a worthwhile task, with perseverance and patience overcame the barriers of rejection and misunderstanding, and managed to convince and lead others.Listening to Paul, I wondered: where did you guys come from?Where did they come from? Paul said it all comes from family. His father, a Chicago mathematics teacher, during the McCarthy years refused to sign the “loyalty oath” - he publicly disagreed with the ideas of loyalty to America that Joseph McCarthy, having intimidated many, introduced. The payback was a “black list”, lack of work, the family was in poverty. And the mother? My earliest childhood memory is of 4-year-old Paul being taken by his mother to the Hiroshima March. It was 1949, and peace activists were collecting signatures on petitions to ban atomic weapons. The father refused to sign the “loyalty oath”; the mother signed the Stockholm Proclamation. Both valued their honor and their signatures. And there was also the University of Wisconsin with its liberal traditions. There, one professor was not afraid to explain to students the truth about revolutionary Cuba when American chauvinists were whipping up yet another hysteria around it. And finally - Vietnam. Yes, Vietnam—we cannot do without it again in our history. Paul Soglin was one of those young Americans for whom the Vietnam War turned out to be a Rubicon and then they cast their lot. Is it for life?..4In the summer of 1975, I arrived in Madison not from the south, as the first time, and not from the east, as the second time, but from the north, having visited the town of Appleton the day before, where old paper mills and the Catholic cemetery of St. Mary's were located along the banks of the Fox River . In a quiet and beautiful cemetery, in neatly trimmed, very green grass, not standing out from the others, there is a slab of gray marble next to the parent’s tombstones - the grave of Joseph McCarthy.On a gravestone nearby I read the epitaph: “A man does not truly die unless he is forgotten.” True words. But how can one determine whether he has been forgotten or not, if the deceased was a politician who cast a long shadow? Forgotten or not forgotten Joseph McCarthy? The Cross and Crescent newspaper in Appleton told me that his supporters still gather at the cemetery on death anniversaries. But the last time there were five of them, no more. So it's forgotten? During the years of McCarthyism, this newspaper supported our fellow countryman. Now he remembers the past critically. It was not without difficulty that they found an escort for me - an employee who knew where McCarthy’s grave was.After the debunking of McCarthyism, another critical culmination was the Watergate affair, which culminated in the resignation of Richard Nixon. The first presidential resignation in American history. As a young congressman and senator, Richard Nixon was a supporter of Joseph McCarthy. Then his path was reflected in the evolution of American politics and a number of politicians with all the difficulties, zigzags, and contradictions. On the one hand, learning the lessons of the long-term nuclear missile impasse, as well as the Indochina adventure, this evolution pushed Richard Nixon, who became president, to seek the normalization of American-Soviet relations and to recognize the principles of peaceful coexistence. those processes that in the early 70s were designated by the word - detente. On the other hand, the initial, so to speak, data of his political career and philosophy also made themselves felt. The Cold War tools, including espionage and sabotage, brought to life by the needs of anti-communism, were used against Democratic rivals with the knowledge of the Republican president. Which ended with the thunderous Watergate scandal.Watergate, by the way, revived interest in McCarthyism. America staged a kind of retrospective for itself, turning over and re-watching the years of McCarthyism - in books and films, in the theater and on television. Things were finally called by their proper names: courage, cowardice, honesty, meanness. The togas of patriots were torn off from the informers of those days. Joseph McCarthy no longer has public defenders. The future is unlikely to have mercy on him. Perhaps he is condemned irrevocably and in this sense forgotten. But no small clarification is required: the feverish anti-communism of the McCarthyite brand has been rejected, but the anti-communism of other brands and other standards remains, listed among the bourgeois recognized virtues. Doesn't this threaten new delirium under new circumstances?..This is what I could answer to the questions of Frank Church, an employee of Cross and Crescent, who took me to the cemetery and persuaded me to take a photo - what a photo scene! - at the grave of Joseph McCarthy...It's about a two-hour drive from Appleton to Madison. It was a luxurious green July. After two weeks of rain, the weather was clear, and nature had no interest in the cemetery on the banks of the Fox River and the Watergate scandal, and farmers were lost in their fields from sunrise to sunset.Having rented a motel room on the outskirts, we drove to the center, looking for the white dome of the Capitol. On this summer trip, my wife, my daughter, a student at Moscow State University, and my 10-year-old son were with me. Straining my memory, I played the role of a guide. State Street, with one end ending at the Capitol and the other at the university. Cafeterias. The shops. Pharmacies. There were new buildings at the university end. The unprofitable store with which Tim Higgins and his comrades wanted to turn the local world upside down has disappeared. The cars, which were never expelled, remained.The quiet and long July twilight reminded us of the north. On campus, near the low parapet of the waterfront, students gazed in fascination, as if for the first time, at Lake Mendota. Rowing and sailing boats slid lazily along the gray water surface. The prohibited motorboats did not disturb the late afternoon silence. There was a young, dreamy sadness in the still air, which was disturbed only by some company making noise on the wooden walkways leading from the shore into the lake. Guys and girls jumped into the water in jeans and shirts, and in their fun one could discern a drug-induced madness...The next morning, returning to the Capitol, I found the mayor's office. The mayor's office occupied half a floor in one of the administrative buildings. At the front door, there is a secretary's desk as an information desk and as an observation post. Behind her, to the right and to the left, there was a corridor along which business people walked. In a small room on the left along the corridor sat another secretary in charge of the mayor's office hours. And in the very corner was the mayor’s cozy, solid office.  I came to the mayor for a reason. The mayor was an acquaintance - Paul Soglin. Yes, he is the one. In 1968, they were surprised how he managed to get into the city council. And in 1973, at the age of 28, he was elected mayor of Madison, where 170 thousand residents live. Re-elected in 1975. Easily. Have you stopped being surprised? Are you used to it? Rated?I learned about Paul Soglin's promotion in the spring of 1973 from the newspapers. My friend was now labeled as a hippie mayor. I followed the messages from Madison with redoubled interest. But Madison is not New York or Chicago. Are there many sensations there? Paul rarely appeared in newspapers. It was clear from the notes that he remained true to himself. One day I learned that the mayor of Madison had pointedly refused to accept a delegation from the puppet regime of South Vietnam. Another time I came across a message that his assistant, who flew to Cuba, handed Fidel Castro the key to the city and a letter from the mayor inviting him to be Madison's guest when Washington restored diplomatic relations with Cuba. In his new position, Paul did not hesitate to express his likes and dislikes.And here is a familiar young man. The same drooping mustache and dark, calm eyes. The same lack of a tie. But he is collected and businesslike. Not respectable, but serious, without feigned importance, with the dignity of an official representing his city.  I began my questions to Paul Soglin with the fact that the story of Paul Soglin is interesting for a journalist: the day before yesterday a student and anti-war rebel, yesterday an alderman who outraged the average person, and today he is the mayor. Moreover, he was re-elected! Is this not a change in the mood of the masses - after all, without the support of voters, Paul would not be sitting in this chair at this desk?Give a journalist a dramatic spring, but there are fewer secrets in life than in detective novels. The young mayor's answer contained numbers and shifts in numbers that make up the electoral struggle. Unusual, though, in an unusual city with a strong university community. In an unusual time, when in such centers of the anti-war movement the left forces in the arena of municipal politics are taking some revenge for their unfulfilled hopes of a breakthrough and radically remaking society.“You and I met in April 1972, and four months later I began to seriously think about running for mayor,” Paul said. “They told me: it’s possible that you will make a good mayor, but will you get a majority?” can you win? We waited for the results of the presidential elections in November 1972. George McGovern, who then opposed Richard Nixon on a liberal platform - we supported him - was defeated everywhere in the country, but went well in Madison. His majority could have gone to me, and in December 1972 I announced my intention to run for office. The trouble was that there were three of us challenging Bill Dyck, my Conservative predecessor, from the left. And all three expected to inherit McGovern's votes. I barely won the primary elections, by only a thousand votes, mostly in the city center, around the university, due to a large percentage of young people voting. I didn't have much support at the time on the blue-collar East Side. After the primary, I expanded my organization into three neighborhoods and three groups of people: downtown students, then Democratic voters and everyone who supported McGovern, and finally the unions, whose support we also secured. For the voter, the main issue essentially came down to two individuals, to two reputations - Bill Dyke and me. How conservative is he? How radical am I? Apart from this, the only problem was the problem of urban transport. He is against it. I am strongly for it. The elections caused great excitement in the city. 78 thousand people - never before have so many citizens taken part in the mayoral elections. I won by a margin of three thousand votes. Back then, I won a majority in only seven of the 22 constituencies, winning by decisive margins in the city center. And this spring, when I was re-elected, in 21 of 22 districts. How can we explain this change? After all, I worked as mayor for two years. The skeptics saw that the city had not collapsed, that some of what I had done was not so bad...“The city did not fall apart...” This disarmed the skeptics. Paul correctly noted that most Americans do not have a clear ideology, but they jealously and meticulously monitor the administrative abilities of local authorities. Is the mayor capable of effectively managing city affairs? This frightened many more than ideological hostility towards yesterday's anti-war rebel. Now they were convinced that “the city did not fall apart.” And not only. Paul listed the challenges and achievements.“We have significantly expanded urban transport,” says Paul Soglin. “Our bus fare is 25 cents, which is inexpensive for America.” It's 10 cents for old people and young people, and 10 cents for everyone on weekends. The number of routes has been increased. We purchased new buses. Public transport is now popular. On Saturday, buses going to shopping centers are full. Five years ago this would have been unimaginable.— The second question is housing. Less has been done here, municipal construction is proceeding very slowly... Some sites for municipal houses were allocated 10-15 years ago, but nothing was done on them. Over the past two years, we have moved things forward. On one site, empty since 1960, they began to build 160 housing units (an American measure that includes both apartments in multi-story buildings and single-family houses. - S.K.) for elderly citizens. We are going to build houses for the disabled, everything there will be adapted for people in wheelchairs. We will also build 170 units for low-income families. We provide loans for home renovations to those who, due to low incomes, are denied loans by banks or given at too high an interest rate. This year, for the first time, $180 thousand were allocated to help kindergartens. These are not municipal kindergartens - we don’t have those - but we find people capable of caring for children, provide loans for the construction of premises, etc. We also have a special fund from which we issue subsidies to various organizations of residents - the elderly, low income families. This program, I must say, is not liked by everyone, it is under attack...Well, good start, Paul. The focus is good - to help the needy, the poor, the old, the sick. The scale, however, is small. The numbers are modest and it is difficult to make them different. Municipal housing construction is a drop in the ocean of private housing construction. A typical resident does not count on help from the authorities or on cheap municipal housing. As a rule, he looks for a house or apartment on the private market of supply and demand. Municipal land is also just a touch in the picture of the dominance of private property. Mayor Soglin does not hide this.“The biggest problem is land speculation,” he explains. “In the 60s, speculators inflated prices so much that it is now profitable to build on land only what, one way or another, serves great wealth. Residents are often unable to buy a plot of land for their own home and cannot use the very expensive services of corporations that build houses on this land. In a number of areas of the city, we are now trying to regulate the use of land, thereby reducing its market value. It is not easy. Corporations are suing the city. For example, on a disputed plot of land they first wanted to build a hotel, and then, encountering difficulties with financing, a luxury multi-storey residential building. We told them: firstly, it’s next to the lake, and we don’t want big construction there, and secondly, it’s in an area where there are only low-rise buildings. Thus, we limited the type of development on this land plot. This reduced its price and caused their anger, they are now suing us...We... They... New attempts to shake the economic and political status quo. Four meetings with Madison, including correspondence—are not four illustrations of these attempts? Publisher William Eview remembered Bob La Follette's precepts: “Who will rule, wealth or man? Who will occupy public positions—educated and free patriots or serf servants of corporate capital?” Democracy, often spontaneous, local, regional, is tenacious and indestructible in America. Mayor Paul Soglin responds to Eview's question with practical action. But they are stronger. Their interests are protected by the capitalist structure of society. The municipal experiments of the mayor of Madison and his like-minded people rest against the structure, like against a wall. Real power is in the hands of capital, as are real levers of influence - economic, financial. Soglin knows this. But the municipality doesn’t have enough leverage. Under existing laws, city or state governments can own no more than utility companies and residential buildings. Banking, which is crucial in many ways, is closed to them.“What we do is, of course, atypical,” says Paul, “but keep in mind that we also have allied cities: Boulder in Colorado, Berkeley in California, some cities in Vermont. There are people in the leadership who came out of the anti-war movement... The trouble is that these cities are isolated in their states, but the city depends on the state authorities, who, by the way, determine the powers of the city government. Rent control requires state approval. We can collect taxes for the city treasury only with the permission of the State. Hence, another difficult task is to achieve the adoption of laws that expand the rights of cities...As I listen to this analysis, I say to Paul Soglin: Young people like you were once looked upon by many voters as idealists with their head in the clouds, but now they see that you are very practical people. Is it so? And how will you respond to reproaches from the other side: that you are moving towards the center, that you are moving to the right?Paul has an answer.— You see, having decided to run for mayor, I thereby decided to work within the existing system. This meant two things: first, we were limited by state laws, and I simply refused to waste time on political declarations unless they led to practical results. Secondly, being to the left of the majority in my views, I, as mayor, must still express the position of the majority. For example, I cannot nationalize or municipalize a meat processing plant. I'm not Don Quixote. I'm dealing with real situations and real problems. As for the first part of your question, this is apparently the most important thing that we have proven to others: people considered leftists have administrative abilities and can manage. I hoped to convince the people of Madison that I could handle the responsibilities of mayor. It seems that this hope has come true...As a practitioner, brought forward by the specific tide of social life, he does not forget about the ebb and flow. The decline is in the new generation of students. They withdrew into themselves and moved away from politics. The main thing for them is not to be left without work. They still vote for Paul Soglin, but less actively. It is unclear to him how their moods will develop.I tell the student of the day before yesterday that, in my opinion, American youth are practical and pragmatic even in their idealism, that the student movements that I observed in America were closely related to certain problems: black civil rights, the Vietnam War. If the problems disappear or lose their urgency, the student movement also dries up, proving that it is concerned with the diseases of society, but not with the causes that give rise to these diseases. Can a mass student movement be revived around the economic issues that are most pressing today?Paul does not undertake to answer this question.We parted with the 30-year-old mayor on the note: we'll wait and see. On questions facing the future: what will happen in five years? what will happen in ten? Will I ever go to Madison again? Will I find Paul Soglin in this office? Hardly. In America, people don't stay in one place.By the way, in parting, remembering how his parents were persecuted during the McCarthy years, I asked what was happening to them now. Alive. Healthy. They work there, in Chicago: their father is an assistant professor of mathematics, their mother is a teacher in an elementary school. They were very active in protests against the Vietnam War.—  They are probably proud of their son?  “There is no conflict between generations in our family,” Paul said, not without pleasure. And, perking up, as people do when a long conversation is coming to an end and when it’s time to end it with something that is not directly related to its topic, he asked me:—  By the way, did I tell you the story of my grandfather?I replied that I did not remember this story.—  Really? - Paul exclaimed with annoyance. “After all, my grandfather is from Russia.” And it all started with the fact that in 1906 he was distributing leaflets near some theater... But, unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the city where it was...      Paul made a polite effort, as if straining his memory, but you can’t remember what you don’t know.— Somewhere close to Poland...There were huge gaps in the family history. But the more valuable were the facts preserved by time.— He was a cabinetmaker, a furniture maker. And the leaflets called for the overthrow of the tsarist government. Someone handed him over to the police along with his comrades. And my grandfather had no choice but to leave Russia for America...This happened back in the years of the first Russian revolution. And nothing in the American Paul Soglino betrayed his Russian roots. Nothing. Except, perhaps, the desire to meet a person from Russia and tell him about life in Madison, Wisconsin, on the isthmus of two beautiful lakes with the Indian names Monona and Mendota.DONKING NEAR HOUSTONThe plane is flying from Washington to Houston, Texas. My neighbor on the right, an elderly man, with a sharp nose, with the yellowness of illness and fatigue on his face, carelessly crumpled his checkered jacket on his knees, put a bag of papers in his seat pocket and, before the “air” lunch, ordered the flight attendant two scales of Scotch whiskey at once. I'm trying to guess what business he's flying to Houston for. And the third one in our half-row, young and rosy-cheeked? He has a book in his hand, and he ordered only one scale. There are many passengers in the Boeing 707; behind the high back of each seat, someone’s head can be seen either on the side or on top. And everyone, of course, goes about their business. My business, I think, is perhaps the most unusual: I’m flying 2 thousand kilometers, from Washington to Houston, to look at the people who flew there from Moscow, 11 thousand kilometers away, to prepare for a meeting that should take place at an altitude of 200 extra kilometers above planet Earth.Then, I think, at that moment, calculated in advance to the minute, and this man who happened to be a neighbor with the yellowness of illness on his face, and the rosy-cheeked young man, and the Mexican woman, who, sitting across the aisle, strokes her little son with a loving gaze, - All of us, putting aside our affairs for a moment, will become witnesses of their date. And we will all be surprised and think.“We were born to make a fairy tale come true...” - this is what was sung in a cheerful old pre-war song. And fairy tales become everyday life, which is no longer surprising. After the landing of living Americans on the Moon and Soviet automatic stations on Mars, which earthling would be surprised by a two-day meeting in low-Earth orbit? And this one, being prepared in Houston, surprises. It is surprising that it is Soviet-American. The rivals decided to cooperate. Their docking is a detente in space. This is politics combined with science - and in the aura of poetry and dreams. The thought, naive and great, will not leave us in those days when three Americans and two Russians will look at the Earth from their temporary common space home: that each person has only one mother, and we all have only one home - the Earth. So beautiful, so peaceful when viewed from there, from space. So beautiful and peaceful that it is worth preserving for us and our children, for future generations...I'm flying to Houston. The height is only 11 kilometers, which cannot be compared with cosmic heights beyond the boundaries of gravity, but how long ago even only a few, only test pilots, climbed into these stratospheric kilometers at the risk of their lives? Now they have been mastered by millions, and passengers pay zero attention to flight attendants showing where to remove and how to put on an oxygen mask in case...Below us, the state of Mississippi is slowly rolling back, compressed by speed and altitude: a powerful highway with a median looks from above like two taut strings that silently hum below with the double basses of heavy trailers, the great river that gave its name to the state slowly meanders like a thick yellow boa constrictor across the empty February land and leaves to the south, under white cirrus clouds. Following the Mississippi, the Texas land masses come towards the plane, and finally, on approach to Houston, the Gulf of Mexico lies on the horizon as a large flat puddle.For the United States, Houston Airport is the airborne gateway to South America. It proudly calls itself intercontinental. The Spanish language intrudes into signs and radio announcements, wide straw circles of Mexican sombreros move among cowboy hats, hats, of course, pulled down on the heads of lanky, whitish gringos, and under the sombreros are squat, dark-faced descendants of Spaniards and Indians.But I don’t stay long at the airport. The center where astronauts train is located in the Houston suburb of ClearLake City. Air taxis go there from the airport.It's getting dark. A beautiful crimson sunset stretches across the lilac sky. A small white taxi plane, shaking and creaking, flies over a sea of sparkling and winking Houston lights. Houston is the sixth most populous city in America.At the mini-airfield, our air taxi taxis to the mini-station. Having picked up their briefcases and suitcases from the luggage cart, fellow travelers immediately disappear into the waiting cars, and I am left alone with a powerful young black man - the only client of the only taxi driver in Clear Lake City. He takes me, and I see how the southern sunset is already burning out in a narrow strip over the flat land. The road is fast, there are few buildings on the sides. This desolation makes the sunset even more attractive.Having tuned in to upcoming meetings and conversations, at first you perceive everything on this piece of earth as the threshold of space, only the black silhouette of a rocket is missing from the crimson stripe of the sky. But the silhouettes of rockets are visible not in the Texas sky, but in the Florida sky. The spaceport is located there, at Cape Canaveral. Here, near Houston, astronauts just prepare for their flights and live here with their families. The Mission Control Center is also located here...Why here? Why is the Space Center named after Lyndon Johnson, who rotated only in purely political orbits? President Lyndon Johnson was from Texas, and this was the starting point of his career. It was Texas voters who sent him first to the House of Representatives and then to the US Senate, where in the 50s, under Republican President Eisenhower, he became a kind of counterbalance to the White House, a powerful leader of the Senate majority, which belonged to the Democrats. When Democrat John Kennedy was elected president, Lyndon Johnson became vice president and in this capacity, from the early 60s, oversaw the implementation of the American space program. American politicians lure and thank their voters with tidbits of federal programs, orders, and appropriations. Johnson gave the Texans the Space Center, which was founded near Houston in 1961.“And fame is not a stale commodity,” noted the Russian poet. But for Texans, the Space Center meant, above all, new jobs, salaries and profits. Even in the mid-70s, when appropriations for space research were severely cut by Congress, the center provided jobs to 10 thousand people, which equated to one hundred and fifty million dollars a year in total salaries from the state treasury, and under these millions - the prosperity of local trade, the service sector, housing and other construction.  On the flat land where the Space Center was created, until recently bulls were grazed, cowboys were running around in their stirrups, there was someone's ranch. Then the land, bought for future use by the private Rice University, lay empty. Now the town of Clear Lake City. The most standard American suburban set, as if made from children's blocks: the gray building of the Holiday Inn motel, under the tiled roof the squat food unit of Shaky's Pizza, in two red welcome half-arches the curved emblem of the McDonald's cafeteria - from the high-speed conveyor food corporation, which has numbers next to it with a welcome logo reports that throughout America and the world it has already sold one and a half dozen billion cheap cutlets - hamburgers and cheeseburgers.One of the cubes under the Texas moon, which has already floated into the clear purple sky as the night shift of sunset, is the Sheraton Kings Motel. Light two-story buildings with galleries echo the architecture of Mexico and remind us of the unbearable summer heat. Lawns also turn green in February. They bear thick skittles of palm trees with fans of long, stiff leaves. Yes, February. But in the south... The water in the outdoor swimming pool sparkles invitingly.  I made all the necessary inquiries in advance, called from Washington, I know that people from Moscow, our cosmonauts, were staying at the Sheraton Kings. But the young woman at the front desk, without blushing or blinking an eye, says that there were no gentlemen with the indicated names at the motel. Must be a precaution. Not superfluous, considering the surprises that America, and especially Texas, are rich in. A correspondent's ID and appeals to the elderly administrator do not help. I look for Russian faces - in the lobby, bar, restaurant. I do not see. Is it really possible that the evening will be wasted while searching?However, taking pity, the administrator brings a man in a black leather jacket to me. A wide, completely Russian face. Quite stocky in Russian, he introduces himself in pure Russian: “Translator Lavrov.” He undertakes to help, makes a phone call somewhere, and suddenly says to someone: “Mr. Leonov...” Yes, Russian, but with an American passport, not from Moscow, but from Seattle. And on the business card it’s not Lavrov, but Lavroff with a Russian surname, altered for American ears. But his American name sounds downright Derzhavin - Ross.Ross hands the phone to me and introduces himself to Leonov. They are here in the hotel, and very close. On the first floor. The door, as Leonov says, is from the street. I'm knocking. And he opens it himself, Alexey Leonov. I see Valery Kubasov at the door of the adjacent room. Both are at home, in blue tracksuits.When you first see famous, famous people in absentia, you begin by involuntarily comparing “life” with photographs. Then the living person in front of you breaks away from his images that you saw before, and your own consciousness begins to independently evaluate and judge him. Another high-speed camera starts working - your own brain, taking thousands of snapshots and intricately pasting them into a memory album.What remains in my memory in these photographs is the pallor of Leonov’s face, characteristic of red-haired people, light, mischievous, fearless eyes, a bald skull and the strong chest of an athlete. And mobility, liveliness that is difficult to grasp. Some kind of sharp and, however, elusive change in facial and eye expressions. Kubasov, on the contrary, has an immobility in his posture and face, his gaze is concentrated, intent, and somewhat heavy. They are almost the same age, but Leonov looks older. Both, of course, are big guys, in excellent athletic shape. Looking closely at their appearance and behavior, you remember the ancient: “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”Both have been there. In March 1965, Leonov made the first space walk in history - a walk into outer space. Kubasov had a five-day flight on Soyuz-6 in October 1969. But on a February evening in 1975, in a motel near Houston, in front of a Soviet correspondent they did not know, they are simple.I write about their simplicity with caution, fearing a stupid, apologetic emotion only in children: oh, he is so famous, but so simple and, standing next to him on the ground, he is no taller than me. In such tenderness, it seems to me, there is a belittlement of simplicity. There is no need to simplify it, simplicity. Not the simplicity that is stupid or, as the proverb goes, worse than theft, but true simplicity is a very complex concept. It is not just a lack of posturing, nor a condescending concession of celebrity to “ordinary people.” High simplicity is an indicator of a mature mind and a mature worldview, When a person understands that even rare, great people are just Words and lines on an endless scroll that fills humanity, moving through years, centuries and millennia. Ultimately, such simplicity is the sister of wisdom, that is, a person’s ability, without exalting or belittling himself, to establish precise relationships with himself, with other people, with the whole universe.There is much purely emotional in admiration for the cosmonauts and their deeds: we have not been there and will not be there, this is not given to us. In our eyes, they are extraordinary virtuosos, although this virtuosity is of a special, not just personal nature, it is provided by two huge states. With our heads thrown back, we look at these tightrope walkers from the era of the scientific and technological revolution.And I had the opportunity to be close to them, close, and you see - this is a profession. Like any profession, work. Like any work - mostly everyday, menial work.The bus leaves Sheraton Kings at 8.10 am. After having a bachelor's breakfast, they leave their rooms a little early. I'm hurrying to the bus too. Even without hearing Russian speech, you can immediately distinguish them from the Americans in this Houston suburb - by their habits, gestures, figures, posture, even by the way they cluster together, how they squint and bask in the sun with the special pleasure of people from the North who know how to appreciate warmth in February.I enter this rare society on earth, I shake their strong hands. I also get acquainted with the second crew of the Soyuz - Anatoly Vasilyevich Filipchenko and Nikolai Nikolaevich Rukavishnikov. Filipchenko is indestructibly strong and calm. Rukavishnikov is mocking and sarcastic. They visited space twice, the last time testing the Soyuz, modified for docking with the Americans. And two more crews of the Soyuz, young people who have not yet been there, but should eventually visit. Also simple and without pose. However, it cannot be otherwise. An astronaut cannot be distinguished from a methodologist or ground-based specialists. They are all like links in a single working chain. Our group is headed by pilot-cosmonaut Vladimir Aleksandrovich Shatalov. Already a general, but like the others, in civilian clothes. With the same big yellow pass on the lapel of his jacket. Looking younger Easy. And he jokes too...Once seated on the bus, they count heads. All 19 are assembled. And three more translators from Russian Americans and a black driver who understands only one Russian word, made famous by Gagarin: “Let's go!”Let's go. Outside the windows of the bus is America - with its cars and houses, with the special clarity of its lines. Soviet cosmonauts are going to work in America!A few minutes later the bus stops at the checkpoint. The American guard nods: “Pass through!” Three-story, with large windows and gray walls, Building N2 4. Glass doors. Elevator. Near the elevator, conspicuously, sticking out from everything else, from the usual, there is a thick tin box with a lock on it, a slot in the lid, like in a mailbox, an amazing inscription: “Only for secret trash.” A yellow sign warns that unauthorized persons are not allowed to enter the third floor. I am still an outsider and therefore I go to get a pass to Building 2, where the press service of the Space Center is located.This center looks like some American university town, brand new, with a pond and lawns that cut the diagonals of paths, but not yet managed to acquire academic groves and ivy, that sign of antiquity and respectability creeping along the walls. One hundred numbered buildings made of identical gray granite-like walls and large windows. Economical state-owned modernism is not beautiful, but it is comfortable and durable.No fences are visible. Entry to the territory is free. Space museum? Please. Cafeteria? You can also come in, and at the next table the same soup from a can and a slice of roast beef in brown gravy will be consumed before your eyes by some famous astronaut. If you wish him bon appetit, you can even get his autograph. There are no partitions in the cafeteria.But what about the secrets of space and the state? They exist, and they are observed. There is nothing surprising or strange in the amazing box with a lock placed in the elevator: Americans simply guard their secrets in their own way. It is not the territory of the center that is closed, but only some buildings; other buildings have closed floors and corridors. The explanation for all this is this: the American taxpayer, whose dollars fund the American space program, wants to see where they are spent whenever possible.A taxpayer and a journalist, including a foreign one, enter Building N2 without a pass, the Taxpayer will be provided with brochures proving that the dollar works and is not wasted, and the journalist will be allowed to see a rich photo library, where he can select what he needs from the cosmic chronicle.I came out of there with a pass tag on my chest, where there were two words: temporary and press. Jack Riley, a veteran of the space press service, came out with me, a kind, helpful and obliging person, as I was convinced.With a tag - and with Jack Riley - the third floor of Building N2 4 was opened for me. An ordinary service corridor. The secretaries smile helpfully. There are nameplates at the doors.Young... Cernan... These rose from desks behind the doors to fly around the Moon together on Apollo 1O in May 1969 and then separately (Apollo 16 and Apollo 17) on the Moon walk around, see from there the Earth the size of a fist and, after an endless cosmic night, splash into the Pacific wave in the unheard-of exultation of return.Stafford... Brand... Slayton... They will meet there with Leonov and Kubasov... Vance Brand and Dick Slayton have not flown yet, but Brigadier General Thomas Stafford is a space veteran: three flights, five space dockings, 290 hours, orbits around the Moon in the company of Young and Cernan. Bean... Lusma... Evans... Second Apollo crew. Alan Bean and Jack Lousma spent 59 days on the Skylab orbital station. Ronald Evans circled the moon.On the same signs at the doors are four familiar names in Latin letters: Leonov, Kubasov, Filipchenko, Rukavishnikov. And again - astronauts and desks. Heroes and office! Yes, and in space you cannot hide from papers, because space does not tolerate improvisation. Everything is scheduled and recorded. Glistening with the gloss of its cardboard cover, a brick containing almost a thousand pages of typewritten text lies on Kubas’s desk. Page in Russian. Page in English. A detailed sequence of hundreds and thousands of work operations during a joint flight of two days, divided into minutes and seconds. (Later, on television screens, we will see volumes floating weightless in space—bricks of instructions—in the cramped spaces of their cabins.)The room is empty. Only trousers, shirts, jackets hang on the backs of chairs. This means that the inhabitants, dressed in space robes, left. Don't expect them until lunch. On the chalkboard there is a schedule: Building N35, training on the CM (command module) and SM (docking module).On the tables are stacks of letters from autograph lovers. The closer to the flight, the more letters. Fame pursues and sometimes pesters them.I first visited the space center near Houston back in November 1964. Then he was not so great and famous. The Americans had only about 54 flight hours in space, in low-Earth orbits. They closely and jealously followed Soviet achievements. Paul Haney, the center's press secretary, admitted this to us at the time. The space museum, rather empty, was shown to us by astronaut Scott Carpenter. He mentioned that he kept a souvenir from German Titov - a bottle of liqueur in the shape of a porcelain penguin. In those years, space cooperation between the two countries almost boiled down to the exchange of souvenirs.Now the Americans have something to show. Almost 2 thousand hours on the Gemini program, 7 and a half thousand on the Apollo program, half a dozen moon landings. Three crews spent more than 12 thousand hours in the Skylab space laboratory. And all their work there, day and night, was directed from Building N2 30, where the Mission Control Center is located.In the working hall of the Center, rows of consoles rise like an amphitheater. The entire front wall is occupied by a large green-light screen, which depicts the contours of the earth's hemispheres and smooth curves of orbits. On flight days, this hall, well known from television reports, is filled with dozens of concentrated men without jackets, and honored guests watch their work from the gallery, sitting in red chairs. Modern sanctuary. The guests of honor have high ranks and loud titles, but they all somehow fade away before the greatness of a person working in the transcendental elements of space.We saw the hall resting from its work. Only the huge green-light screen glowed mysteriously and the counting of seconds continued - in Greenwich - on the hour board.And in the space museum, occupying the most prominent place, a giant cuttlefish on four legs, wrapped in purple foil from the merciless rays of the sun, stood an exact copy of the modules that descended to the surface of the Moon. Like last year's clothes of a rapidly growing baby, the museum is now out of size for new space activities. Not a Saturn 5 rocket will fit under its ceiling; which launched a dozen Apollos into orbit, nor the Skylab space laboratory.A life-size replica of Skylab is located in another building. Compared to everything that has been in space so far, these are truly mansions - about 40 meters long and weighing 100 tons. In the main working and residential parts, the “ceiling” is 9 meters. Taking advantage of weightlessness, you can set world records for high jumps. In the film about Skylab, which I watched in the museum’s cinema hall, I was struck by how three astronauts cheerfully chase each other before going to bed. Along a round wall. Under the ceiling. Like naughty children.Like children... This is not a random image. Remember the first television footage of a man on the surface of the Moon? With his space suit, clumsiness, and timid steps, he resembled a child whose loving parents, having wrapped his head up, released him into the fierce frost. Angrier than any frost is the indifferent alienation of the cosmos. Isn’t it like a child’s game to go (or swim) to visit, provided for by the joint experimental flight program - from a Soviet ship to an American one, from an American one to a Soviet one? But these are the very grandfather of games, the great games from the cosmic childhood of humanity. In space, a person discovers the world in the same way as in childhood - a world that is unfamiliar, attractive and somewhat scary. Not without the loving tenderness characteristic of our view of children, we look at cosmonauts and astronauts. But in this look there is no all-round experience and condescension of adults, just as there is no wise adulthood in space exploration. Everything is new here for everyone. The first handfuls from the cosmic abyss.John Young has been there four times, most recently with the moon landing. On the third floor his office is larger than others. Young leads the entire 33-person team of American astronauts, preparing them for a new stage, for the space shuttle, a reusable spaceplane.Slim, of average height, wearing a dark blue blazer, he looked more like a youthful professor than a professional pilot. He became an astronaut from a naval pilot background. Restrained. A bit dry. The Soviet correspondent on this closed third floor was very unusual for him.When you meet a man who walked on the Moon, you cannot resist asking what his lunar impressions were, although you know very well that he was probably bored with this question thousands of times. But he still answers, rather dryly and restrainedly. And the strongest of his epithets is interesting, interesting.— The Moon itself is a very interesting planetary body... The area in which we landed was very, interesting, like a plateau...— Because of its atmosphere, the Earth looks very blue... A very blue planet... Without a telescope or television, you can’t distinguish the details...I can’t resist asking him the second question that bothers him.— Did your views on life change after that, after you saw the Earth so small?John Young laughs.“Well, it’s not that small,” he answers. “When, having been on the Moon, you approach the Earth, it is a rather large planet.” As for outlook on life, I don’t know. I don't think they have changed. In any case, I don’t notice any big changes. I do the same work I did before I was there. Still interested in the problems I was interested in...He carefully avoids expressions like: “When I was on the Moon...” Apparently out of modesty, not wanting to emphasize the truly cosmic distance between himself and his interlocutor.— Of course, it was very interesting, excitingly interesting. I wouldn't trade this experience for a billion dollars. After all, you can read a lot of books about how many light years are to this or that star, but it’s a completely different matter when you go to see it with your own eyes and it takes you two and a half days to get there, and two and a half to return, and you are very dependent on the normal operation of technology... All this is quite interesting.— What struck you most?His answer is characterized by the precision and efficiency of an American who merged with technology in the second half of the twentieth century.This is a very hostile place for human activity, says Young, but you can get out of there safely... If, of course, you know what to do, and if the technology does not let you down. Without the Earth, without the environment that exists here, they won’t last long...I ask for an autograph as a souvenir. From the desk drawer, with a familiar gesture, he takes out his color photographic postcard and in his round, beautiful handwriting he habitually writes: “With best wishes, John Young. Apollo 10, Apollo 16.In the photograph, he childishly stretches his neck out of the round collar of his white spacesuit. There is a smile on the face. Behind her are two flags - the American national flag and NASA flag. He touched the globe with the fingers of his left hand, as if resisting the desire to spin it. The globe does not have the familiar outlines of continents and oceans. This is a lunar globe...By one o'clock in the afternoon they return from training. Dapper overalls flash in the third floor corridor. The Soviet coat of arms and the American flag on the work clothes of cosmonauts and astronauts distinguish them as statesmen engaged in international affairs. Having changed clothes, they turn into ordinary people and go to the cafeteria opposite Building No. 4...Tall, bald General Stafford with a pale face and a light, non-general gait. The gray hedgehog and sunken cheeks of Deke Slayton - he is already over fifty, the oldest in age, he was once expelled from the astronaut team for health reasons, but managed to get stronger and recover. The strong, ax-hewn face and round, as if surprised, eyes of Vance Brand.Once you are admitted to the third floor, talking to them is not a task. True, their answers are short. “Okay...”, “Okay...” Interviewing journalists is also part of the job, but it seems to be one where they save time and effort. At the same time, ours flaunt the English language, the Americans flaunt Russian. In general, another language is the most difficult element of preparing for a joint flight, as well as a hobby and almost childish fun. And salvation from journalists is two or three phrases in another language, and bribes are smooth.In Stafford's small, oblong office, the walls are covered with honorary diplomas and certificates from scientific and semi-scientific, military and semi-military organizations - from the Astronautical Association to the League of Friends of Firefighters. Stafford is a brigadier general in the US Air Force, but like other astronauts, you won’t see him in military uniform; he likes light, spacious suits. Businesslike and friendly. Making a decision, pondering the phrase, he slightly purses his lips, and at that moment something simple, from a skilled craftsman, is written on his face, something like: “The matter will not be ours! Rest assured". The general speaks Russian bravely, badly and very funny.Having seated me at the table, he asks:— Will they answer in Russian or English?— As you wish?“It’s better in English,” he decides, switching to English. “To say more.”But he still says little.“After the long and tedious work we have done, I am now confident that the flight will be very successful.” Both crews, as well as the ships, are ready to fly. This flight will lay the foundation for new efforts by our two countries both in space and on Earth.I ask him if there is a difference between the preparation for this flight and for other flights in which the general had to participate.“The only difference,” Stafford answers confidently, is the international nature of the flight, the work of crews with different languages.— Were there any psychological difficulties?— None!I hear the same from Brand, although he is not so categorical:— Of course, our systems are very different, but in human qualities there are more similarities than differences. The main problem is to learn the language. As for the profession, we have a lot in common, there were no problems at all...Even in this select group of physically and mentally ideal people, Vance Brand is like a god of health and a walking advertisement for excellent fitness. Sometimes he runs seven kilometers during his lunch break... instead of having lunch. When he laughs, looking at his interlocutor with round, naive eyes, it seems that this health is bursting out of him in bubbles of laughter. Our Vance was converted into Vanechka.“The most pleasant thing,” says Vanechka with the face of a Viking and the eyes of a surprised child, “is working with your cosmonauts, joking, pranking each other.” And to feel that together we are doing something for the world...I find Leonov alone in the room. He sits at the table, pushing a stack of letters towards him. He takes another letter from the stack and cuts it. He looks at it briefly. He signs expansively on sent return envelopes with stamps attached - the Americans have a well-organized business of collecting autographs. Following...He looks tired. Autographs are also part of the job. If you write a play about the preparation of ASTP (the Apollo-Soyuz experimental flight), then the action in it should be interspersed with periodic appearances on the third floor of couriers - with stacks of letters, with piles of large photographs and posters; Seeing them, ASTP participants interrupt all other activities, take out black markers from their desk drawers and dutifully write autographs.Nodding, Alexey Arkhipovich invites me to start reading the letters. While talking, he continues to sign his name in a sweeping, large manner.The letters contain not only requests for autographs.Writes one John Evangelist from Dover, New Jersey: “I welcome you again to the United States... All of us in America look forward to your flight as a great event...”David Redshaw from New York: "I'd like to invite you both to lunch any day you're in the New York area..."Tracy Naus from Nashville, Tennessee: “I will be flying to Cape Canaveral in July to watch the launch and I am confident that your flight will be a great success...”From Florida... From Colorado... West Germany.. France... There are at least a hundred letters on the table...Fame is work. It is the right of strangers to encroach on your time.Leonov sorts the mail patiently and quickly. Sitting opposite, I again catch myself with a boyish feeling of tenderness from being close to a man whose autographs are being sought and whom the whole world will soon be looking at. Leonov probably guesses about this - I’m not the first and I won’t be the last with this feeling.By the way, how does he remember those first 12 minutes in outer space?He looks at me with mischievous eyes:— And it’s as if it never happened.I love this rollicking response. After all, these minutes were so long ago. And there were only 12 of them. They went through such tension. And so often later I had to talk about them. The spontaneity of the impression has long been erased. And the memory, having become common, seemed to cease to be its own.“Now I’m watching this film, and I still want to say to myself: “Well, come on, get out quickly. What are you waiting for?After five o'clock they are back at the motel, on the highway, in the middle of the evening boredom of the American suburbs. They don’t have cars, and without wheels it’s like being without hands. During the day - requests for autographs as evidence of attention, in the evening - languid hours of loneliness in a foreign country, a reflection of someone else's life on a television screen. Sometimes other entertainment.At dusk a bus arrives. Everyone is invited to an American house for a party and they take me along too.Left behind is the neon of commercial signs. We are rushing somewhere in the dark. Then the bus stops. In the illuminated rectangle of the door, an unfamiliar couple is the owner and mistress of the house. Snack tables. Bar with drinks. Lively, small crowd.It turns out that the owner is a representative of the Felco Ford corporation, which supplies equipment for the Space Center. Getting along with the heroes of space is part of his everyday duties, but I now notice in him the same feeling of tenderness, of involvement in something lofty, which I myself could not get rid of, sitting opposite Leonov. Still would! He gathered all ASTP participants under his roof. And not only them. Here is the artistic Eugene Cernan - one of those who walked on the moon. Here is the wife of James Lovell, from the crew of Apollo 8, which first flew around the moon. Lovell is now president of a marine tug company in Houston.A rare society! And the party is the most ordinary. Snacks are placed on plates at the tables. They jingle pieces of ice in glasses while sipping cocktails. A very ordinary party, although local businessmen and their wives were extremely flattered. I discover that the space English language that our astronauts mastered is not very suitable for small talk...We say goodbye in two hours. The hostess and the owner see off the guests at the open door. It's fresh and quiet outside. The neighboring houses are hidden by trees and darkness. The Americans leave, each couple in their own car, and we walk in a crowd to the bus. And again, the collective jokes of the Russian people, the collective jokes about how they fed us and how they gave us something to drink.And in the purple sky the Moon floats like a boat, beautiful, distant, romantic. And again you think: after all, out of the whole world, which the poets called sublunary, only in this place live several people who have been there. I wonder with what eyes Eugene Cernan looks at the Moon, having just slammed the door of his car and driven home?— Alexey Arkhipovich, at what stage are preparations for the joint flight now?—  We can say that basically all the work is done. There's only one thing left to do - polishing. Upon returning home, we will work in our complex simulators, the American astronauts will work here. In June we will have a test session with a state exam, where we must show the level of our qualifications and competence in the Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft and report on the flight program. I think we will take part of the exam in English... In addition, at the end of June we are planning complex training: It will take two days. We will only leave the gym to sleep. We will completely lose our upcoming work: two days before docking, two days jointly with the Americans, another two days of independent flight. The joint plot will especially be lost. There is a leak test and transitions from ship to ship. During this training, all kinds of emergency situations will be simulated. Our task is to cope with them. — What have you done at this stage? During this visit to Houston?“We have a complete understanding of what American astronauts are doing on their ship and what we will do with them. We learned how to independently control their docking module in case of an accident and independently transfer from one ship to another. This is very important — it’s someone else’s car. We have mastered all actions in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as depressurization of the Apollo spacecraft and docking module, depressurization of the second tunnel, or fire. As of today, the joint flight segment does not raise any questions for us...Leonov and I are talking in the library on the same third floor. Jack Riley brought us here. This is no longer the conversation that we had in a motel room, on a bus, in the astronauts’ office. It's an interview, and there's a portable microphone on the table between us. However, Leonov’s microphone does not bother him at all. — Alexey Arkhipovich, if you look back at that time; When the idea of a joint flight had just arisen, when there were only the first contacts with American astronauts, what would you now highlight as the greatest achievements, difficulties overcome, problems solved?“The first meeting, not only with people from another state, but also in our own, is, of course, just a preliminary meeting,” Leonov answers. “We saw each other for the first time, we knew what the task was before us, and we had a question.” : Will we love each other? After all, first of all there should be high respect for each other. And high trust, Because we are going to fly, work together. And we are from different countries. And remember the whole story that happened. This cannot be dismissed so easily. I consider the main achievement of our joint training to be that we understood each other. We now relate to each other as crew member to crew member, discarding everything else. That's a lot.And then, of course, there is the language barrier. He was very difficult. When you talk to others through a third person—a translator—the conversation doesn’t always work out. This happened both on their part and on ours. And now we have reached such a level that we can talk to each other and understand each other. Let us speak with mistakes, but when we are together, say with Stafford or someone else, we manage without a translator...“I’ve been watching you these two days and I’ve seen that you not only have established working contact—it’s up to you to judge—but that there is also some degree of human sympathy, male communication and camaraderie.”“It’s impossible to solve problems without this.” Since we are going to be together, and even together we are now acting out cases of fire or depressurization, where I, let’s say, will have to carry him on my shoulders or he will have to carry me, how can I do this if I don’t respect him, if I don’t value him as a comrade?After all, we are now practically candidates for the entire globe. We are trying to show that, despite the difference in social formations, despite the contradictions that existed and that exist today, we have found points of convergence, we know that these are starting points for the future. Over the course of thirty years, we changed entire generations of weapons, then threw them into a pit and melted them down... Who needs this? This is terrible human stupidity. Terrible stupidity...— Alexey Arkhipovich, your meeting with the Americans in space can also be called contacts at the highest level, in full view of the whole world. And, of course, you, Kubasov and the American crew will have to explain things to humanity, to people who will look at this flight with great interest. What has been developed in this regard?— We have a special time allotted for this... This is a very serious part of our work. It will also be used to judge the importance of the experiment. It is necessary to choose words well, figurative, understandable to all people. And the main thing, it seems to me, is that, while being there, occupying a high position purely physically, not to lose the human thread and spontaneity... This will be the most important thing. The most important...— Alexey Arkhipovich, a person who looks at the work of cosmonauts from the outside, understands the uniqueness of this profession and attaches increased solemnity to his perceptions. Then, delving into your business, he sees a purely work process. It turns out, on the one hand, things are quite mundane, simply working, and they cannot be different. On the other hand, a very great significance is attached to this on a symbolic, political - in a word, on a highly solemn level. How do you combine both of these plans?And again he answers as a worker and as a man, as a Russian man who knows how to deal with a capricious young lady named Slava.“You know,” he begins, emphasizing with this “you know” some inappropriateness of the question, “if the astronaut begins to think that it will be so solemn, so beautiful, and will be perceived this way, then there will be no work.” That's for sure. I always remember my mother's words. She says: “A riddle is never rich.” Work as you work. Consider a flight into space as a continuation of your work on Earth, as a stage of completion. I can swear anywhere, as children, I never thought that the flight of the first man into space would cause so much excitement. And Gagarin didn’t think about it. And when I was preparing for my flight, for this first human spacewalk, I had no idea how I would be greeted after this and what I would gain for it. This was not the case. Absolutely. And I’m sure, as soon as a person starts to think about it, it’s over...Some begin to declare: this fame, they say, bothers me. Don’t think about it, she won’t bother you. People come up to you to sign, so you sign. If you don't want to sign, then don't sign. Otherwise, you see, fame bothers him. He’s tired, he says, of all these performances and trips. Well, don't go. It depends on you. This is a workflow. That's all! And as soon as you start thinking about it from the other side - the cap!The working purpose of their current stay near Houston is crew training. This is the third round, the fourth and last will be in Zvezdny, near Moscow. They have been working for three weeks now, taking Saturdays. Correspondents are not allowed into their place of work, Building N35, to the simulator.But even here Jack Riley helped me. We drove up with him secretly to the blank back wall. They entered quietly from the back door. Large room. The platform is human height. On the platform, as on a stage, is a green spherical model of the Soyuz, a copy of the Apollo and the docking module. Muffled voices were heard in their depths. Several methodologists and translators were sitting on chairs near the model. A silent row of computers stood in the next room. Such sacraments of the twentieth century cannot do without them. We walked around the platform on tiptoe: the sacrament required silence and was reminiscent of a theater rehearsal. By the way, their most detailed instructions can be compared to a script, although in this script the main thing is not the words of the participants, but the strictest sequence of their actions, their work operations. The dramatic spring of the plot is space itself, with its possible surprises, with its unknowns.I flew out of Clear Lake City early in the morning, afraid of missing the taxi called the day before, and ran with my suitcase through the hotel courtyard. The yard was empty, the grass was wet from the night rain. The sky was cloudy and covered with low clouds. It was getting light, but the lanterns were still burning. The building where the astronauts lived was asleep.Do they have dreams? What do they see in their dreams? After all, a person always carries the whole world, images of his entire life, and takes them with him on any journey. Even if it's the road to space. And if so, then space is more inhabited than is commonly thought. It is inhabited not only by spaceships, but also by visions, memories, dreams of people who have been in its black abyss...And finally I saw them again. July 17, 1975. According to the schedule, which was communicated to the whole world In his correspondent's Washington apartment. I saw them on TV. Now they were not in the third floor corridor or on the simulator. They were there. They swam there - easier than in the water. At first, Stafford fiddled with something for a long time and leisurely, floating near the hatch in the docking module. Only a voice came from Leonov behind the wall, and from the voice one could understand that he was very close and was tinkering with his hatch, on the other side. And I sat on the sofa watching TV, experiencing the full force of gravity, and was worried and touched.Finally they completed this operation, and the hatch opened. The floating Stafford stuck his head into the hatch, sticking his legs in my direction. And in his funny Russian, he calmly and with a joke in his voice said:— How are you, Alexey? Come here, please, to me... And Alexey Leonov slowly floated out towards him, wavered by the glare on the television screen, holding the edge of the hatch with his hands…OUR PARTNERARMAND HAMMER1The story about “Oxy” sounds like a fairy tale about Cinderella: she was an unhappy, poor stepdaughter in a big and rich house where seven sisters ruled, and one day she fell in love with a good prince, and they fell in love with each other and “Oxy” came to life and tasted happiness...But this beautiful name, “Oxy,” is not from a girl, but from the oil company Occidental Petroleum. “Seven Sisters” is the name of the seven largest corporations that actually rule in a very rich house - the oil industry of the United States. Oxy had and still has a prince, and his name is Armand Hammer. This name may be familiar to you, reader, but is everyone familiar with the story?About 60 years old, with a turbulent life as a businessman behind him and many millions acquired as a result, Armand Hammer retired from business and retired, moving to Los Angeles. This was in 1956.However, in the same year, one matter came to his attention, a trivial matter at first. One of his acquaintances advised him to take an interest in the unknown and useless oil company Occidental Petroleum, which was then dying. At his leisure, just at his leisure, as Armand Hammer himself told me, he leafed through the ledgers of this Cinderella of the oil business. At leisure and with nothing to do. And also from the irrepressible energy that all his past affairs had not used up. And also because Dr. Hammer believed in chance and was not used to missing it. Chance helped him from his youth, and here, I think, some explanations are appropriate.Was it not by chance that he, a medical student at Columbia University in New York, took over the affairs of his father's weakening hands in 1918? By chance: my father had a heart attack, and it was necessary to save his small pharmaceutical company, in which his father’s partner had become his enemy and adversary. And the student saved the company. He cured her, put her on her feet, expanded her, and already at the age of 23 he had his first million dollars, without interrupting, imagine, his studies, although the previous need for a medical diploma seemed to no longer exist, the then million was worth ten today. Today's old man Hammer, looking back at his younger self, not without a condescendingly affectionate curiosity, likes to say that if he had wanted to, even then he could have retired from business and lived his whole life idly and comfortably. You have to be in the position of a millionaire to understand what feelings they have for their millions. Apparently different. Maybe the first million, like mere mortals’ first love, will be remembered forever?What about the other? Was it not a chance that gave Armand Hammer the six months between the day he received his medical degree and the day he was to take up a vacant position as an intern at Bellevue Hospital in New York? In those six months, not wanting and no longer able to waste time, he went to Russia, where his great-grandfather was once the owner of the Kherson shipyards. Russia in 1921 was emerging from civil war, famine and rash were raging. As a pass to a wary country turned upside down by revolution and war, a young millionaire doctor, having gathered there, bought a field hospital with surgical equipment from the US military department, which was selling off American post-war surpluses. Having visited the hungry Urals, Armand Hammer realized that feeding people is no less important than healing them. And it’s more profitable from a business point of view. In America in 1921, grain was burned to prevent a catastrophic drop in prices, and Russia was ready to pay for grain in furs, timber, and Ural gems. The young doctor, in whom the businessman again gained the upper hand, established this beneficial exchange for him, building the first trade bridge in history between Soviet Russia and capitalist America.This was the time when the world famous writer Herbert Wells came to Lenin in the Kremlin with his painful questions and thoughts about Russia in the dark. American businessman Armand Hammer once also visited Lenin with a practical proposal for a concession for the Ural asbestos mines and the supply of wheat. He was young and took risks where his older business compatriots, who were already involved in the then “Cold War” with the Bolsheviks, had neither the courage nor the desire. He was young, but let’s not confuse him with another young American - John Reed, who glorified the October Revolution. Armand Hammer was not and did not become a socialist. In his memoirs of the meeting in the Kremlin, he highlights one of Lenin’s thoughts that is dear to him: business people are not philanthropists or fools; when investing in Russia, they want to be sure of profits.Thus began a case due to which New York's Bellevue Hospital did not wait for a new intern. Armand Hammer stayed in Russia for nine years. He himself was a pioneer of American-Soviet trade and, moreover, later represented the interests of 37 American companies; It was through him that, for example, Fordson tractors came to us. In the 20s, the Hammer Trading Company had branches in various Soviet cities and areas rich in fur, as well as in London, Paris, and Berlin (in addition to its New York headquarters).  And what about the case with pencils, which, if you look at it, looks almost epic? By chance, completely by chance, one day I went into a Moscow store and discovered Hammer, how fantastically expensive, scarce and bad the pencils were. I didn't miss this incident. Having learned the secrets of the German pencil king Faber, having bought out some of his people, he opened his own factory in Moscow. Then another, a third, five in total. He overloaded Russia with pencils and pens.In a word, leaving the country of his Kherson great-grandfather, when the time of foreign concessions in it ended, the 32-year-old Hammer could retire from business even more easily and more accurately than the 23-year-old, because he had already become a multimillionaire.But of course, he remained focused on the matter. Upon returning, he first sold paintings, jewelry, and art objects purchased in Russia through department stores in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities. Then there was a lot more. He raised pedigree cattle for sale. He sold oak barrels for whiskey. He also sold whiskey... He was not one of those who pulled one strap all his life. He easily took on different businesses and easily parted with them, taking a profit, and only one business turned out to be permanent - the Hammer Art Gallery. It was a store on Fifty-seventh Street in New York, where the goods were works of painting. With his brother Victor, he created it in the late 20s, using abundant Russian acquisitions as a basis...  Now let's get back to Oxy and the continuation of our story. Now, I hope, the reader understands why, having decided to retire at the age of about 60, Armand Hammer did not find a place for himself and why, in his spare time, he looked into the accounting books of a failed oil company.“I kept wanting something to do.” “I couldn’t sit idly and do nothing,” he told me. “And so they came to me and told me about Oxy.” They had six hundred thousand shares, only eighteen cents a share. For one hundred thousand dollars you could buy all the shares...If you haggled, you could have bought it cheaper. The company had only three full-time employees and even fewer hopes. In an almost philanthropic gesture, the doctor gave 50 thousand dollars for oil and gas exploration in California. Luck: both wells drilled produced oil. They came from Oxy for a new loan. And then Armand Hammer became a prince. He made Cinderella happy by buying her controlling interest for half a million dollars. He became its owner, taking the post of president and chairman of the company's board.His short leisure time was over. A case happens, but let's not exaggerate its role. When envious people talk about luck, Armand Hammer replies: “Luck comes to those who work sixteen hours, seven days a week.”The oil business was new to him; the oil “seven sisters” were not going to make room for him. But the acumen of a highly experienced businessman, his talent for precise orientation, and his ability to find and attract the right workers were also not new. He hired the most famous geologists and drillers in California, gave them freedom of action, and spared no expense or patience. And they found something even in the oil-pocked soil of California. At the same time, Hammer expanded the scope of Oxy's activities. It grew, acquiring small and medium-sized corporations involved in agricultural fertilizers, petrochemicals, and coal, buying rights to develop deposits of coal and phosphates.A powerful breakthrough was made in the early 60s, during the Libyan “oil Klondike”. When the Libyan sands, divided into plots, under which huge lakes of oil were hidden, were sold to foreigners, Armand Hammer, as a young man, flew to the scene, lived in a crappy hotel in a room without a toilet - he had to get to the toilet through the stable. Libyan oil fabulously accelerated the revival and prosperity of Oxy. The beautiful name has now declared itself in Peru and Canada, Nigeria and Australia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, its branches can be found in two dozen countries. It is the world's largest exporter of agricultural fertilizers. The third largest coal miner in the United States. Etc.  “Look at it,” says Hammer. “Now we have fifty-five million shares, and the capital is almost a billion dollars.” Find another company in America that has the same growth story?!In 1972, Oxy did more than just appear on Fortune magazine's annual list of the 500 largest U.S. corporations. She was there in 36th place! Its annual sales were approaching $3 billion. If happiness can be calculated in dollars, then its original shareholders are the lucky ones. For example, shares of Oxy purchased in 1956 for $5,000 could have sold for $1 million in 1972. And Armand Hammer jokingly, but not without pride, likes to repeat that he is the only head of a corporation in America whom shareholders greet by standing at their annual general meeting.On July 20, 1972, Soviet newspapers modestly, and American newspapers sensationally, reported the signing of an Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Science and Technology and Occidental Petroleum (USA).“...Considering that the prerequisites have now been created and conditions have been prepared for the broad development of long-term scientific and technical cooperation, taking into account the interest of both Parties in the development of such cooperation and being aware of the mutual benefit that it represents...”This meant: after a 40-year absence, Armand Hammer was returning to the scene of Soviet-American relations. There was a detente with her hopes and business projects. About 3 thousand American businessmen visited the Soviet Union in 1972. But Hammer didn’t just probe the waters, he acted more energetically than others. As in 1921, he was ahead of the others. The Oxy agreement with the State Committee for Science and Technology was signed just a month and a half after the Soviet-American summit and the signing in the Kremlin of the most important document - “Fundamentals of relations between the USSR and the USA.”The agreement provides for scientific and technical cooperation in five areas: production and processing of oil and gas; agricultural fertilizers and chemicals; metalworking and metal coating; design and construction of hotels; solid waste disposal.Retire... More than ever, Hammer is in business and in the headlines. "Eight billion dollar deal with Moscow." "Hammer hands over Lenin's unknown letter to the Kremlin." “Hammer donates a Goya painting to the Hermitage.” Once again he became a symbol of that business-minded America that sought trade and economic cooperation with the Soviet Union. Actively cooperates with us, knows us, is interested in us. Our kind of multimillionaire in America.What does he look like in his office, in his home in Los Angeles, California?Once I had the opportunity to visit Oxy.2Since I was with G. A. Arbatov, director of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Oxy's hospitality extended 400 miles from Los Angeles. Dr. Hammer sent his plane to San Francisco to give us a lift, as they say.Among the vast facilities of San Francisco International Airport, there is, among others, the Butler Aviation building, where regular airline passengers do not stop. This is a hangar and a train station at the same time. When we arrived, there were almost no people in the building, and on the concrete field nearby there were several planes, and the closest to the others was the plane with three letters on the fuselage - OXU. At the ramp, thrown out of the duralumin belly, three crew members stood as chauffeurs at the door of a personal limousine. We were taken by car straight to the plane, and the suitcases were stuffed straight from the ground into the cargo hatch. And then instantly, starting with a lazy purring note, two engines started up their jet song, and the light board spoke in a silent language, calling only two passengers not to smoke and to fasten their seat belts.(By the way, not your own car, which is available in almost every family, but your own plane has now become a sign of wealth in America, if you take means of transport. About one hundred and fifty thousand private planes belong to rich people or corporations.)On the runway of an international airport that handles 15 million small passengers a year, the flying Oxy looked like a bird among the scheduled Boeings and Douglass. But they took off easily and strongly, quickly gained altitude, the ocean below sparkled in the rays of the sun, the bare coastal mountains cast chilly shadows on the March valleys that had not yet turned green. Through the rounded portholes the view of the ground was good and, I would say, intimate.In the passenger compartment there were four ordinary chairs, as well as a sofa and one wider chair, the master's, next to two telephones - internal, for communication with the crew, and general, which, through ground radio stations, provides communication with any point on the planet. In the rear section were the master's quarters: the beds of Hammer and his wife Frances. One of the properties of the Hummer that his wife and relatives like to laugh at is the ability to take a nap and have a pokemon in any environment, as soon as the time is given. And he sleeps easily on the plane. An excellent property for a person who, even in old age, travels a lot and often changes time zones, without getting tired of living here today and there tomorrow.The plane was of the Gulf Stream-2 brand, small, but daring: flight range - 5 and a half thousand kilometers, speed - almost a thousand kilometers, ceiling - more than 10 kilometers. This by-product of the Grumman Corporation, which produces primarily combat aircraft for the US Navy, is jet-flying around the world, crossing continents and oceans, landing on poorly equipped airfields. They take with them spare parts that, if needed, cannot be found everywhere, but they have to be everywhere - in the remote corners of Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. And again, in case of need, we have our own mechanic on board, one of Oxy’s 33 thousand workers and employees.We learned that the plane was not cheap - more than $3 million. But with an international telephone and a sleeping place for the owner, more for work than pleasure, it completely paid for itself. During the three years of his service, he flew more than a million kilometers and, in particular, made almost 60 jumps across the Atlantic Ocean. And since 1972, the signature bird “Oxy” often flew into Soviet skies; it was the first private aircraft allowed to cross the Soviet border. Hammer turned out to be a pioneer here too. They flew to Moscow via Copenhagen, where they took a Soviet pilot on board...50 minutes later we landed in Los Angeles, at a small but well-equipped airfield, where rows of small but different single-engine and twin-engine air machines were parked for a select few.For the pilots, this was an arrival home, and the senior pilot, who had been working for Hummer for decades, like a driver to the service garage, taxied to his parking lot. There, sparkling with its varnish and chrome in the sun's rays, a long black Fleetwood was waiting for us - like the embodiment of the earthly hospitality of Oxy. Two tall, sleekly handsome young men in dark suits stood near the limousine, and sparks of sunlight seemed to jump off their jackets. One was wearing a driver's cap. The other without a cap is for an honorary escort.We sat down and didn’t go - too mundane a word! — we didn’t go, but solemnly drove along the Los Angeles freeways. The limousine did not belong to Oxy. For her honored guests, she hires such important, long, shiny limousines from the White Thai car rental company. On the business card of any driver of the company there is a short advertisement: “New Cadillacs, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes, Continentals and Eldorados... With chauffeurs... Service twenty-four hours a day... Phone (213) 477—3608... From all the first-class hotels... Delivery to the airport at any time...” Do you want to feel like a big man for at least an hour in a big, as if your own limousine, with a helpful and well-trained, like your own driver? Call the car rental company "White Tie", which literally means "White Tie", but in meaning - "Tailcoat".It was Friday, the last office hours of the week. From the airfield we were driven to the headquarters of Occidental Petroleum on Wilshire Boulevard, which is called the most prestigious street in the United States of America west of the Rocky Mountains.Having delivered us, the young man who met us at the airfield became shy and disappeared. But immediately an important gentleman of a flourishing appearance, bluish-rosy-cheeked with perfect shaven and an almost youthful blush, appeared before us. a gold chain curled around the waistcoat of his dark blue three-piece suit. The gentleman, as the handshake revealed, had a very strong hand, eyes with shaggy eyelashes, black hair shining with diamondine, and a cheerful smile on his face. On his business card I read: “Marvin Watson. Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs. Oxydental Petroleum.And together with Mr. Watson, who paid due attention to the main guest - Academician G. A. Arbatov, without stopping anywhere, we took the elevator and walked on the command floor of Oxy to the end of the corridor, to the boss’s office.After all this overture that began on a San Francisco morning - a branded plane, a limousine from the Frank car rental company and Mr. Watson beaming with health and optimism - the short man in a brown, slightly baggy suit looked very simple. His slightly bulging eyes looked intently and lively from under his wide forehead, two strong-willed transverse wrinkles furrowed his forehead above his massive hooked nose. And no old man's etherealness, sagging, fine wrinkles. Only the hollowness of his large, thin-lipped mouth betrayed the venerable age of Dr. Armand Hammer.He rose to greet the guests from behind the polished table, clean of papers, revealing his hard teeth in a smile and, with his first words and appearance, offering the strangers a relaxed, frank relationship. Something of the old-fashioned doctor's manners seemed to flash and then, however, disappeared in his appearance, intonation and gestures. Obeying the owner’s invitation, the academician and I sat down in armchairs, moving them to his table. A smiling Mr. Watson sat in the corner.“Everything is going well,” Hammer began his review of the situation, as he saw it from his place. “Everything is good, although, as you, of course, know, when dealing with you Russians, you need to be patient...He offered us something like his progress report for March 1973, listed the areas of cooperation between Oxy and Soviet organizations, talked about agreements already concluded and those that were still being settled and agreed upon. That with the supply of one million tons per year of superphosphoric acid, Oxy is ready to satisfy one third of the needs of the Soviet Union for this valuable agricultural fertilizer, and is also ready to build factories in our country to produce ammonia from gas, which will be used as payment for the acid. The fact that specialists working for Oxy are not without success in solving the growing problem of municipal solid waste disposal (“We believe that your people will be interested in our method”). About plans to build an International Trade Center in Moscow, which will house representative offices of foreign companies trading with the Soviet Union (“We will make this center an exemplary one”). About David Rockefeller, chairman of the board of Chase Manhattan Bank, a friend of Hammer, whom he also called a friend of the Soviet Union, and that Bank of America also agreed to provide loans for the implementation of the above projects...“I would like to help,” Hammer continued to say, reminding him that he was not one of those newcomers who came, looked and either left, or decided to stay for a while, that he had unique experience and, if you like, the rights of a veteran, memories of youth.—I would like to help. The time is right. Without forgetting about ourselves, we want to create conditions for other American companies to come to you...And emphasizing this personal, special, giving him a special right, he mentioned his meeting with that person whom he, a respectable American capitalist, saw, but we, middle-aged Soviet communists, did not, although we considered our great teacher.- Lenin foresaw this...And with a word he foresaw, he emphasized how he, an American capitalist, appreciates Lenin’s foresight and statesmanship...The phone rang. The call was apparently urgent. Hammer talked to someone for a long time, named some numbers himself, and wrote down other numbers given by the interlocutor in pencil. And the pencil in his thick fingers evoked in my memory my childhood, the desk cut up with pocket knives, in which my brother and I, two schoolchildren, gradually occupied drawer after drawer, displacing the meager, however, papers of my father, who worked in the department of related production at the Gorky Automobile Plant. And at night, at home, the phone did not give my father rest, calls from subcontractors, and, seeking the necessary parts for the insatiable main conveyor, my father also poured out numbers and wrote down numbers, and in the desk that we won from him there was in one of the drawers one or two foreign beautiful, unfinished Hammer pencils...There the tram rumbled under the windows, the simple gray-brick four-story houses of the socialist city stood at their heels, and here, outside the office windows, the business skyscrapers of Los Angeles seemed to hang in the air. If you look at them from a chair, without going to the window, then the lower floors and the ground, the bustle of people and cars were not visible, but only the upper floors were visible, team, corporate, with their halls at the exit from the elevators, with colored branded brochures on tables, kind secretaries, soft artificial light, thick carpets. In the bosses' offices, at the same large tables, sat in leather chairs with high backs, as if they were bundles of business-oriented, focused energy. And each, like Hammer, had them behind his back, on another table and on the walls. photographs of famous people with dedicatory inscriptions, their own, so to speak, photo showcases. And the owner of each high-rise office, like Hammer, was photographed, of course, with one or another US president, former and currently in power, and with the California governor, as well as with presidents, prime ministers, kings and sheikhs of different countries, which visually documented the worldwide scope of his business activities for the benefit of his corporation and its shareholders. But our multimillionaire, perhaps the only one in all of Los Angeles, also had Moscow, Kremlin photographs, where he stood or sat next to Soviet leaders.3Five of us were on our way to City Hall for lunch with the mayor of Los Angeles. Now we were being driven by Hummer's personal Cadillac. In such cases, it is not customary to sit down with a driver. There are two folding seats in the back. It’s crowded, but it’s as if we’re all old, close acquaintances. No matter how hard I tried, my knee rested on the Hummer. And very close were his face and eyes - tender on the outside, but coldly impenetrable in the depths. On the Los Angeles freeways, the raised hoods of cars stuck out as distress signals, and traffic jams stopped us every now and then. We were late. Hammer told the driver to alert City Hall. The elderly driver picked up his radiotelephone.Meanwhile, in this close company, sitting on the back sofa of the limousine, Hammer, by the right of an old and well-known man, spoke in few words about his ancestors and his own youth.  “My great-grandfather was the owner of shipbuilding shipyards in Kherson, he built ships for the imperial Russian fleet,” he said. “He was a very rich man at that time and left his son a lot of money.” But his son, that is, my grandfather, did not turn out to be a good businessman. He invested all his father's millions in salt mines on the Caspian Sea. And then one day a typhoon, rare, they say, for those places, hit, and all its salt was washed away into the sea. And he went broke...Having gone broke, my grandfather decided to try his luck overseas and in 1875 he moved to America. His affairs, however, never improved, although in the new country his son, Hammer's father, received a medical education.So, while passing the time, we made it to City Hall, despite the traffic jams. Our hosts needed this courtesy visit as much as we did, and its purpose, as I guessed, was to show that Oxy's guests were in Los Angeles and that Oxy was so influential here that the mayor of Los Angeles was ready to immediately receive her guests, putting aside all her other affairs.Hammer and Watson, it seemed to me, were for the first time in the old City Hall skyscraper, in its long corridors. But the guide, a knowledgeable person, was already right there before we had time to arrive. Hammer walked ahead of our group, sweepingly and quickly, without looking back to see if the others were keeping up with him, knowing that in City Hall the necessary doors would open in front of him as if by themselves. And the doors opened. Here, as on the command floor of Oxy, invisible waves of wealth and influence spread around him, repelling some and attracting others. He may not have known these long corridors, but they knew him here, and now someone ran up to him, out of breath, holding out a piece of yellow paper: “Dr. Hammer, an urgent matter!” Without stopping, he read the message and handed it to Watson. “Is something wrong, Dr. Hammer? Some kind of misfortune? — I asked, suspecting evil. He did not consider it necessary to answer, he just looked at me calmly and affectionately.When we arrived at the mayor's office, Sam Yorty, then mayor, a reddish, trim man in his sixties, was giving out the last smiles to a delegation of Los Angeles Irish who had visited him on the occasion of the Irish Catholic day of St. Patrick. Flashing a smile at the Irish, the mayor turned to us with the same smile. The table for lunch was already set in the small room. Despite his reputation as an ardent anti-communist and right-wing demagogue, Yorty behaved like a sweetheart.The newspaper demon ordered me to continue watching the Hummer. I sat at the table to his right. He did not eat anything, telling me that he was on a strict diet. I just took a sip of tomato juice. Feeling the bread on the plate with his finger, he said: “Good.” He sat silently, not participating in the table exchange of jokes and pleasantries. He was silent and silent, smoothing the napkin with his fingers, and suddenly, turning to Marvin Watson, who was sitting opposite him, and zero attention to the others, as if they were not there, neither the mayor nor the Soviet guests: “Contact Chicago urgently! If you can’t do it for a hundred and five, settle for a hundred...”Calmness did not leave him, but harshness and authority suddenly appeared in his face and voice. Watson also instantly forgot about the others. One desire now overwhelmed him: to look good in the eyes of his owner. He wrote down quick orders, looking not at the paper, but at Hammer’s face, with the devotion that is usually called dog-like, and all repeating: “Yes, sir... It will be done, sir...” And, jumping out from behind table, rushed to the door, disappeared, without even thinking about apologizing to the rest of the company. So this is what that urgent message was about on a piece of yellow paper with which they ran up to Hammer in the corridor - a deal that could not be delayed. “All things don’t give me peace,” I sympathized with Hammer, observing the instant transformation of this good-natured, gentle-looking old man into a decisively and quickly acting businessman. But he was already the same and, without answering, fatherly stroked my hand with his hand. Meanwhile, Watson quickly returned and, sitting down in his place, across the table, again not paying attention to the mayor and the others, reported to his boss that the order had been completed and that everything was in order...After saying goodbye to the mayor, we went down to the underground garage. Hammer had urgent business to attend to; Watson was to continue to accompany us in the rented Fleetwood. But on the way to the garage it got lost somewhere. "Where's Marvin?" - Hummer asked now, without getting into his Cadillac. His voice was calm, but his question contained annoyance and impatience. "Where's Marvin?" - he seemed to ask himself again. Three minutes passed in such anticipation, no more. And suddenly we saw how, through a large, clean and deserted garage at that hour, in another aisle, along another row of cars, a dense figure in a magnificent dark blue three-piece suit was rushing towards us. It was Marvin Watson. At some distance, he jumped out, as if on the finish line, into the passage in which we were waiting for him, and, sparkling with the chain on his stomach, he ran (run!) approached his boss, keeping on his face an expression of readiness to carry out any orders and hope, that he would be forgiven for his involuntary tardiness. “This is discipline!” — I thought as I looked at the slightly out of breath venerable gentleman. Hammer took his vice president's sprint for granted...Now we rode the freeways without a boss, and Marvin Watson smiled less and talked more. He had something to tell about himself and about America: after all, he himself was a person, and a fleet-footed sprinter performed only in the presence of his silent and stern boss. Just a few years ago, Marvin Watson was one of President Lyndon Johnson's trusted men, the special assistant in charge of the president's meeting schedule, the guard at the door of America's great office. And then the Postmaster General, that is, the Minister of Communications. And among his closest friends, we learned, were John Connolly, the former governor of Texas and President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, evangelist Billy Graham, friend and executor of all the last US presidents, etc.Marvin Watson could tell and reveal a lot, but with the guests of Oxy he had no other topic than the financial genius of his new boss Armand Hammer. They met when the doctor, who likes to give out works of art as his business cards, wanted to cement his memory in the White House by donating a valuable bronze figurine. Under President Johnson, it was Watson who was responsible, among other things, for such gifts, checking through his assistants the history and artistic quality of a given gift, as well as the trustworthiness and respectability of the donor. The statuette from Hammer passed this test, was accepted into the White House, and the acquaintance that took place helped Watson find a good job when Lyndon Johnson resigned as president and his postmaster general also found himself without a job.So Texan Marvin Watson changed his place of residence and owner and put his connections in the administrative and business world of America to Oxy’s service.4In Los Angeles, Marvin Watson does not have a house, but a mini-palace worth 300 thousand dollars, located on the Pacific Ocean. On Saturday evening he invited us to dinner. From the high personal shore, the ocean in the darkness looked like just an immense empty hole, and from this there was a feeling that on this edge of the New World there was nothing around except Watson’s possessions, and that the moon was also shining personally for him and his guests, and was also serving them fresh food. and the bitter breath of the ocean - into the silence over the illuminated lawns, over the beautifully sparkling pattern of a personal pool.The dinner for eight people, including the Hammers and another Oxy vice president and his wife, was ceremonious and orderly, as dinner parties apparently are for former ministers, who are also non-smokers, non-drinkers and very religious. We sat spaciously and aloof from each other at a large table in a large dining room, and not a single free gesture was stimulated here, since it violated the cold symmetry of the prim order. A team of black servants, hired for the evening, looked after the diners. One silent black man in a tuxedo served the diners on one side of the table, and another on the other side.And at such a table, as if enlightening his subordinates and their wives and at the same time finding a common theme with the Soviet guests, Hammer, with irony, but not without inner drama, told another saga from his long life.Moscow, 1921, it’s hungry, the shops are empty, and what kind of shops were there at all? Like others, the young foreigner Hammer was given coupons to receive food rations. Ration... He told the story in English, but he pronounced the word ration in Russian, because the English word ration was not suitable for conveying the flavor of another life in another country, shaken to the core by the revolution. So, they gave him coupons and explained where he needed to get his rations. And he came to the indicated place, and saw a long line, and realized that he had to stand it. When his turn finally came, it turned out that he did not have the required container, and then they explained to him that he needed to fold his palms and pour flour into his palms. And enhancing the accuracy and expressiveness of his story about this torment, queue, era, old man Hammer raised his large clean hands with polished nails over the table and folded his palms in the dining room of the Watson mini-palace, at lunch - crab meat pancakes, salad, thick pieces of roast beef , brie cheese with crackers, served by two blacks from a kitchen where several other blacks were working. He cupped his palms and grinned.“I asked what I should do with this flour,” and there was sad bewilderment in his voice. “They explained to me that you can bake bread from flour.” I poured back this flour and handed over my coupons.The young American millionaire did not come to Russia to starve, suffer and learn to bake bread from ration flour. In his hotel for several days he ate only the sardines and cheese he brought with him. But supplies were running out, and it was necessary to solve the problem of food and salvation from hunger for the future.“One day I saw a very fat man,” Hammer continued in an even and economical voice in the silence. “There were no fat people in Moscow at that time, and I realized that this fat man must know where to eat well.” And I followed him. We walked along some streets, then he entered the entrance of a house, I followed him. He went up the stairs and knocked on some door, and from below I saw that the door was opened by a woman who let this fat man in. After waiting, I approached the same door and caught very tasty, satisfying smells emanating from the apartment. When I knocked on the door, the same woman appeared. I wanted to go in, but she wouldn’t let me in. I didn’t yet know the Russian language and couldn’t communicate with her properly, but “with gestures I showed that I wanted to go where these nourishing smells came from, that I wanted to eat. It didn't have any effect on her. To be convincing, I took rubles out of my pocket and offered her rubles, but the woman still did not take kindly and continued to block the door. I had to show her the foreign money, and for some reason it suited her better. She let me in - there was an underground restaurant in the apartment. From that day on, I began going there and thus solved the problem of nutrition for myself...They laughed at the table. Laughing with the others, I tried to imagine how these rich Americans would have reacted to this story if we, two Soviet guests, had not been with them. I was not yet alive when Hammer was solving the problem of food in hungry Moscow, but “I immediately imagined that Moscow, the house and the landing on which he bargained with the underground restaurateur. What did they imagine? Behind every word, behind every turn of this or that conversation with Americans, there arises not only something personal, but also something common, different historical and emotional experiences, which are even written differently in our genes and in theirs...Meanwhile, Hammer also talked about how he brought his bread, delivered from America, to the Urals. He was accompanied by Ludwik Martens, the first unofficial representative of Soviet Russia in America. In the Urals, he said, famine was raging. The rumor about the grain train overtook them, and crowds of people met them at the stations, even when they knew that they would not get the bread and it would be transported further. In that year of his first acquaintance with Russia, Hammer made it a rule to learn a hundred Russian words every day, and until he learned it, not to leave the hotel. When they moved around the Urals, he wanted to say at least something to the people at the stations, and Martens encouraged them. And at one station Hammer dared to make a short speech in Russian. When he finished, the audience clapped, and he was glad that he had finally spoken in Russian. Martens laughed: “You misunderstood them. They thought you spoke English, but they only clapped out of politeness."In Watson's house they politely laughed at this comic story, and only two majestic blacks, standing aside, observing the order on the table, remained dispassionately silent. Suddenly Hammer’s wife intervened in the conversation, saying that Armand later recalled how at night, when the train became quiet, he imagined the cry of hungry children. “We eat too much,” the wife of another Oxy vice president also suddenly said. And she said it as if she wanted to say something else: “This is not how we live.” But such a topic of conversation was not picked up.After dinner, the ladies and men split into two groups in the living room. A black man in white gloves poured coffee from a pot-bellied silver coffee pot. Hammer was more silent, apparently adhering to the principle of saying and doing only what others would not say or do for him. Only by chance, intervening in the conversation, he joked: “One famous journalist recently asked me about plans for the future. I answered him: “My main plan is to live as long as possible.”5The next day I came to Hammer alone to conduct the interview we had agreed on the day before. It was Saturday, and he received me at home. I still remained a guest of Oxy, although with the departure of the academician I was sort of demoted in rank, having been sent from the Frack car rental company no longer black, but green and a smaller Cadillac, a broken and even somewhat impudent Texan driver, for whom I was the first Soviet person I met; he did not fail to take the opportunity to ask the eternal American question: “How do you like living without freedom there, in Russia?”Hammer's house, an old mansion that looked respectable but much more modest than Watson's half-palace, was located on a quiet, green street in the Los Angeles University area. It stood in a row of other houses, without a green or any other fence, and brick steps led straight from the sidewalk to the door. The door was opened by a black maid, small in stature, pregnant and wearing a simple dress, without an apron or maid's headdress. It was clear from her calm behavior that she felt free in this house.In the small office of the owner, where I was shown, there was discreet-looking old furniture: a small desk made of Karelian birch, an armchair and on a low, stool-like stand near one of the chairs - a telephone set with many buttons, a direct connection to the main office of Oxy " While waiting for the Hummer, I looked at the bookcases. There were a lot of books, and read ones. I saw Plato’s dialogues, a volume on the philosophy of the Epicureans, a new monograph on Lenin written by the American Robert Payne, the works of the famous economist Galbraith, medical and other reference books.Armand Hammer came down from the second floor chambers. Despite it being Saturday, he was wearing a suit and tie. He sat down in the master's chair in the corner next to the telephone. He was as calm as the day before, but, it seemed to me, less friendly. Apparently my intentions were not entirely clear to him. he had already given the guests the attention they could expect. Why else is this interview? After all, he had already told several stories, several sagas of his life, which were supposed to satisfy journalistic curiosity. His eyes were unreadable behind his glasses. On the motionless face, only the sunken mouth, which betrayed its age, moved.My intention was, as I now understand, naive and even impudent: I wanted a heart-to-heart conversation. Such a conversation could not and did not happen. But still, I offer - in a tape recording - what happened.— Dr. Hammer, this is the third time I've met you, and you seem so simple in your words and actions, and it attracts me, but at the same time I think that a person who has lived a life in which there was so much stuff cannot be so simple. And here’s my first question: what are your basic principles in life?— You mean motives? The main motive, I think, is to leave behind a world a little better than the one I found at birth... Many years ago, when I graduated from medical school, I had to decide: would I become a doctor, how my father, who was a great humanitarian, or businessman. I decided to become a doctor because I didn't want to be a businessman. By the age of twenty-three, I had made enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life. But when I went to Russia, I saw a great need there for an American businessman who could do something for this country. I must say that especially after meeting Mr. Lenin, who made such a great impression on me, I decided that I could achieve more as a businessman than as a doctor, that as a businessman I could bring more benefit to people. My father, whom I respect very much, helped others. It happened that he visited patients who had no money, and then he not only did not take anything from such a patient, but also gave him money to buy. medicines. From my father I inherited something like idealism. And maybe this explains why all my life I have tried to help others, and not just save money for myself and my relatives. All my life I have given money to various causes: to hospitals, to museums. And when I die, everything I have will be given away. I must say that I enjoy the process of work itself, participation in this or that business. I probably work harder than anyone in my company, and that keeps me young. I employ thirty-three thousand people, but I am the only one who works seven days. a week, sixteen hours a day... Having said this, he laughed.“Obviously, this is exactly the regime I need: everyone says that I look much younger than my age.” If anything, I feel younger.— It’s probably quite difficult to combine this kind of idealistic approach that you’re talking about with practicality, with pragmatism, which a businessman cannot do without. But whatever you take on, whatever you touch, everything grows and multiplies. How do you manage to combine both of these approaches?I guess I inherited this somehow. My great-grandfather, as I already told you, was a shipbuilder. He built warships in Russia, in the city of Kherson. Maybe I picked up some of his abilities. What you are asking is difficult to explain. You know, it's like an artist. Working day and night on his painting, he does not think about material gain while working. He even forgets that later he will have to sell this painting, get money for it... A true artist receives satisfaction and pleasure from the process of work itself. Just imagine, I experience the same feelings from my business. I don't want to take on something if there isn't a creative element to it. I don't like doing business just for the sake of buying and selling. I like things related to the construction of factories or mines, the development of natural resources, and agriculture. This gives me more joy than a bare debit/credit. A lot of what I do has nothing to do with making money. For example, there is one project in San Francisco that interests me very much. With the Ford Foundation, we're creating a construction company there that will be all black Americans so they can build apartment buildings for themselves. As you know, in our country, blacks do not have the same business opportunities as whites, and someone should encourage them, help them. I really like this project, although it does not promise material benefits. On the other hand, of course, I represent the 350 thousand shareholders of our company Occidental and feel a sense of responsibility to them. I am very pleased that thanks to my work they have become richer. I receive thousands of letters of gratitude from them. Many of them are people of retirement age, and they thank me for the income they now receive from their shares. And this gives me a feeling of satisfaction.I gave $2 million to build another building at the City Museum of Fine Arts here in Los Angeles. It is named after me and my wife, the Armand and Frances Hammer Corps. In addition, I gave this museum another 2 million dollars to purchase paintings. I gave $5 million to the Salk Institute, the famous physician who discovered the cure for polio. This institute has now created a center called the Armand Hammer Cancer Center. The solution to the problem of cancer, in my opinion, will be found through immunology. I still have a keen interest in medicine, although I have never seen a single patient in my entire life. At the Salk Institute, I am one of the members of the board of trustees and chairman of the executive committee, and at several other private hospitals I am a member of the board of directors.I have been collecting art for a long time and have had several painting collections throughout my life. The first of them I donated to the University of Southern California - a collection of Dutch old masters. It's here, nearby. The university has its own museum. And students can get acquainted with the paintings of great artists. My second collection, the current one, as you know, was shown in the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum. In my will, drawn up in the event of my death, I donate the paintings from this collection to the Los Angeles Museum, and the drawings to the National Gallery of Art in Washington.— You are known as a great connoisseur of painting. What are your preferences in this area?- Old masters. They still are. Who can compare with Rembrandt, with the old Dutch and Italians? Lately, however, I have also been very interested in the impressionists and post-impressionists. But I especially enjoy the difficult process of finding missing masterpieces. For example, I found one very famous watercolor by Durer - this is a great rarity. I also found a very valuable drawing by Raphael and many other very beautiful drawings. This is true relaxation for me - collecting paintings, reading books about art. I have reports on my company's activities on my night table, but the first thing I do is look at art magazines...— You mentioned that your company now has three hundred and fifty thousand shareholders. How many were there when you came to leadership?— Several thousand. You probably know that I came here to Los Angeles after retiring. I was then sixty years old, the age when most people give up active pursuits. But I still wanted something to do. I could not sit idly at home. And then someone came to me and told me about this oil company. They had six hundred thousand shares, eighteen cents a share. One hundred thousand dollars could buy all these shares. We now have fifty-five million shares, and they are worth almost a billion dollars. So look: from one hundred thousand dollars to a billion in fifteen years. Perhaps no other company in America has such a history of growth.— What do you think about the future of Occidental? Will it experience the same growth or slower growth?“I think Occidental is now on the eve of even greater expansion. One of our difficulties was that most of our oil was in one country - Libya, where we made our biggest discovery. And this year we made three more discoveries in three different parts of the world: in Nigeria, in Peru and, of course, in Britain, in the North Sea. These three discoveries will give Occidental a big boost. Before this, the biggest event for us was Libyan oil. And after it - the acquisition of Island Creek Coal Company, the third largest coal company in the United States. We now own coal reserves of three and a half billion tons, because another billion lies nearby, and we can buy it. Over time, coal may become the most important source of energy in the United States - we do not have enough oil and gas.— What do you intend to do with your coal?“We will use it as fuel and also convert it into oil and gas.” You visited our municipal waste processing facility. Did you get acquainted with our plans there? This is also a great future for Occidental. Then agriculture. I recognized the connection between oil and agriculture quite early on, and Occidental became a very important fertilizer company. In the United States, we are the number one exporter of fertilizers. We export them to fifty-seven countries around the world. And in exchange for urea, we will send you up to a million tons of superphosphate acid per year. Its transportation is cheap, and at the same time its qualities provide higher yields. Even in years with poor precipitation, the yields with such fertilizers are sufficient, and in years of good precipitation they are record-breaking. This is what I dedicate my efforts to. And they think that I will provide great help to Russia if I achieve this goal. In industry you have achieved excellent results, but in agriculture there are still problems, there are years of severe droughts. In my opinion, the solution to the problem is suitable chemical fertilizers. You, of course, have your own fertilizers, and we, for our part, would like to build you such plants so that in the end you can do without importing fertilizers, so that you have enough of your own. Russia is developing rapidly, your population is better fed, and you, of course, need more food. I can be of great help in this matter and therefore concentrate most of my efforts in this area. Let me remind you that the United States would not have such developed agriculture, such surpluses, if it were not for advanced methods of producing fertilizers. Over 20 years, we will deliver you $4 billion worth of superphosphate acid, and in return we will receive $4 billion worth of urea. We will also build you 10 large plants to produce urea from gas. And Russia will not have to pay for it in foreign currency.— Dr. Hammer, as far as I understand, you combine commerce with politics. It is apparently difficult to separate these two approaches, and yet I would like to know which part is commercial and which part is political, reflecting your desire to improve relations between America and the Soviet Union.“I very much believe that if our two countries trade with each other, this will be the greatest guarantee of their good relations and world peace.” Russia and America are the two greatest countries in the world, and if they decide that there should be peace in the world, there will be peace. I think the first step is to achieve better understanding between our countries. A developed trade turnover would lead to their closeness, to the fact that they would need each other. Cultural exchange, for example in the field of painting, will also help in this matter.— Dr. Hammer, you have a long-standing knowledge of the Soviet Union. You once lived in our country for nine years and visited it more than once. What are your impressions and comparisons between the present and the past? What has been achieved and what needs to be achieved? —  First of all, I think that you are your biggest critics. You know that I read Russian, I read Pravda and Izvestia and I see that your people are not satisfied, that you are always looking for improvements, that if you see something worthy of criticism, you are not afraid to criticize , and criticism is the first step to improvement. But sometimes it seems to me that you yourself do not understand how much progress you have made. In your desire to move faster, you do not understand what you have done in a short period of history, in some fifty years, with a very backward country, where ninety to ninety-five percent of the population was illiterate, which was devastated by famine years... When there were famine years in old Russia , people simply died, they were not helped. And now, along with the United States, you have become the most powerful country in the world. This is a colossal achievement, and almost within the lifetime of one generation. All of this happened during my own life. And then you had such terrible wars - civil wars. and that terrible war when the Germans tried to conquer Russia. In short, I think that Russia has made very great progress. Every time I come, I see signs of improvement, I see that people are better dressed, they have more cars, more apartments, houses, and, of course, I see that there is no hunger, no beggars on the streets. Everyone has a job and there is no fear, as in many other countries, of losing their job. You have no unemployment, and this is a great thing, and here many countries can learn from Russia. As I understand, at the same time you are not satisfied with the progress achieved, you want more, improvement of the economy, so that every working person has a better life, shorter working hours, more time for rest. I see it all. Of course you have problems. In our country, people have more different things than you, more cars, more private houses, but it will come to you, it takes time. On the other hand, we now have many different things that not so long ago Americans would have said: this is socialism. These are social security, unemployment insurance and much more, introduced by President Roosevelt. You know, he was even called a socialist because he tried to improve the social conditions of the people. And now everyone takes it for granted. We don't need war to determine which of our two systems works better. Both systems can survive and cooperate. We can learn a lot from you and are already learning from the Soviet system of socialism. And Russia can learn a lot from our economy, from the system of material incentives...After the conversation, Armand Hammer showed me around the house; in the living room there were originals hanging - a landscape by Corot, a pink lady by Renoir, the colorful harbor of Marche, the haze of rain, so beloved by Claude Monet. From the dining room one could see a spacious courtyard, or rather a clearing, on the edge of which stood a small cottage in the sun among the greenery, where the owners like to have breakfast.But we began our inspection from the covered veranda, where doors led from both the office and the bedroom on the second floor. On the veranda, a swimming pool measuring about 4 by 10 meters glistened with water. The water is always at room temperature, and the cement floor around the pool is heated.“Here’s my life insurance,” said Armand Hammer.FORT ROSSFort Ross Historic Park(on Route 1 60 miles north of San Francisco) is located on 356 acres around a trading post and fort founded in 1812 by Russian fur traders. For 29 years the fort was an agricultural and trading post and a sea otter and seal hunting center. In 1841 Captain Sutter purchased and partially dismantled it. Damage was also caused by the 1906 earthquake and fires in 1970 and 1971. The restored buildings include a fence and two blockhouses. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, in summer until 6 pm. For a picnic site - $1 per car.From a guide to CaliforniaYou go to Fort Ross not just as a tourist, and not just as a journalist, but with a special feeling of a person who once again misses his native land, expecting the miracle of meeting her in this special place of a foreign land. And you know - it’s a waste of time, you won’t see it. The grass of oblivion grows in this patch, surrounded by a wooden palisade of the fortress wall, a restored palisade. The wooden watchtowers at the corners at an angle are also restored. Restoration by someone else's hands alienates you from your own. Weeds on the site of the chapel. It collapsed during an earthquake, then its new walls were covered with an old roof, and recently everything burned to the ground - they are protecting, but not very well, the historical monument of Fort Ross. The house of the ruler of the fortress, scorched and blackly shining with coal in the sun. This is also a sign of a recent fire, kindled not out of enmity, not by Cold War matches, but by some American thieves who planned to ransack this little museum in the outskirts of the night and cover their tracks with ashes. The house is under lock and key, museum exhibits have been removed. They are waiting for the house to be repaired and for the return of those museum items that have survived from Fort Ross, but California connoisseurs of antiquities do not yet have the money. And they are going to build a chapel in the manner of the old one, the Russian Orthodox from San Francisco are fussing around, after all, the first Russian church in California and all of America, but they are fussing more verbally - apparently, the San Francisco Orthodox are not very rich and generous. And they don’t get along with each other: they say they have as many as four church movements.Along the palisade and along the fortress yard, bypassing the “Russian well” in the middle, Americans walk in the warmth and languor of a May day, unhurried like a Sunday, step on the grass, which regenerates itself without money, peer into the masonry of log turrets, into the scorched house, touching with their hands thick fence stakes. They probably think: here in America they had a chance to touch the mystical, scary, teasing curiosity Mother Russia - Mother Russia.  - Russian? - the girl in the shed where the information service is located is innocently amazed - a student who ended up in the “historical park” through a competition for job vacancies, which is held every summer among students who want to earn extra money during the holidays. And like a rare guest, like an honored guest, in addition to a yellow booklet in English, she hands over a photocopy of a mysterious page in Russian for her. Neither she nor I know what this book is, sent from Moscow in response to a request from the guardians of Fort Ross. Out of the copying machine came a sheet with a black, as if mourning border, and in the border, like a window into the past, - “Explanation of the Main Board of the Russian-American Company on the note of the Spanish Minister where Bermudez dated April 15, 1817 on the subject of settlement near California and on that same subject to the letter of the Russian Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Mr. Tatishchev, who is in Madrid.”This is what it looked like according to the inventory, Fort Ross, or rather Fortress Ross, also known as the village of Slavyansk, not in the year 1973, but in the year 1817, when the Spanish, who owned the deserted Californian shores, were alarmed by the appearance of the Russians and they demanded an explanation from the Russian envoy extraordinary in Madrid.  The fortress walls are made of thick beams three fathoms high and surrounded on top with wooden slingshots. Fortress two-story octagonal booth. Fortress two-story heptagonal booth. Bell booth. Well. Fortress gates. Gate. Flagpole. The ruler's house with storerooms and a powder magazine below. The barracks for servants is made of wood, with a common hall and two separate rooms. A two-story log store with five storerooms. A house made of planks, with three separate chambers, A house made of planks, containing a foundry and a workshop for a coppersmith. “Communication from boards” with a closet, a common kitchen, an office, a prisoner’s room and a locksmith’s room. A two-story plank store for provisions. Fourteen Aleutian yurts made of boards. Barnyard. Fence for sheep. “Vegetable gardens, of which there are up to fifty in the vicinity of the fortress.” "Garden for wheat." Brig "Rumyantsov". Cemetery. Rowing boat shed. Forge. Bathhouse. Pigsty. Kitchen for baking bread...Holding the piece of paper in my hand, I look around. Yes, there is not much left here of wooden Rus', which brought its fur trading post, its vegetable gardens and a booth with a bell to California through Alaska...In the southern octagonal turret, having climbed the wooden steps to the second floor, I open the shutters, and from the high bank on which the remains of the fortress lie, I see His boundless Imperial Majesty the Pacific Ocean itself with the unkind haze of chaotic clouds - these eternal silent witnesses of time and history. And then my heart tightens and rises to my throat. With the ocean comes a feeling of native land, probably because it is there, far in the east, and there are no borders between me and it, except for this element that belongs to everyone and no one. Or maybe because the Pacific expanse is like the Russian expanse, and there are no other such expanses in the world.The ocean jokingly fills two small and shallow bays near the fort. This is where Russian sailing ships came from Alaska. The water is cold, the shore is dirty pebbles. Mighty, cheerful kids, dressed in coal-black scuba suits, stand rinsing their legs in the water. Like warriors of Chernomor. And then you catch yourself: but this is an image from a Russian fairy tale? Is there a Black Sea in America?..“Who hasn’t philosophized over the sea? Water,” Mayakovsky sneered. And he philosophized himself. How to resist? The expanse of water is like a construction site that has not yet started from scratch. It is easy for memory and imagination to build. On its invisible lifts, memory suddenly gives you what it needs, what you need. And suddenly you walk across the ocean, to the tiny island of Putyatin; near Vladivostok. Early, fresh morning. After spending the night in the guest house of the fish factory, on a landing barge converted for steam, we return with the goods to the mainland. Fog covers the ocean and land, damp, serene and melancholic. The water taps against the side, but it’s quiet. Quiet and beautiful, as always in the early morning. And more significant than ever. Standing on the bow of the barge, greedily catching the cold, fresh sea air, you think: no, this is not an ordinary dawn, but the first - and is it really the last? - in life, which you meet at the farthest point of the Far East, one of the first in a giant country...— Russians? - American voice behind me.And that early morning disappeared. The memory lift has broken. We have to turn away from the ocean. I see a young American, fleeting interest on his face. With him is a plump, simple girl.  Russians,” my companion is the first to answer. It was he who spoke loudly in Russian and attracted the interest of the young couple.— Russians from America or Russians from Russia?The guy who guessed the Russian speech gets the exact answer.“Russian from San Francisco,” my companion answers. He is still smiling, but I see that he is hurt, as if with the second, clarifying question, something was taken away from his right to be called Russian. I see this is not the first time I have been hurt. I don’t want to offend him even more, but don’t hide your politeness for the sake of the fact that you are a drop of your people living on Russian soil, and not somewhere, even if that “somewhere” is the charming city of San Francisco. I say:— Russian from the Soviet Union.I'll call my companion Oleg. I will give him the surname Skvortsov, which resembles the real one. And I’ll tell you the rest, how it happened and how I understood it. Year of birth: 1929. We are almost the same age and were born in that country beyond the Pacific Ocean, but I don’t confess my secret to him - it’s like a cramp in my throat. I won't confess, even if he understands. His understanding doesn't matter to me. He is now an American citizen. American Russian from San Francisco.We met because without his American citizenship I would not have gotten to Fort Ross. The area where the old Russian fortress is located is closed to Soviet citizens working in America. The trip was allowed only after a request from our consulate in Washington addressed to the State Department, and my own telephone calls there. It was allowed as an exception and still subject to two indispensable conditions - in an American’s car, accompanied by an American. It was necessary to find such an American. And my friend, who once traveled with Oleg Skvortsov to Fort Ross, advised me to contact him and gave him his phone number. From Washington I called San Francisco. Oleg’s wife, Alla, also Russian, born in Argentina, was at home. “Don’t worry... Fly in... We’ll take you...” In her voice I heard kindness and a desire to help.And so it happened that on this Sunday, agreed upon with the State Department, I was accompanied to Fort Ross by one American citizen and three American citizens: Oleg and Alla Skvortsov with their eight-year-old and five-year-old daughters, white and soft-haired in Russian. The girls chatted in the back seat of the car, alternating and confusing Russian words with English ones. The mother, embarrassed, pulled them back and forced them to speak only in Russian. I felt how awkward she was in front of me. That day the Skvortsovs were like taking an exam in the Russian language, and I, a Russian from Russia, took it. And Alla was also embarrassed because the girls did not understand how serious this feeling of an exam was for their parents. Here, in San Francisco, only by preserving their Russian language could they preserve themselves as Russians. And now, in front of me, a person who had randomly appeared in their lives for only one day, they were taking the Russian exam. Not the first time. And not the last.In appearance, the father looked more like an American than the mother - a Sunday-looking, at the same time smartly and casually dressed American - in gray trousers with small checks, expensive new shoes and a tailored shirt. The first impression came when he picked me up at a motel on Lombard Street. Average height, thin face, American-type smile - clean, mechanical, showing all the teeth, white, healthy. He spoke Russian tolerably, perhaps only too diligently, but the intonation of his sentences in English rose towards the end: “Isn’t it so?” And with the same question - “Isn’t it?” - He looked me over as he sat me in his car. “So be it,” I wanted to answer. “Let there be peaceful coexistence on the road to Fort Ross.”Having picked up Alla in a house hung with paintings of Oleg’s late father, we drove off - as if on a Sunday picnic - five Russians in one semi-sports-colored, khaki American car, five together, but with a great distance between the adults, which children can only guess about after years and years.Leading north to Fort Ross was what was once the most Russian road in America. Along the road, tantalizing mirages of history appeared only to disappear. Here, the Skvortsovs warn, Sevastopol is ahead. And even though you know that this is just a mirage, you wait. We are approaching: there is no trace of Sevastopol, not even in Russian letters on some sign, but there is Sebastopol with the intersection of highways, Mobil and Exxon gas stations on the side of the road, with billboards and houses in which about 3 thousand Americans live.Here the road goes into the beautiful twilight of the forest, but in some places the forest diverges to reveal another mirage. “Russian river!” The Skvortsovs are chattering, and the river will sparkle in the sun, the houses will turn white on the other bank, even the meadow will roll down to the water from the hilly bank. But the houses are not the same and the meadow is not the same, and completely different stretches before the river flows into the Quiet River. And in general, this is a Russian Biver. Only for us it is a Russian River and also for those San Francisco immigrants from Russia who are still clinging to their dachas here and there along its banks, entertaining themselves with mirages of Russia in California.On the left are the Big and Little Bodega bays. It started there. There, on January 9, 1809, the schooner Kodiak of the Russian-American Company dropped anchor, coming under the command of Ivan Aleksandrovich Kuskov to look around the unoccupied coast of Northern California and look for a place for a permanent settlement. In August, Kuskov returned to Alaska, to Sitka, where the main board of the company was located, and brought 2,350 sea otter skins. The Russians went south to California for furs and for provisions, since regular supplies to Alaska from the Russian Far East were not established. The second entry into Bodega Bay took place in 1811. And in July 1812, 95 Russians and 40 Aleuts they brought began to erect a palisade of a fortress wall on a coastal plateau fifteen miles north of Bodega. In August, the Fortress of Ross officially announced its emergence on the coast, which was actually no man's land, although it legally belonged to the Spaniards. What an unlikely coincidence: in Russia it was the year of the Napoleonic invasion and the month of Borodin...Closer to the fort, the road winds, climbing high above the ocean. The day is sunny, but there is no horizon line, the whitish water merges with the same whitish haze of clouds. By land, the Russians paved a road here from Bodega to the fortress, Russian sailing ships sailed along the high shore, kayaks scurried with Aleut fishermen, successful otter and seal hunters. Its own life and its own master: the powerful Russian-American company, which owned Alaska, acquired a California outpost extended far to the south - a fortress and trading post, which developed a brisk trade, competing with the then barely nascent San Francisco.Historical monuments have a life longer than the stories that gave them life. The fortress of Ross, with its rulers, who changed often, with hunters, traders and people who cultivated “vegetable gardens,” lasted only 29 years. Side by side, although in competition with the British and Americans, the Russians hunted so diligently in the coastal waters that by 1825 the valuable sea otter was practically extinct. This fact “half undermined the economic feasibility of the fortress. The Russian Empire also had strategic considerations here, but it did not have the strength to expand in such remote places, which energetic and enterprising Americans had already taken over, displacing the Spaniards and developing the Far West. At the end of 1839, an order came from Moscow to sell the fortress.And a buyer was found. On December 12, 1841, it was bought for $30 by a certain Captain John Sutter, the founder of the colony of New Helvetia (on the site of the current Sacramento capital of California), one of the famous and richest Californians of that time. Sutter did not need the fortress itself; he was interested in land, agricultural land. Many buildings were razed to the ground. The cattle were taken away, the guns were taken out and the fortress became the center of a large estate, a ranch. In 1874, the Call family bought the land from the bankrupt Sutter. The wooden chapel, having stood for 80 years, collapsed in the 1906 earthquake. And in the same year, the second life of the half-forgotten Ross fortress began, its American life - in the form of the historical monument Fort Ross. Having bought three acres of land within the fortress fence, the San Francisco Committee of Connoisseurs of Antiquities donated them to the state of California. Already today, in 1962, the territory was expanded to 356 acres, paved parking lots were created, as is usual in America, picnic tables and portable toilet booths were installed, and the highway that ran right through the fortress yard was dismantled.One dollar per car. Fort Ross Historic Park..The soul of the past is restored only by an understanding, kindred soul. I thought about this at Fort Ross. It is now being preserved as a monument to American, not Russian history, and only an ignorant American and, perhaps, Russians from San Francisco are exultantly touching “Mother Russia” here. I also thought about something else: what would these bold advances of the Russian Empire to the Pacific coast of America do for me, brought up on different concepts of the national pride of the Great Russians? Should I feel proud that this empire, at least for a short time, has latched on here? Do you regret that she left here, having received 30 thousand dollars from John Sutter, one of the pioneers of American capitalism, who escaped from a debtor's prison in Switzerland, became the largest landowner in California and went bankrupt when others got rich: during the "gold rush" fortune seekers literally trampled his lands near Sacramento? The great-grandson of a swamp miner from near Murom, the grandson of Kulebak metalworkers, the son of a Gorky automaker, I am not one of the heirs of this empire.But why here, in the circle of this palisade a la Russe, am I not going to object to the Texas guy with his clarifying question and the Girl from the information desk, who take me, and not the Russian from San Francisco, as a representative of the Russian people who have been gone from here for more than a century back? Why? Probably because they remained faithful to their country, that they went to Russia and, with the branches and shoots of their children, built their blood bridges into the future, to the generations who took up the historical work of its reconstruction and renewal. In this sense, I am their successor, descendant, heir. And my companion left Russia, the Soviet Union and is moving further and further, ceasing to be part of the people who gave birth to him, living a different life. Miracles are rare: his children will remain in America because, unlike him, they will grow up to be Americans. The children will most likely leave Russia forever. It would never even occur to them to take strange exams in Russian...We wandered along the shore with Oleg. Past powerful scuba divers in black rubber. On pebbles across a stream. They kicked away chips and pebbles with their feet. We looked at the ocean and up to the top of the hill topped by a fortress wall. A pleasant walk, Sunday loitering... Skvortsov told me how he moved away from his native country - year after year and country after country.  His story was like a report, in some way an explanation and even a half-justification. He still consoles himself with the disappearing and looming mirage that the ends seem to be not completely cut off, that the way back is not cut off, and therefore he considers it necessary to explain to his compatriot about the circumstances that forced him... x... This is an option for me. For the San Francisco Russians, for the Americans, he must have another option.So, they lived in a Crimean city. My father was an artist, and quite famous. War has broken out across the border... Crimea is cut off. The Germans took the father, mother and 13-year-old Oleg first to Odessa, then to Romania. There, at the end of the war, they were “picked up,” as if swept up, by the German army retreating from Greece. We ended up in Vienna, where we managed to get lost: we were hiding on a farm with an Austrian who was in Russian captivity during the First World War and fell in love with Russia and the Russians. Survived.End of the war. Repatriation of Soviet citizens abducted by the Germans and scattered throughout Europe. Up to this point, Oleg’s story contains the fatalism of circumstances that cannot be overturned by individual human effort: cut off, taken out, picked up. Now is the moment of personal choice - repatriation is underway: if you can return, come back. But no, new emphasis: they were scared. Those in charge of repatriation were unkind and did not believe references to circumstances. And then exotic Argentina appears on the Viennese post-war, in ruins, scene - with an offer to accept defectors. And Skvortsov Sr., who was responsible for everyone, decided: “Let’s look at the world.” Let's go for a ride... Let's go for a ride, and then maybe... by self-deception, a trick of a confused or frightened consciousness, he could not help but know, Skvortsov Sr., that he was doing fatal | choice, and not only for yourself.Argentina... It strengthened the logic of self-exile. My first vivid memories are of meat. People from hungry, destroyed Europe. In my memory there is a gargantuan picture of the first meal, the first grub: in the first two weeks after arrival, shelter was provided by the immigration authorities. Dining room. Large plates. There are mountains of steaming meat on the plate. Bread - in bulk. Eat - I don’t want to. When they didn’t eat, the servant, as usual, swept away everything, the uneaten meat, all the uneaten bread, and threw the rest into the trash bin. This shocked the hungry people even more; than an abundance of meat and bread. What a country! This is life. After all, the homeland is like love. Having lost it, they now valued satiety, and satiety was, as it were, with an ideological lining - he; justified the choice made.They lived in Argentina exactly as long as it remained a meat paradise. The painter Skvortsov came in handy with the navy and nature of a realist to order - and to the customer. Then, at the Skvortsovs’ house, I saw some of his works: many portraits, many faces, but the main face of an original artist does not appear through them. This person can be a socialist realist, a caprealist, or a “third world” realist. His Crimean palette was replenished with harsh shadows from the Argentine sun, red tones and wide sombreros. The painter Skvortsov began to illustrate Argentine history so actively and deftly that he soon achieved government orders, and even the honor for his monumental paintings to be hung in the National Assembly, and even honorary citizenship. Skvortsov Jr. also found a job and received 18 pesos a day in those “fabulous years” when a hearty lunch with wine cost 1.2 pesos.By the end of his Argentine stay, Oleg Skvortsov could be talking about the second homeland of his life. But the second one - in his homeland Argentina - was not the first and not the only one he lived. A second homeland is a dangerous and dynamic metaphor. If there is a second one, then why not a third one? When Juan Peron was ousted and economic difficulties came, Argentina lost one of its honorary citizens. Oleg said: “The Russians fled like rats from a sinking ship.” He believes that they fled on time: “Now they eat meat there only twice a week.”The United States is the final home and refuge of a multinational tribe of wandering emigrants. The Skvortsovs arrived there in 1962. America, mercilessly sorting everyone into winners and losers, successful and losers, gave them a tough test of survival. They survived. The artist Skvortsov, now 70, took on American history. Now his canvases were painted with heroic episodes from the War of Independence of the United States. The battles were crowded, the canvases turned out to be large, so large that not all works of the American period fit in the heir’s house. Color photocopies were made of some. One seemed strangely familiar to me. Oleg explained that his late father borrowed the composition from a famous Russian painting about Napoleon’s retreat from Russia. Only in the center of the canvas, instead of a dejected emperor, broken by defeat, sits on a horse - Napoleonic American George Washington with a victorious look. Only the French are retreating, and the Americans are advancing.The old artist was in a hurry to make money in America. And his son was waiting for 1976, the anniversary of the US bicentennial, which was supposed to increase the demand and prices for patriotic paintings.At 33 years old, my son started in the States from scratch, all over again. Without a tongue, his accent still gives him away. A draftsman. A carpenter. And I studied to be an engineer. He didn't want to be a loser, he sought success. It is known to come to the stubborn. Having received his diploma five years after arriving in the United States, Skvortsov proved himself to be a smart engineer and quickly rose to the top in a large company supplying California with gas and electricity. He proposed “a couple of good improvements” - they were accepted and appreciated. In a practical, business-like country, they know how to reward workers who make a profit. In the company hierarchy, Oleg knows exactly his place: on the “sixth step from the top.” He knows exactly the maximum ceiling: “third step”. He should not be the president or vice president of the company. By virtue of the law, unwritten and unwavering, these posts are closed to American Russians simply because they are Russian. They left their country, but it “let them down” in America too. Even former Russians are not very trusted there.Here, so to speak, is a contour drawing of one life, which Oleg Skvortsov sketched for me while walking along the ocean shore, under the wall of the Americanized Fort Ross. What else? His father died two years ago, and his son would like to organize an exhibition of his paintings in the Soviet Union. He seems to be lucky with his wife - she is Russian, and they have a common memory of Argentina. Two girls born in San Francisco are learning Russian in a parochial school from elderly Russian ladies. The Skvortsovs look at this teaching with hope and skepticism. That school doesn’t even have its own primers, and they still can’t decide whether to use Soviet ones. The point is not only the fear of “Bolshevik propaganda”, but also the fact that the modern Russian language, reflecting the concepts of Soviet life, has little in common with Russian life in San Francisco.  And like a memory of childhood—like a disabled person’s incomprehensible feeling of an amputated leg—Skvortsov has some kind of persistent, vague craving for Russia, for Russia. This craving is not a burden, it does not prevent him from living, because layer after layer another thing was superimposed on him - Argentine, American.In his wanderings and movements, he lost the concept of us, as a sign of involvement in the big and general, in the past and future, as a fulcrum. Americans are for him, and will remain so. With America he does not have love with its painful “yes” and “no”, with attraction and repulsion, but a practical, business relationship, a contract. As long as the contract provides a decent salary, a house, a car, etc., it’s good. It will get worse, he is probably ready to exchange America, but for what?Argentines are them. Soviet - they are.And even the San Francisco Russians, in whose microenvironment he - whether he wants to or not - must live and get along, are them. They are with their funny feuds. With the ridiculous disdain of those who once arrived here through France for those who arrived through China (the disdain of the “Europeans” for the “Asians”). With suspicion from those who fled after the October Revolution, towards those who fled from the “Sovdepia” during the Second World War.He is an outsider everywhere and everywhere.—Argentines are similar to Russians: they are just as soulful and love to have fun, but they are very careless.It is he who looks at the Argentines - and at us - from the American side, condescendingly, from top to bottom, from afar. In his anthems of American business, you sense self-defense. It’s as if he wants to tell me: I’m ahead, I’m here – your outpost, I’m businesslike, like an American, as one should be businesslike in our century, and now I’m waiting for you to finally join us.His other remark:- They have children from the age of twelve following Stokes.  Stokes is a word from the American Russian language, these are stock shares. Here Skvortsov is surprised at America with some chagrin: what good, and he will have to teach his girls this so that they don’t disappear.“They have two things that are mandatory: politeness and dressing well.”This is again about Americans, about businessmen. As an example, he tells how one “boss”, who worked in the company for 20 years, “failed without any problems.” A special commission, secretly checking why there was no desired result in the work, found out: the boss is rude and does not know how to get along with his subordinates. Politeness is not just ethics or kindness. Politeness is performance, and therefore profit.When we returned to San Francisco in the evening, the Skvortsovs invited me to their home. The house in the area where many Russians live used to seem quite decent to them, but now it has become cramped, it’s not suitable for the “sixth step”, and it’s no longer convenient to invite colleagues “on the step”.We had dinner in the kitchen. Alla put pickled cucumbers and a plate of borscht on the table. Oleg took out an open bottle of American vodka. Oleg and I sat at the kitchen table, looking from the outside, like comrades meeting on a long, beautiful Sunday summer evening. But we were not comrades, we did not become, and we hardly could have become. And from this visibility it was all the more painful, and from the invisible that was happening between us.Our conversation went on as if in a vacuum, as if through a wall, letting through only empty, weightless, unreal words. Our native language, which had drawn us towards each other, was now separating us and pulling us apart. It was not a neutral, native language. He demanded a real showdown, unification or breakup. But we had nothing to find out. Life has already figured it out both for me and for me. What could I do? To be touched that he still hasn’t forgotten his country and greets his compatriot? Ridiculous, undignified affection. Feel sorry for him? But he no longer understood what was lost, he considered other gains. Indignant? It’s completely funny: after all, his choice was made almost three decades ago. And what can he say about us, becoming an outsider? And why do I need the judgment of an outsider?I could not get rid of all these questions with a kitchen scrap, experiencing increasing constraint. And the landscapes of nogo Skvortsov already looked no more Russian than the Americanized Fort Ross. My interlocutor, tired of the tension, spoke no longer in “Sunday”, his best Russian, mobilized for the sake of his compatriot, but in everyday San Francisco Russian, in which “kash” meant cash, money, “article” - a newspaper article, “elevator” - elevator, etc. And listening to this crippled native language, I was sad and irritated: why do they torture their girls by sending them to lessons with decrepit people? Yes mom? What kind of Russian language will they have if their parents have it half dead, if their peers speak a different language in an American school, the street and the almighty TV?..Finally, Oleg took me through the San Francisco hills, along the Embarcadero embankment. A blue evening fell on the city, its streets were very beautiful. On these streets I used to experience a feeling that is very dear to a person who has lived abroad for a long time - a feeling of freedom and home. Now I was on the streets of San Francisco with a Russian from San Francisco, and something was missing in that precious feeling. I understood that this feeling was also a mirage and that it was born only during short periods of my visits to San Francisco. There is no freedom outside the native land, just as there is no freedom at home.We said goodbye, saying kind words to each other, and, however, to mutual relief. And the Americanized Fort Ross and the Russian man who lost his native country remained in the memory. Half-Russian in America. When a half-American comes to us, he visits the city in Crimea where he was born, walks around the house in which he lived. And he doesn’t dare to enter.WITHOUT HOME...They called from the consulate: “If you want, come. They're already here." I took a portable tape recorder and went to the outskirts of Washington's leafy Dickeytor Street, where the Soviet consulate was located in a white two-story cottage. It was lunchtime, almost all the employees had left, but these seven - six men and one woman - were sitting in a cramped reception area. What caught my eye was that seven of them looked like Soviet citizens in the waiting room of a Soviet institution. As if they came on some matter and will leave, having decided or not solved it. But their case is very difficult, and they are former citizens. Jews, they lost their Soviet citizenship by leaving - each at their own time - for Israel. They migrated from Israel to America. And now they came from New York to Washington, to the Soviet consulate - to ask to go back to the Soviet Union. These seven - and many others - have applications addressed to the Soviet ambassador with a request to return their Soviet citizenship to them.We talked for an hour—the length of a tape. Here is a recording of the conversation:— I have the first general question: who came to America when? Those who want to, let them state their last name; those who don’t want to don’t have to say it. Well, let's start with you, if you don't mind.Average height, stocky, elderly working man:— I arrived a month ago. Well what can I tell you...— A month ago from the Union or from Israel? From Israel.— What is your last name?— It’s better not to name it. I have my own thoughts here. What can I tell you? All my thoughts, my family’s thoughts—I have a family of five—are just to return home. We did a great stupidity, even words cannot express it, that we ended up here, did not listen, did not believe our propaganda, thought that we were being deceived, but in fact the West deceived us, Israel deceived us, deceived us deeply. We have become unnecessary people here in the full sense of the word. Nobody needs us. In their old age they made such an irreparable mistake. Now we ask the Soviet government to forgive us, if possible, to return us to our homeland. As soon as possible. We are suffering. In the full sense of the word.— When you say “we suffer,” what do you mean first of all?— In every way. It was bad for me in Israel, they didn’t hire me...— What is your specialty?— Electric and gas welder. But they say that I’m already old... I’m no longer needed. I worked in the Union all the time. This is my whole torment, that I cannot earn my own piece of bread.—You say: a family of five people.— I have three children, still young. The daughter is nineteen years old.— She works?— No, we just arrived. She worked in Israel. They saw that things were bad there, they needed to leave quickly, where there was a Soviet consulate, and try to return to their homeland. — When did you leave for Israel?—  In 1973...— And you? Tell us briefly about yourself.I walked clockwise, away from the door of the cramped room. The second was younger, black, tanned, healthy, wearing a red sports shirt. —We also left in 1973. No, not to Israel. Right here. I work here, I got into the union (trade union) of construction workers. I don’t seem to be in financial need. I also have three children. The girl was born here. I am from Baku…“Are you going to return or did you just come here with the others?”— And how! What are you talking about?! For me, all this, you know, is somehow wild, for my children. Not our environment. I was born in the Soviet Union and lived for forty-two years. Can a person turn inside out? In the full sense of the word - inside out.“Money is not the most important thing,” explains the first, elderly man.“Does a man live by his stomach alone?” - the second one picks up. “We lived there and worked, we didn’t need anything.” Spiritually we were rich. Is it about money? I have been a member of the union for a year now. I have everything here. That's not the point, you know. I want to go to my homeland so that my children can study and be children...He speaks quietly and calmly, as if wanting to enhance the impression of thoughtfulness in his words. Sighs.— How can I explain all this to you? It's very difficult here. You have to be in our shoes to understand us.— So you say: children grow up to be selfish. But we also have complaints that children grow up selfish...He raises his voice, almost indignant:— What are you talking about? What complaints? Here children are taught the wrong things. Yes, take these movies, these magazines. He is sixteen years old, my boy. How can I keep him? I am working. He watches it all. Here in the Caucasus it’s customary: the father said, that means that’s it. This is the law in the house. I have never had my son disobey me. Not now either. But I feel something different. Not only this, our whole life. We see nothing: work - home, work - home. From morning to evening... You work hard, work hard, work hard... You don't see anything. Absolutely nothing!— How are your relationships with people, with neighbors, friends, acquaintances?— What relationships? What friends?! Neighbor doesn’t know neighbor, but they’ve lived next to each other for years.— Do they communicate with the TV?— Yes Yes. There is a man working with me on construction. I ask: have you ever been to Manhattan? He lives in BROOKlyn. He: what should I do there?(Let me remind you that Manhattan and Brooklyn are areas of the same gigantic New York. Not visiting Manhattan with its skyscrapers, museums, theaters, shops is the same as not visiting that New York, which is known to the whole world as New York York.)— One day we gathered with the whole family for a picnic to eat. One of them asked me (I was eating a bun with sausage): “Have you seen this in Russia?” You know, I almost put it in the trunk. The police arrived and almost detained me.— What do you say, what level of knowledge do members of the trade union have about the Soviet Union?— They have no knowledge of the Soviet Union. Their concept is that everyone in the Soviet Union is starving... The concept is that there is no bread, there is nothing, well, there is absolutely nothing there. Wild field...— So you say that they have practically no knowledge about the Soviet Union. They think that everyone there is starving; they don’t see a piece of bread and sausage. And when you lived in Baku, what was your idea of America? After all, your decision to leave probably largely depended on this idea.— The question is very correctly posed...“You need to see and understand what capitalism is,” interjects the third man, the one sitting closest to me. He can’t wait to have his say. “I’ll interrupt,” he continues. “If we were allowed into our homeland, there would be no better propaganda.” Let’s say we came to Baku or Tashkent, any other city, and a hundred people I know came to me. And everyone would ask me: why did you come back? And I would tell them the whole truth, it would be the real truth. And if they had published it in the newspapers, they would have believed me more... — Human nature is such that a person knows any thing only through his own experience. Even the words you spoke - they, of course, can convince many, but they will not reach many...— They will come! They'll get there! If one person speaks, one conversation. What if we are a group, a hundred people, two hundred people? If he doesn’t believe me, then he will believe the second, third, fourth, tenth...— What ideas did you have about America when you lived in Baku? — I ask the builder.— Now I'll tell you. It all started... They started going from Georgia, all that. Here I myself have met people who tell me: I came, I’m suffering here, and he’s drinking in a restaurant, hanging out, let him come too, I’ll send him a challenge. There are such?— Eat. “Yes,” answers the third, whose story was again interrupted.“They pulled each other,” adds the only woman among the seven.— They deceive people. Like, I hit it, so let him hit it,” a dull voice from the corner.“One is suffering, let the other suffer,” explains the woman. The third one calls himself. Sadovsky Petr Markovich. He has a heavy, unshaven, exhausted face.— For example, I left with my wife and two children. From Kyiv. In December of seventy-three. I really didn’t want to go, I even wrote a statement to the OVIR. They know me very well at OVIR, because every year I went to Poland to visit my sister. Today I have two sisters and a brother who fought in the Great Patriotic War. There were five of us, that is. Mother died and we were in an orphanage. My father died at the front during the Great Patriotic War...—How old are you?—  I'm forty-six. I have aged during this time. We are in terrible horror right now. This is happening that it is impossible to stand. My son is nineteen years old. He’s sitting there in a blue shirt,” he points to a curly-haired guy with a round face and sideburns...— The boss at the OVIR told me: Sadovsky, stay, what are you doing? And they met me from below: just try!— Who are they?— Which are now in Israel.“Zionists,” the woman explained.—  And so it happened. I spent two and a half months in Israel. I used to want to leave, but it was impossible - my son was being drafted into the army. I say: I won’t give you a son, you write that you won’t take it for three years, why are you taking it right away? In short, the wife was handcuffed. In general, the whole family could not escape from Israel. I left with my son alone, my wife and daughter stayed behind. They didn’t give me a visa, they took my deposit, I was a beggar. I escaped and left all the money as a deposit at the West German embassy. They allowed me to go to West Germany. From there, he immediately went to Vienna, got in illegally, without a visa. Got a job there. I am an electric welder and mechanic of the sixth category. I haven’t been there even a month, the main police calls me. What's happened? They found out, which means that I arrived without a visa. Probably someone sold me on the fact that I submitted documents to return to the Soviet embassy in Vienna. There are Zionists on every corner, it’s a terrible thing that’s going on. They called me: if you don’t leave in twenty-four hours, we will send you to Israel. What to do? There is safety in numbers. He took his son and went, that means, to Munich... He worked there, which means he came to America. Yes, I forgot to say about my wife. I sent ten letters, certified by a notary, so that my daughter and I could be released from Israel. Not at all. No hello, no answer. One man was traveling, I met him: give the letter to my wife, here is the address. And I barely snatched my wife from Israel. I looked at life in Israel. This is it! They say this is the promised land. So it’s impossible to live there. Local people who have lived there for many years say: who asked you here, who needs you here? They took the best places, the best jobs, and if, say, you go to some kind of work, you work for two or three weeks, and then they tell you that there is no work. No job. Am I saying this correctly?—  Right.—  Right...—  How long have you been in America?—  Six months. What do I want to say about America? I think as this man said, that a person cannot turn himself inside out. No way. Let's say it's me. Coming from an orphanage. He grew up to be a good person. I have a good specialty. In the Union, I was always on the Honor Board, received certificates and cash prizes. I'm not saying that, for example, I was rich there. But I was morally satisfied. I lived! During the year and a half that I left the Soviet Union, I never had a smile on my face. I always laughed, I was happy, I went to the beach, I went to the movies, I went to the theater. I saw life, I saw the smiles of Russian people. In fact, it is just written - nation. We have nothing Jewish. Let’s say, I worked in a Soviet production facility for many years, and the boss, for example, or a mechanic (I worked as a repairman) approached: Pyotr Markovich, please make this machine. Somehow he treated you civilly and politely. You have to make this machine in, say, an hour, but you do it in half an hour or twenty minutes. And here at work you give ten sweats from yourself, and he is spinning around with a cigarette in his hands, the owner. He has millions in the bank, he pays you a meager amount. You feel that you deserve more, that you are a specialist, and he, due to the fact that you are a black slave, pays you as much as he wants. If you don’t want to, leave, you will die of hunger. And now, secondly, how are our children taught? We are accustomed to Soviet teaching, to Soviet culture. I used to go to my daughter’s school, she was really in my first place, a straight A student. I was so pleased: the school principal would come out, the teacher would come out, and the head of the group would come out. There were meetings, conferences, they informed me how my child was studying, what needed to be done to make it even better. But here it’s the other way around. Here at school, what do they do with it? They only teach prayers in order to pray...—  What school does she go to?— To an ordinary school. Only also Jewish. He prays all the time. They don’t teach, they cripple children. For example, it was difficult for me at one time. My father died at the front, and at the age of thirteen I had to earn a piece of bread because there was nothing to eat. Now, as a father of two children myself, I want my children to be people. Well, it just so happened that I got confused and came here, but there’s absolutely no point here. Zionist on Zionist.—  Where do you work?—  I work in a factory where stainless steel is produced for military equipment. In Queens (New York City). The owner, such a jerk, walks around with a distorted face: “I hired you so that you could work.” Me: “I work as much as I can, I work so much, so I have to give more of myself, or what?” And he says: “I won’t pay you.” And I come home dead, I fall on the bed. Dead! I don't want anything. But that is not all. I'm saying that there is no life here at all. Chasing only the dollar, the dollar. So that millions. In their old age they all sit on Brighton Beach near the sea, with their muzzles twisted and wrinkled, and their money in the bank. Is this life? We're not used to this. I had difficult financial situations. Zoya, I say, let's go to the cinema today. And she: it will be difficult until payday. Nothing. Cheerful. We got dressed and went to the cinema, to the theater, spent time, went to the park. There is absolutely no life here. There is a chase for the dollar to put more money in the bank. What kind of life is this?!“You could go crazy if you live here a little longer,” Sadovsky’s son enters insinuatingly, judiciously, so that his words are not discarded, like the words of a young man.“Half-crazed,” continues Sadovsky Sr. “Half-crazed... And what a mess.” And people's behavior. These are all kinds of sex. What can happen to my child here: if she is now thirteen years old. So is it really possible that I, who lived for forty-five years in the Soviet Union... Was born there, grew up in conditions, how to put it, I saw both good and bad. You can't change me now. One minor left the child, and the second minor left...—  What’s your name?—  Michael. I'm nineteen - I'm asking for years. I Well, son. What do I see here? I work here, collecting scrap metal. I don't see anything anymore. Come home. I work six days a week: one hundred dollars. This is not a lot of money considering the current rise in price of everything. I leave for work at six in the morning and come home at seven in the evening. I can't study here. In the Union I graduated from a music school, a regular school, I have all my friends there. I'm even embarrassed to write to them. I heard from other comrades that my friends went to the Soviet Army, they have already arrived.  “He tells us all the time: “What have you done to me? What have you done to me? I didn’t want to go” - this is Sadovsky Sr.—  What thoughts did you have when you went to America?—  I was seventeen and a half years old. My parents were traveling, I couldn’t stay alone. But in fact, why should I suffer if they were wrong? I'm still a young guy.“The girl is still thirteen years old, his sister,” Sadovsky Sr. adds wearily.“As far as I understand, there is an element of religious fanaticism among New York Jews. How does it affect you? In their attitude towards you?“The attitude is very bad,” Sadovsky Sr. takes the floor again. “Every time they come: “Why don’t you go to the synagogue? Now, if you walked, we would give you a good job. We would give you this, we would give you that. Now go to the synagogue.”—  Where do you live now?—  In Brooklyn. I pay two hundred and twenty-five dollars for an apartment, besides electricity and gas. Two bedrooms and a living room. There is nothing in the apartment.“That’s not the point,” his son clarifies. “As a comrade said: if there were millions, who would need them?”—  Am I?.. We earn a living, but there is no life. This is not our life. We were wrong...“My last name is Equestrian Max Mikhailovich,” a young, pretty and reserved man, brown-haired, wearing metal-framed glasses, introduced himself after the Sadovskys. “I lived in the city of Odessa.” In 1973 he went to Israel. Before I had even arrived there, in Vienna I already realized where I had ended up. There, these workers of the Israeli service had already begun to agitate us, showing us pictures, films, what Israel looked like on a colored background. Some, of course, gave in before coming to Israel, because when a person comes to Israel, he already sees what is going on there. I didn't give in. I already saw that everything was gone, lost. From the second day in Israel, I ordered a passport, but they put various obstacles in my way, and I was in large debts. I worked days and nights to pay off, and yet I got out of there...— What is your specialty? Plumber.— Age?— I am thirty one years old. I escaped from Israel and wanted to get to Vienna, but they didn’t give me a visa there. So I got to Italy. There was an organization there that transported People to America. It seemed to me that from America it was possible to get to the Soviet Union faster. When I arrived, I didn’t work for three months and lived in a hotel. They came to us every day and told us: “Go to the synagogue, and pray, and put on your hats.” I say: “I don’t need a synagogue, but a job, I’m a young man, give me a job.” All my life, I lived in the Soviet Union, I never prayed, and suddenly they want to turn me over in one day. They tell me: “This is not the Soviet Union for you, here, as they say, they won’t lead you by the hand.” I say: “Even in the Soviet Union no one led me by the hand, I know that in the Soviet Union there is enough work for any person, especially if this person is young.” Here I am ready to go anywhere, even to Alaska. No response. They gave me an allowance - forty-five dollars for two weeks. This is not to live and not even to exist. Three months later they found me a job with great difficulty, for two dollars an hour. Well, what is it - two dollars an hour? For one apartment you have to pay one hundred twenty to one hundred thirty dollars. You can say the opposite: neither life nor existence. But I'm not interested in money. If I had been allowed to return to my homeland, I would have stood up the way I am and left. Because we are not accustomed to this life, to this capitalist system...— What is it that turns you off here?I ask almost everyone this question.“Everything here disgusts me.” People's behavior. There is no friendship, no camaraderie, every man for himself. This is what they have here: five or six o’clock in the evening, they lock themselves with five locks, turn on the TV - and this is their life. They don’t know theater, cinema, or football here. How did we live in the Soviet Union? We were walking. We lived our normal lives. But here there is nothing of that.— The area in which you live, what is it predominantly like? Who lives there?— There are immigrants there, from the Soviet Union. Why do they live there? Because in your own circle - otherwise you can go crazy.“He brought up the problem that there is no partnership,” Misha intervened. “Here’s an example.” I had comrades in Russia. It happened that they had no money. We're going to see a good movie. Did I think about fifty kopecks or a ruble? No. Here, as Max said, it’s every man for himself. If you lie on the ground, no one will lift you up, no one needs you.“They ask for ten cents for a cigarette,” Sadovsky Sr. gives an example. “Light ten cents!”— Can't be!“They say: “This time I give it to you, and next time you don’t ask,” explains Max. “That’s it...— Excuse me, but will you identify yourself?— My last name is Roizman. It seems to me that all this - that there is no friendship, camaraderie, no cordiality - that all this depends on this system. This means this is a system: today I work, and tomorrow, that means, they can throw me out, and I always need to have a couple of dollars for a rainy day. For if I don’t have it, my friend won’t give it to me. He, therefore, feels himself in the same position. And at home I was sure. I worked as a turner. I was sure that I would never be kicked out. First of all, you're welcome...“I can tell you how I left,” Roizman continues. “I got married.” Well, my wife was always getting me letters somewhere. And she says to me: “Here, read these letters.” I kept proving to her that under no circumstances should she go. We will be sad. She: “No!” Earnings, therefore, do not suit her. I arranged it this way. I went to the factory and they gave me the first category. Then, it means that every year my rank was increased all the time, and I reached the fourth and already began to earn one hundred and nineteen rubles in pure money. And the wife: “This is not enough for me. I am a nurse, I earn seventy rubles. People still make money there.” Well, it so happened that there, at home, I left my old father, mother, two sisters, left everyone and went just for the sake of my wife...— Where did you live in the Union?— I lived in the city of Chernivtsi. And I had thoughts inside that I would still prove to her that it was bad in the West. We reached Vienna, and right away I realized that we had been caught, that this was a trap...— When did you come to America?— October 9, 1974.— How did you get settled here?— And here I work as a turner. But I would not compare this earnings with the earnings that I had. That means I get ninety-three dollars a week. I say: “It’s time for me to get a promotion, I’m already in my sixth month.” And they: “You don’t know the language.” They find hundreds of reasons not to get a promotion. The deductions are very large. Twenty-nine dollars are calculated. Earnings do not allow me to rent a good room.— How’s your wife?“But my wife didn’t want to leave Israel, so I separated from her. They didn’t want to let me out there without a divorce. So, I agreed with her like this: if you don’t say at the trial that I want to return home, I’ll leave everything to you, I’ll go with nothing. And they ask us in court the question: “Why do you say you are disagreeing?” I say this: “we don’t find a common language.” They ask my wife. The wife says: “The whole reason is that he wants to return home.” And they, it means, all these Zionists, deliberately delayed this trial for a whole year...Now only the overweight woman sitting on a chair in the middle of the room remains unquestioned.— Sorry, I didn’t ask you, although I should have asked the woman first.— It’s okay, I’m not touchy.— What can you say?— I can say. I am Sonya Aronovna Kuterman. In the Soviet Union I worked as a hairdresser. She worked in one place for twenty-three years. I have children in the Soviet Union...Her voice begins to tremble, her lips tremble, she is about to cry.— Daughter. Two sons. Four grandchildren... Son-in-law and two daughters-in-law. I worked at a good job. She had honor. I was a Stakhanovite.-Where did you live?— In the city of Kyiv. I felt very good there. I had my own apartment. Had wonderful furniture. I had everything. I have nothing here. I felt very good there. I don't know what happened to me and my husband. I can’t imagine what was going through our heads that we left the Soviet Union. I lived there for fifty-two years and never left anywhere except to go to the resort. Here. There were people in Vienna who said: don’t go there, to Israel, there is a swamp there, you will disappear there, especially since you are old people. They told me: in America you can end up in the Soviet Union. And I immediately come here to America. I just arrived and submitted my documents.“There was talk that it would be easier to get from America,” explains Sadovsky. — This is my fourth time here at the embassy. They already know me here. Even I was already drowning. People saved me. Everyone knows... Here. I felt very bad. I want to personally return to the Soviet Union to my children, because I will never take children here in my life, I would rather die here.She's crying.  “I’ll drown myself, I’m not afraid now, but I won’t take my children here.” I saw that there was a swamp here. There are some strange people here; not like us. There are no women hairdressers here. Who am I supposed to work here?She sobs.“Once I got a job with a Jew. This is a restaurant with three rooms. I started lifting these cast irons in which they cook and washing the floors. I wasn’t scared, but I didn’t see it. I didn’t do this in the Soviet Union. Do you understand? I worked for two days and felt very bad. He paid two dollars an hour. I worked four hours a day because I didn’t have the strength anymore. And he tells me: “We still need to wash the floor there.” Do you understand? And I left, I don't work. People know I cry day and night...She's crying.—  I'm tearing my hair out. I'm already gray here. I can’t live here anymore... I live only in hope of returning to the Soviet Union...Now they all spoke at once:—  I agree to any corner of the Soviet Union...—  Everyone is just waiting...— If they started to let...“If two or three hundred people left here, this would happen here tomorrow.” Terrible thing...— Queue...—  To be honest, we tell you...“If we had come, we would have really told you what kind of life this is.”—  And on TV. And they would have made a movie. We'll tell you everything.—  My daughter is thirteen years old. After all, she cries bitter tears. There's such a thing going on at home that it's scary...Many explanations can be made about this tape recording, which has the authenticity of a document, but I will limit myself to just one. Each of these people lived in New York, in America, less than I did, but the course of American life. they knew better than me, because they were not observers, but participants in it. Yesterday's Soviet citizens, not yet converted into Americans (a task that is solved only by the second generation of immigrants), they had to live the American way - there is no other life in America.IN THE VALLEYSAN JOAQUIN“When Mr. Giffin says, “At four o’clock,” he means four o’clock, not three or five minutes past five...We seemed to be running late, and Frank Moradian fidgeted in the backseat, despite his 64 years, gentlemanly manners, luxurious home with stunning views, and position as a millionaire agriculturist.Aram Araks was also nervous, despite his 74 years, progressive beliefs, the wisdom of a poet and the sadness of a father who lost his son. Not trusting his own watch, he asked and re-asked the time and drove his Nova, exceeding the permitted speed. It's good that the road was straight as an arrow and the terrain was flat as a table and like all the terrain around Fresno.A sign on a post by the road: “Giffin Ranch.” Very modest. Without waiting, you will rush past. 3 hours 59 minutes. A turn, alleys, the most spacious and tranquil lawns, a large house turned white, another turn and a turn, an asphalt parking lot of more institutional than home size, three slams of doors, very quickly to the white marble steps of the wide front entrance. Frank restores the required degree of solidity as he goes, a satisfied Aram smiles and whispers, looking around the house: “Cleaner than the White House!”The Negro gatekeeper opens the door. 4.00.It's cool inside, pleasantly darkened after the white, cutting sun. And immediately - Mr. Giffin, Russell Giffin. Didn't keep me waiting. He led him into the living room, seated him in chairs, leaving some guests who were loudly chattering with his wife on the glassed-in veranda - it was a social charity gathering in the name of the fight against cancer.Mr. Giffin... As they say, the best thing is in the coffin. Thin, completely ethereal. A light, colorful jacket adds weightlessness: blow it and it flies away. On the face the skin is like parchment, cracked and in places deathly bluish. He is nearly seventy, but in terms of physical mass, in terms of density, he is an Irish-American and an Armenian-American. The face is elongated - forward is a shadow next to a large nose with two narrow noses. Close-set eyes - exhausted and sick. But they are not easy to look at. They have firmness and power.Mr. Giffin... Everyone in Fresno knows him. And we are sure that Mr. Giffin is known all over the world, because, if you please, these are his global powers. The United States is the first country in the world in terms of development and efficiency of agriculture. California is the first state in the United States in terms of gross value of agricultural products produced. The San Joaquin Valley is California's most productive agricultural region. Fresno County produces over 500 million dollars a year in production - first among eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley and among all counties in all 50 states. Who is first in Fresno County? Mr Giffin. He has the largest farm of 120 thousand acres. This is the richest of the farmers, who, in contrast to small and medium-sized family farmers, are called corporate.Mr. Giffin doesn't really like journalists and doesn't need publicity. They advised me to meet with him, but they doubted whether he would want to accept. Frank Moradian helped.Not right away, but when we got comfortable with each other and he no longer looked at my tape recorder like a hedgehog, I asked Mr. Giffin about the secrets of success.“I don’t see any other explanation except that I happened to be born in a good part of this country,” he said.Hesitating - is it worth it? - continued:  “I lived in Kern County, in the south of this valley. And there, in his youth... he went broke.He said a terrible word, as if embarrassed. Broke is a difficult concept in America. This is more of a public announcement of bankruptcy and inability to pay debts. This is like a special kind of civil suicide, a public recognition of oneself as a loser, an inferior person. Since the financial characteristic of a person is the general characteristic of an American, financial bankruptcy is equal to human bankruptcy. It is no coincidence that many, without settling financial accounts, take their own lives.“I grew mostly potatoes there,” Giffin continued. “Spring frosts destroyed them, and at the end of the year I couldn’t pay my bills and went broke.” What could I do? I knew there would be work on the West Side. I had a few horses left, and I went there with them. And he stayed there. And he worked. That's the whole secret.When people talk about the West Side here, they mean the former semi-desert west of Interstate 99, which cuts the San Joaquin Valley from north to south. Under the winter and spring rains, these places came to life only for a few months a year, sheep were grazed there. Russell Giffin was one of the first in their development. In a sense, he went broke at the right time.— Providence settled me in a good region, where land could be bought at a very low price. Getting water was expensive. Fortunately, I had friends who were involved in artesian wells and they gave me a loan.— Mr. Giffin, but you need perseverance and great ability to achieve your results.— I don’t think the latter is true. All people are gifted. One is in one, the other is in another. I just believed that the West Side had a great future. And many thought that there was no future there, that the water would quickly be pumped out and everything would dry up again. None of the bankers then gave money for farming on the West Side. And I believed. And he turned out to be right..His voice is slow and raspy, like the recording on the first Edison phonograph. A very serious and sincere voice. There is a long, thin cigar in the mouth, but he only puffs a couple of times—not smoking, but the skeleton of a long-standing habit. The servant ordered vodka with orange juice. But this was also the frame; the glass remained untouched. As an outsider, information about yourself: “I am a victim of three heartbeats.”Outside the windows there are trimmed lawns, rare large trees and low river banks, reinforcing the impression of the vastness of the estate-ranch, such unshakable wealth, to which nothing like what happened half a century ago can happen. And in the living room, the voice of a man with a parchment face creaks slowly and quietly, with pauses for breaths. Moradian and Arax took the chairs offered by the owner and did not move, remaining respectfully silent for an entire hour. Araks was here for the first time, but Moradian, a friend of the house, was also silent, proving that a millionaire is not a multimillionaire.Having arranged the meeting, he was now afraid that I would let him down with some insensitive question. His fear constrained him and prevented him from taking advantage of the advantages of a profession that allows him to see different people and ask them different questions. At that time, I felt how intensely they were listening to our conversation - it’s interesting when they ask Mr. Giffin questions.— Mr. Giffin, when did your ancestors come here?“My grandfather was the first to come here to California. He was from Western Pennsylvania, and all my ancestors were churchmen, priests, preachers. My grandfather's job was to establish Presbyterian churches in new places. He created them, moving from place to place. But he had nine children in his family, and they needed to settle somewhere, and they settled not far from here, in one small town. Grandfather created churches, and someone had to feed these little children and mother. And this fell to my father. He dropped out of school and started working successfully. His brothers followed the church line and received higher education, but my father had only four classes.— What is your education, sir?He hesitated again: was he revealing too much to a foreign journalist and two local Armenians?— I don’t have much education. So, at the high school level...— So you, as the Americans say in such cases, made yourself?— I don’t know... I attribute a lot to the fact that I was in the right place at the right time. I wasn't afraid of work. And God gave me a wife who was also not afraid to work.He speaks of attachment to the earth without exaltation: “It’s in the blood.” And with the humility of a sick person, looking back on the life he has lived, he does not want to single himself out, he even denies perseverance. I’m trying to guess what this perseverance, equal to talent, was like: the perseverance of a challenge in a ruined youth, the perseverance of self-rehabilitation and self-affirmation, and over the years, with the coming luck, a special American perseverance - to be the first. Such people unite with their business, and only death can separate them, proving that life is shorter than business.“My organization remains basically the same as before,” says Mr. Giffin. “It just gets bigger as we grow.” For the most part, these are people who started working for me a long time ago - as tractor drivers, irrigators... They rose from below. We farm one hundred and twenty thousand acres in the San Joaquin Valley, most of it on the West side, only about twelve thousand acres here on the East. On the West Side, with the exception of one cattle ranch, everything is built on irrigation, either from the river or from wells. We divided the land, roughly speaking, into four parts: three on the Western side, one here. Everything is under the supervision of my general manager. Each unit has a manager, who, in turn, is subordinate to two tractor foremen and two irrigation foremen. And in addition - accounting, purchasing equipment and selling products, lawyers...— How many permanent employees do you have?— About four hundred and fifty people. The number of seasonal workers depends on the circumstances, but, of course, there are several times more of them. Not as much, however, as a few years ago. A lot of things are done by machines.  He reports that the main crops are cotton, tomatoes, watermelons, sugar beets, alfalfa, and citrus fruits. On the Western side, their choice is narrowed by impurities in the water. The average depth of irrigation wells is 200 meters, on mountain slopes - up to 500-700 meters. New water is now flowing into the San Joaquin Valley through irrigation canals from Northern California. Its quality is better, the cost is lower, and this will make it possible to develop new crops.A hitch in the conversation occurs when I ask about the owner’s income, about the dollar value of the farm. The question is against the rules, and Giffin makes it felt.“I don’t know how to answer this,” he says, grinning. “After all, in agriculture there are ups and downs.” We've had three bad years. This year is much better.— And in those bad years, how much product did you sell overall?He again avoids answering directly:“I can tell you right away how much we lost.” Last year we had very significant losses, and three years ago the return on capital employed was less than five percent before taxes. Who stays in business with such profits? Only farmers. They talk about too high prices - and sometimes they really are too high - for meat, for cotton, for some specialized crops. But I don’t think we will return to previous prices. An agricultural business cannot survive with current profits; it is more profitable to keep money in a savings bank...Russell Giffin's investment is evidenced, for example, by his wells, equipped with powerful pumps and similar to pumping stations. Each well cost from 50 to 80 thousand dollars, and our corporate farmer has more than 200 of them.Without water from the underground cisterns of nature, there would be no transformation of the semi-desert into the most fertile land. Another miracle and another major investment is mechanization. Complex, I must say, a miracle.— Take cotton harvesting - the cotton harvesters have disappeared. We don't see them anymore. Or peaches - those who harvested them disappeared. We don't see them anymore either...And with a weak movement of his right hand, in which the cigar is clutched, Mr. Giffin seems to draw “and so on” in the air. The words spoken in a detached tone: “We don’t see them anymore” - suggest to the imagination instantaneous transformations, like changing slides on the screen: under the same sun, on the same flat fields and in neat citrus groves, human figures and powerful, beautiful, picturesque machines appear, which, it turns out, remove not only crops from the fields, but also people.On the business cards that California presents to the outside world are the latest designations of “technotronic” such as electronics and aspiration to space. Effective, but not entirely accurate. Still, the main Californian business is ancient not in the cities, but in the fields and pastures, on the feeding ground. Agriculture remains the leading economy in the state by dollar value. Everything on the vast American menu can be found with the California brand: more than 200 crops are grown in the state. California produces about half the fruits and vegetables consumed in America and many—more than half—of dry wines. In livestock production it is second only to Iowa, in cotton - only to Texas, and in citrus fruits - only to Florida.And more than two-fifths of California's agricultural production comes from the San Joaquin Valley. Its fields, plantations, feeding stations for livestock are like a gigantic, extremely mechanized plant.Explaining the extent of mechanization, Dr. O. J. Berger, Dean of the Department of Agriculture at Fresno State University, told me:“We have come so far that we are already refusing to cultivate crops that cannot be harvested by machines. Not profitable. And soon we will only take on what can be fully mechanized.Think about it: it is no longer the human need for a particular product, not our taste, that dictates, but the level of technological development, which determines, in conditions of deadly competition, whether it is profitable to satisfy this need, this taste. Technology will tell us in the future what to eat and what to wean ourselves from.Dr. Berger talked about some new products. As a successful experiment, the grapes used for wine are crushed by a machine right in the vineyard, then distilled into tanks and delivered to the winery - without a single touch of a human hand.The California tomato has undergone dramatic transformations. They began in the 60s, when the US Congress, under pressure from labor unions that did not tolerate competition from non-union labor, abolished the brecero system, which allowed tens and even hundreds of thousands of Mexicans to legally come to work seasonally in the California valleys. Deprived of cheap labor, tomato farmers needed the help of improved technology. Specialists from the University of California at Davis, famous for developing new agricultural machines, invented a machine that harvested tomatoes by lifting and shaking the tops. The invention was successful, but imperfect; the machine had to be released into the fields several times, since the tomatoes did not ripen at the same time. Then they were forced to ripen at the same time - with the help of another machine trimming the plants, and also through selection. This achieved complete mechanization of harvesting, but a packaging problem arose: the machine picked tomatoes so quickly that traditional boxes were not suitableThey created a larger box - the tomatoes in it were wrinkled and broken.And so:“We had to invent a tomato that would fit this box: with a thicker skin, not as round as before, which saved space. Firm, oblong tomato.This is the creator of the new tomato speaking. I quote his words from a book about California by the English journalist Michael Levy.One of the characteristics of the scientific tomato was unlikely to be ordered: it is tasteless. I personally confirm this as a person in America who has the opportunity to consume this tomato all year round, but rarely uses it.“You can sacrifice taste,” Dean Berger answers this jokingly.Taste, however, is seriously sacrificed. Mechanization, as well as chemicalization, which preserves the product, sacrificed the taste of not only tomatoes, but also oranges, apples, strawberries, grapes... Which, in turn, caused consumer protests, and also gave rise to a certain social and commercial movement under the slogan of return to a natural product. On the shelves of American grocery stores, this product increasingly advertises itself with labels that disclaim any knowledge of chemistry and proclaim loyalty to nature.True to nature, naturally, costs more than a standard, mechanized and chemicalized product and therefore not everyone can afford it. Dean Berger is right: “The public buys and consumes what is most economical.”In America, one agricultural worker feeds fifty people - and will feed even more. This general fact demonstrates the amazing productivity of agriculture. But it can only be called a national success if we forget that the other side is the ruin of the farmer. The process of ruin is underway, of course, and in California the number of farms in the state is steadily decreasing, the average farm size is increasing, capital investments per farm are growing gigantically, and behind all these trends is the death of the small, “family” farmer and the triumph of the corporate farmer.Equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco, inland and close to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Fresno is slower than big cities. A continuous scientific and technological revolution is taking place in the fields, but politically the farmer, like the local resident in general, is relatively conservative.“Our area is called the “Bible Belt” of California,” I heard from the editor of the local newspaper. “The people here are religious, they regularly attend church.”Even in the Bible Belt, one should not exaggerate the degree of American religiosity. His faith is special - once a week, on Sundays, when lines of cars line up outside the churches at noon, meaning that the parishioners, who can properly be called visitors, have come to pay off the lax and very practical American God. There are a hundred churches in Fresno, but I saw reports in George Gruner's newspaper about police raids on illegal brothels, and the student newspaper at the university reported on the opening of "adult shops" selling porn magazines and books and with machines in booths, like voting booths. , they show porn films in micro parts, turning off every time after a minute, waiting for a new coin from the viewer to continue.However, there is enough faith not to tolerate dissent, which is subjected to a stubborn provincial siege.The American conservative, rural and urban, rejects communism and its sympathizers out of the gate, automatically, without thinking. Does he reject the need for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, with the socialist countries? Not always. Many of those who are generally considered conservatives stand for detente, for peaceful relations with the Soviet Union, for mutually beneficial cooperation. Unlike the ultras, these sober or sober people have internalized the truths of the thermonuclear age.Russell Giffin, the richest farmer in the richest agricultural region, does not like labels, but with some reservations he considers himself a conservative. He is one of the reasonable conservatives.Getting along... This is its synonym for peaceful coexistence. To get along... He accepted me, a Soviet correspondent, because he wanted to test and probe a person from another world, to try him, as they say, by the teeth, as proof, not decisive, but not superfluous: yes, it is possible to get along.“Attempts to improve relations between our countries are not just a good thing,” he said. “We are obliged to do this.” The world cannot afford another big war. Our task is to get rid of nuclear weapons.Russell Giffin has undergone an evolution characteristic of his generation in his views on America's position and role in the world. Once an isolationist - until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He became an “internationalist” - in that specific American understanding of the word, which means recognition of America’s global responsibility and refusal to return to isolationism. But at the same time, Russell Giffin is not an “interventionist”, that is, he considers the role of the world’s policeman pointless and beyond the capabilities of his country. This minimum of realism was formed, in particular, by the years of the Vietnam War. Mr. Giffin realized that American intervention in the Indochina Civil War was a “fatal mistake.”In his opinion, America must seriously address its internal problems, to which inflation and growing economic turmoil have been added.— There is no excuse for poverty in America if a person wants to work.“There is no justification for hunger—there is no justification anywhere in the world.”- The entire existing population of the world can be fed, but this cannot be achieved by quarrels and refusal to trade.It is apparently possible to get along with a person who makes such statements: he is concerned not only with the prosperity of his farm. The toughness and acumen are revealed, however, when Mr. Giffin appears as an employer who is about to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the farm workers union. “There are problems,” and with dry fingers he touches the dark wood of the coffee table, noting that the Irish are superstitious.  As a farewell, he shows us his house. The wife’s charity meeting ended, the participants rustled their tires on the asphalt. There is complete silence in the deserted mansions, our steps echo loudly. As he walks, the owner’s impression of weightlessness is even stronger; he sways slightly. From the veranda we see the silent and fast King River, rushing about its business. The river has a lot to do, and Russell Giffin, with the warmth and precision of a farmer, says its water gives life to more than 200 crops.He bought the house and surrounding land 10 years ago. There are 1200 acres, oranges, lemons, more than a thousand head of cattle.He grew into this land - with a river in his own domain, with herds of cattle on the other side, with family photographs on the wall in the corner of the living room. In one photo, the Pope blesses Giffin's wife, a devout Catholic. On the other - the Giffins with John and Jacqueline Kennedy. photographs of rich neighbors, famous friends, the family doctor.Half a century ago, young - broke - Russell Giffin went to the West Side to try his luck in the semi-desert. And now life is ending, but the two sons inherited the “sense of the earth.” And the photo on the wall, and the whole house, and fleeting, without any vanity, mentions of who he received here and who he would receive, proved that with wealth comes nobility, fame and special solidarity with the rich, noble and powerful of this world...Along the same straight road, but no longer in a hurry, I returned to the city with Aram Arax and Frank Moradian. On the outskirts, huge aluminum tanks, like oil tanks, sparkled with aluminum - wine storage facilities of the famous company Gallo. The two old-timers began to talk, rewarding themselves for a long, respectful silence. They were drawn to memories, they exposed the unknown past of the streets, removing the current houses, shopping centers, cafeterias and parking lots from them.- Remember, there was Akopyan’s ranch here?- And here is Ovanesyan...It seemed that there were only Armenian ranches and farms in that long-ago Fresno of their childhood and youth.“Life is a strange thing,” said Moradian, as we drove past another memorable place. “Here, I remember, as boys with William Saroyan, we picked figs for a dollar a day.” The heat was unbearable. We came to drink at the well of the owner, the same one for whom we worked, but he drove us away. Didn't let me get drunk. And then he went broke. Became a janitor, picking up trash. Life is a strange thing...Moradian regained the complacency and gentle condescension of a successful man who had done one necessary thing well and could rest on Saturday evening without worries.Life is a strange thing... What a capacious formula that covers everything, contains everything and, of course, exists in all languages. There are different things in it: bitterness because this strange thing is passing, and self-conscious delight, and thoughtfulness in front of the impenetrability of time.Life is a strange thing…In the morning, before Giffin, there was a meeting - isn’t it strange? At breakfast I ate cottage cheese pancakes and indulged in tea—and conversation—with a Russian family that had never lived in Russia.The day before, Aram and I went into Moradian's office, and in front of us, a certain man left his office in a hurry - and something like that was wafted from his appearance, from his wide face in a thick, gray beard, from his small, very blue eyes with squinting, and from gait and behavior. There was a whiff of something very perceptible... And here you go - Ivan Alekseevich Kochergin. From the Molokans He had such a melodious, round Russian dialect, so rustic, not heard for a long time, that I felt happy and sad in this Fresno, as Ivan Alekseevich called Fresno. I AGREED to come to him - “drink tea, eat pancakes” and be curious.He immediately switched to “you” and disappeared, leaving a business card. On the white cardboard rectangle, the Russian dialect that had seduced me, of course, evaporated, and it was in English:John and Alex Kochergin FarmsPotatoes - Cotton - Grain - Melons 523 North BrawleyFresno, CA 93706268—9266At the bottom of the cards, the brothers were divided into corners, and John, who Ivan Alekseevich turned into, got the left corner, where it was reported that he lived on West McKinley Street, house 8163. From the house number, I guessed that it was on the outskirts of Fresno. And from the listing of products and the plural “farm” I realized that the Molokan brothers were not small farmers.This morning I went for pancakes on West McKinley Street. The location of the Kochergin house is not urban, but rather rural, on 300 acres of land belonging to Ivan Alekseevich (in total, two brothers, living separately, but managing together, have 3 thousand acres of land). It cannot be said that it is very large, but not small either, with all the urban amenities that are familiar and taken for granted in America, which does not recognize in this sense the difference between city and village, especially since villages do not exist there in our understanding. And extra-conveniently, there was a gray Cadillac with a telephone antenna on the roof standing in front of the home garage.It was an American house, not a Russian hut, and, of course, the porch did not creak underfoot, and the hen did not cluck, announcing a warm egg in the sweet village silence. Ivan Alekseevich came out to meet him fresh after his morning shower in a fresh brown shirt, working-looking but clean and ironed green trousers, and cowboy ankle boots. Greeting me, he glanced at my modest Ford next to his Cadillac with a telephone. And I realized, of course, that as a master, as an owner, I was no match for him. And he invited me into the house.The family was sitting at a table in the corner of a spacious living room, furnished “like people’s.” I was greeted with silent curiosity. Having stood up, they prayed briefly, and I also stood up and remained silent for a short time. Breakfast was plentiful. The pancakes turned brown, dripped with butter and melted in your mouth. Then the hostess, Vera Mikhailovna, served delicious and very filling fried potatoes. When they brought the family scrambled eggs of about a dozen eggs, I had to apologize and move slightly away from the table.Pancakes are pancakes, scrambled eggs are scrambled eggs, but when I first got to the Molokan table, I looked at those sitting and kept deciding to myself the question: Russians or not really? Or maybe completely non-Russian?Ivan Alekseevich, realizing that he was not only the owner here, but also in some way a guide, explained the situation. There are eight children in total, five daughters have already been married off, and all, thank God, to Molokans. There is no other way, but the task is to find Molokan grooms, and daughters must be raised in such a way that they do not want others.Two sons, healthy guys with wide sideburns on their round cheeks, were sitting at the table. Father introduced: “Mikhail, Ivan.” Ivan studies in Los Angeles, came to his parents with his fiancée Tanya, a lively, pretty, dark-eyed girl from a Molokan family. Another Tanya, the only unrequited daughter, was also sitting at the table.What can I say - silently, and not out loud, looking around? Ivan Alekseevich and Vera Mikhailovna looked like Russians. And their children and son’s fiancée were young Americans who didn’t even know Russian. And five minutes later, the father, having forgotten about the guest, called Ivan John, Mikhail - Michael. The children of the Molokans, they sat silently and respectfully at the table, but I saw that it was painful and awkward for them for their father, who was playing some role in front of a stranger from an unfamiliar Russia.Russian or not really? The question is naive, even unfair. They were born here, this is their homeland. What a ridiculous hope, what a whim - to find a surviving island of Russia in Fresno! One should be surprised not that Ivan Alekseevich’s children do not know Russian, but that he himself, at more than 50 years old, retained the language of his father and mother, not as pure, it’s true, as it seemed at first, but still. ..After breakfast, having freed the youth, we sat down together outdoors, in the shade, by the family swimming pool located behind the house. Here, not under the roof, you could smoke. The calm water sparkled, the birds whistled, and about fifty bulls with their horns sawed off grazed on the Kochergin land. I took a tape recorder with me to record the speech of the Molokan and his story.I would like to give this entry literally, preserving the pronunciation and those strange Russian words that reflected farm life in California's San Joaquin Valley. Some of them need explanation. He sometimes calls cotton cotton wool, miles are miles, dairies are dairy farms, crops are crops, Field are fields, and railcars are railroad cars.— Ivan Alekseevich, yesterday I was very attracted to your Russian language. It was a joy: it’s so rare in America to meet a person who speaks pure Russian. Tell us a little about how your father and mother came here, how life began here in America.— I was born in 1921. My parents came from Transcaucasia—what is it called? - Kara province. The parent arrived in 1912. He worked here for a year, collected the money and sent it, and his mother arrived in '13. Yeah, they were already married.— Where did he work first?—  In Los Angeles and this one, in Long Beach. In Rasei they were farmers, and he did not like city life. And then they tried everywhere to get somewhere to farm. He immediately went to the farm, milked cows, worked at the dairies, and there, not far from Sedov, I was born. And he milked cows there, I think, for a year or two, and then, maybe in the twenty-first or twenty-second, they came here, to this country, to Fresno. And they started farming cotton. At this time it was just beginning with a bang. The company was given a loan, given land, in the first year he sowed maybe eighty acres, and in the thirtieth year, I already remember, he had maybe eight hundred acres.“And how did he buy the land, those first eighty acres?” With a loan?—  Yeah. The companies gave. For example, they would produce water and call the workers: we are giving you land for payments. Last year we lived here in Fresna, and then the puppy’s price dropped to six cents a pound, and he lost everything.—  Is it depression?—  Yes, depression. The most depressing. And so we came to Bakersfield, this is a country, a small city. And we have been there for ten years. Things got better again, the cotton wool rose, and they began to sow potatoes. And then in 1943 we came here...Ivan Alekseevich sighed. Apparently, this explanation in Russian was not easy for him. And he continued:—  And in the fifty-first year the parent passed away. I think he was fifty-seven years old. Peaceful. From the heart. Then my brother and I started farming fifty miles from here. It's called Herman City.—  On your father's land?—  At first, when the parent was still there, there were three hundred and twenty acres. From now on we have already reached three thousand acres. She, the earth, was new. The bushes are like that. We produced water for it. The pipes were produced. —  They probably hired someone?—  Oh, they hired. Twenty-five to thirty workers, and when harvesting, for example, potatoes, maybe melons, maybe up to two hundred people. —  Are the workers mostly Chicanos? —  Yes, Chicano. A lot of Mexicanos work. —  Well, did things go well for you? — Yeah. —  And now, in general, it’s a big farm? —  Yes. Considered big pharma. There are farms of up to one hundred thousand acres. Giffina Pharma, in Fresna, I think, is the largest. There are maybe more acres if the cattle are involved. In the mountains, maybe. But Giffin plants, cultivates and waters every acre. Every acre is watered. This is why I think it is the biggest. And approximately here, where we live, near Fresno, here the farmers have forty to eighty acres of vineyard. Almost all the pharmacists here are forty to eighty, maybe a hundred and sixty. When you move further from here, we call it the West Side, there are already big pharmacists there. And the first settlement was here.—  You say “farmists” - are they farmers?“Maybe I’m saying this word incorrectly.” In our dialect we say: pharmacists.—  We say: farmers...—  We say: this is our pharmacy. And he is a pharmacist. Our parent taught us this.—  Ivan Alekseevich, tell us a little about your farm.—  Briefly. We plant eight hundred acres of cotton in the county. The county is fifteen hundred acres of barley. Two hundred acres of melons. The county is five hundred acres of potatoes. We sow two hundred and forty two hundred and fifty acres of potatoes in January and February. We collect them in June - July. And we sow the second crop in August and harvest it when the frost hits and kills the tops - in December, January. We have cattle. A little. From fifty to one hundred heads.— Who buys the product? How do you market it?—  We have - what is it called? - packing house. Where we bring fruit, feeders there, potatoes. We pour them into bags, small ones into one bag, large ones into another bag. And people, big companies come and buy directly from us. And we send rail cars to big cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. There are companies for this. They come directly and buy.  “Your economy seems to be strong.” Are there any problems or difficulties?—  There are things about that. We, pharmacists, have gone through the most difficult last three or four years. It was difficult. After all, here in America, as much as you want. Here are examples: everyone is planting potatoes this year. Well, if there are a lot of potatoes, then the price goes down. We sold cotton for 20 cents. It costs us about thirty - thirty-two cents to grow a pound of cotton wool, but we sold it for twenty. So. We were losing money. Well, you will lose this year, you will lose another year - the banker says: where do you get the loan? Come on, come on!..Then my tape ran out, but we sat and talked by the pool for a long time. We were not disturbed. Only once, behind the wall separating the pool from the yard, the strong voice of Ivan Jr. was heard.—  Dad, would you cash me and check?What did it mean:—  Father, won't you pay me a check in cash? Ivan Alekseevich answered: For how much?What did it mean:—  How long?The son appeared from behind the wall, pulled a checkbook out of his pocket, wrote out a check, and handed it to his father. The father pulled his wallet out of his back pants pocket and counted out $20.Ivan Alekseevich’s conversation included more and more English words: Well... So.., So... So... Oddly enough, these were the words that revealed a certain level of education, the skill of intelligent speech in English. And these English words were inserted into the Russian speech series that Ivan Alekseevich took from his illiterate father. There... Otseda... Tada... And much more, as the reader could see, was in this series, deepening the contrast with the telephone-enabled Cadillac and 3 thousand acres of land.The contrast was striking, but deceptive. First, the material culture of a Cadillac purchased at a car dealership does not simply guarantee a culture that is not purchased. Secondly, Ivan Alekseevich, speaking Russian, looked like an illiterate peasant, but in his American life he was, presumably, an excellent farmer. It couldn't help but be judging by the results. He is wildly illiterate in Russian, but his English is literate. It would be necessary to talk to him in English in order to better understand how John Kochergin has grown into American soil and that it is an illusion to look for a compatriot based on language. A compatriot is, first of all, a person concerned with the fate of his fatherland...Molokans cling to their religion. She helps them stay together. But life, drop by drop, undermines religious foundations, and the Molokans of Fresno, as Ivan Alekseevich told me, were already thinking about translating their chants and prayers into English so that they would reach the younger generation who do not know the Russian language, and even tried. We tried it and were horrified: complete nonsense. But what next? Still, you will probably have to get used to the nonsense.When Soviet delegations visit Fresno - on the topic of agriculture - John Kochergin appears before them, surprising them with his Russian language and appearance. He has photographs and letters of gratitude, from which it is clear that I was not the first to try pancakes in his house. And he himself and Vera Mikhailovna visited the Soviet Union. His impressions are cold, like those of an outsider. Looking at us through the eyes of a farmer from the San Joaquin Valley, where water is obtained from half a kilometer deep, he notices a lot of mismanagement and incomprehensible things.—  It’s wonderful with you. A river flows nearby, and the wheat dries if there is no rain.Collective farms do not appeal to him:“The land is everyone’s and no one’s.” Give it to a man, tell him to give it away every fourth bag, and you’ll have nowhere to put the food.He and his brother rent part of the land from corporations, to whom they give every ninth or even eighth bag of the harvest.When I, turning to the arguments of religion that are close to him, talk about immorality, in the end, about the godlessness of wealth that exists next to poverty and at the expense of poverty, he grins and responds with a ready-made phrase:— The poor are closer to God, but without the rich, who will help the poor?...The Kochergin tree has branched widely in America. With sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the deceased parent and living parent now have, we’ve lost count, either 125 or 130 heirs. To remind each other, they gather every year on one Saturday in May for a barbecue in a public park on the outskirts of Fresno.By chance, I arrived on the Saturday of the “family reunion.” Ivan Alekseevich and I came to this park. There were about thirty people on the lawn near the American barbecue grills on legs. If I didn’t know who they were, I would have taken them for ordinary Americans. The same posture, gait, gestures. And the same talk. My appearance did not evoke any emotion or great curiosity, but it did create some annoying difficulty: I had to strain to speak even a few words to me in Russian. Ivan Alekseevich, obviously tired of the excessive use of the Russian language, handed me over to the care of the main kebab-maker.I soon discovered that everything was foreign, including the unleavened kebab. And only two people stood out among this large group of American Molokans: the older brother Fyodor Alekseevich, who was already approaching sixty, and the mother, 80 years old, in a cap and a long frilly dress, a wizened old woman in whom there remained something otherworldly, from those distant times. times and distant places.I stayed for half an hour and left. I wasn't held back. My family died the day before when I met Ivan Alekseevich. And now it was sad, as if someone had deceived me, but no one deceived me, but this was a typical case of self-deception among a Russian person looking for an echo of his native land and speech abroad.MIRRORWATERGATEJeb Stuart Magruder titled his autobiographical book An American Life. One of the roads to Watergate." One road. Of many. It makes sense to talk briefly about the beginning of this road.  The author was born in 1934 on Staten Island, a New York area adjacent to the harbor and ocean. The father is the owner of a small printing house, a modest businessman. My grandfather got rich in shipbuilding during the First World War, then was tried for financial abuse and went to prison for six months. The shame and ruin of the grandfather is like a sad family memory and a source of a certain complex.Childhood. School. Williams College in Massachusetts. "Silent" students of the early 50s. Army and service in South Korea. Degree from Williams College. The formation of a young businessman with a typical business approach to people and life: “I realized early on that people like me and that if I please them, I usually get what I want...” A traveling salesman selling toilet paper. Employee of a consulting firm. Advertising manager at a chain of grocery stores. Head of the cosmetics department at a department store. Owner of two small cosmetics companies. Different cities, almost always good luck, growing earnings... Wife and children (four)...Either in Chicago or Los Angeles, voluntarily participating in election campaigns on the side of conservative Republicans, craving for politics, awakening the dream of a political career: “I got more pleasure from selling a political candidate in whom I believed than from selling a company’s paper products.” Crown Zellerbach" to Midwest Wholesalers." He is intelligent, active, and sociable. In California in 1967-1968, he helped in the election campaign of Richard Nixon. He was noticed. In 1969, the first year of Nixon's presidency, Jeb Magruder receives an offer to join the White House. “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for all my life.”Now the 35-year-old businessman sells not paper products, but image - the image of the US President. Cosmetics are political. Instead of wholesalers, there are journalists at the White House. The sales market is the heads of Americans.A successful businessman turns into a successful political careerist. His area of expertise is recommendations for manipulating public opinion. The president has a bad relationship with the press. The President has been pestered by critics of the ongoing war in Indochina. Magruder writes: "We had our own problems selling Nixon's program." As a rule, problems have nothing to do with truth or principles. One of Magruder’s discoveries: “In government, the boundary between form and substance, between image and reality, is often not visible...”1972 Richard Nixon, approaching the end of his first term in the White House, decides to run for a second term. Jeb Magruder receives an important position - vice chairman of the Committee to Re-elect the President. His boss, John Mitchell, left his post as attorney general to run the campaign of his friend and former New York law firm partner, Richard Nixon.  This, in fact, is Magruder’s entire road to Watergate. Next comes Watergate. And, beyond the scope of the book, seven months in prison...This road to Watergate is not the longest and not the most visible. Another example before everyone's eyes is Richard Milhouse Nixon. His resignation from the presidency of the United States in August 1974 as a result of the development of the Watergate scandal was not the crown, but the end of an almost 30-year political career. The end came soon after the triumph of re-election with an unprecedented majority in November 1972. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, after the political capitulation of Lyndon Johnson in 1968, who refused to run for a second term under the pressure of the Vietnam crisis, the evil irony of Watergate once again proves that the White House is not the Olympus that it is sometimes seen from afar, and that thunder and lightning are thrown not only from there, but also there. By the way, Nixon wanted to preside over the celebration of the bicentennial of the independence of the United States of America and back in 1969 he ordered to write on the nose of his presidential plane: “Spirit of '76.” Another example of advertising rush. When Gerald Ford became president, the inscription disappeared. Spirit of '76? In 1976 it was still the spirit of Watergate...Not only the twists and turns of destinies appear in the bottomless mirror of Watergate, not only the hard ends of careers, like hitting a wall at speed. Watergate is an extremely powerful political metaphor in modern America. This is a complex phenomenon, for which there is only one comparison in size and importance - with Vietnam. “Vietnam and Watergate—these two nightmares will haunt us all our lives,” exclaims the famous American historian Arthur Schlesinger.The metaphor and the phenomenon were given their name by the visible, physical Watergate—half a dozen buildings forming an upscale administrative and residential complex in northwest Washington.Working in Washington and being a temporary resident of the American capital, I often drove past this Watergate and showed it to visiting Muscovites. It has generally become a tourist attraction, and one day, while on a plane landing at National Airport, I heard an irony-filled explanation from a flight attendant: “Welcome to our national capital, where the White House, the US Congress, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon are located.” and...Watergate."Watergate is located on the edge of the picturesque, wild, albeit urban, Rock Creek Park, across the freeway from the deep, beautiful Potomac, flowing on its squat banks. Curved like the stern parts of ships, imposing and elegant, noble gray houses jut out next to the river, surrounded by decked balconies. Beautiful Only in the large teeth of the balcony fences there is something from the crest of the fortress wall, and this breaks the romantic image of the ships, adding luster to the beauty.Exuberance comes from wealth and the consciousness of exclusivity. High-ranking officials, senators and congressmen, wealthy people who have already raised children and, for one reason or another, moved to the capital live in Watergate; Watergate apartments suit them better than detached houses. By the way (or inopportunely), John Mitchell, who became one of the main characters of the scandal, also lived in Watergate.Lots of amenities. The principle of self-sufficiency: a French restaurant, arcades with expensive shops - branches of Paris and New York, a supermarket and a wine cellar, a pharmacy, a beauty salon, bank branches, your own hotel for visitors, a swimming pool, tennis courts, underground garages, etc. In the Watergate administrative buildings there are several embassies, mainly of small Arab countries, as well as law firms, consulting firms, offices of open and hidden lobbyists...Everything is close to Watergate, except for the troubled black neighborhoods living their own lives. The White House is just a stone's throw away. The State Department is even closer. 10 minutes by highway to Capitol Hill. And literally a stone's throw away is the new pride of the capital, which was painfully experiencing its cultural provincialism, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where A-list stars replace each other on tour, often they also stay at the Watergate Hotel... On the river there is a sports base, they glide, pleasing the eyes, eight rowers, along the shore there is a path for cyclists and numerous lovers of shaking off extra pounds...Self-sufficiency is accompanied by self-defense, as is usual in American life. The Watergate settlement, protecting the safety of residents and offices, is equipped with its own control television with televisual eyes in necessary and potentially dangerous places, alarm systems, and live security guards. In 1972, security guards were supplied by a private firm, General Security Services, one of many in the booming security business. Among them was a young black man, Frank Wills, a dropout and a loser who worked anywhere, often without work at all.And this night watchman Frank Wills, on the night of Saturday, June 17, 1972, went on watch and... rendezvous with history. While serenely making his first round, in the basement of one of the Watergate buildings, he discovered unlocked doors, their locks held down with duct tape. Paying no attention to the unlocked doors, Wills, however, cleared up the mess by tearing off the tape and putting it in his pocket. During the second round, he was surprised: on the same doors in the locks there was again adhesive tape. The night watchman called the police. On the sixth floor, police found and arrested five people in the premises of the Democratic National Committee, with cameras and listening devices. They were not hunting for good, but for information. Not thieves, but spies.This event in the extensive Watergate chronology, already included in political yearbooks and securing a place in encyclopedias, appears as a break-ins, burglary, or more precisely, burglary espionage. It marked the beginning of the Watergate scandal.Who could have guessed the size of the scandal then?! But already at the very source, in the biographies of the five caught, as in atoms, the structure and origin of what later became the Watergate phenomenon were visible. Four of the five flew to Washington from Miami. These were recruited, well-paid haters of Fidel Castro and the new Cuba. Two Cubans who escaped from Cuba, two Americans who participated in the attempted invasion of Cuba in the spring of 1961. One of the Americans and one of the Cubans are former CIA employees. Their motivations matched their biographies. They spied on the headquarters of the Democrats, who share political power in the United States with the Republicans, but their first line of defense is anti-communism. They, you see, suspected that the Democrats, especially their then presidential candidate Senator George McGovern, were “soft” on communism. When checking suspicions, they simply did not balance their nightly means with a noble goal. The devil got me wrong, but what an excusable devil is patriotism! Are they punished for vigilance, even excessive vigilance? For diligence, even if not in reason, in protecting America from the “reds”? Who would throw a stone at such zealous patriots?But besides the four lost sheep from Miami, there was a fifth - and main - among those arrested on the June night at Watergate. It’s his arrest that Jeb Magruder calls “a disaster.” The fifth was James McCord - not from Miami, but from that house on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, where the Committee to Re-elect President Nixon under the leadership of John Mitchell was located. On this committee, James McCord served as chief guard, chief of security. It was the election year of 1972, the hottest period politically. And suddenly the man who makes sure that not even a mouse slips unnoticed into the Republican headquarters is caught, like a thief in the night, in the Democratic headquarters. How did he mix up places and roles? And also a retired CIA officer. Having served there for 19 years, upon retirement he created his own company of paid services in the field of security. Something like General Security Services, where Frank Wills worked, only smaller. McCord's profession is universal: in one place he guards, in another he pulls someone else's.Democrats, of course, demanded an investigation. Its threads quickly led to the White House, but at first not to the main offices, but to the peripheral ones, to seemingly random inhabitants. To two new characters, similar in some ways to the first five. Gordon Liddy once served in the FBI, a “fighting cock”, according to Magruder, an adventurer, worked under James Bond, a characteristic example of the interpenetration and interaction of life and detective literature. Howard Hunt, former CIA agent, White House consultant, from a group of so-called “plumbers”: after the publication in 1970 of the revealing “Pentagon Papers” about the Vietnam War, such a group was created to find and seal the cracks through which classified information leaked from the White House . Hunt didn't just imitate James Bond. He was “also a writer” and produced many of his own spies, publishing more than forty detective novels.So, here it is, the Watergate Seven, who were the first to be put in the dock. Watergate half-forgotten pawns. For the time being, they draw fire upon themselves, pleading guilty, trying to cut off the threads of the investigation and cover up larger figures; however, the four from Miami know nothing at all about these figures. They are secretly paid for their silence - from the same abundant, multimillion-dollar election funds, of which hundreds of thousands were allocated for operations of “domestic” espionage and sabotage. McCord spoke first. Then... However, there is no point in repeating myself. Jeb Magruder's book tells in some detail how the break-in was followed by a cover-up - the second and longest stage of Watergate, an attempt to conceal the truth and evade justice.Magruder does not hide his squeamish dislike of Gordon Liddy, who was listed as legal counsel to the Re-election Committee and was the organizer of the “dirty tricks”: This is the dislike of an orderly manager who has succumbed to an opportunist. There are differences, of course, but they did not prevent Mitchell and Magruder from sanctioning and financing Liddy's adventurism. The similarities are stronger than the differences. Watergate is the same way of thinking....Magruder ends his story with the chronological framework of the summer of 1973. He pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Before imprisonment, he is in a hurry to speak out, being one of the first to realize the dollar potential of the Watergate stories. There is still a whole year of scandal ahead, but in the White House there are already signs of collapse, a sinking ship, and increasing selfishness. Previous categorical denials gave way to reluctant retreats under the onslaught of new and new evidence, the forced resignations of Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, the president's closest aides, and the dragging into the insatiable funnel of Watergate "the entire presidential army" (the title of the book by Carl Burstein and Bob Woodward, two reporters from the Washington newspaper post”, who were the first to reveal many of the Watergate secrets).The second year, not covered in Magruder's notes, brought the most dramatic stages that need to be recalled. Watergate becomes the axis on which the life of political America, not to mention Washington, revolves. Television crews are constantly on duty outside the federal courthouse... Before Judge John Sirica, an endless line of prominent officials - witnesses or accused - brought in in the Watergate cases... There are more and more of these cases... Appointment and then dismissal of a special prosecutor by Nixon for insubordination Archibald Cox... The investigations of Leon Jaworski, the new special counsel who has a bulldog grip on the White House... Sam Erwin's Senate hearings bring the Watergate participants to the television screens of millions of American homes - for weeks at a time... Witness Alexander Butterfield inadvertently reveals a startling secret : in the President’s office and in some other rooms of the White House, it turns out that an automatic tape recording system of all conversations has been in operation for a long time: it was installed by order of Nixon himself with the expectation of memoirs and history...A months-long battle over the recordings: the special prosecutor and Congress demand tapes related to Watergate, the president persists... “Scandal of the century”... Public suspicions... An unprecedented decline in the president’s prestige... The House of Representatives begins impeachment - the procedure for excommunicating the president from authorities for actions contrary to the Constitution... The President is forced to open access to tape recordings, but not to all... Gaps are discovered - in the most “interesting” places... In his next televised address to the nation, Richard Nixon categorically declares: “I do not rogue! However, evidence is found in tape recordings, the most protected, the last to be given: he knew, he hid, he cheated... On August 9, 1974, the last, most powerful bomb of Watergate - the resignation of the president, the first in 200 years of the existence of the United States... The last forced smiles, farewell waves of hands, the last takeoff of a presidential helicopter with Richard Nixon on board from the South Lawn of the White House... Gerald Ford, having taken the oath of office, takes office...What would have happened if watchman Frank Wills had not made the second round that night? If I had done it an hour later? Would Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, have remained in the White House until January 20, 1977, if an unknown young black watchman had shown inattention to his duties on June 17, 1972, for the performance of which he received a very modest remuneration? Idle questions. They are destined to remain unanswered. History, like human life, does not recognize the subjunctive mood. History has many options only in our living imagination, but in reality it has only one - what happened - option, retroactively affirming what happened as the only possible one. A more legitimate question is: what came first - an event or a phenomenon? Did the Watergate event give rise to the Watergate phenomenon, or vice versa? In my opinion, “on the contrary”. Watergate could have come under a different name. The event (and its name) depended on chance, but in the phenomenon that was born before the event, the patterns of post-war development in America are visible. In a sense, Watergate did a service to history by identifying and exposing these patterns.About the fire of Moscow in 1812, captured by the French, Leo Tolstoy wrote: “Moscow should have burned down due to the fact that the inhabitants left it, and just as inevitably as a pile of shavings should catch fire, on which fire sparks would fall for several days.” This Tolstoyan argument comes to mind when thinking about the causes of Watergate. Only instead of the sparks of fire from soldiers’ fires and the pile of shavings with which Tolstoy compares the “wooden city”, one must substitute the longevity and inertia of the Cold War, the “witch hunt”, not buried with Senator Joseph McCarthy in a quiet cemetery in the Wisconsin town of Appleton , a mania of suspicion transferred from the international arena to the arena of domestic political struggle, the cult of the CIA and the FBI, which were turned into impeccable patriotic shrines, “electronic espionage” as a national hobby, facilitated by leadership in the field of computerization and miniaturization. (Who doesn’t know that the applied wonders of NTR in America are equipped with a host of private detectives, who are now freed from the humiliating peeking through the keyhole, and corporations, not without selfish interest in the state of affairs of their neighbor, etc., etc. How Soviet journalist in Washington, I can confidently assume that the clatter of my typewriter, even at a late hour, reverberates in someone's authorized ears or falls on a tape for future use.)This accumulation, material and psychological, was to give rise to Watergate in one form or another, under one name or another. The phenomenon was ready, it was just waiting for the event to acquire the flesh of facts, faces, intrigues, destinies, exposed secrets, trials.When Watergate is placed next to Vietnam, we are talking not just about comparable American crises, but also about the connections between them. These are the two culminations of the post-war development of the United States and its policies. The Vietnam adventure is a foreign policy culmination that undermined the “arrogance of force” and discouraged the desire and ecstasy with which American imperialism took on the role of the world’s policeman. The Watergate scandal is a kind of domestic political culmination. The methods of the Cold War were adopted domestically, in the struggle for the White House, in the rivalry between two bourgeois parties that grew out of the American political system, are loyal to it and reflect it. The twin brother of the world gendarme became a domestic spy, poking his nose not only at the communists, not only at anti-war and left-wing radical organizations, but also at the headquarters and offices of rival partners in the two-party system. Suspicion, almost manic hatred of critics of the Vietnam War, the press and liberals, the fever of an eternal crisis - this atmosphere of a “besieged White House” is well conveyed by Magruder.It is difficult to list all aspects of the Watergate phenomenon. But I would like to mention two or three. “Just as Vietnam taught us, at terrible cost, to see the limits of our wisdom and power in international affairs,” writes historian Schlesinger, “so Watergate taught us—at a lower cost—to see the limits of the wisdom and power of the presidency.” The idea is correct, although again it should be added: Vietnam and Watergate need not only be compared, but also connected. America got into the Vietnam quagmire through presidential actions. The White House rarely turned to Congress for sanctions and received them easily at first. The longer and harder the war became, the more critical Congress became and the more often the White House acted around, without its knowledge, in spite of it, and even deceiving it. This longest war, never declared by Congress, was called the “presidential war.” She sharply raised the question of the exorbitant, dangerously hypertrophied power of the president, which was explained and justified by the state needs of the era of nuclear missile confrontation between the two systems. Under Nixon, who defiantly disregarded the will of Congress, they started talking about an “imperial presidency.”The Watergate phenomenon arose against this background of rivalry between the legislative and executive powers. It's a congressional rematch, demonstrating a new, tense balance between the White House and Capitol Hill. Objectively, such revenge was facilitated by the atmosphere of international detente in the first half of the 70s. Only as confrontation waned, when adversaries began to leave the trenches of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war was mitigated, could ruling America afford the luxury of public settling of internal scores at the highest level.The post-Watergate investigations into illegal activities by the CIA and FBI confirm this idea in their own way. After all, secret searches, provocations, sabotage - all this practice of “home” espionage is not new. As Frank Church's Senate Commission revealed, this was done under almost all post-war American presidents - Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson. They had, one might say, their own Watergates, but without a name or publicity. Under Nixon, the established practice “only” continued. But the time, the international and domestic climate have become different. The “Watergate conspirators” were grabbed by the hand by time itself, by a changed America.Watergate turned out to be an unexpected, final crisis for Richard Nixon, a man who had many ups and downs, an unexpected result of the contradictory development of this political and statesman. In the late 40s and early 50s, the young congressman made a meteoric career by participating in the anti-communist hysteria. The reputation of a “hawk” and a narrow-minded conservative remained with him for a long time, causing persistent hostility not only among progressive, but also liberal Americans. But he also grew, and he changed with the times. Once in the White House, he took a rather sober approach to the problems of normalizing and improving Soviet-American relations based on the principles of peaceful coexistence. Contributed to the development of the process of international development.   But the past does not let us go so easily. The godson of the Cold War did not die, he continued to live in Nixon - unscrupulous in his means, not above deception, suspicious. He appeared and was vindictively punished during the Watergate scandal.In addition to the investigators' offices and courtrooms, there is another place where all participants in the Watergate case, right and wrong, accusers and accused, judges and defendants, meet and continue to meet. This place is a book market. At first, Watergate fed newspapers and magazines, which printed billions of words about it. Then, one after another, books began to be published. Dozens of them came out, creating a crisis of overproduction - market oversaturation, reader yawning, sensationalization.At one time, Watergate crowded out everything else on the shelves of current political literature. Professorial attempts at serious analysis coexisted with reports written in the style of a detective story, like the already mentioned book “All the President’s Men”; it was on the bestseller list for a long time and was filmed - the role of two Washington reporters was played by famous film actors Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. A book has been published by special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, who has returned to practice law in Texas. A surprising number of books have been written by the Watergate conspirators themselves. Everyone was in a hurry to tell about their road to Watergate. They wrote and write during the trial, while awaiting a verdict, in places of detention, they finish writing after leaving these places, knowing that an egg is precious for Christ's day and that time is money, demonstrating that for an American the distances are short not only between word and deed, but also between deeds (like Watergate) and words (printed).James McCord is published, having never put pen to paper. Howard Hunt appears in court holding in his hand - for television cameras and therefore free publicity - his new novel, hastily released while he was behind bars. The best-selling memoir includes the memoirs of John Dean, the White House legal adviser who first spoke about the involvement of a man in the presidential Oval Office. While Dean was serving his sentence (a short one, like everyone else's), his wife Maureen managed to publish the story of her life. Her book was even sold in department stores, advertised on newspaper pages next to the fashions of the next season; at the Woodward & Lothrop department store, three steps from my Washington apartment, lady shoppers stood in line for the autographs of the “Watergate wife.” The thick volume “Born Again” was published by Charles Colson, Nixon’s trusted adviser, the “evil genius” of the White House, who served seven months in prison. John Ehrlichman, the president's former chief domestic affairs aide, grew a writer's beard, took it easy, moved to Arizona, and wrote a novel, "The Company," about the White House, the secrets of the CIA, and the fictional president Richard Monckton, in which it is easy to guess the prototype.Those who did not write books gave lectures or gave interviews. Among those making money from Watergate was former night watchman Frank Wills. The black lawyer Dorsay Evans sold it as a “historical symbol,” pocketing a quarter of the fees. Tormented by the lack of permanent work, Wills traveled around America, speaking to black audiences with paid stories about the Watergate night, duct tape, and unlocked doors. He was selling a set of color photographs of himself against the backdrop of familiar buildings, the price was one dollar. Even for an interview with Wills, a fee was set: 300 dollars from television workers, 50 from newspapermen.At the same time, lawyer Evans complained about the inequality of blacks. Still would! Bob Haldeman, Nixon's top aide, was paid tens of thousands of dollars by CBS for an interview. Royalties for popular books about Watergate run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The lecturers are not offended either. Ron Ziegler, former White House press secretary, John Dean and others, speaking at universities, charged 3-4 thousand dollars for a “lecture.” These fees eventually sparked angry talk of "paying off the crime." One professor wrote in the New York Times that "Watergate intruders" are paid more than Nobel laureates when they speak at universities.Such protests were accepted by morality, but rejected by reality. In America, fame is always capital. The more scandalous it is, the greater the demand for it and, therefore, the more profitable it is. This is in the nature of “mass culture”. This is a special alchemy of American life that turns dirt into gold. The ironic grimace of Watergate: the most famous of scandals became the most profitable scandal. The dollar is a common field on which its participants met as subjects of one king and servants of one cult. Even remorse did not interfere with commercial calculation.Here we return to Magruder (by the way, his wife Gail also became one of the Watergate writers). While awaiting trial and prison, he intended to go on a lecture tour, but Judge John Sirica forbade the defendant from lecturing. I had to look for other genres. This is how the idea for the book arose, and then Magruder’s book itself, one of the first about Watergate.A typical child of bourgeois America, Magruder never forgets to mention how many thousands of dollars a year he received here and there, climbing the ladders of private business and the government apparatus. The numbers indicate his success in life. Having lost his government salary, Magruder, like others, turned the Watergate story itself into a source of livelihood. To be fair, we note that he had no choice. Like other participants in the high-profile Watergate trials, yesterday's influential bureaucrat became a victim of lawyers charging thousands of dollars in fees. (Later, after being released from prison, Magruder expressed his angry bewilderment: “I still don’t understand why it took a hundred thousand dollars to plead guilty.”)Another caveat would also be useful. The commercial exploitation of the theme does not mean that Watergate literature is devoid of public utility. In the best examples, it provides both a lot of critical information and food for thought about American life.In the Watergate chain, Jeb Stuart Magruder was an important link between dirty tricks like Gordon Liddy and strategists, of whom the closest was John Mitchell, chairman of the Re-election Committee, friend and partner of President Nixon. This was a good point for observation, collection of material and subsequent writing of the Watergate memoirs.Magruder was not only a witness, but also a participant. Attended the secret meetings that laid the Watergate time bomb. Twice he took Liddy to Mitchell and in the office of the Minister of Justice took part in the consideration of the adventurer’s proposals, which obviously violated the law. In a special folder called “Jamston,” Magruder kept Liddy’s reports about illegal “intrusions” into the headquarters of the Democratic Party and recordings of overheard conversations. After the police detained the “Watergate burglars,” a “new reality” began, and Magruder episode by episode describes the “double life” that not only he, but also Mitchell and other people from the president’s entourage lived, publicly denying involvement in what happened, secretly covering their tracks , writing and rehearsing perjury scenarios.The mutual responsibility did not last long. When the clouds thickened, outright selfishness began, everyone tried to divert thunder and lightning from themselves and direct them towards their colleagues. Self-sacrifice was not among the virtues of the Watergate conspirators. Feeling that he is about to be betrayed and extradited, Magruder launches a preemptive strike, pleads guilty, testifies against Dean and Mitchell...The author of the book himself is curious, his, albeit forced and self-defensive, frankness, the behind-the-scenes pictures he sketched of the White House. Understanding that Watergate is a farewell to a political career and a break with the past, Magruder looks at the past with a degree of regret, but without illusions, critically. His style is somewhat clerical, but not without expressiveness and irony at times. Even this seemingly calmly epic title is ironic - “An American Life” - which could also be translated as “One American Life”. At the beginning I spoke briefly about this life, which, in general, easily and smoothly followed its path to Watergate. She walked under the pragmatic engine of profit and ambition, without spiritual questions, demands and crises, in a mechanical rhythm that made it possible to easily adapt to new cities and situations, to new acquaintances, with an easy jump from business to politics, and big politics, done in the White House, with a lack of strong views, with a readiness for any assignments...In this American life, an outsider's eye will perhaps see more than an American's. For an American, everything here is the norm. Not only is this easy leap from a California cosmetics company to the White House normal, but also the fact that Magruder’s new work, in its deepest essence, was very similar to the old one. American politics has a commercial advertising method. The voter is the buyer, and the politician seeking elected office is the seller, offering himself instead of the product. The relationship between them is a buying and selling relationship. Here Magruder, appointed to the Committee to Re-elect the President, writes with enthusiasm that was later dampened by Watergate: “We wanted a scientific campaign.” And he explains with an example what he understands by this so-called political science: “Should the president smile or look serious on a poster addressed to young people?” Is Magruder himself smiling when he gives this example? No, he's quite serious. In his view, typically American, it is truly a science to equate and even reverse the real and the apparent, to subordinate everything, including the truth, to the interests of hunting for votes. For reference: Bob Haldeman, considered Nixon's right hand, several of his assistants, as well as press secretary Ronald Ziegler, got into big politics straight from the bowels of the largest advertising firm in the United States, J. Walter Thompson.Haldeman... Erlichman... Colson... Dean... With critical strokes, Magruder creates a portrait of “the entire presidential army.” This portrait makes you think: in a high place there is a petty game of ambition, careerist intrigues, secret and obvious hostility towards each other, competition for the favor of the “master”, trips and blows below the belt. And the background is a “permanent crisis” and permanent psychosis, in which everywhere one sees not just political opponents, but mortal enemies - in the anti-war movement, in Senators Kennedy and Muskie, in newspaper columnists, etc., etc.Magruder was too close to the events to take a general look at the Watergate phenomenon. But he points out the particular reason correctly: “Liddy’s plan was approved because of the climate of fear and suspicion that was created in the White House, because of the atmosphere that came from the president himself...”The Watergate scandal generated a lot of hope and cynicism, talk of cleansing and even greater disbelief about the system and politicians. American life itself wrote the afterword to Watergate. It turned out long and mosaic. Among other things, special congressional commissions investigated in detail the activities of the CIA and the FBI, revealing massive facts of violation of the law, surveillance, the same “hackings,” provocations, as well as the use of these intelligence services for their own personal purposes by almost all post-war residents of the White House. Watergate cast a long shadow on 1976, the year of the presidential election: American protest against the Washington bureaucracy, intensified by the Watergate scandal, was reflected in the sudden rise of such a political outsider as former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who was elected President of the United States.Some saw the Watergate story as an exception and a deviation from the norm and declared the very fact of exposed social vice to be a public virtue. Others reproached their compatriots for their short memory, recalling the Watergates of the past and proving that corruption is America’s eternal companion. Without getting involved in this controversy, I will note what is indisputable: Watergate became a mirror in which political America of our day saw itself.BICCENTENARY1According to a model in the Museum of the City of New York, the southern tip of Manhattan Island, where the waters of the East and Hudson Rivers meet and where there is a sweeping view of the harbor, was once a bucolic place: wooden houses, toy forts. And an open space where it’s easy to imagine grass and sheep. The people on the model are not indicated, but at the dawn of New York history there were as many of them as can now fit in one, at most two large residential buildings in a city like no other, stricken with the disease of gigantomania.The ancestors of New York, of course, would not have recognized the current southern part of Manhattan. Buildings are crowded together and climb into the sky with dozens of floors, competing for a place in the sun and escaping the noisy chaos on the ground. Quiet on the Hudson and EastThe river, passenger and freight shipping are in decline, but sleepless highways roar along the banks. Huge orange ferries leave Manhattan for Staten Island. All day long, the quadrangular mouths of the long tunnel are open, swallowing thousands of cars rushing to Brooklyn, and throwing out other thousands arriving in Manhattan. Scenes of super-urbanism... The half-crazy life of people - in an eternal hurry, at speed and nerves, among the metal and concrete of cars, pavements, buildings.And right there, from Battery Park, where the restored brown walls of the old fort are kept, the green-bronze Statue of Liberty, reduced by distance, is visible in the harbor, holding out a hand with a torch. It was once placed as a greeting to immigrants at America's most famous sea gate. But now they fly to America, not sail. Jet aircraft have stolen passengers from shipping companies and stolen propaganda from the Statue of Liberty. In the harbor, the statue looks like an orphan. Why did they put it there? Those who have been caressed by American freedom cannot give the statue a familiar American pat on the shoulder. Those who were deceived find it difficult to settle scores with her: she is not only huge, but also fenced off with a water barrier. Looking at her from Battery Park, the deceived can only helplessly clench their fists in the manner of Eugene from Pushkin’s “The Bronze Horseman”...America is rich in symbols. Doubly so for a journalist looking for an image and comparison in order to visibly convey to the reader an unfamiliar reality. It is no coincidence that I began my notes with a brief description of the southern tip of the island of Manhattan - Downtown, as New Yorkers call it. On July 4, 1976, the bicentennial of the independence of the United States of America, there were many people and many symbols there.The car was dethroned for a day, blocking its path to Downtown with wooden sawhorses of police barriers. Crowds clogged the sidewalks and pavements, stunted squares and squares, attracted by the Spectacle, that capital S Spectacle that is demanded like Bread. In the harbor, sparkling in the sun, a symbol of imperial military power, the dark gray bulk of the aircraft carrier Forrestal, temporarily converted into a peaceful platform for distinguished guests led by President Gerald Ford. Sailing ships from different countries walked past the aircraft carrier - an object of delight and nostalgia, a kind of call of the ancestors who sailed to America, recording this initial fact in history and in the genes of a nation of immigrants.New York is a modern Babylon, where multilingual tribes learned to speak one language - the dollar, and the Tower of Babel was completed - for corporations and banks. But the towers, called skyscrapers and housing the headquarters of big businesses, were locked down for the Fourth of July holiday. The massive old New York Stock Exchange building on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets betrayed not a word of its passions or secrets. The most eminent of the owners of Downtown, blown by a fresh breeze, were aboard the Forrestal, giving way to the stuffy gorges of the streets to the colorful people of New York. Carousels of folk festivals spun on wooden platforms and right on the pavements, reminiscent of ethnic roots left behind the ocean. Various Americans danced and sang in their own way - German, Polish, Italian, Jewish, Irish, Puerto Rican, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, etc. There was, I remember, only a festival of English Americans: immigrants from England are, as it were, considered American Americans, taking away the title of true Americans from the Indians, . who now more and more loudly remind us of their birthright on this earth...Crowds, crowds... Symbols, symbols... Not afraid to become a symbol of shameless commerce, traders doubled the prices for beer and soft drinks, sausages and watermelons for the anniversary. Overflowing the edges of large lattice wastebaskets, a symbol of the abundant waste and waste of the “consumer society,” the sidewalks and pavements were filled with Coca-Cola beer cans, paper bags and napkins, disposable synthetic cups...This remained as the lavish fireworks display went off and the weary crowds dispersed from the darkened, notorious streets—tons of trash in Downtown. No matter how high the observation deck of the 110-story World Trade Center, the new grandiose and elegant decoration of New York, rose above the city, these unique accumulations of garbage were clearly visible from it. It was the broadest of the anniversary symbols - growing mountains of garbage near the growing floors of skyscrapers. We are, of course, not talking about the 200 million tons of solid waste alone that America sends to its landfills every year. No, we are talking about the symbolic amplitude of American civilization...This amplitude has dozens and hundreds of expressions. In the anniversary summer, they threw its glorious end, for example, on Mars. The automatic station “Viking-1”, which landed flawlessly after an 11-month journey, transmitted beautiful color photographs of the “red planet” to the Californian city of Pasadena and, taking soil samples, scientifically clarified the question that has long intrigued earthlings: is there life on Mars? And at the same time, demonstrating, for example, another, inglorious end of the American amplitude, the “sex scandal” in Washington thundered throughout the country. One blond secretary, citing her considerable experience, denounced a number of respectable legislators on Capitol Hill not only for buying love with taxpayer money, but also for using sex as a bargaining chip in their political deals.Let's continue the comparison. By chance, Viking 1 landed on Mars exactly seven years after the first landing from Earth - Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin - landed on the Moon. What a difference, however, there is in public reception! Scientists were outraged by the public's lack of attention to the Viking. The public here is accustomed to swallowing sensations without really thinking about what they are. The pornographic revelations of the heroine of the “sex scandal”, which ended up in newspapers and were also quickly released in the form of a book that became a bestseller, aroused more interest than the major achievement of American scientists.When you write about another country and another people, living a different life under the conditions of a different socio-political system, specific examples are good for their clarity and subjectivity. They are also useful - like soil samples on Mars taken by the Viking's automatic arm.Returning to the celebration of the American bicentennial in New York, I will give another example, also private and also, however, not devoid of general interest. After the parade, festivals and fireworks, New York newspapers were most surprised by the fact that, although six million people gathered in Downtown and poured onto the banks of the Hudson, everything went peacefully, without robberies and murders, without shootouts between bandits and police officers, without new city records. criminal chronicle. They are surprised at the unusual. New York is not surprising with the inhuman dimensions of skyscrapers, the gigantic confident stride of suspension bridges across rivers and straits, goods for all tastes in stores and the international menu of thousands of restaurants and cafes. It’s common and familiar, like the July stuffiness, like traffic jams in the area of shopping streets, like musicals on Broadway.And in New York they are surprised at the most basic things - a daily break in the endless terrible chronicle of crime, calm and order in the crowd, the absence of anxiety in a person who goes out on the street in the evening to breathe. And this is also the amplitude of American civilization. She was the first to create multimillion-dollar cities, accumulated unprecedented material values in them - and she was the first to abandon these cities, frightened by them, running away for safety and tranquility into the comfortable idiocy of the suburbs, where people communicate not with each other, but with television.A year ago, New York found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. There was no money to pay municipal employees; there was no money to fulfill financial obligations on city loans. New York stood with its hand outstretched in the corridors of power in Washington, dramatically symbolizing both the crisis of big cities and that vicious and habitual system of priorities, when it is easier to beg money (and a lot more money!) from Congress and the White House for a new nuclear submarine boat "Trident" than to save American urban civilization. At the last minute, the president and Congress finally saved the city from bankruptcy. How long? After all, the deplorable municipal situation in New York is only an intermediate result of the confrontation between poverty and wealth. The confrontation intensifies as the city grows darker (more than a third of the population is non-white) and poorer amid waves of new immigration (predominantly Puerto Rican in recent years) and businesses, following wealthy white residents, flee to the suburbs, eroding the municipal tax base. . But New York is only one cell of a divided society, which, with all the harsh work of the mechanism of private initiative, teaches its members to be every man for himself, no matter what this threatens to others and the common good, no matter how suicidal it may ultimately turn out against many of those who profess such principles of unenlightened egoism. New York is just one of the cells of society where social, racial, and ethnic conflicts are escalating.The Declaration of Independence, the bicentennial of which Americans are celebrating, is associated with the unwritten American Dream and many American myths. So they wrote in the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming on behalf of the nascent nation the inalienable human rights to life - freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Is it not this “We” that laid the foundation for the myth of the unity of the nation? Contrary to 200 years of evidence, bourgeois politicians and scientists speak of the division of the American nation as a temporary and crisis phenomenon, and of unity as eternal and natural. Such considerations are part of the Jubilee oil. But in our skeptical age, oil is not popular. They cannot gloss over the facts. Separation and alienation are natural accompaniments of American society.Among thousands of others, there was such a project for the bicentennial: on July 4, holding hands, stretch a human chain across the entire width of the North American continent, demonstrating the unity and brotherhood of Americans. There was something here both from the American bard Walt Whitman, who sang the brotherhood of man, and from the custom of today's civil rights fighters; It is they who join hands at their rallies, singing the anthem of solidarity “We will overcome.” The project failed due to lack of funds and poor organization. But the main thing is because of the utopianism of the most beautiful idea: there is no such single human chain in America.2200 years is more than a good reason to look back, to be reminded of those American amplitudes that can be called historical. They contain the dynamism of American capitalism, the talent for organization and efficiency inherent in the American character, the ability to achieve quick economic results, equal in conditions of fierce competition to the ability to survive and succeed, the ruthless discarding of everything that interferes with each new leap forward, with each new attempt to get out of the painful crises, even if this is the fate of thousands and millions of people, human material that has become unnecessary and must be written off for scrap while still alive. In historical amplitudes there are both great achievements and great problems of America.At the dawn of its independent existence, the United States was a purely agrarian country with a population of two and a half million, including half a million black slaves, who in the South, then the richest region of the country, constituted - in monetary terms - two-fifths of all property of citizens. Benjamin Franklin, philosopher, diplomat, and inventor, as well as one of the first futurists, saw no other future for America other than an agricultural one. He was not alone in this misconception. His compatriots also thought of themselves as free farmers forever and ever. Before them lay the richest undeveloped continent, unmeasured and unplowed fertile lands.And what? America today does not appear to the world as a farming country, although its agriculture is famous for its high productivity. Farmers make up only 3 percent of the self-employed population, which indicates a farewell to the naive delusion of the past and the ruin of small farms in the fight against large and major ones. The USA is the most industrialized country in the capitalist world, the leader of the scientific and technological revolution. Electronics have penetrated into all areas of production, management and everyday life, right down to cash registers in department stores and grocery stores connected to an automatic system for recording goods and products (and up to the increasing cases of electronic theft, when, knowing the numbers and codes of bank computers, attackers “write out” yourself tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, without leaving any traces).The two-hundred-year-old amplitude of the American economy, as we know, has known the most severe crises and yet continues to move along an upward, albeit uncertain, curve. What's next? There is optimism in the predictions of experts, discouraged by the recent, worst recession since the 1930s.” By 2000, the gross national product is projected to almost double, to $2,460 billion (in 1972 dollars). But this is overly cautious optimism. Since the second half of the 60s, when the movement to save the environment arose, and especially since the end of 1973, when the energy crisis hit the United States with hurricane suddenness, Americans have been haunted by anxiety: the bowels of the earth are being rapaciously devastated, the era of unbridled waste is coming to an end.Professor Richard Morris, president of the American Historical Association, was asked how Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, would fit into today's America. With great difficulty, answered the historian. A great lover of nature and rural life, Jefferson would have been "shocked by the extremes of urban decay, excessive industrialism and environmental devastation." Jefferson would certainly have been shocked and shocked by the policies and practices of the current American state and its ruling class. The United States was born in the fire of the anti-colonial liberation struggle, and turned into an empire, the leader of world imperialism, an ally and stronghold of reactionary regimes, and an enemy of modern national liberation movements.The historical past is a subject of lively debate. They are trying to evaluate the present through the eyes of the creators of the American republic. The present is applied to the past: does it correspond to the proclaimed ideals that the American learns by heart from school? Along with demagoguery and empty eloquence, there are also sincere attempts to scrape off the textbook gloss, to understand the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and its historical roots. Although 1776 cannot be “resettled” into 1976, the Declaration is not dead, not destroyed by rhetoric, and is still perceived as the birth certificate of a nation, which records its essential characteristics. From generation to generation, she helps to sow the ideals of freedom and equality. But what is freedom? What is equality? Isn't equality similar to dollar bills - both one-dollar and hundred-dollar bills are the same size, but they differ greatly in denomination. What was Jefferson thinking when, while listing human rights, he replaced the right to property with the right to the pursuit of happiness?Over 200 years, how many answers have been given to these questions! Including convincing answers, coming from life, from the self-exposing practice of capitalist society, from revolutionary theory calling for the transformation of the world on a more equitable basis.Bourgeois historians and economists, compressing the fundamental defects of the system into the magnitude of temporary imperfections, “pull down” the grades of American society in the exams of the anniversary year. Take, for example, Arthur Okun, the former head of the White House group of economic advisers, now a senior fellow at the prestigious Brookings Institution (Washington). Yes, he is willing to admit: American capitalism creates “such stark disparities that the rich can feed their dogs better than the poor can feed their children.” But - he consoles himself and others - this is “a conflict between equality and efficiency, between the principles of democracy and the practice of capitalism,” that is, an excusable conflict in which inequality is justified by efficiency, and the “principles of democracy” lay their heads on the chopping block of “the practice of capitalism.” Yes, Arthur Okun admits, “the top one percent of all families earn more income than the entire bottom 15 percent,” and “furthermore, since high incomes allow for savings and investments, the top one percent has accumulated more wealth than the bottom 70 percent.” . But—and here Mr. Okun puffs out his chest with some pride—“a family with an income—at the national average of about $14,000 a year—has access to goods and services today that would have placed it in the top 10 percent of the pyramid in 1948.” Yes, he admits again, “the big debit on the balance sheet of capitalism is, of course, the unequal distribution of income and wealth - disgusting, inhuman and unaesthetic.” But: “Judged only in terms of productive efficiency, American capitalism can be highly rated. It needs rebuilding, perhaps even repair, but not replacement.”As you can see, this is not blind apologetics. Apologetics, in which criticism is skillfully, almost decoratively interspersed, is in fashion and in use. On the edges there is criticism, in the center there is praise. With this approach, they are laid freely - on the side! - millions of registered unemployed and those uncounted, also millions who are not included in the statistics, because, out of despair, they stopped going to labor exchanges. And - also from the side! — those tens of millions, approximately a fifth of Americans, who have incomes below the official poverty level. They are not the majority. Meanwhile, the argumentation of Okun and others is designed specifically for the majority. And I must say that it works. Not through articles and books, but through a strict system of punishments and rewards in the labor market and in life. In a society of “equal opportunities”, “losers” are not favored or pitied, as evidenced, in particular, by the strong mass dissatisfaction with welfare programs. The American man in the street does not like to share the pie he won in a fierce struggle. The economist Okun reveals quite a bit of this psychology when he observes: “The vast majority will not be satisfied if they get an equal share of the shrinking pie...”Even the people who personify it sometimes undertake measured criticism and self-criticism of American capitalism. John Rockefeller Ill commemorated the bicentennial with a book of “personal observations” entitled “The Second American Revolution.” His grandfather, John Rockefeller Sr., creating the richest fortune on earth in an era of rampant plunder and exploitation, earned his contemporaries the title of “the greatest criminal of the century.” John Rockefeller III, aged 70, calls for a “humanist revolution.” In his opinion, this second, of course, peaceful, without shaking the foundations, revolution should, with a delay of 200 years, fulfill the promises of the first. Grandfather, the creator of Standard Oil, became a classic example of success in that pedagogy, which to this day trains young wolf cubs on the models of seasoned wolves of business. And the grandson, a prominent philanthropist, agrees with those who say the ideals of the Declaration of Independence "were never a reality for everyone." Rockefeller III finds "certain blemishes" in US history. “One need only think of the legacy of slavery,” he writes, “of our attitude toward the Indians, or of our tendency to become embroiled in foreign adventures far less glorious than the wars which were necessary to create and preserve our freedom.” According to him, in American life, “competition prevails over compassion, violence appears as a disgusting subtext, the exploitation and destruction of the wealth of nature seems natural.”What's happened? It turns out that the eldest living Rockefeller joined the youth and became infected with their critical fervor, which actively made itself felt in the late 60s and early 70s. He joined because he feels responsible for the fate of American capitalism. The old conservative joined the young liberals and radicals in order to channel their protest in a “constructive direction.” Even though Rockefeller III’s philanthropic recipes look like drops for a runny nose due to liver disease, he did not take the theme of the “humanistic revolution” by chance. He knows: without changing, without adapting, you cannot live and develop, you cannot survive.Typically, American psychology does not favor losers and still surrounds millionaires with an aura of veneration and admiration. In the hearts of many Americans there still lives a naive and strong belief that you can become a millionaire if you just try. If I didn’t succeed, it was my own fault, I didn’t try hard enough. The search for happiness that the Declaration of Independence proclaimed is often pursued along this line. And this works not only for individualism, as an important feature of the American character, but also against solidarity.Let's trace this amplitude further. This faith, this individualistic concept of freedom, like the aura of wealth, still attracts immigrants to America, filling the legal annual quota of 290 thousand people (170 thousand from the countries of the Eastern Hemisphere, 120 thousand from the Western Hemisphere). Since 1820, the United States has welcomed 46 million immigrants. Who gave more to whom: America to them, or they to America? When we ask what America has given them, the answers are individual. Some settled down, learned a new life and the ability to make dollars, passing it on to their children; for many, America remained a stepmother until the end of their days. And they enriched America together. They enriched themselves, first of all, with cheap labor, which is always on hand, not protected by trade unions, the presence of which creates, by the way, in the interests of the ruling class, a special social echelon in America, raising the incomes and living standards of the “indigenous” population and thereby protecting social peace.Did America live up to their expectations? Answers are individual, as are expectations. And just as typical. Look into the black ghettos and the new Puerto Rican and Mexican barrios of New York, Los Angeles and other giant cities on the coasts of both oceans that border this country. There, in the slums and poor schools, amid record unemployment, crime, lack of culture, you will find the answer in the plight of millions (blacks, even as tenth-generation Americans, are often pushed into the unequal position of newly arrived immigrants).“To the common man, America was a utopia,” says historian Richard Morris. “Now that part of the American dream has been further curtailed by the realities of the times. Large segments of our society are reduced to the status of government dependents... For a “society of plenty” we have an excessively high rate of unemployment. A large number of people are on social security, receiving food stamps, medical assistance, and unemployment benefits. The prospect of upward movement is lost for them.”An even broader and pessimistic generalization is made, looking at his country, by Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, former American Ambassador to Moscow and Belgrade, George Kennan, who in his time became famous as the author of the “strategy of containment” of communism:“I do not believe that the American civilization of the last forty or fifty years has been successful... I do not see the answer to the problems of modern civilization within the framework of our highly urbanized industrial society. This society carries within itself the seeds of its own horrors: air that is impossible to breathe, water that is impossible to drink, starvation... We have nothing to teach the world. We must admit that we do not have the answers to the problems of human society in our time."3Overusing quotes means shifting your responsibilities to others. But it is difficult to resist the temptation to “include” the voices of Americans standing on the edges and in the very center of the public scene, to offer the reader a mosaic of remarkable words and thoughts of politicians and journalists, philosophers and lawyers, young, mature, old.This is the mosaic:The "strategy of containment" put us in the same bed as any anti-communist, including the most disgusting despots... But the worst and most destructive consequence of this apostasy, this betrayal of our past, was the damage we inflicted on ourselves. It aged us... A generation after the rust of containment and the hysteria of McCarthyism, we have become an old society, consumed by the old man's dream - the dream of security" (Archibald MacLeish, philosopher and sociologist).“If the current increase in crime, alcoholism, drug addiction and commercial sex continues until 1996, America will by then be the drunkest, most drugged, sex-obsessed and criminal society on earth... Today, more and more people have fewer internal restrictions, There are fewer and fewer taboos of laws and morality... Pleasure and profit have become the only guidelines in individual behavior. “The law” is perceived as an enemy that must either be destroyed or outwitted. Ultimately, the only “sin” is being caught” (Claire Boothe Luce, conservative journalist, widow of the owner of the Time Life publishing concern).“Today's scandals involving corporations, sex, fraud, the FBI and the CIA confirm yesterday's analysis of the radicals. In fact, the radicalism of the 60s is quickly becoming the common sense of the 70s... The atmosphere of scandal that is rampant in America is a sign of the decay of the power that has emerged in the last 30 years. We are entering a completely new age of restrictions with the same leadership and the same philosophy. We are left with expansionist corporations and labor unions that coexist with them, expansionist energy plans, interventionist designs abroad, and the old ethic of conspicuous and wasteful consumption. And we live in a world of dwindling resources, new states and a new balance of power" (Tom Hayden, founder of the Students for a Democratic Society, one of the leaders of the anti-war Movement).“American power, demonstrated in two world wars, has led us to assume that our power has extended to the farthest corners of the globe. Recent decades have dispelled these illusions. It has become impossible to live in our cities. New and new brands of cars, televisions and refrigerators only devastate us... We have discovered that we are capable of evil: think of the bombs dropped on Southeast Asia” (Archibald Cox, law professor, first special prosecutor in the Watergate case).“The aspirations of the United States have always been noble. This is why the people of the United States proudly call themselves Americans. But if we are honest with ourselves, we readily admit that the gap between our aspirations and reality is too great, that America is still far from achieving the goals that we set for ourselves two hundred years ago" (Gerald Ford, US President).“We were shaken by a tragic war abroad, scandals and broken promises at home. Our people are looking for new voices, new ideas and new leaders... Too many have suffered at the hands of a political and economic elite that made decisions and never held accountable for mistakes or suffered injustice. When unemployment rises, they never queue for work. When deprivation arises from the convoluted welfare system, they are never left without food or clothing, without shelter over their heads. When the public schools are bad and in trouble, their children go to private schools." (Jimmy Carter, Bicentennial Presidential Runner)This mosaic can be expanded to the size of a panorama.Working as a correspondent for Izvestia in New York and Washington, I witnessed up close the turmoil and upheaval of many American years. Political murders, black riots, and student unrest have always been accompanied by that American “soul searching” that allows us to talk about the “mysterious American soul,” if only in retaliation for the abundant local discussions about the “mysterious Russian soul.” Now the streets and squares of American cities are not seething with protest rallies, the Pentagon is not being stormed by opponents of the war, it is calm near the fence of the White House. But there is no shortage of critical analysis and assessment. Firstly, as already mentioned, they are dictated by the inevitable retrospective of the bicentennial, which also coincided with the next election year.Secondly - and this, in my opinion, is more important and lasting - in the United States they are summing up the 30-year post-war period, saying goodbye to it. This farewell began during the Vietnam War, then was accelerated by the years of detente. It is a difficult, long, painful farewell - with hesitations that show how strong the inertia and psychology of the Cold War is, even among those who would like to end it, with the counter-offensives of the "military-industrial complex", which, achieving new record military spending goals, proves how sensitive the hearts of senators and congressmen are still to old-fashioned motives about “Soviet power”, which is about to outstrip or has already outstripped the American one. Nevertheless, the farewell is coming, freeing even the most die-hards from the expectations of the “American century” and forcing them, resentful of the world, to seek solace in impulses towards non-isolationism, giving a mocking, rather than arrogant, character to discussions about the “omnipotence” of the United States.Epochs are not said goodbye like casual acquaintances on the street, cheerfully shaking hands. Epochs make their way from one to another. Détente sharpened awareness of the ideological incompatibility between the Soviet Union and the United States. In America, alas, there are more than enough figures who are using the fact of this incompatibility to again attack the principles of peaceful coexistence, try to interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union, and interfere with the process of materializing détente - strategic arms limitation agreements, trade and economic ties. At the same time, the detente pushed the process of critical self-reflection and looking inside.Even our small mosaic shows how impressive the list of internal problems is, from social and moral to environmental. Despite all the external stability, the largest capitalist power with its intercontinental missiles and gigantic economic potential is constantly in a fever. There is, of course, something of the American dynamism in the fever, born of the strong electric field of competition that permeates the whole life of society. But there is no less crisis in it; it, like magma under the earth’s crust, is always present here and erupts more often than magma. This crisis, derived from the socio-economic structure, is shaking the political system of power, affecting American presidents, destroying the favorite American myths about Atlanteans in the White House, holding their hand to the nuclear button, and the globe on their shoulders. In the 60s and 70s, fate did not spare any of the occupants of the presidential Oval Office: the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, the political withdrawal of Lyndon Johnson in 1968 as a result of the “home” rebound of the Vietnam War, the dizzying amplitude of Richard Nixon, re-elected in 1972 by a huge majority and resigned in disgrace in August 1974. There are different versions of Kennedy's assassination, but the broken careers of Johnson and Nixon are directly related to crisis socio-political phenomena: the Vietnam adventure and the Watergate scandal.Defeat in Indochina, as a crushing foreign policy culmination of the post-war period, as the bankruptcy of the “arrogance of strength” and militant anti-communism... Economic shocks - a severe recession, mass unemployment and especially inflation, which hit most Americans in the most sensitive place - their pockets... In this The Watergate scandal burst into the turbulent climate of the early 1970s with its revelations of dishonesty, espionage, corruption and outright wrongdoing in the highest echelons of power. Watergate opened, one might say, an entire era of scandals, developing since 1972 - scandals with the CIA and the FBI, with Lockheed and transnational corporations, with the interference of money in politics, in Congress, etc. Scandals are also an American form of farewell with the Cold War period. Essentially, a multi-stage restructuring of the building of political and administrative power, built during the years of international tension and nuclear missile confrontation, is taking place - with its special aura of the presidency, which under Nixon already began to be called “imperial”, with departments of internal and external espionage and investigation erected to the rank of inviolable patriotic shrines.Watergate, combined with everything else, has cast a long shadow over this election year. Result? A catastrophic decline in American confidence in Washington and Washington politicians, in what is designated by the word - the establishment. Who benefits from this? For those who are not involved in scandals. An example of a political outsider who had a successful start and has a good chance of a successful finish in November is Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. The former governor of Georgia (1971-1975), he became widely known even in his home state only a few years ago, and found himself a newcomer on the national stage, taking advantage of it in the post-Watergate atmosphere.Of course, this is not a “man on the street” or a left-wing radical, but a completely traditional centrist, a bourgeois politician who has already surrounded himself with people of the establishment and is building bridges to big business. It is curious, however, with what face he turns to the mass voter, how he “reads” the mood of Americans, emphasizing in his campaign categories not political and economic, but moral: honesty (he vowed never to lie in the White House), trust and, imagine , Love.He promises something that does not and cannot exist in an antagonistically divided society, but to which people are drawn, feeling their insignificance and powerlessness next to large omnipotent corporations, a large bureaucratic government and the so-called big politics that does not see the simple needs of the common man.If not love, then, in any case, Gerald Ford also emphasizes honesty - personally and for his administration.The 1976 election campaign adds another evangelical cliché to love: “healing wounds.” For American politics, this is an eternal technique; each contender for the White House acts as a healer. Johnson worked to heal discord when he became president after Kennedy's assassination. When the Vietnam War and the black uprisings sprinkled fresh salt on the “national wounds,” Nixon took up the task of healing them. But his reign culminated in Watergate. Can the wounds of disconnection and alienation be healed? Is it possible to return to unity - to what did not exist?! MYSTERY-BUFFThe July sun, having heated up the concrete and asphalt, taking as its allies the smog infused with toxic car exhausts, wants the people of New York to survive. People are exhausted, but do not give up. Masters and prisoners of the city, they fight off the heat alone and together, with all available means: Coca-Cola in tall glasses filled with crushed ice, fashionable sleeveless T-shirts that half-expose young bodies, the coolness of shaded bars where the light of day does not penetrate, precious canopy trees in Central Park and stunted public gardens, ocean drafts on the beaches of Long Island and Coney Island, and most of all, air-conditioned air - both in cars and in houses where the windows are tightly closed at the height of summer. The heat is hot, but you have to live - and you have to work. Like a giant jackhammer, the city shakes from morning to night in its own roar, gnawing into the thickness of everyday life. For four days in a row, a swirl of people outside the circular building of Madison Square Garden, draped in the giant red, blue and white banners, stars and stripes of the national flag. This new, fourth Madison Square Garden is built quite far from Madison Square, where its predecessor was located. The predecessor, already decrepit, was written off by the commercial fever of renewal. What a rich history has settled like dry dust among its demolished walls, what passionate emotions! What records of American passion for extravagant spectacles! There, cyclists sparkled the spokes of their wheels for six days in a row, and boogie-woogie lovers danced until they dropped at competitions for days on end, there, natural cowboys from Texas and Arizona tamed wild horses, to the delight of anemic townspeople, and ballet on ice glided elegiacally. There Elvis Presley, a not yet fattened idol with a beautiful oval face, plunged young admirers into a frenzy with the rhythms of rock and roll, and the graceful Muhammad Ali, the Greatest of the Greatest, knocked out his powerful and also black rivals. And at countless political rallies, the arena and amphitheater seemed to form a gigantic megaphone facing the sky, and 20 thousand people shouted various pros and cons, picked up the anthem of civil rights fighters or a prayer for saving the world from communism (I was I once witnessed such a rally).The new Madison Square Garden rose on the bones of the famous Penn Station, which also fell victim to the fever of renewal. However, let's not forget that New York knows how to combine incompatible things. The colonnade of Penn Station, for which connoisseurs of New York antiquity fought with pickets, disappeared from the face of expensive Manhattan land under the pressure of the dollar, but the station remained underground. Now there, in the underground, in the underground of the new Madison Square Garden, short- and long-distance trains arrive and depart, the subway operates.The sound of trains in the tunnels going under and beyond the Hudson, boarding and disembarking on the platforms, hurrying people in the passage corridors, shops, kiosks, bars, restaurants - a 24-hour sleepless underground life. And above the ground, behind the red-blue-white banners drooping in the July heat, in the modernist hall of the new Madison Square Garden, which is beginning to unfold its scroll of spectacles and events, the National Convention of the Democratic Party is noisily taking place, meeting on another leap year to choose candidate for President of the United States of America.Hurry to see it in person and on television! The Democratic Donkey challenges the Republican Elephant. Misriyah-buff "Democracy in Action". Only once every four years! The first and only time in the Year and Month of the Bicentennial! Senators and governors, contenders for the White House - and in person! — The next President of the United States of America. America's most famous television entertainers are at your service - Walter and John, Barbara and Harry: Hurry! Hurry up! Hurry up!Your humble servant is also in a hurry, having arrived from Washington, having been accredited to the convention months in advance....Every participant and spectator is marked and classified with a tag on his chest. The colors and shapes of the tags determine the importance, access and admission of a particular tag bearer.Security is a serious word in today's buffet mysteries.Security is both safety and security. The policeman standing at the wooden barrier a hundred meters from the entrance simply looks at the yellow press tag. The second barrier is near the electronic X-ray box, through which, as at international airports, briefcases and folders are passed through. There, someone in civilian clothes is looking at the tag. And finally, at the very entrance, another one in civilian clothes highlights the yellow tag with a tiny blue special flashlight, and the tag answers him in some language that they only understand: their own, without counterfeiting. On the chest of the man with the flashlight is a round sign with the magic word security...The convention hall bursts into the ears with the roar of thousands of voices, and into the eyes with the diversity of clothes and freedom of morals. It is not necessary to listen to speakers, and they don’t really listen to the chairman with his gavel. They loiter more than they sit. In the arena and in the aisles, one immediately notices strange people with metal backpacks on their backs and antenna rods above their heads - television reporters. Balloons on strings... Flags and slogans in hands... Jester's caps and boaters on their heads...To a person accustomed to other gatherings, the whole thing seems less like a convention than an all-American fair, attended by old and young, white and black, men and women from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia capital.5 thousand delegates and their deputies. 4 thousand delegates' wives, husbands, children. One thousand diplomatic observers: the whole world is unraveling the riddles and mysteries of America, giving birth to its Next President. 7800 (outdone everyone!) - from television, newspapers, magazines, writing, speaking, providing technical electronic support. And countless hosts of political scientists and sociologists, forecasters-programmers, expert consultants, political hairdressers and speech writers, errand boys and security guards, and - the circles are spreading ever wider - friends and buddies, admirers and patrons, sutlers and businessmen, singers from cabaret and striptease girls, comedians, punsters, pickpockets and prostitutes... Everyone with their goods at this all-American flea market. The richest country. The most important event. Who will show up, who will be useful, and who will profit...New York City Hall lured the convention to the city, shelling out 3 and a half million dollars for rent and special equipment for Madison Square Garden from the city's very thin treasury. In the hope that it will be rewarded a hundredfold. And it is rewarded. Hotels buzz with hives. Shops, theaters and restaurants are available to visitors. Rich patrons of the arts from the city Citizens' Committee, also hoping for a hundredfold, throw receptions on street pavements and port piers. According to reports that could not be personally verified, even New York taxi drivers have become polite and, separating themselves from guests in the back seats of their cars with bulletproof glass partitions, talk to them through hearing devices. Business - profits. Police officers get overtime. Spectacles for the people!But a strange atmosphere of yawning and boring excitement reigns in Madison Square Garden, in local newspapers, which devote many pages to the convention, and even on the television screen, where the three main television giants pull the viewer towards them with their channels, like ropes. There is plenty of buffoonery, but no mystery, because the ending is predetermined. Everyone knows who will be shouted out, nominated, chosen as a Presidential Candidate on that main evening, when, hiding the boredom on their faces under the guns of television cameras, they will raise it to ecstasy with their voices. The opponents of the winner laid down their arms, publicly accepted their defeat and, having changed the record, are no longer talking about rivalry, but about unity - in the face of the decisive November battle with the Elephant Party.The winner is in town, but not at the convention. According to custom, he will not appear there until late in the evening of the day when he will be nominated and chosen and invited and introduced shouting, whistling, blowing horns, waving signs and releasing balloons to the ceiling of the delegates: “The next President of the United States!”Surrounded by bodyguards and reporters, from time to time he flashes on the New York streets, testing and expanding his popularity, but mostly a recluse (a very un-American activity, but what can you do?) awaits the call of the convention and fate. With his wife and children and even his mother, with other close people and assistants, the Candidate stayed on the 21st floor of a hotel with a patriotic name, 2-3 kilometers X from Madison Square Garden. Another four floors are occupied by his retinue, which grows like a snowball as the Candidate advances to the White House, to supreme power. He is still a private citizen, but not for the secret service, because all applicants are being guarded after the tragic incident when, during the election campaign, the brother of the Murdered President was killed, standing on the road to the White House. The candidate directs the convention by telephone and through his people who know how to pull the strings in Madison Square Garden. Three color televisions installed in his room and turned on to the three main channels also keep him up to date with what is happening.I had to shut myself up, respecting custom, but the image of the Candidate constantly looms on the television screen. Here he appeared again, this image, in another live television report from the hotel. Look how simple he is - in farmer's jeans and an untucked shirt, with a pencil in his hand. I thought about a piece of paper. He writes something in, crosses something out. He's working on a speech he'll give before the convention when he's elected. It works without being embarrassed by TV crews. The tele-eye intriguingly slides down the Candidate's figure. Honest mother, barefoot! Barefoot in front of a TV camera... Barefoot for all of America...Just a year and a half ago, the Candidate was the governor of a southern state, from where no one had ever become president. I also happened to walk through his office one day. There were four lines left in the travel diary: “Boyishly abundant and fluffy hair, and a boyish face, but with wrinkles. Nice manners. Large office. Long desk with marble top (marble, of course, local).” There was a tape recording of the conversation left - five pages of statements by the governor about the deep transformation of the American South, about a new understanding between whites and blacks, about the desire of the American people to cleanse themselves of the dirt of the Scandal of the Century, from lies and concealment of facts in the White House, etc. If I had known, I would have asked around. I wish it was better, but who knew then?! Although there was talk about his plans, about his impulses towards the White House, who took them seriously? Forecasters are often strong only in hindsight and only in hindsight do they accurately play their solitaire games.Just five months ago, a stubborn eccentric, unknown and lonely, the Candidate stood in the cold March dawns at the factory gates and doors of supermarkets in the tiny Granite State in the north, extending his hand to hurrying passers-by, patiently explaining to them the fact of his existence and his intentions, persuading them to vote for him in the primary elections, the first in the country. Passers-by, shivering from the cold, hurried past, and many did not take their hands out of their pockets. The newspapers laughed at the eccentric. But he who laughs as a winner laughs well. He proved the infallibility of his Political Instincts, or, as we say, he fell in line. He captured the Middle of the Field, that is, the mass voter who turned away from representatives of the Washington establishment and loved the outsider from the South. He rose to victory in state primary elections, promising to "bring government back to the people" and rid the country of the taint of the Scandal of the Century.Yes, votes cost money. But he had the initial money. And the one who has proven the ability to get votes will always receive additional money - after all, it is profitable to invest in him, as in the production of marketable goods.And now those difficult trial months are behind us. And everywhere, like a political phenomenon of the year, the Candidate’s wide smile, his large, long, not very beautiful, but very healthy, American teeth, reproduced in millions of copies. A smile as a trademark. Evidence of 100% Americanism. The smile of a man from the earth, from a farm tractor, from a small town, where everything is so nostalgically simple, honest, open - the earth, the sky, the people.This wide smile is already lying, imagine, on tables in dentists’ waiting rooms, adapted for advertising. Small traders are already churning it out in the form of bottle openers. And she is carried to the White House as a victory banner and the main point of the political program: who wouldn’t believe a man with such a smile?! And the Washington veterans of the Donkey Party bow down before that most American of idols—the idol of success. The Honorable Loser, who in the same Granite State stood in vain through the cold dawns, now humbly - and in vain - waits to see if he will be chosen as a candidate for vice president. The honored Liberal, having lost hope of his own victory, also jumped into the Candidate's van and praised him in every possible way as the hope of the party and the nation. And the former Southern Governor, who frightened northern liberals until a certain crazy person doomed him to paralysis with his shots and took him out of the game, is also in favor. O priests of the moment, fans of success! Everyone is reaching out to a new living symbol of influence and power. Everyone wants to be closer. And even the Legendary Walter, an incomparable TV star, just as tireless and charming, with the same childish unexpected laughter, which is unclear how it has been preserved all these long years, is shyly in the hay, or is it really with happiness? - when the Candidate’s Wife, sitting as an honored guest in the hall, is brought to his temporary studio, raised to the ceiling of Madison Square Garden.Selflessly, like nightingales, the speakers sing.“...I offer you today a man with a new vision of leadership, one who feels the mood and direction of our country... A leader who has the heart and courage to remain true to that vision... A leader who has compassion for the marginalized and forgotten... ."And it went and went. Rhetorical rage. Choke. Momentary sayings that have a shorter lifespan than miniskirt hems and go out of fashion even faster...God created Adam from clay. American voters of their first man (for four years) create from smiles, television glare and soap bubbles of rainbow words in the deceptively dazzling brilliance of today. Do they know who they are creating? Do they know that, having exalted loudly, they will soon overthrow in the same way?!Are you in a hurry to see? If only for the first time! In the interval from the Half-Century Murder to the Scandal of the Century, I watched several such mysteries. With endings that convinced: no, they don’t know who they are creating.The first took place in charming San Francisco. The Elephant Party nominated Too Conservative as its presidential candidate there, but he frightened the voter so much that he left the Big Texan from the Donkey Party in the White House with an unprecedented majority; however, this was not the unexpected ending, but that the winner, forgetting about his own program of endurance and common sense, followed the aggressive program of the vanquished - to bomb Vietnam to the end - and the end turned out to be his own, far from victorious, politically disastrous. The Big Texan did not run for a second term and withdrew in the name, of course, of the unity of the nation.And another mystery was playing out before my eyes in the resort of Miami Beach, where, returning from night meetings of the same congress, I saw gray rubber bands of dawn Atlantic waves running ashore as a sign of eternity. The Donkey Party elected Too Liberal as its candidate there, who vowed to drastically cut the military budget and stop bombing Vietnam on the very first day of his presidency (he was still being bombed, although eight years had passed since the defeat of Too Conservative), but the voter, again by an unprecedented majority, preferred in November The trickster Dickie, but again this was not the unexpected ending, but the fact that less than two years had passed before the triumphant flew out of the White House with a bang under the pressure of the Scandal of the Century.Oh, the mystical underbelly of pragmatic, computer-infused—and yet unpredictable—American democracy!If in great wisdom there is much sorrow, then in great experience there is little consolation. Journalists are professional skeptics. “The candidate is still a mystery to many of those who conduct the applause in his honor” - this is a voice from our ranks, the Wise Observer, “Boredom, boredom, boredom” also from our ranks, the Foreign Correspondent. But work is work, and if you are not a feuilletonist, but your own correspondent, you need to restrain your laughter and put on a serious face when describing an event that looks so big and serious in the present day of such a large country.With yellow tags we go to Madison Square Garden, we type texts of speeches in the press center, we sit in hundreds in assigned seats in a multi-row press section and in fits of vanity we even dream, at least for a while, of getting another tag, for the elite, giving the right go to the arena itself and walk freely among the delegates there. But the Soviets, as usual, are treated with courtesy and wariness, and it is not courtesy, but wariness that prevails. Besides, what use are we to them?! The treasured tags go to the Americans, to our own people, and most of all to the television people.Television is the main god. Like all American gods, he superstitiously and fussily serves not eternity, but the minute, and, in the end, this convention is not so much a fair as a four-day television show. In order to reach as many millions of people as possible with gatherings in front of the television screen, the convention meets in the evenings (taking away delegates from theaters and cabarets), at prime time - the best television time.There are two and a half thousand television workers. Their closed, carriage-sized trailers stand behind the scenes, in the corridors, and on the street. Their temporary offices are located across the street from Madison Square Garden, although from there it is no more than a 20-minute walk from their New York skyscraper headquarters. And at every step there are familiar fonts and letters of their names, their branded technicians and security guards, their pretty assistants and secretaries.Delegates are also actors. You will be lost without the ability to speak well and behave well in front of television cameras. At any moment they are ready with their television replicas to television reporters known throughout the country, who sniff and spend the night in the hall and with the rods of their antennas, with the bottom transmitters behind their backs, they look like a scuba diver or like Martians from the science fiction novels of yesterday, refuted by today's cosmic reality. And yesterday’s Martians obey their television directors, hovering in seventh heaven at Madison Square Garden, in glass, specially mounted studios hanging from the ceiling above the hall...The television screen is so rich and colorful, so intrusive and irresistible, that it seems like a life-size image of America. It seems that this is nature. It seems that nothing escapes and simply cannot escape his all-seeing eye. He is omnipresent and omnipotent - and yet, shake off the obsession, this is synthetics, a clever imitation of nature. It is worth leaving the convention hall onto the street, onto Seventh Avenue, where Madison Square Garden and the Statler-Hilton Hotel are located opposite each other, and - where is it, the television illusion of the completeness of the image of life? Life cannot be captured in any lens, nor can it be contained in the widest and fastest screen. Life is always broader.... Steamy natural New York air. Blue evening, permeated with orange neon. People in the blue evening. Here is a girl with an arrow sign on her chest: “To the buses of the Convention delegates.” A large cardboard arrow points to where another girl stands across the street with the same arrow and words written in thick felt-tip pen. Near the second girl is a guy with a megaphone. "Here! Here!" - he shouts, raising the megaphone to his lips. He's young. It seems to him that he is busy with important work. He is annoyed that they do not listen to him. "Here! Here! “he calls. People are arrows, events are arrows. But they don’t hear them, they go on their way.At the doors of the Statler-Hilton Hotel they sell badges with the Candidate's smile. Different icons with the same smile. The smiles of the other contenders disappeared from the sale. There is no longer a demand for them.The police are pushing more demonstrators from the pavement to the sidewalk. They have slogans in their hands: “Give us our rights as parents!”, “Where would you be if your mother had an abortion?” A new social movement is anti-abortion. As long as they behave peacefully and do not pose a threat. The police watch them lazily.  The policemen are picturesque and heavy-bodied, like draft horses. On wide belts there are batons, Colt pistols in open holsters, handcuffs, walkie-talk transmitters, bandoliers, and bunches of keys. Plump receipt books protrude from the back pockets of his trousers.The New York people are disheveled, multi-feathered, spoiled, but not satiated with spectacles. There's a pair of each creature. Exotic blacks with amulets on their necks and wrists, shiny black, wearing T-shirts of poisonous colors. An Indian woman, wrapped in a quilt, took refuge against the wall for the night.Some drunkards with swollen, inflamed faces and dirty, disheveled hair. A Hasidic Jew with a long black beard, wearing a black bowler hat and a black suit makes his way sideways, raising his cane and as if distancing himself from the other rabble.At the entrance to the bookstore, on the covers of books, the Candidate’s wide smile again awaits passers-by. The binding is paper, the book is not yet in hardcover, the publishers, apparently, do not hope that the reader will be generous.I'm walking down dark Seventh Avenue. Let the convention reign on television and at Madison Square Garden. Here is ordinary life with other mysteries and buffoonery. Queue for the porn film “Fantasex”. Purity and simplicity on the faces of young boys and girls; dancing on the corner, they sing spiritual hymns in rock style. And again people with posters, another demonstration: “We are Christian lesbians!”, “Freedom for homosexuality!”, “Perverts, unite!” Defiantly confused faces. Protecting this freedom, protecting the demonstrators, mounted police officers prance along the pavement.Familiar places. On Broadway there are fewer lights and extravagance, more blacks and fatigue. The same dazzling beads of light bulbs light up the canopies of movie theaters, giant posters for porn films, display cases with watches, tape recorders and electronic calculators, in dirty, dangerous entrances there are donor points where degenerate people sell their blood because they have nothing else to offer in the American market of life. It’s scary to turn the corner onto Eighth Avenue - there are the possessions of thieves, drug addicts, pimps and girls at the doors of massage parlors - that’s what semi-legal brothels are now called...What is it?At the corner of Forty-second Street and Eighth Avenue, as befits a New York corner, there is a wire trash can the size of a beer keg. Stuffed with newspapers, cans of beer and soft drinks, paper glasses and plates, packaging bags, leftover food... And with his backside buried in a basket, his legs up, some drunkard is sitting on a pile of garbage. The drunken sea is knee-deep. Blissful wet-lipped smile. With his arms spread wide, he is ready to embrace the whole world, and in his right hand a glass flask glitters as a guarantee of inexhaustible happiness. Nobody cares about him. All around is the city, advertising lights, shuffling feet, people talking and screaming, car horns, a hot, stuffy summer evening. From above from the dark skies, the lit stars look in vain.TOUCHING HIROSHIMA1Beginning of August. Noon. Short shadows on Manhattan avenues, compressed by the scorching, dazzling sun that has risen to its zenith. Noon on Friday, and the anticipation of the summer weekend and another life, when, waking up on Saturday morning, you know that your “newspaper in Moscow has already been published, and you are your own boss until Sunday evening. And already the wife is busy with groceries, bags, and a tartan-checkered refrigerator bucket, providing the material basis for the idea of two-day family harmony outside the boring walls. The children, helping her, jump with joyful excitement before the road, and friends and colleagues clarify by phone: when and where are we going? Expectation of a short, free life, when, having loaded supplies, you take the car out of the garage and join a powerful automobile. the exodus of New Yorkers, you leave the city, so beautifully sad in its empty, bare streets, and finally - after suffering through congestion and traffic jams - a smooth turn onto the saving Long Island Expressway - and there the cars dissolved, moved away, no longer bumper to bumper, already speed, and the air whistles through the open windows... Manhattan is behind, and Queens is behind, and ahead is a womb, cramped, populated and built up, but the mother womb of nature - the blinding shine of big water, the open big sky, not the noise of cars on the highway , and the rustle of the wind in the trees and the transformation of the sun's rays, which do not sting, but bless, embrace you warmly and powerfully, plunging you somewhere on the beach, on the sand, under the splash of a wave, into the blissful slumber of eternal life, encouraging the city man to live according to a mysterious calendar of the universe...So, it was the Friday before the summer weekend at the beginning of August and such, although not so solemnly felt, was the mood for Saturday and Sunday. But the work day still lasted, and at noon there was the gray, new, standard-showy City Squire Motel Motor Inn”, one of the first representatives of multi-story modernism in the central! parts of Broadway, and a visit to people who came to the New York heat for the weekend, just when the residents were preparing, as best they could, to flee their city, cursed by the month of August.In the cool, darkened motel lobby, where it was nice to find yourself after the harsh sun, the attendant, moving against the backdrop of rectangular slots for keys and mail, smiled slightly at the name of Jacob Beads, and said with familiar irony: “Ah, bomber team!” - and remembered the room number, from which I concluded that they remembered the bomber team and knew that here they were like celebrities - celebrities, famous people.Elevator. 22nd floor. Empty corridor. Only a black maid, dressed in a white robe, rolls a cart with dirty bed linen. I search and find number 2240. Just about to knock, I hear a noise behind the door, it swings open: with screams, pressing on each other, four boys of different heights and ages fly out of it, but it’s immediately obvious that they are brothers. Next is a thin, middle-aged woman. Mother. And in the voice of a mother, fearing for her children in a strange, hot, hugely cozy city, in a hectic and dangerous part of it, on the 22nd floor of an unfamiliar motel, she begins to reason with the mischievous people who are about to scatter like peas along the corridor. The eldest is already a young man, the youngest is no more than eight.I look at the worried woman, the cheerful boys and the metal numbers on the door. Was the duty officer mistaken? Where is Jacob Biser and does he live here? I ask the woman. No, the professional memory of celebrities did not fail the knowingly grinning attendant. Jacob Biser lives in this very room and this woman is the husband, and the naughty boys who stared at me with curiosity, the father. It’s just that he himself is in another room, and Mrs. Beads, helping the stranger, sends me to the end of the corridor, following me with a look that reads satisfaction like: “Well, here’s another one...”The door is open to a large, bright room. There are two men on the sofa... Both without jackets, both in short-sleeved shirts - it’s hot, the sun is unbearably scorching outside the window, on the large white balcony. For one, a bow tie certifies that, although he is without a jacket, he is not really on vacation, but on business, he allows himself some freedom in clothing, but does not forget about performing his duties. Both have the look of people waiting for visitors, and the door is hospitably open with an invitation to come. They are not at all surprised by my appearance; on the contrary, they beckon me to them and readily, smiling and thereby immediately establishing contact, rise to meet me from the sofa. Let's get acquainted. the one with the bow tie is the desired Jacob Beads, thin, wide face, thick eyebrows, black hair with gray hair. He is very energetic and by his behavior, without offending or hurting his comrade, he makes it clear that he is the elder of the two. The other one, tall, slow, physically strong, is named Charles McKnight. Gray hair and a receding hairline age McKnight, but both are about the same age—45 to 50.Then, of course, a well-known shadow of surprise runs across their faces: Soviet?! But then it disappears. Soviet is so Soviet. There is actually something in this. You are welcome, any representative of any press is welcome. They sit me down on the sofa. Mr. Beads, taking a business card, without hesitation, writes down my details in a notebook open on a small table near the wall. They tell me that this is a visitor register. Like the motel attendant who named the room from memory, like the door open to this room specially designated for the reception of the press, the accounting notebook convinces me that Jacob Biser and his comrades are doing everything so that their arrival does not go unnoticed in New York, always oversaturated with famous people and sensational events, and that, sitting on the sofa, they wait for journalists with the same impatient patience with which a fisherman waits for a fish, throwing out his fishing rod and making himself comfortable on the shore. And for the future, for memory and stories to relatives and friends, for family chronicles and legends, Jacob Beads started this notebook - a document where it is written down exactly who came from the newspapers, who recorded them on what radio, who filmed for television, who was received They are in this finest hour, when they turned out to be celebrities - famous people in the most famous American city...Phone calls are ringing, tearing Mr. Beads away from the conversation that has begun. He answers briefly and clearly, checking his daily schedule, sometimes cracking a joke, and each time he hangs up he tells McKnight who called. And it’s mostly the press that calls. Either a reporter from the UPI news agency, or a television crew from ABC, or someone else from some newspaper promise to come after lunch, but I, a stranger who is not so punctual in observing lunch time, am lucky this time. Lunch break, short solitude and in these moments of forced downtime for Biser and McKnight, I am the only person with whom you can talk, share memories, to whom you can declare yourself. And Biser, the main ringleader and talker, the compiler of the program for their meeting, to begin with, to disperse, informs me that in total there are 75-80 people meeting in New York with their wives and children, that the motel in which we are sitting has 26 reservations numbers that they will stay here for three days. Tonight is a friendly social cocktail party. On Saturday morning, at breakfast, there is a general meeting. In the evening there is a gala banquet and speeches. Between the meeting and the banquet - a tour of the city on an individual basis, shops for wives, attractions and entertainment for children, a visit to the World Exhibition. On Sunday morning there is a group farewell breakfast. And until we meet again - in another city, at the beginning of another August.There is no fantasy in this program; the economy is evident in neither expensive restaurants nor even Broadway musicals. A simple program - like thousands of others. You never know how many such reunions happen in New York - such reunions when, after a long break, colleagues or classmates come from everywhere to shake off the old days and indulge in memories.Meanwhile, the meeting was extraordinary! The current prominent member of the Westinghouse Corporation's aerospace division, Jacob Biser, came here in another capacity - as a wartime lieutenant, as a veteran of the 509th Special Forces Air Force Group, which dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And McKnight is a veteran of the 509th Airlift Group. And all the others about whom it was said generally: “Ah, bomber command!” This is what a meeting of veterans is like.I learned about it from newspaper articles. The notes had a good-natured, mocking tone: these guys are itching too. And I read it and gasped, refusing to believe my eyes, and was not immediately able to digest this, from the point of view of New York newspapers, petty, transitory, just curious information. What's going on? And how can this be explained? Even if then, in 1945, they were just cogs in the military machine, random - if not them, then others - executors of an order that did not yet look monstrously criminal, even if they did not know what they were participating in, and therefore were innocent, but now -they know what they participated in. And they know - and everyone else knows. And yet they organize this reunion of their own, and not only meet with each other, but also loudly and publicly want to remind everyone who has forgotten that it is their names that are written on that page of world history? Incredible!Incredible! I wrote this word, confidently put an exclamation point and immediately began to doubt: is it really so incredible? Does this word, accompanied by an exclamation, accurately convey what I felt when I came across notes about the meeting of the “Hiroshima pilots”? no, not exactly and not completely. Yes, the message itself was stunningly unexpected. but wasn’t I prepared for this fantastic situation, for this group pathology with my - by that time almost four years of correspondent experience in America and the truths about Man that I learned there (which I associated only with America, probably because it was time to learn them and my achievements occurred during my years abroad, in New York). Is there really a limit to human vanity, especially when it is stimulated by the structure of society and the entire course of life, when, moreover, it is profitable - in the most literal sense - it pays for itself when it generates income. We say - be able to present yourself. In America, you can sell yourself, and this is not an empty phrase. Who can pitch and sell themselves most successfully and profitably? Those who are famous, in the public eye, everyone is interested in, whom the public is watching with all their eyes. The most important (and most profitable) thing is to be known. In this case, the polarities disappear and the poles converge. Saint and sinner are equated not by chance with the neutral word celebrity - celebrity, fame. Like all people, Americans are not indifferent to fame and glory, but more indifferent than others to its origin and character, to its moral or immoral content...Incredible? It was 1965, and the word “escalation” was in political parlance. The Americans methodically, massively and brutally bombed North Vietnam. As a Soviet correspondent, for the first time in my life I found myself on the territory of another country at a time when it was waging a war with a third, friendly country. The Americans fought as they were accustomed to, as they had always fought, with the exception of their civil war, on foreign soil. And this war of theirs for the time being did not at all interfere with economic prosperity, and was not at all like the one that we experienced.I remembered the German air raids on Gorky in the summer of 1942, the shuddering and pouring of the ground under the bombs, the running luminous dotted lines of tracer bullets in the black sky, the night movements into the basement of the bomb shelter, the frightened mother and us three children, the “gap” across the street from which after a direct hit, the dead were carried out. As a boy, he drank his own, albeit insignificant, drop from the cup of suffering of his people.The American bombing of Vietnam proved to me the moral deafness and blindness of a country that did not know modern wars on its own territory, could not - and as if did not want - to understand the grief of others, and was accustomed, in order to save American lives, to be cruelly merciless, not to spare either the old or the young in another country, relying on its superiority in weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction. The well-being and vitality of Soviet correspondents working in New York and Washington were largely determined then by the news from Vietnam and the struggle that was waged around Vietnam in America.And in this sense, I was also prepared for the meeting of the “Hiroshima pilots.” Incredible? No matter how it is. No, everything is possible, everything is probable. And having learned about the anniversary (20 years) gathering of participants in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I was shocked and depressed, but immediately thought: - this is the topic! This is a revealing topic! A professional journalist does not sleep in a shocked person, insisting that the shock does not go in vain, so that the emotional charge generated by it is discharged into shock material. Therefore, I did not go to the Broadway motel blindly, not at random, but with a specific task. I had never seen these people, but the right to judge and condemn them seemed undeniable to me. Isn’t this a universal shame and disgrace when, ambitious and vain, they serve and sell themselves as cogs and; performers of the Apocalypse; created by man, who boldly and insanely dangerously rose to the level of god in the ability to punish all life on Earth? What, then, is man himself if he is not ashamed? And what awaits us like this? And what do we, people, deserve in this case? These questions, one way or another. rushed about in the brain; when I hurried to the rendezvous at the City Squire Motor Inn, although I knew that, of course, I would not put them in this form in my correspondence: the newspaper loves bare facts, and even the reflections on its pages must be cleared of abstract philosophizing. ..And here I am at my goal. A bright, clean room, white sun outside the window, on the walls there are two or three reproductions, I don’t remember, either something decorative and abstract, or nostalgic-patriarchal from the ancient, past and almost the century before last, a coffee table with an ashtray and a pack of cigarettes and on the sofa, to the left and to the right of me, two objects chosen for indignation and condemnation. The notebook is already open, I’m already hastily writing down their words there, translating them from English into Russian, and sideways, between times, I glance at their faces, trying to read something in them, something beyond their businesslike, dry words. But I don't read anything. There is absolutely no tragic stamp on these faces, no mournful reflection, no trace of involvement in the event that threw back the edge of the curtain, and behind it - an abyss for all of us. A well-defined, familiar type of businessman—clean, careful about his clothes and figure, and somehow sterile-distilled in appearance. Physically and mentally normal people. People are like people. Their name is Legion. If you come across it on the street, will you even think about it? Every tenth person is like this. They are polite, open and generously explain themselves to another journalist. As befits the Anniversaries. They really came here and are meeting as celebrants of the day.And the sun outside the window viscously melts the midday hours during which New Yorkers languish, waiting for the evening and a long weekend... The August sun, strong and harsh, but no match for the artificial one that exploded over Hiroshima at an altitude of 600 meters 6 August 1945 at 8.15 am.A moment... Bright, like a thousand suns, silently flared up and immediately, in a collapse, an atomic lamp burst over the city and created hell, dazzling, not pitch black, and its ninth, most terrible circle was called the Epicenter. Those who were there were incinerated, not leaving even a handful of dust, and in other hellish circles that fled from the Epicenter, people’s eyes were bleeding out and the skin itself was slipping, rolling off the arms, legs and shoulders, and the light became death, and the air became death, and an air wave knocked down an entire city, and atomic heat almost boiled an entire river with six channels, and jet black rain sprinkled rare black mourning drops on the living, the dead and the ruins; and in those who survived, so that they would suffer longer, a slow death penetrated with an unprecedented radiation sickness...Moment... Interrupting the conversation with a reporter from Izvestia, two healthy men in fresh white shirts rummage through the pockets of their well-tailored and ironed trousers, take out and count out an equal amount of change (American account), call Eric, Biser’s eldest son, and send him to the life-making vending machine in the hallway for soft drinks and sandwiches. They refused lunch, but it doesn’t hurt to have a snack and kill the worm. The boy soon returns with two steamy bottles of cherry lemonade and triangles of ham and cheese sandwiches wrapped in wax paper. One feels that he is pleased to help his father in at least some way, who is busy with the important task of communicating with a foreigner. They unwrap the sandwiches, chew and drink, continuing the conversation, but not inviting me to their light meal...A hidden horror of contrast, crushed and destroyed by time—as many as 20 years have passed, and they consisted of thousands of other days, of millions of other moments.The inevitable question about those two days, about Hiroshima and Nagasaki Yes, we knew something,” answers Biser. “We know that this bomb is larger than ordinary ones.” The day before we read it, we more or less had an idea of what would happen. We were aiming at a military target, but we guessed that it would go to the civilian population. When I looked at Hiroshima from the plane, I knew it was finished. The center of the city was not visible; everything around the edges was engulfed in flames. Well, after Hiroshima, Nagasaki was not a surprise to me at all...Biser probably answered this question hundreds of times, and therefore his answer is erased, like a broken record, but still the original intonation of an experienced man who has seen so much comes through in him that he can casually and courageously mention his involvement in such an epoch-making event . The only one, he participated in both atomic bombings, although his role was far from the most important: the 24-year-old lieutenant was responsible for the electronic part of the “Baby” dropped on Hiroshima, and the “Fat Man” that exploded three days later over Nagasaki.Charles McKnight recounts even more sparingly how he flew over Nagasaki “an hour before the bomb” in a meteorological observation plane. The weather was found to be suitable and the bombing was given the go-ahead.“We then waited over the sea about two hundred miles at an altitude of forty thousand feet,” recalls McKnight. “We saw the sultan blossom over Nagasaki...I'm feverishly recording, but I don't have time to write everything down (now I regret that I didn't have a tape recorder). I want to take everything and squeeze everything out of this moment in the lives of these two people that was given to me (now I think that I also had professional vanity and a desire to get sensational material). I'm in a hurry. Other, American, reporters are about to arrive, and that is what they need, from them they expect that publicity that can be felt, read in newspaper lines or seen on television, with the help of which they can present and sell themselves.How did Jacob Biser spend these 20 years? How often, under what foreseen and unforeseen circumstances, did those two days pop up and float out in him when from a safe height he saw the instantaneous destruction of two cities? He couldn't forget those two days... No, he couldn't. If only because they reminded... So, he learned to live with them - to live, to survive, to survive... Yes, he is calm, but appearances can be deceiving... Look into his eyes - sad... No, don’t be mistaken. He learned to live with those moments, Jacob Biser. Not only externally, but also internally, I learned and adapted. He built his own lines of defense and defense. You hear what he says, not without self-satisfaction: this meeting is far from his first appearance in public. Do you hear? He is often invited to schools to speak at social studies classes. “Are you specifically interested in how I talk about this? My idea is for children to know. I want them to think not in the sense that we are using it again, but in the sense that we would not like to use it.”This... This is... Instead of a bomb. Instead of hell. Still, he avoids calling it by its proper name. But it is not so difficult for him to hold the line, at least in his own country. He does not have a single trench, but collective, deep, long-dug trenches, an entire “Maginot Line” of national consciousness. He is not the only one who thinks so, perhaps the majority are with him: the bomb should have been thrown! It's bad for a person when he is alone. It's good to be with everyone. If his delusions are the delusions of the masses, then they are no longer delusions, for how can one distinguish them from the truth, where it has a place outside of people? If these two and others, who were staying in a motel with their families, had known that they would be convicted, would they have dared to reunite in such an advertising manner, would they have brought their wives and children? Do lepers have such reunions? Once they arrived and notified the press, it means they were sure that they would be understood and not condemned. And for those who do not want to understand, there are also explanations. Jacob Biser takes from the table the prepared, typewritten text of the speech that he is supposed to deliver at the banquet on Saturday, and with me, who refuses to understand, he begins to speak from a piece of paper. In speech, as a signature word, there is the word rejoice - to rejoice, have fun, celebrate. But do not rush with new reproaches. Biser knows how to use this word: “We rejoice not at what we did twenty years ago, but at the fact that thanks to this, our brothers who were imprisoned in concentration camps were freed earlier. We rejoice that our country was the first to acquire nuclear weapons and thanks to this, the world has been freed from war in the last twenty years.”It turns out that there is a saving dialectic: taking into account time, place, circumstances. And the 509th Air Group, which was specially created in Hawaii and trained on “flying super-fortresses” with elongated bomb bays, is only the executor of an act of retribution, albeit unprecedentedly cruel, albeit unleashed on the innocent, but historically beneficial. And, rejecting the role of the defendant, which - he feels this from my questions - I am gradually imposing on him, Jacob Biser introduces an argument of great force, calling upon the spirit of the American-Soviet brotherhood of the war years, the memory of our military alliance.  “You know better than anyone how hard it was,” he tells me, and there is a captivating confidence in his voice, and I feel that, in revenge, he assigns me a special role: the role of a person who is even easier to understand him than his compatriots, since this man comes from the country that lost and suffered the most during the war and fought the most brutal battles. “Conscience does not bother me.” Imagine if you were in Stalingrad in those years and saw what the Germans were doing. The Germans killed both women and men there, didn’t they? And near Moscow? And in Ukraine? We had no choice...Now he goes on the attack: agree and admit that I am right, my right to anniversary meetings of atomic veterans. If you don’t agree, then the apostate has forgotten what is unforgivable to forget: the mood of those years when we were united by a common impulse for victory, when everything directed against the common enemy was done in the consciousness of holy rightness, and the more merciless the weapon, the more it is more righteous. That's what those years were like, he reminds me. These were the years... And with a light heart, Colonel Paul Tibbetts, commander of the converted, extended bomb bay B-29, from which all excess weight, even all weapons, except for the heavy machine guns, had been dropped so that he could take the atomic bomb in front of On departure, according to the custom of American pilots who christened their planes, he named his bomber “Enola Gay,” that is, after his mother, although he knew what kind of “Baby” his mother would take for Hiroshima—and military artists painted his dear name on the fuselage near the pilot’s cockpit . With a light heart and a sense of humor (unsurpassed black humor), scientists and technicians came up with a name for the bomb itself - “Little Whoa” - “Baby”. And Lieutenant Gipson did not lose his sense of humor on board the Enola Gay, even at the moment when he saw a giant flash and a large, first black, and then gray and white, rapidly growing mushroom cloud. “Lord,” the lieutenant joked, “if people saw what we were doing here, we could sell a hundred thousand dollars worth of tickets for this spectacle.” And his joke was appreciated...My questions are diplomatic, Biser’s answers are kind, but the dialogue is (now I see it better than then) tense, with subtext. Excuse me, Mr. Beads. Dialectics is dialectics, it’s not for me to deny it, but in some ways it seems that this is not dialectics, but distortion. It’s true that victory was desperately needed and as quickly as possible, and the saints had the last, decisive impulse to victory. But it has already been achieved on the main fronts - in Europe. And the truth did not look the way you portray it in August 1945, three months after Victory Day. And there was already a choice then; you are lying when you say that there was none. There was a choice - without the atomic bomb. Having lost allies, alone against a victorious coalition, Japan was doomed, ready to stop resistance and capitulate. Now this is an axiom among historians, and politicians knew this even then. It was not the rapture of battle and not the impulse for victory, not even the vengeful thirst to end the Hiroshima war, which the Japanese began with the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor, that guided President Truman, but a cold, inhumanly icy calculation. The victims of the atomic bombings were the Japanese, and the political target was the Soviet Union, although you now express your admiration for us. President Truman, having tested the bomb on a “live target,” was simultaneously demonstrating a new, unprecedented and, as he hoped, effective instrument of intimidation of the Soviet Union in the coming post-war world, a weapon of atomic blackmail. The Japanese were incinerated in the hellish heat, but for the edification of the Russians, this is what dialectic it was.But, in the end, God is with them, with politics and with dialectics. Let’s forget about them for a moment, let’s also forget about those group delusions behind which it is tempting to hide, but you can’t always hide if your own, one and only soul is hurting. After all, the story, whatever one may say, is unthinkable. Then, perhaps, she really did look extremely simple. They just made an entry in the logbook: “8.15 am. The atomic bomb has been dropped. After 43 seconds there was a flash, a shock wave, the plane rocked.” They just saw from above that Hiroshima was finished. And then it became difficult, no longer the dispassionate view from above, already the details began to appear, earthly ones, at first sparingly, selected by military censorship, and then more generously, one more terrible than the other, and there was no end to them, and year after year they took your “Baby” to their graves new and new victims. The unfortunate children of Hiroshima were undermined by incurable radiation sickness, and thousands of paper cranes could not speak to death, and you raised your four sons, you were invited to their school, and you went and spoke in front of their peers, and said that this was how it should be...  Whether it is necessary or not, then your decision was made without you, and it is not your fault. But now this is truly your choice, and you can’t say that you don’t have a choice, no one is forcing you, no one is ordering you to go to school and tell the children: “You should have!” Is everything really that simple for you so far? Let's take, for example, the famous Robert Oppenheimer, a physicist, the head of the Los Alamos laboratory, where the first atomic bombs were produced, the TV crew asked him the day before, Professor Oppenheimer said that not everything is simple, and that, taking into account all the wartime circumstances, his conscience can't be calm. He is called the “father” of the atomic bomb, but he is not happy about this relationship, he does not have fatherly love, and his attitude towards his brainchild is becoming more complex and painful from year to year. And another American physicist whom journalists elevated to the “father” of the hydrogen bomb—Edward Teller? To which the inveterate “hawk”, but also horrified, says that “they made a mistake”, that there was no need to throw the bomb “without a preliminary, bloodless demonstration of it” ...And this way and that I try to shake the calm of Jacob Biser, and meanwhile I understand that it’s an empty matter, he came here not to be executed and not to surrender those trenches that he built and strengthened for 20 whole years. Stands his ground. Conscience is calm. I admire the residents of Hiroshima - they quickly restored their city. For those who have “problems”, like the “Hiroshima pilot” Claude Iserly, who wanders around mental hospitals, I am ready to express my sympathy...It's time to wrap things up. My time is clearly up, and the topic seems to be exhausted: what else can you squeeze out of Mr. Beads? In addition, the New York reporters who promised to come are already crowding the room, setting up television equipment on the balcony, waiting for their turn, looking at me impatiently. McKnight isn't enough for them. We need Jacob Biser - the only participant and witness of two atomic bombings in the whole world. There are many of us, but he is one, and I give way to his American colleagues...He goes to the balcony and sits down in front of the ABC cameras. They hang a tiny microphone around his neck - and in the same voice, in the same erased words, he repeats his story, from which it follows that one can easily live with such a memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And none of those asking Beads will interrupt him or shout: no, it’s hard to live. He says -0 to himself, and he knows better. And I look at him from the outside, lively, confident, sunlit, and again I am convinced that today he is simply having a happy, rare, anniversary day and that he is not going to lose a single grain of this anniversary happiness. And next to him is his wife and children. He brought them here to share a moment of glory and celebration. The children, subdued, watch their father sitting in front of the television camera. They probably remember their home in Baltimore, their city, which is also big, and rejoice at how everything is going smoothly and well for their father, who was not at a loss even in New York.Having lost Beads, before leaving, I ask his wife and children questions. The wife reports that they got married 17 years ago and that, of course, she knew about the famous episodes of his military biography. The eldest son Eric complains that he will need aspirin, perhaps, earlier than his father: his head is spinning from people and turmoil. In this 16-year-old boy I notice the affectation and condescension that is found in the children of famous people, in a condescending manner. looking at ordinary, unknown adults.I ask Eric what he thinks about his father and about Hiroshima.“I’m proud of my old man,” he answers with a phrase that is prepared like his father’s story, but has not yet been used so many times and has not been so erased. - He made history. Like Colonel Glenn. You know, the one who was the first to go into space...The guy knows the American version of history - both with Hiroshima and with Glenn...Then I left, leaving Biser and McKnight to do their work, and I took up my own work, writing and sending the correspondence “He Saw Hiroshima from Above,” exposing to the readers of my newspaper two people from a foreign country, met under such ordinary - and extraordinary - circumstances . Now I am trying to return this moment, which has floated far down the river of time, to examine it more calmly and more closely, to understand it better. Remembering touching Hiroshima in the center of a nervously pulsating, heat-stricken August Manhattan, I am now not thinking about shocking material for the newspaper, not about exposure or edification, because I do not feel the right to judge anyone. But the same questions stand before me as on the day I drove to the Broadway motel, eternal questions about what a person can do to a person and to himself. As young people, in the heat of war and hatred, those two participated in the first experience of creating an atomic hell on Earth. Then, comprehending the century into which we all entered with the atomic bomb, they obviously did not want to understand and admit that it was a crime against man and humanity. If they had admitted that they were innocently guilty, this would have been a tragically correct formula. No, they continued to be proud of their complicity in this matter, and assured themselves that this matter should and could be proud, and at various vanity markets they traded in memories of the day when they saw Hiroshima from above. And, worst of all, they managed to pass on their incomprehensible pride to their children.I want to understand the meeting in the Broadway motel better than then, but in the end, all the same, like an atomic alarm siren, the words that I placed last then ring out: “I’m proud of my old man. He made history..."2In my youth, correspondent roads once took me to the west of Sudan, to the province of Kordofan. Savannah, incredibly thick trunks of baobab trees, a dusty road on which a Sudanese driver, accelerating, knocked down large birds that did not have time to take off from under the wheels and threw them into the trunk as hunting trophies. In those remote places they showed me the Nuba tribe. Black naked people settled on the tops of rocky mountains, or rather hills, and did not descend from them all their lives, and the inhabitants of one hill did not know - and did not want to know - the inhabitants of another hill, even if that second hill was before their eyes , just a few kilometers from their home hill. They knew nothing at all about the outside world. I remember what struck me most was that they had never heard that there was an atomic bomb, that there was Hiroshima. Blessed are the poor in spirit... Happy people from the Nuba tribe did not know that the century in which they live together with other inhabitants of planet Earth is called nuclear missile.We do not have this happy ignorance, and, apparently, in each of us, one way or another involved in modern world life, latently, subconsciously, in the subcortex, Hiroshima lives as one of the primal sensations of our common existence. As a prophetic sign of our time. Like a past that cannot go away because it prophesies about a future that must be avoided at all costs. As a reminder that we have come disastrously far from the days of that twenty-kiloton atomic mini-bomb, stockpiling many thousands of Hiroshimas behind seven seals and locks in nuclear weapons warehouses and still multiplying this bookended, neatly inventoried, ready for instant use, mass death. As a tragic call against the madness of the arms race, to common sense and reason, to difficult tireless efforts in the name of limiting and completely banning nuclear weapons... In a word, Hiroshima lives as a symbol, and in a certain sense, every person conscious of our time has his own Hiroshima, as there is an instinct of self-preservation and self-defense.And in addition to the pure, so to speak, symbol, there is also the natural city of Hiroshima, which in its terrible torment gave life to the symbol, but does not fit into it, just as the present does not fit into the past. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not know about this Japanese city (for example, in the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary there is not a word about Hiroshima, and in the first edition of the TSB it is mentioned only as the center of Hiroshima Prefecture) Now people go there from all over not only Japan, but and peace. In terms of the number of visitors (at the level of 7 million per year), Hiroshima falls into the category of interesting world centers. Rome is the eternal city. Paris and London are lived-in nests of bourgeois civilization. New York - dynamism and antagonisms. Moscow - “I love you like a son.l.” And Hiroshima? It did not enter, but exploded into history, and attachment to it is of an unusual, somewhat painful nature - this is the only declassified nuclear test site, where people go to see traces of the past and, if possible, unravel the future, but is it hidden there? Geographically, politically, economically, Hiroshima belongs to its own country, but in a deep, philosophical and desperately practical sense to the whole world.When I first came to Japan - and only for half a month - I spent almost all of my time in Tokyo. There were a few days left before departure. In the office of the then Tokyo correspondent of Izvestia, Yuri Nikolaevich Bandura, who received and looked after me like a brother, they laid out a map of the Japanese Islands, a green intermittent arc of land in the middle of the blue water: Where to go in the remaining days, what to see? After some thought, I chose what so many people choose—a place that seems impossible to leave Japan without visiting.It was the very end of April, Saturday, the Japanese national holiday - the emperor's birthday. In Tokyo, on the way to the railway station in the morning, they saw how, in the light rain, the Japanese with their wives and children, carrying flags with the rising sun in their hands, walked to the gates open on the occasion of the holiday, behind which there are green areas and buildings of the imperial residence. Then by express train, sitting in comfortable chairs that turn in the direction and against the direction of the train, using the services of bartenders who continually rolled their carts around the carriage, offering alcoholic and soft drinks, cold and hot food sealed in foil, for five and a half We traveled 900 kilometers for hours through the most populated, built-up, sown part of Japan - through cities, spring rains, curly green misty mountains. The train, despite its speed, moved like clockwork, the stops were rare and short, and we had not yet had time to get tired of the rapidly changing scenes outside the window, when an insinuating radio voice, preceded by melodious bells, announced in Japanese and English its arrival in Hiroshima .Hiroshima... Ordinary buildings float more and more slowly outside the window. Concrete of a modern station. Rubber rustle of pneumatic doors. Covered platform. Escalator. Underground crossing. People, ordinary people... From the crowd in the passage corridor, my gaze plucks out two running young guys in black suits and white ties, and my companion, perceiving my surprise, explains: “These are the wedding invitees...”Hiroshima... Station Square. Wet asphalt. Soars after warm rain. Many people. A lot of cars. Many buildings. There are mysterious hieroglyphs of billboards on the roofs. Suddenly understandable, extremely familiar in both font and color, and with you in English: “Drink Coca-Cola!”Hiroshima... Knowing what year it was, I still subconsciously went to 1945, to the symbolic city. And here, on the station square, there was just a city.The multi-storey building of the new Hiroshima Grand Hotel shines matt with dark brown brick. In the hall of the lower floor, like images of the Japanese spring, there are two girls in kimonos, again wedding guests - it turns out that it is wedding season. The delicate beautiful flowers of the kimono make the porcelain-white round faces of the girls with slanted eyes even more tender and graceful. With them is an elderly Japanese woman in an ashen, sad, calm kimono, which also surprisingly suits her face and age. In the elevator, Austrian or German women are animated, like travelers who have left behind the inconveniences of the road and returned to the familiar environment of comfort: put things away, put themselves in order - and down to new impressions. There are gleaming tourist buses outside the hotel doors. Japanese guides walk around them, waiting for passengers. There are more foreigners in the hotel than Japanese, and the hotel itself, one might say, is an Intourist hotel, built according to international, most likely American, models, which the Japanese can copy well and surpass: carpeted floors in the rooms, color TV, air conditioning, three-channel internal radio, night lamp with a lever that regulates the brightness of the light, two telephones. Only the slippers at the door are from traditional Japan - slippers and a robe neatly folded on the bed. But, unfolding the robe, I am convinced that it, too, was made for a tall American.A colleague who decided to go with me to Hiroshima, has been there more than once, would prefer to take a break from the road, but I’m in a hurry, I don’t want to waste time. And Fukui-san, the head of a local small society for friendly relations with the Soviet Union, is already waiting below. Let's get acquainted. He speaks Russian excellently, without any strain or accent, and, looking closely at him, I am surprised to see that through his Japanese features a special Russian type of face emerges - sharp, long, high-cheekbone, the kind found among hermit intellectuals and village accordionists. It turns out that the quiet Japanese businessman Fukui-san is Russian on his mother’s side. We get into his car and drive to where the image of Hiroshima of August 1945 is preserved and preserved: to the Memorial Complex.About six o'clock in the evening. The sun, hidden in the gray, evenly overcast sky, casts a sad pre-evening light onto the earth. The Peace Memorial Museum is already closed - a long, overcast building raised on rectangular columns, as if to avoid putting pressure on the ground scorched by the atomic explosion. To the side is Memorial Hall, a quarter of an hour before closing. Let's hurry there.There are no visitors. Stands with photographs. Here is a historical shot from the Enola Gay, which has just dropped a bomb: white clouds of smoke cover Hiroshima. A panoramic, calm picture for reporting to the command. The red screen under the glass flashes every five seconds, filling with blood: 1945 8. 6/8, 15 And the English words: “Debut of the atomic bomb.”From stand to stand, in a hurry, as if this is not a road of millions, as if here I am the first and last visitor and no one knows anything. works without my squiggles in the notebook.Another photo panorama is not from above, but from below, from the ground - a low-rise wooden city is all torn down, instead of houses there are piles of building materials and belongings, only the lines of roads look good in the suddenly formed huge wasteland, and useless telegraph poles stick out along them, stripped of leaves and branches black, dead tree trunks like pillars...On display are examples of instant transformations of matter caught in the atomic inferno - charred food in a soldier’s bowl deformed by the temperature, suddenly petrified pieces of wood, blistered roof tiles, black caked pebbles... The painting by the Japanese artist “Death in Life” is fantastic in crimson reflections dancing dead bodies...Fukui-san is reserved and silent: what would you add to the messages of these exhibits? Unless it's personal. His aunt died immediately, his uncle died 10 days later, and his grandfather a year later. He speaks about this only when asked, calmly and sadly, as a sign of his involvement in that Hiroshima. He himself is also a Hiroshima resident, but was not in the city then and returned only three years later. An impenetrable Japanese born to a Russian mother... He probably has his own plans on the holiday. It’s probably not easy to walk with such a guide, now with one, now with another, fleetingly arriving, hastily absorbing impressions, oohing and aahing a foreigner. How to deal with these pilgrims? What do they expect from their Hiroshima escorts? Anger and rage or grief and sadness? What open and strong feelings? But can a resident of Hiroshima and a foreigner who has arrived for a couple of days have the same feelings?Fukui-san silently bears the burden of strange Hiroshima hospitality, patiently fulfilling what he considers his duty to the people from Russia. And in the Memorial Park he leads us to a low fence in which there is a low-growing birch tree, on a gray marble tablet there is an inscription in Japanese and Russian: “Hiroshima - Stalingrad.” This is the sentimentality of the impenetrable Japanese. He brought the birch tree from Stalingrad and planted it himself, but it, as if rejecting historical parallels, languishes in the Japanese subtropics..Having said goodbye to him, we walk in the Peace Memorial Park, planted in the Epicenter area. Gu-la-eat! Yes, they walk there like in a regular city park, and on a holiday, too. Children play, pigeons coo on the playground behind the cloudy building of the Peace Memorial Museum, adults are touched by children and pigeons while walking near sad monuments. And even the monuments do not create the concentration of tragedy that the soul was looking for on the way to Hiroshima. There are many monuments there, in Memorial Park. In the pond, between two concrete planes, as if between two palms, an unquenchable fire sways quietly on an elevated platform. The monument to the dead schoolchildren (many thousands of them came to Hiroshima to dismantle the ruins of the previous, conventional American bombings - and to die from the new, atomic one) is hung with garlands of multi-colored paper cranes made by living children. The powerless bronze teacher is hunched over, and on another pedestal the bronze mother wants and cannot protect her children from death with You. The peace bell strikes quietly, dullly and clearly, covered from the sky by a concrete dome.Hiroshima monuments do not send curses. Their silent protest is fatalistic, addressed not to man, but to fate. They all hide from the sky, like the main one - the Cenotaph, the concrete saddle of which hides from the sky a granite sarcophagus, where, replenished and replenished, the names of more than 90 thousand victims are stored.Here everyone is afraid of the sky, and only the Atomic Dome fearlessly and senselessly looks into the heights, gaping empty through the ribs of the frame - a ruin left for centuries, looking like a gutted half of a globe.One of the six branches of the Ota River, on which Hiroshima is located, runs through the Memorial Park. On that fateful day, burned, naked or in pitiful rags of burnt clothes, experiencing unbearable itching and thirst, people rushed into the water to cool off, but the water, like everything else, betrayed them that day, it was hot, almost boiling...And thank God that you cannot step into the same river twice.All around is the idyll of an April Saturday evening under a quiet, peaceful sky. Along the tragic river in freshly painted pleasure boats, festively dressed fathers of families decorously take their wives and children for rides. Like somewhere in Izmailovsky Park. And the same splashes of oars, and the same expression of pleasure on their faces, and no fear, and if there is fear, then only that which covers city people who temporarily felt beneath them not the asphalt firmament, but the unsteady water element. The landing stages where boats are handed out are colorful and clean, like a just bought toy that has not yet been touched by a child’s hand. And along the sides of the landing stages, along their very edges, as another touch of the peaceful idyll, there are neat rows of boots, shoes, and sneakers; When boarding a boat, the Japanese take off their shoes in the same way as when entering a house.This is Epicenter after 33 years...We returned to the hotel on foot. Along the way we came across two covered shopping arcades that were as long as streets. All the doors were wide open, trendy Western music was everywhere, colorful rice paper lanterns were hanging everywhere. In Hiroshima they were preparing for the flower festival, and merchants were luring buyers. Near one of the shops, a woman advertised a tube for blowing soap bubbles. One after another, bubbles were born at the end of the tube, swelled, shining transparently and oilily, and, separating from the tube, soaring, they immediately burst silently and disappeared without a trace. This was also memorable. Because everything was connected with that. What a strange, blasphemous activity! In Hiroshima?! And in the smoky halls, both old and young, sitting in front of small vertical fields studded with nails, drove metal balls across these fields, sending them with light touches of their fingers on the lever: pachinko, a mindless game for slot machines, each alone among the crowd, atoms of alienation in the modern city .We walked through long passages, then straight narrow streets, where trade and advertising of trade also reigned, then we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant, and everywhere I looked for what I had come for - traces of that symbolic Hiroshima. And I didn’t find it. Only two scenes, two images echoed her with their internal tension, and even then only in my mind. One is an image of grief that flashes and disappears in Memorial Park. A woman in a home apron, shabby, confused, who came from God knows where, walks, looking around nervously, suddenly ran, suddenly stopped, raised her palm to her mouth, as if trying to remember something, and ran again - in the other direction, simply because she didn’t could stand. What with her? Grief. Which? Probably the child got lost, got lost, got scared. And the thought, working on the Hiroshima wave, is already in that day, in that grief, which, with all its unthinkable mass, was also broken into units of human bodies, souls, destinies.The second image is of cruelty. Late in the evening I went out for a walk alone. Dark and deserted, rare cars, rare figures on the sidewalk and the German speech of tourists who also cannot sleep on their first and, perhaps, last evening in Hiroshima. Closer to the center there is more light and life, the city has not yet calmed down, a tipsy Japanese man walks swaying. The other one is not standing on his feet at all, the waiter, taking him out of the restaurant by the shoulders, leans him like a sack against the wall and disappears behind the door, leaving him alone with a confused young girl. Festive evening...But here is a brutal street fight, which I see, approaching, in the distance. A well-dressed, young and agile Japanese man knocked down another man with a blow of his fist and kicked him in the face with a backhand. He slowly disappeared into the alley, throwing a piece of metal pipe. When I approached, the defeated man stood on all fours, and then, swaying heavily, rose to his full height, revealing a terrible, bloody face, looked around drunkenly, and began to run after the offender...Drunk bloody brawl. In Hiroshima?!And another cruelty that same evening - on a color television screen. Pistols in the outstretched hands of smartly dressed Japanese gangsters and their beauties, shots, sticky blood on their faces, palms, colorful jackets... A Japanese copy of the American original.Turned off the TV. Quiet. The city was sleeping outside the window. He opened a small book with a golden cover. In the photograph, already familiar, a white cloud like a mushroom swirled whimsically, soaring upward. A book about that Hiroshima. I came upon her by chance, in a hotel shop, where she was lost among beautiful illustrated publications about the art of ikebana and ukyoyu. The blurb said that American journalist John Hershey arrived in Hiroshima when “the ashes were still warm.” His countrymen, having dropped the bomb; photographed an atomic mushroom. Hershey saw Hiroshima from below, from the ground. He questioned eyewitnesses with the meticulousness of an American investigative reporter and the passion of a horrified man who decided to tell his compatriots in detail about the crime committed in their name.In a comfortable hotel for foreign tourists, separated by night and silence from today’s city, living a different life, I touched that Hiroshima that split time - before Hiroshima and after Hiroshima.I read: “Some had their eyebrows burned off and the skin hanging from their faces and arms. Others, because of the pain, held their hands in front of them, as if they were carrying something. Many were naked or wearing remnants of clothing... Of the 150 city doctors, 65 were already dead, and of the rest, most were wounded. Of the 1,780 nurses, 1,654 were either killed or so seriously wounded that they could not work... Cries for help were heard under many houses, but no one helped; - as a rule, the survivors helped that day only their relatives or closest neighbors, because for more, for the rest, they did not have the strength... It was not easy to distinguish the living from the dead, since people lay silently with their eyes open. Silence in the grove by the river, where hundreds of seriously wounded suffered together, was one of the most terrible and eerie things . No one cried, even fewer screamed in pain, no one complained, many died and all without a sound, even the children did not cry, and only very few spoke... Mr. Tanimoto discovered about 20 men and women on the sandbank. He moored to the shore and ordered them to get into the boat. No one moved, and he realized that they were too weak to rise. He bent down and took one woman by the hands, but the skin crawled from her hands in large, glove-like pieces... When he entered the bushes, he saw about 20 people there, and they all looked terrible: completely burnt faces, empty eyes hollows, and liquid flowed down their faces from melted eyes (they must have been looking up when the bomb exploded, maybe they were anti-aircraft gunners) ... "And so on... And so on... Much, much more than what the consciousness of a person who has read and heard about the atrocities of the twentieth century can accommodate in one sitting...I woke up early in the morning. From the 12th floor the city was visible to the smoky calm humps of the surrounding mountains. It was deserted like a Sunday, and the desertion made the geometry of straight streets, modern buildings, white pavement markings, and zebra crossing walkways more striking. New town. 800 thousand inhabitants, almost three times more than what was destroyed then. It did not have the narrow and crooked streets typical of Japanese cities. Life is not shy about cruel paradoxes: the old Hiroshima was destroyed by an American atomic bomb, but the new Hiroshima is geometrically clearly planned in the American way.Went out for a walk. To avoid getting lost, I circled around the hotel and came across a small stadium. The streets had not yet come to life, but the stadium was already crowded, young, strong bodies in white shorts and skirts flashed by, black eyes and black hair sparkled, young legs bounced elastically, touching the gravel of the running tracks, cheerful voices and the smacking of tennis balls were heard. The morning stadium, like night dreams, dispersed and canceled the pictures emerging from the pages of a book with a golden cover. A young life was playing at the tomb entrance and could it have been otherwise? A third of a century is a long time. It is enough to create a big city on the ruins and raise a generation and a half of new people who, one way or another, push the past aside, because they do not remember it, because they live their lives in the present day... The living city again blocked the symbol. The symbol is best viewed from afar,After breakfast we went to the Peace Memorial Museum with a new guide, Itsuji Sumi-san, an average height, stocky 50-year-old Japanese man, the owner of a store selling artificial jaws, dentures and other dental products. Like Fukui-san, he was polite, impenetrable, silent and, adapting to the wishes of the guests, seemed to dissolve his own “I” in them.There were many visitors to the museum - Japanese and foreigners, tourist groups, schoolchildren. It was a well-produced, truly international museum with inscriptions in different languages, although the Esperanto of cruelty and suffering needs no translation. At the front door they offered portable tape recorders with explanatory notes, and Sumi-san took the tape recorder for me. in Russian. I put in the earphone, and a sweet female voice murmured friendlyly in my ear about creepy things.And again, in a hurry and crowd, under the shuffling of feet and the hum of voices, I wrote down in a notebook what I heard, read, saw - and what was described long ago, what was contained in the detailed guidebooks sold there, in the museum. I wrote it down, and these own notes seemed to make me an eyewitness. that Hiroshima. And here are some of the notes.The model is two women and a child, wild, disheveled and dirty, like cavemen, but the skin drips terribly from their hands and cheeks, an unmistakable sign of the atomic age.Photographs that are scary and embarrassing to look at - unhappy, burned, crippled people. The question on their faces is: what is this?Imprints of a kimono pattern on the steep, beautiful curve of a young woman’s shoulder.Dried human bodies.Burns on the stones, also baked.Like the remains of the material culture of the Stone Age, lying in the ground for thousands of years, the twisted objects of the recent prologue to the atomic age - a glass sippy inkwell, as if it had fallen into the hands of a crazy glass blower, a chandelier flattened by the heat, sintered sewing needles, a bunch of sintered coins. In one closed safe there was a pile of ashes left from money and documents - such was the heat.On the white wall there are natural traces of black streams of radioactive rain.On the granite steps left over from a local bank is the shadow of an evaporated man, one eternal shadow...  Our guide, Sumi-san, lived in Hiroshima all his life. During the war he served in the medical team. On the day of the bomb, 99 percent of people died within a radius of half a kilometer from the Epicenter; within a radius of 90 kilometers, Sumi-san served a kilometer from the Epicenter. He was saved by the fact that at the moment of the explosion he was “in the shadow,” that is, blocked from the flash by a wall.—  Will you ever forget such a day?!The wooden house collapsed. When he got out from under the rubble, he saw suddenly dry ditches. There was no city. Everything was red or black from the heat. Burnt naked people gathered along the banks of the Ota channels.—  It’s like being in another world...Can you say it simpler and stronger? To another world, to another century.And yet Sumi-san did not allow us to leave Hiroshima with only depressing impressions of what happened a third of a century ago. An eyewitness of that day, he still lived in the present, living, not dead Hiroshima and wanted to show it to us. He hired a taxi and took us to Mount Ogonzagan on the edge of the city. The gloomy day in the morning cleared up, brightened, and became hot like summer. On the slopes there was a strong and pleasant smell of heated pine needles. The neighboring mountains floated in a damp haze. And the view was royal, from a height of more than half a kilometer. The sea bay sparkled in the sun. Large bridges were built between the islands in the bay. The middle of the bay was fenced off with buoys and cables into plots of marine plantations for the artificial cultivation of oysters. Directly below the mountain stood the flat buildings of the Mazda automobile plant; on the roofs of multi-story warehouses, thousands of cars ready for shipment sparkled with multi-colored spots. Large buildings rose in the center of the city, and on the outskirts one-story residential buildings sparkled beautifully with thick turquoise tiled roofs. Hundreds of cars rolled along the serpentine road to Mount Oganzagan, and the abundance of people with children who came to the observation deck said that the people of Hiroshima loved this view of their city.Although there was little time left before the train and we were ready to be content with what we saw, the polite Sumi-san, showing persistence, took us to another garden he loved, filled entirely with white and red Satsuki flowers. The garden laid out on the mountainside seemed multi-story and cramped. People walked under and above each other along the gravel paths, looking at the flowers with feeling and knowledge. Literally a meter from the paths, on small areas, young and old Japanese were sitting on mats, and simple food was laid out in front of them on unfolded newspapers , bottles of beer are placed. In some places, the fun was already in full swing, songs were being sung in chorus... And the impenetrable Japanese Sumi-san said with quiet admiration, as if he were revealing to his new friends the innermost secret of Hiroshima: “People come here to admire the flowers, and also to drink and eat exactly in this order..."And I, a person who came here for a day in search of my personal Hiroshima, not taken from the descriptions of others, in this unexpected place was suddenly overcome by an unexpected feeling of aching closeness to these people on the mats, and I remembered my pre-war childhood, my father and mother, my brother and sister and I thought that these Hiroshima newspapers of theirs were missing hard-boiled eggs and green onions with salt in a matchbox, and it was also a pity that there was no music in their garden - sometimes cheerful, sometimes piercingly sad music of a brass band. It’s as if time had never split: before Hiroshima and after Hiroshima...We were waiting for the train. On the platform, three pairs of newlyweds stood with garlands of flowers around their necks, happily preoccupied, surrounded by relatives and peers. They were escorted off on their honeymoon. Three solemnly picturesque companies - old men in black kimonos and guys in black suits and white ties. Tossed up by his friends, first one, then the other, the groom flew into the air upside down, comically throwing up his legs in white boots.The train arrived. A newlywed couple entered our carriage. When the mourners floated outside the window, they took off the garlands of flowers and became like everyone else. The train quickly picked up speed. They began another, new life.We were traveling to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan with its temples and gardens that satisfy the Japanese love for harmony and beauty. Kyoto was also among the possible targets of the atomic bombing, but the atomic gods from America spared the ancient city, choosing Hiroshima and Nagasaki as victims.On my only Hiroshima morning, even before the stadium, the garden and Mount Ogonzagan, I wrote in my notebook: “There is something shameful (from an idle onlooker, from a spy) in coming to Hiroshima - as if to spy on the place of universal human shame, to be curious: how do they live after this, and do they remember about it? But for those who survived, even the sky may be scary to look at.”The feeling is involuntary and sincere, but the thought is controversial. Shameful? It depends on what impressions you leave with. I was traveling to a symbolic city, a symbol of man’s cruelty and his ability to inflict suffering on his own kind. But you can’t go only for this impression and it’s impossible to leave with it only - how then can you Live? And the mechanism of internal self-regulation, working against our will, did not fail this time either and - outside the Memorial complex - provided me with other impressions of Hiroshima. And I left, as I remember now, with a feeling of the indestructibility of life and its contradictory, life-giving, saving - and dangerous! - a property that is called oblivion.  Shortly after my trip to Hiroshima, I read Dante's Divine Comedy. I read without any second thought, but Hiroshima began to come to mind when I came to the pages describing Dante’s journey with Virgil through the circles of hell. The deadened fantasy of the great poet and the prophetic pain of Hiroshima, receding into the past, but not fading. Of course, Dante’s hell as a rhetorical figure is always at hand among Chrysostoms of our time, but if we take the very flesh of his descriptions, the horrors of all the nine circles he imagined, right up to - let’s use this term the Epicenter in the form of the icy Lake Cocytus, then we, people of the late twentieth century, we can express our impressions in the words that Leo Tolstoy once said about the works of Leonid Andreev: “He scares me, but I’m not afraid...” Not because we are fearless, but because we know about hell on Earth, created by science coupled with politics. It’s not scary, because something else is scary: the range of nuclear death is multiplying and multiplying and the intercontinental home delivery service is becoming more and more improved.P.S. I saw Jacob Biser again 15 years after the first meeting - in August 1980. The second meeting was in absentia.I was in New York, he was in Washington, and I think he forgot about my existence. But I remembered him, I just recalled him in my memory, because just that summer before my trip to New York I finished this Hiroshima essay. And then one day, having bought the Washington Post newspaper (Monday, August 11, 1980), in its secular section, which is reserved for “the art of television - leisure”, I suddenly saw on the front page in the upper right corner a photograph with large, obliquely running in the letters “Enola Gay” and above the letters is the face of a man with glasses, gray temples, a mustache and a gray goatee. A face looked out) from an open airplane window. The caption underneath the photo read: “Jacob Beads inside the Enola Gay.”From the long report accompanying the photo, I learned that veterans of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki again gathered for their reunion (with their wives, children, maybe grandchildren - 150 people), but this time in Washington and on the occasion of the 35th anniversary. The ringleader was again my friend Jacob Biser, now 59 years old. He grew older, grayer and haggard, acquired a beard, but spoke the same words and also asserted his unique glory as the only participant in both atomic bombings.They stayed for the weekend at the Twin Bridges Marriott on the Right Bank of the Potomac, and just like 15 years ago in New York, their busy program began on Friday with a friendly cocktail party. But there were also some differences. A certain Harold Agnew, a physicist and also a veteran, who participated in the rally for the first time, showed an amateur film that he had shot during the return to the island of Tinian of the Enola Gay, which had dropped its cargo on Hiroshima. Washington Post reporter Henry Allen wrote that the film showed happy and excited young people who, as if having played ball somewhere on the lawn, hurried in a gang to a beer bar - “and in fact, four bottles of diva were waiting for each of them over the ration , as well as dancing with nurses and a movie called “What a Pleasure.”Another difference between the last reunion of veterans was that in Silver Hill near Washington, in one of the warehouses of the Smithsonian Institution (a government museum complex), they discovered the bomber itself - the Enola Gay. Decommissioned a long time ago, it was, of course, not in its best fighting shape. The crippled fuselage lay on some kind of wooden mat, the wings and tail lay separately against the wall. Hiding behind the lack of museum space, the Smithsonian leadership avoided the question: should this relic be put on public display? “Shame and disgrace,” Jacob Biser was indignant at the sight of the dusty, rusting, collapsed plane. Veterans surrounded the remains, climbed through the bomb hatch into the fuselage, invited their wives, and took photographs. The actors were also photographed: looking closely at the veterans, they mastered their roles in the television film “Enola Gay.”And finally, among all these comedians there was one Japanese, a wealthy merchant from Hiroshima and almost the chairman of the “survivors association” there, a certain Suryo Shimodoi. In August 1945 he was 12 years old. He survived with only burns to his head and legs. Now, like the actors, the Japanese was considered a guest of the atomic veterans, drank cocktails with them, went to the warehouse in Silver Hill and, according to reporter Henry Allen, “looked very proud while taking pictures outside the Enola Gay.”But I refuse to believe the reporter.LIVE TOGETHERIT'S A SMALL WORLD…A traveler recently passed through my office. He was an American of middle age and height, stocky, with a beard that made his broad face even rounder, and with blue, clear and attentive eyes. We talked for an hour and a half, and, having said goodbye to him, I finally saw his back in the long editorial corridor. The conversation as a conversation, as far as I remember, did not strike each other with fresh thoughts or aphoristic phrases, but after this meeting there was some kind of soul-stirring trace left, something caught my attention and made me think about other fleeting acquaintances with Americans, about other similar conversations of recent times and the fact that we, international journalists, write about the wrong things, crackers, are mired in speculation, have forgotten that the main thing still goes from heart to heart. And that this main thing often disappears before reaching the newspaper page and the reader. I wanted to write about this meeting, but how? The most important thing in it was the subtext, and this is an elusive matter for a journalist; try to depict it with a pen accustomed to the direct and sharp text of political formulations. And while wondering whether to write or not to write, and if to write, then how, I came across the word traveler, which had never had a place in my vocabulary.But why - a traveler? And their own travelers have disappeared, and foreigners do not wander across the state border, and even in Izvestia they cannot avoid the duty post below, at the entrance. In addition, I know that this American is a journalist with a name, a journalist and a writer, as they say now. Traveler? He was wearing shabby summer trousers, and over his shoulder, in the spirit of the times, was a tattered canvas bag, an unusual item for my generation, which remains faithful to briefcases. It was she, this canvas bag in the guise of a foreign visitor, from whom you always expect some degree of formality, that led me to the Russian word, which does not imply four walls with a ceiling. and a diplomatic conversation, and a free sky above free spaces, some curly edge of a forest and poems like Blok’s: “No, I am going on a journey not invited by anyone, and may the earth be easy for me...”From the bag, however, the American took out not a piece of bread and a piece of bacon in a rag, but two large yellow envelopes. From the envelopes I took out sheets of paper folded in half, and from my jacket pocket - a black, thick, desperately old-fashioned pen. We called such pens eternal until they gave way to short-lived ballpoint pens...Now it's time to introduce him. The famous journalist and writer, winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, Thomas Powers, came to Moscow for the first time. What brought him to us was his work on a book about strategic nuclear weapons—the very ones that we are preparing against each other in that fatal event. He studied the problem as best he could from his own, American side, but one side, especially in his chosen subject, as you might guess, is not enough. And so he goes to Moscow for two weeks - to look at us and talk with us, with those who will be interlocutors.We say: strategic weapons. And each of us, depending on what pictures we saw, imagines intercontinental missiles hidden in underground mines, giant bombers, whale carcasses of nuclear submarines. These monsters of catastrophic destructive power cannot be humanized, but in each, in each, behind each there are people. The people who created them, the people who are on duty with them, the people who, God forbid, will use them. Did ancient or modern philosophers foresee that this chain would form and how tragically short it would be: weapons systems - politics - the meaning of existence (the meaning of life for each of us and everyone on planet Earth). Between these three forged links, only three, it’s time to put a sign of identity. Some kind of super-dense compression of everything and everyone. Unheard of rocket-philosophical thinking and worldview.This did not happen either in the 40s or in the 60s, although even then the Bomb was hanging over us. The American bishops did not rebel against the American president then. No referendums on the nuclear freeze were held. And the messenger of these new times brought a blue-eyed, bearded American with a canvas bag to Moscow. How many people are carried away. He writes about strategic weapons, but underneath all the questions he asks us, the subtext is not the question of throwing weight or even nuclear strategy, but the most important and painful one: what kind of people are you? What should I and my loved ones expect from you? The point is not in the canvas bag, but in the rope that tied us together. “This rutnik sees us as companions and cannot separate his destiny from ours, he cannot, even if he really wanted to. From our common - and universal - destiny. We are all travelers, but not under free skies among free fields, but in the gloomy spaces of the nuclear age. We are all travelers - and we are all companions. This is the conclusion I came to when, under the surface layer of our conversation, I tried to find the deep psychological layer and with it the secret of the appearance of another American in Izvestia.The world is small... An unknown wise ancestor boldly put these two words next to each other back when the world he knew was closed in by the dark thickets of forests on the horizon, and the unfamiliar one stretched out to God knows where and hid the darkness of wonders. Bah, it’s a small world,” the old acquaintances chuckled when they met in an unexpected place some ten miles from home. Bah, it’s a small world... Try the same thing, laughing good-naturedly, and say this about a missile that in just half an hour can transfer its hundreds of thousands of inevitable deaths from continent to continent, packed in three or ten nuclear warheads of individual - and precise - targeting ?It's a small world... When I got a call from APN and asked to meet with Thomas Powers, an employee of the American magazine "Atlantic", the author of a famous book about the CIA and a collection of essays on US nuclear strategy, I remembered him. I met him in absentia, under unusual circumstances, at altitudes slightly lower than those pierced by a rocket. Relatively recently, I was in Washington and, although I am not working on a book on strategic weapons, I had approximately the same conversations that he has in Moscow, that we all have with each other, and someone advised me to read an interesting article in the anniversary (125 years) issue of the monthly "Atlantic". I bought the magazine, with its blue-and-silver cover, at Washington's Dallas airport before boarding the wide-body DC-10. The plane was heading to San Francisco. In the cabin, the size and appearance of an elegant hangar, after dinner the overhead lights were turned off, the passengers were offered a detective movie, and I could not tear myself away from the article by Thomas Powers. It turned out to be more enticing and, with its still-unexhausted plot, more terrifying than any “horror film.” The lengthy article was called “Choosing a strategy for the Third World War.”A good example of meticulous investigative journalism: first-hand information, from military and civilian generals, from nuclear planners and strategists, descriptions of presidential secret memoranda and directives, a lot of detail, and all of them worked towards the main idea, the main impression - the unstoppable inertia of the monstrous war machine . They cannot help but invent new and new, ever more sophisticated nuclear weapons systems, and they cannot help but come up with more and more new military doctrines, increasingly based on the possibility and admissibility of nuclear war. And it is impossible to break this wheel, and it rolls towards the nuclear abyss.American journalists of this class usually do not press on emotions; the only feeling they allow themselves is unobtrusive humor. However, there was somehow no place for humor with such a topic, and the author, it would seem, completely dissolved himself in facts, figures and quotes, his style was dry and devoid of pathos. But... Unlike children, adults need to restrain themselves, and only by subtext do they convey their despair. And the subtext in the article was not about missiles, but about people, the subtext was a cry from the heart: look, each of these Americans is logical and seemingly rational, each is a skilled professional in his place, each is just doing his job, but together, as a whole of their labor, these reasonable people create madness that the world has never seen. His examples included former President Jimmy Carter. He came to the White House with the somewhat naive but sincere intention of achieving a reduction in nuclear arsenals. Then, with the meticulousness of a former submarine engineer, he climbed into the nuclear missile labyrinths of American strategic doctrines and emerged from them as a supporter of a “limited” nuclear war, a man who hastened disaster. Well, Reagan came not to reduce, but to increase, and this Carter legacy came in handy for him.So, under the roar of engines and the chirping of an action movie, in their plane, overcoming the dark evening spaces of the continent, I found Thomas Powers with his anxiety, which strengthened mine. He reported that in December 1947, the only atomic target for the Americans was Moscow, at which eight bombs were aimed. But after a couple of years, the DropShOT plan provided for the delivery of 300 bombs to 200 targets in 100 industrial-urban areas of the Soviet Union. A long history, the pale dawn of a new century. In 1974, the Pentagon had 25 thousand targets for nuclear strikes on Soviet territory. By 1980 there were 40 thousand of them! “Everyone is on this list now,” Powers wrote. And the list is "still growing"...Of course, his anxiety was not selfish, not just the torment of a normal person who longs for a peaceful life and not bloodshed. The rope connecting us has two ends, just like the chain that tightly connects the types of rockets with the meaning of existence and the fate of humanity. According to the law of reciprocity and retribution, taking care of its safety, the other side closely examines American territory and creates its own proscription list...I took the magazine to Moscow. The lines of Thomas Powers lay among other - and also not serene - printed lines, and I could not imagine that just six months later I would exclaim to myself: “Bah, it’s a small world!” , when their creator comes to the sixth floor of the editorial office of my newspaper as an unusual traveler, continuing to develop his thermonuclear-poisoned intercontinental theme.By the way, I asked him about this in the middle of our conversation, when I became convinced that it was not a dispassionate analyst sitting in front of me, but a living person with a living perception of other people and the world. Why did he delve deeper into this thermonuclear fusion, and what does it feel like for him - is it more bitter or, perhaps, easier? In adults, although they are embarrassed by simple and clear children's words, childhood is hidden. As soon as he started answering me, I realized that this was the answer of millions. The bearded man sitting in front of me was five years old when the war ended. He remembered not Victory Day in May, but the day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August. Since then he has lived with the Bomb, like all of us. The difference, however, is that we seem to push it aside, keep it at a distance as much as possible, not letting it into our daily lives, but he, having chosen the Bomb for a long time as the subject of his journalistic and writing passion, the main creative content of his life, became engaged, as it were. and married her. For what? - I asked sympathetically. And he answered in the sense that he wanted to see better and more clearly the thread (or string?!) on which the Bomb was hanging. Well, having seen it, did it become easier? And looking with his small, round eyes, never smiling, he does not nod, but shakes his head: No, it’s not easier... Unhappy!When you meet in person a person whom you knew in absentia, from what he wrote, he looks both simpler and more complex than his works. When identifying the main thing, you cannot emphasize it, like the lines in his article. Sitting at a low coffee table and holding a thick black pen in his hands, Thomas Powers made Moscow preparations on pieces of paper folded in half. The former eternal pen wrote surprisingly well. He knew no Russian at all and, like almost all Americans, relied on his interlocutor’s knowledge of English. He was delicate and flexible, content with my answers, asking simple questions, as if random, as if randomly. But this was the scattering of a geologist or a driller when they are looking for the same thing in different places. It seemed to me that he asked the same thing: What kind of people are you? And you, sitting opposite, what kind of person? Will we be able to jump together between Scylla and Charybdis of our common nuclear age?I recognized myself in him. In America. I also talked with the Americans, asked questions, thought about something to myself, and collected as many pebbles as possible for the next journalistic mosaic. And I wanted to guess how he would fit our meeting into a mosaic picture that was not yet entirely clear to him.By offering these notes, I want to repent. In them I fell into that unpardonable sin of sentimentality for a journalist, which Thomas Powers successfully avoided in his article. I undertook to unravel a person from another country and a different worldview, spending only an hour and a half with him and without eating a gram of salt. Defenselessness is a punishment for sentimentality, and now, having opened up, I think: what will he write in the report about Moscow impressions that he is preparing for his magazine? What if he is not who I took him for? And in our conversation you saw something completely different or not quite what I saw? I’m thinking: shouldn’t I be on the safe side and, just in case, like against the Bomb, move away from this essentially unfamiliar American? Maybe it's worth it. But I don't want to this time. I stand my ground and think that I am not mistaken: he would like to get through to me, as I do to him, by the shortest path - from heart to heart. He also felt this strong subtext of our conversation, and I am sure that he will find it if he only takes the trouble to think about it. In a word, if he knew Russian, he would also repeat: yes, it’s a small world! That world in which we can drown each other if we don’t learn to save ourselves together. In political language this is called equal security - you cannot strengthen your own by weakening someone else's.However, he could not resist sentimentality and found his own way to sum up our conversation in precisely this vein. When the time was up, and our mood - after the exchange of opinions - had not improved, he asked:- Where is the exit? What to do?In theory, a journalist should not ask such questions to a journalist, because government officials should answer them.But Thomas Powers asked it, it seemed to me, with feeling and soulfulness in his voice, as if a degree of trust had arisen between us that justified such a question. And therefore, throwing up my hands - this is not a question for a journalist - I still answered:  “We probably need to understand each other and trust each other.”I immediately added that this is too simple an answer to a complex question, but perhaps it would not be more correct. And he also made a reservation that the two of us, he and I can - by human impulse, by a sudden wave of sympathy - understand each other and trust each other, and what is it like for two huge states with different systems, different histories, different languages and different places in the world ?He nodded in agreement and, quickly softening the unexpected solemnity of his words, said that he would do everything he could to gain understanding and trust. I promised him the same. And when he left, carrying a few new touches for his book in a canvas bag, our meeting did not leave my mind, and the next day I thought that there was no need to shelve thefulfillment of my promise, I sat down at my desk, at these your notes.HATE MONTHor a few questions for the presidentMr. President, as an international journalist, I have written hundreds of articles, notes, correspondence, and essays, but I have never resorted to the genre of an open letter to the President of the United States. The genre is somewhat extravagant. I understand this well. As well as the fact that my letter, in some way registered, delivered through the newspaper, most likely will not reach the addressee, and if it does, it will be written off as another exercise of the Soviet propagandist. Why, then, am I still writing it? A person who writes, willingly or unwillingly, searches for the best form for what he would like to express. So, in my search for a genre, I came to the conclusion that it is the letter with its special intonation of trust and direct appeal to a specific person that best suits my purpose.I am considered an Americanist because the United States is my main professional interest. At one time I worked as a correspondent for Izvestia in New York and Washington, I have been studying your country for more than 20 years, and for me you are the sixth American president. Life is first and foremost work. I readily admit that you do not know me, Mr. President, and due to my journalistic activities I have to constantly keep you in my field of attention. It’s funny to say, but I think about you, perhaps, no less than about my loved ones, especially since their fate to some extent depends on your behavior. Along with thousands of my colleagues around the world, I am trying to explain the political and human phenomenon called Ronald Reagan.Lately, more often than usual, you have been addressing not only your compatriots—Americans—but “fellow citizens,” and “fellow citizens and I can all over the world.” In this case, we will address you in response - from our rostrum. On the stage of world politics, where there is no main director and roles are not distributed, but rather sorted out, you are increasingly choosing the role of the supreme judge in matters of humanity and morality. I probably won’t be wrong if I say that in September your favorite word was the word civilization. You mention the norms of civilization and care about civilized order. An extremely important question. The alternative to peace is war. The alternative to civilization is savagery and the law of the jungle. Essentially, they are the same alternative. There can be no peace in a world where the law of the jungle reigns instead of international law. And in ethical terms, addressed to the human person, civilization presupposes the superiority of reason over instincts, which sometimes awaken the beast and savage in man. Reflections on this emphasis of your speeches also prompted me to take up an open letter.Well, it provides concrete material both for you and for my notes - in abundance! - just gone, but not forgotten, not sunk into oblivion September 1983.Whether this is the finger of providence or someone else’s finger, we will not touch on this controversial issue, but from the very first day September with prophetic power reminded us of what an alarming and furious world we live in. Not even from the day of your first, but from the very first night. It was in the dead of night from August 31 to September 1, in the cold stratospheric silence over the island of Sakhalin, suddenly broken by the whistling of jet engines, that a meeting took place between two aircraft - a violator of Soviet airspace and an interceptor designed to stop such violations. It wasn't just the whistling of jet engines that split the silence. The flight of the intruder aircraft was stopped in exactly the same, alas, harsh way that, as a last resort, the flights of intruder aircraft that behave like reconnaissance aircraft and do not obey interceptors are stopped. A harsh axiom of our time, when military people on the edge of their own land and not far from someone else’s are guarding the world, not for a second forgetting about the possibility of sabotage, provocations, and war. But... But along with the intruder plane, a cluster of human tragedies crashed into the ocean. Innocent people from different countries died because the intruder turned out to be a giant passenger Boeing 747 of a South Korean airline, which for some reason evaded the well-trodden international air route by as much as 500 kilometers.The night holds a secret. This time the mystery turned out to be longer than the first September night and the entire stormy month of September, and the answer to the original question is still shrouded in a veil of secrecy: how did it get there, this Boeing, with its perfect electronic equipment, excluding pre-electronic possibilities of getting lost?But one thing is not a secret. The night event over Sakhalin is a consequence of modern international weather, which, Mr. President, you have been actively and definitely shaping since January 1981. from the first days of moving into the White House. And now the whole sky is covered in thunderclouds of suspicion and hostility, and where there are thunderclouds, there is a possibility of a thunderstorm, there dazzling lightning, bursting out of the darkness, shows how thick and terrible the darkness is.And one more thing is not a secret, and, summing up the month of September that has passed from us, I think no one will dispute this. The level of hostility and suspicion has not decreased, but has jumped and increased sharply. It grew, although statesmanship dictated that a completely different lesson be drawn from what happened.You cannot bring back the dead; it will take not a month, but years and years for the pain of relatives and friends to subside. But if they were resurrected by a miracle, what would they tell us? Really - what? Would you say that you would never fly on this flight 007 for anything in the world, that you would never trust the pilots who flew the ill-fated Boeing 747? Yes, they probably would have said that. And what else? Would they really, referring to their tragic experience, preach even greater suspicion and enmity, which, already set on fire by a fuse, are reaching towards the mountains of weapons, the most terrible in history - only it is not possible for us to consider in the impenetrable future how long the cord is, and how quickly Fire is running through it, and will they trample it down before it’s too late?Would they really preach that, Mr. President? The people there were different, but a person, as they say, is not his own enemy. And if we spent September with disastrous results, if tensions mixed with mistrust, fear and outright hostility increased, then to whom do we owe this? Which international incident turned into the most acute international crisis in recent years? Who sensationally brought together the meaning of two words similar only in spelling - history and hysteria?Even the genre of writing, in the end, does not forbid calling a spade a spade. You turned what happened into an unprecedentedly acute political and propaganda confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, while at the same time trying to give it another, more suitable coloring - a confrontation with the Soviet Union of the whole world. This was not just an accent, but a genuine leitmotif of your numerous speeches: that the entire world community condemns the Soviet Union, that the entire angry world is throwing stones at the Russians it rejected. One definition comes to mind that I would like to highlight: Hate Month. In your country, like in ours, there are no weeks or months of friendship with this or that people. But now your administration can add to its record a Herostratus discovery: from September you organized a genuine month of hatred towards the Soviet Union, towards the Soviet people. Are civility and inciting hatred towards another people compatible?The Month of Hate, unfortunately, was a success and was widespread. As a person who has lived for a long time in the United States, I know that public hysteria in your country comes with the speed and force of a hurricane, and then no one and nothing dares to resist it, then the timid mind raises its hands in the air, capitulating, albeit temporarily, to the chauvinistic instinct . And now the Congress, which has long doubted and resisted, instantly accepts your, Mr. President, program for creating MX intercontinental missiles, because the same hysteria has established an incomprehensible cause-and-effect relationship between the incident over Sakhalin and the acquisition of dangerous weapons of the first nuclear strike. “We must not allow ourselves to turn this incident into the foundation of a new mountain of weapons and militaristic demagoguery.” These are not your words, Mr. President. They belong to Congressman J. Crocket. In September it was a voice crying in the wilderness.Hysteria marches hand in hand with cheap politicking, and now two venerable governors of two large states - New York and New Jersey - are rushing to make their contribution to the month of hatred, closing airports for the plane carrying the head of the Soviet delegation to the session of the UN General Assembly.Hatred is more intoxicating than alcohol - and in different states, different restaurateurs no longer drink, but drink Russian vodka, not forgetting, of course, about television cameramen and commercial advertising of their patriotism. Fun, but not the innocent kind.As for me, Mr. President, in the very center of this September hurricane, which should, as is customary in your country, be given a female name - Hysteria, I see one scene. In the small village of Glencove on Long Island, where New Yorkers take a break from their city, a crowd of local residents, filled with the most destructive intentions, rushed and broke through into the territory of the residence of the permanent Soviet representative to the UN. Something was trampled, torn and broken, but this was not the furious eye of the typhoon. No, not in material damage, but in the fact that posters were flying above the heads of the crowd: “Kill the Russians!”This is the “capital punishment”—and the highest form of hatred.The crowd in Glencove was eager for lynching, or, in American, lynching. The crowd poured out its unbridled rage and hatred on the Russians, on the Soviets, on all of us, and brought down their refusal to consider us full-fledged people, just like everyone else, to whom American racists traditionally justify reprisals against their black compatriots.You have not responded to the Glencove episode, Mr. President, but I am sure that you cannot support this wild call to kill Russians. As a person who personifies the highest power, you, of course, are against that rule - the power of the crowd, trampling law and order. You cannot share this call for another reason. For a person in your position, this means war, a war that, not according to Glenn, but according to world standards in the nuclear missile age, is tantamount, among other things, to inevitable suicide. Your Secretary of Defense, Mr. Weinberger, does not favor the Russians, but even he, when your fans, who could not restrain themselves, demanded to turn up the heat on sanctions, even to the point of severing diplomatic relations with him, and he reportedly threw up his hands: “Well, what do you want, so that we declare war on them?! »And yet, if, in order to clarify the truth, we continue this painful conversation, another question arises: who incited the crowd that was ripe for lynching in Glencove - and not only there? Who fed this wild version of cold-blooded terror, of the deliberate destruction of peaceful people in the skies? Here we have to return to the question of your responsibility, Mr. President. The mentioned version was powerfully imposed on American - and world - public opinion precisely by your own repeated statements. You incited horror and hatred with your qualification of what happened, with all your epithets: “barbaric destruction”, “crime against humanity”, “the creation of a society that generally ignores individual rights and the value of human life.” Would you like me to remind you of your words? “The Russians are making it clear,” you said, “that yes, shooting down a plane - even if there are hundreds of innocent men, women and children on board, including infants - is part of their procedure... ."The crowd at Glencove was well-versed as they marched towards the Soviet compound carrying signs: “Kill the Russians!” Did the American president know that the Soviet pilot did not know that there was a passenger plane in front of him? Information from your own intelligence services testifies: yes, the pilot did not know. It seems that you did not want this knowledge, even avoided it because the truth interfered with your intentions. The worse, the better - that’s what answered them, because worse works better for your anti-communism, for the fiction of an “evil empire” and calls for a “crusade”, for continuous attempts to dehumanize, dehumanize Russians, Soviet people and the Soviet state in in the eyes of the American and other peoples. The worse, the better - that’s the principle you acted on, although this principle pushes towards a catastrophe, which there is nothing worse for all of us, “fellow citizens around the world.”The world is large, contradictory and complex, and your responsibilities, Mr. President, are varied and difficult. But even in this world one should not neglect the high simplicity that wisdom chooses as a form of expression. The great poet Alexander Pushkin serves for us, Russians and non-Russians living in the Soviet Union, as a tuning fork by which the best in our multinational culture—and conscience itself—is tuned. Almost a century and a half ago, in his poetic testament, he said wisely and simply: “And for a long time I will be kind to the people because I awakened good feelings with my lyre...” Everyone here knows these words, from a young age.Not only the lyre, but also politics, in order to be amiable to the people - and peoples - is called upon to awaken good feelings. This is not what you were doing in September. You sowed bad feelings and immediately reaped the harvest, because hatred is more contagious than love and more commanding than love, it demands reciprocity. The relationship between us became even colder, even more bitter. You were not far from the truth when, in a recent radio address, you admitted that your portrait in some countries “looks rather gloomy.”Only one clarification - not a portrait, but a self-portrait. Statesmen paint their portraits with their own words and actions - in the whole gamut of their combinations and contrasts.Keeping hope for better times,Stanislav KONDRASHOV,political commentator  "Izvestia"NEW YEAR'S VISIONSNew Year is stopped time. Perhaps not an original thought, but to the writer of these lines it appeared with a sudden revelation on New Year’s morning, when, amid the sweet silence of the Moscow region, he woke up at the editorial dacha. Time also stood still because there was nothing occupied on the last Saturday of the year, and, judging by the empty dacha street, no one was in a hurry to occupy it, start it up and let it go.So I found myself the only person among the dacha buildings, prickly frozen bushes and naked black linden trees. For the first and last time of the year, a city dweller walked through untrodden snow, and there were no tracks in front of me, and only my tracks remained behind, and in the forest the pre-dawn snow had already dusted the hare’s tracks. The world was white and silent, the earth stretched white before our eyes, and, surrounding the familiar meadow that had sunk under the snow, the familiar birch trees stretched toward the sky, which was also white, timidly gaining a pale bluish color from the shy December sun. When I stopped, complete silence reigned. It seemed that everything was looking at a lonely man who had wandered here on the eve of a New Year unknown to nature, and the man, confused and moved, felt that the humble beauty of his native land was about to wrest from him words of love, admiration and guilt. Yes, guilt, because are we worthy of this beauty?Time stood in the midst of white space and white sensitive silence. And as happens with stopped time, it was filled with pictures of the past day when it moved. And the characters in these films were not the American president or American missiles, which the American internationalist had been studying all year. No, through the white snow and in the white sky I saw images of close and dear people, those with whom, living side by side, flowing into each other, you spend a period of time called life.I remembered how the day before, when I was getting ready for work, I offended my wife and then, to atone for my guilt, I belatedly ran around the kiosks and shops. I remembered how my son grunted with pleasure when he received an unexpected gift, and the expression of joy on the faces of his daughters. Simple visions of the past day haunted me, and they were joyful among the white snows of a silent and deserted white light. As in the long editorial corridors, in the buffet and dining room, everyone congratulated each other: “Happy New Year!” The newspaper was still sucking in and absorbing the news of the world; for the employees on duty it was neither festive nor idle, but the rest, in the whirlwind of New Year's Moscow, accelerated their movement towards the moment when a counter invented by man, called a clock, would bring two hands together, marking another the boundary of what, again, he, Man, calls time and what began unknown when and flows unknown where and exists against human will.Every year is an annual ring at the cross-section of our lives. Every time we seem to die in order to be resurrected on a new ring, on a new circle, and therefore we want to wrap up the old year in such a way that we can greet the beginning of a new one with a light heart.And so, on a quiet New Year's morning, finding myself among the white, untrodden snow at the editorial dacha, I thought that the day before everything seemed to have settled down and ended well, and, although it is not in your power to make the people dear to you happy, at least you did not darken their holiday moods.But two fresh memories, albeit pushed into the background, stung my heart. Both concerned work, not the small and personal, but the big world.My first memory of a greeting card sent from Omsk. The postcard was enclosed in an envelope with a picture, and under the picture was typewritten: “Meet my Omsk!” On the top of the envelope, also in typewritten text, was: “May there always be Sunshine!” Give me peace 1984! Give me a five-year period of peace for disarmament!” On the card, a short text, written in a strong and quick hand, also contained a greeting to the Sun, a call for disarmament, congratulations to journalists and a wish for success in the peace watch. An optimistic message from a well-wisher. I would say that it was implausible, bravuraly optimistic, breathing with indestructible cheerfulness and, despite all seriousness, that inner healthy irony that is inherent in cheerful people. And after the signature, a lingering echo of the past, a passionate appeal to the future, evoking a stormy range of feelings, came the explanation: “Inv. Otech. war (legless)."The second memory that broke. pre-New Year's mood, was also connected with the letter - from Washington. The letter was sent by Izvestia correspondent Alexander Palladin, and in addition to the greeting card, I found a magazine one in it. clipping - a large, 30-page article from the January issue of the literary and political monthly "Atlantic". The article was written by American journalist Thomas Powers. In the summer of 1984, he came to Moscow for the first time in his life to understand how we feel about the nuclear threat hanging over the world, and I was one of the people who was asked to talk with this famous journalist.I took a liking to a stocky, bearded American man in his early forties. Why do we like people at first sight? In him I found naturalness and intelligence, sincerity and that attractive courage when a writer with a name and experience, freeing himself from the scab of so-called respectability, is not afraid to ask seemingly childish questions, the answers to which seem to have long been known to adult, respectable people. He wanted to understand us and our attitude towards the Americans and thereby test the attitude of the Americans towards us, and from his various questions, I felt, the result was one of the most childish and, in essence, the wisest question of questions: what are we (that is, we and they , and all humanity) for people? What awaits us like this in the future with such weapons and such an international position? What do we do?And somehow it so happened that the conversation with Thomas Powers went into the mainstream of my own thoughts and created that emotional critical mass that produces an explosion - an urgent need to write about the most intimate and a form of expression of this intimate. And unexpectedly easily I wrote sentimental notes of a political observer - that the world is small - since the Americans are only half an hour away from intercontinental missiles, and since we are in this world - is it really so unexpected? — we find each other with our anxieties.It’s awkward to refer to your own notes, it’s awkward to mention the thoughts that dawned on you early on New Year’s morning, but, firstly, without this there will be no New Year’s visions of stopped and again anxiously moving time, and secondly, not only the world is indivisible, but also man indivisible, and in him everything merged and everything was intertwined - home and work, near and far, a footprint in the snow and scratches on the heart.I won’t say that my notes were a confession. But there was sincerity in them, a sincere attempt to get through to this American. And there was also, if you take a more sober look, some experience: will he understand this impulse? In the sentimental - and subjective notes, if we judge this experience in hindsight, there was a question of an objective order - about the possibility of understanding two people, two journalists from different worlds. And one more question - about the connections between these two worlds: will a large article dedicated to the meeting with him and published - with good intentions - in a famous Soviet newspaper, reach him in America? Do they hear us the way we hear them? Do they read as we read? Are they capable of contact? Not empty questions, because without contact there is no understanding, and without understanding, don’t expect anything good ahead.And so, having received his article in the hectic hours of New Year’s Eve, I frantically leafed through it and made sure: no, I had not heard. Frankly, it was a painful prick for one’s pride, but it was not only a personal insult. The experiment was not a success! They talk about contacts with extraterrestrial civilizations. Is there any with the earthly, between the earthly? This is also not an empty question. I did not exaggerate in the least the insignificance, smallness, and particularity of my Experience, but at the same time I excluded the randomness of the result obtained. This is typically American, I thought: to listen and hear only to ourselves. A special, elevated to another principle of Americanism, unresponsiveness to everything that comes from the Soviet Union - from government proposals to journalist’s notes. My notes turned out to be an empty signal that sank into the abyss of the Universe. Is it a small world? Do we find each other? And if such an American turns out to be deaf at such a time, then what really awaits us?It was impossible to forget this question, neither among the white, soul-healing fields, nor on that night when on the banks of the Pakhra we took the New Year by storm, frying kebabs on the fire. From afar, in the dancing reflections of the fire, men in winter jackets and knitted hats, barbecue masters, created silhouettes of medieval warriors. And up close, visions of a nuclear auto-da-fé suddenly came to mind. When another box brought from the farm yard flew into the fire, its wooden slats flared up and melted fieryly, reminiscent of eerie footage from the American television film about nuclear war, “The Next Day.” In these frames, just as instantly, like light slats in a fire, human ribs flared red, only to become part of a charred skeleton in an elusive fraction of a second, and after another elusive fraction, evaporate without a trace...Then the stopped time started again. And my first read in the new year was Thomas Powers’ article “Because of What?” I read it carefully and must admit that this is a serious journalistic study, honest and desperate. Perhaps his answer is not whether he heard the signal sent or not, but that he did a different experiment - and a different job. He dug like a mole into history - from Pericles and Aristotle to modern military historians, and also obtained primary information - and “bad news” from the Americans, who, in his words, invent, create, test with, in numerous meetings buys, secures, explains, targets and is ready to deliver nuclear weapons to the target.And so my New Year’s visions were invaded by the dark phantasmagoric visions of the American Thomas Powers.While working in America, I once flew through Albuquerque, New Mexico. This city itself is closed to Soviet citizens. Nearby, at the Air Force Base in Kirtland, there is, it turns out, the National Atomic Museum. I see Thomas Powers there looking at a replica of "Fat Man", the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. She looks like a caricature of the Bombshell. Here, in the same place, is the body of the first American hydrogen bomb, an eight-meter monster weighing 21 tons. But this is the archeology of the nuclear age, the first attempts at a science of mass destruction that is developing faster than any science. And now I see Thomas Powers near the MARK-12A type reentry vehicle, which carries a W-78 warhead. Neither caricature nor monstrosity. Modern design. An elegant cone-shaped piece, only waist-high, with a jet-black surface and a rounded, polished head. Three or four of these things will fit into the trunk of a station wagon. The MX rocket will carry 10 of them. Each one contains 23 Hiroshimas. Another vision. One of the insiders tells Thomas Powers how he developed plans to use tactical nuclear weapons in Central Europe. His goal was to reduce the number of civilian casualties. Just on the birthday of his daughter, who turned four years old, the analyst came up with a successful idea: to subject railway junctions to nuclear attacks and thereby deprive the Soviet troops at the front of reinforcements. Having laid out special military maps on the floor for convenience and taken a special computer that calculated the effect of using nuclear weapons, he got down to business. Things were going smoothly. The idea quickly acquired digital calculations that supported it: “only one hundred thousand killed,” and not millions, as in previous developments. It saved America. According to calculations, these were tolerable losses for the enemy, and they would not have caused nuclear strikes on American territory.During the lunch break, the analyst, pleased with himself, drove home and took his daughter to the automated McDonald's cafeteria, one of those that dotted American cities and roads in hundreds. He stood in line, looking around the hall and the people dining. And suddenly he remembered - “only a hundred thousand.” There were only a few dozen in the hall, but they were living, not statistical. Chaotic visions flashed through his organized brain, and he saw himself among the military maps on the floor and - suddenly - his murdered daughter and was horrified by what he did for a living for himself and his family. Then, of course, he came to terms with his wild imagination: life went on, and along with it, ordinary madness.In the study of Thomas Powers, however, there are more reflections and comparative psychological observations, not such details. He compares us and the Americans. We remain unfamiliar territory for him: only meetings in Moscow and Minneapolis, where an American-Soviet public conference on issues of war and peace was once held. He has no doubt about our aversion to war and commitment to peace. At the same time, he is confused and alarmed by the unity of our political thinking and views on the international situation, intransigence in disputes with foreigners and the demonstration of a sense of being right. He knows his compatriots better and does not spare them, especially the professionals from Bomba. “We have passed the worst of what happened in the great wars of this century... It is so difficult for some Americans to see the war as anything other than an exciting time that they take the 20 million killed in the Soviet Union as evidence that the Russians wars have become hardened rather than cautious and therefore will not flinch at the risk of another war. The Russians I met were, for the most part, patient, careful, reasonable, efficient, and not easily angered. But from the thought that they don’t care about all their murdered brothers, fathers and uncles, starving and frozen children, blood rushes to their faces and passion appears in their voices. Americans have no such national memory and rely on a feeble substitute—what they have read,” writes Thomas Powers.Many of his Soviet interlocutors admitted that things could come to a nuclear war, but the Americans, on the contrary, unanimously believed that it would not work out. The observation seems controversial. It can be easily refuted by statements by American officials who not only admit, but also preach the possibility of nuclear war. On the other hand, when you think about it, you discover that this observation contains a thought to which the author, without directly formulating it, leads. Those who are aware of the seriousness of the situation behave more responsibly and more cautiously, while those who believe that they will “get by” behave more irresponsibly, recklessly, and rashly. The distance between the peace declarations and the militaristic actions of the Reagan administration fits into this paradox.As for the author of the study, he is filled with deep pessimism."Because of which?" That's the title of the article. What reasons could justify nuclear war? There is none of them. In a world divided by an abyss into two irreconcilable socio-political systems, neither will win and both will lose as a result of a nuclear disaster that threatens the very existence of humanity. But the Vanes, Powers is convinced, were never subject to logic and common sense and began because there was fear and suspicion - both armies and weapons were ready for war. Wars have never been prevented by the knowledge that they are insane, “impossible” and “unthinkable.” “The problem is not the malice of one side or the other, but our complacency in the state of hostility, our willingness to go the wrong way, our reliance on threats of extermination to save us from extermination,” he writes.Thomas Powers' journal publications on the growing threat of nuclear war are of interest. When he is invited to perform in various American audiences, he usually does not refuse. After the speech, questions follow, primarily about the types of nuclear weapons: what do they look like, how do they operate, is it true that they can hit a football field on the other side of the globe? Yes, that's right. And he answers the rest of the questions as best he can. And gradually the listeners disperse.But one person remains. He waits for everyone to leave, this last person with the last question. They also approach gypsy fortune tellers, as if without any superstition, just for the sake of laughter, to ask: “How long do I have left to live?” Fortune tellers can spot such people a mile away, and Thomas Powers learned to immediately recognize this latest listener with his final question: “Will there be war?” The man was waiting for... everyone will leave to receive a confidential and most reliable answer. But there is no answer, and he hears: “I don’t know...”I don’t know... Thus ends the January visions of Thomas Powers in the Atlantic Monthly magazine, and therefore another of my correspondence meetings with a traveler who, lost in the wilds of the nuclear age, sends distress signals from another continent. I continue to feel drawn to this essentially unknown American and some strange sense of responsibility towards him, because, I repeat, we are all travelers and we are all companions. I could advise him to learn optimism from a veteran from Omsk, but I am afraid that he will not want to take this advice: we take our optimism or pessimism from the world around us, near and far, from our nature and destiny.What remains? In his publication, he classifies me as one of those Russians who say in “heavy and thoughtful voices”: “We must hope. Who owns the words that hope is the last thing we say goodbye to? How else can you live in this world?”In fact - how? We must hope - and act in the name of hope, and not give up in despair. With Americans like Thomas Powers, we can find common ground of common sense. He understands that we cannot re-educate or remake each other with the help of nuclear weapons. But we must turn this danger into an instrument of peace, into the most effective tool for understanding each other. May there always be sunshine! There will be... Even if at the moment it is hidden behind the clouds.January 1984PREACHER BILLY GRAHAMand the red horse of the ApocalypseWe did not drive from the modernist buildings of the International Trade Center on Krasnaya Presnya towards the old-fashioned Sovetskaya Hotel, but rushed, because a green traffic police car was rushing forward, fearlessly advancing with its flashing lights even on oncoming traffic. But it was not for the sake of the modest person of the journalist that the gunman waved his baton from the window, clearing the way, but for the sake of the man with whom I was sitting in the back seat of the Chaika - an emphatically modest-looking man in a light black suit, tall and thin, with a long, thin-lipped face and reddish hair.This man, American Billy Graham, was an honored guest of Moscow. After the reception given in his honor by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus' Pimen, and after the press conference And there, in the International Trade Center, Billy Graham hurried to the hotel and to Sheremetyevo airport - and further to Paris, to New York and - even further — to the state of North Carolina. There, in the seclusion of a mountain village, is his home, which during 40 years of his idiosyncratic activity he often left for roads in more than 60 countries. The first “Seagull” was followed by one, with Billy Graham’s son, and several more cars with assistants and accompanying persons. Together they spent 12 very busy days in Moscow, Leningrad, Tallinn and Vosibirsk.Billy Graham was an honored and unusual guest. Arriving at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church and the All-Union Council of Evangelical Christian Baptists, he read sermons in churches. And this part, this purpose of his trip concerned believers. But there was another part, or rather another meaning, not only purely religious, but also moral-political, symbolic - preaching in the name of peace.What is unusual, you say, about preaching peace? On the contrary, what could be more common now? The unusual thing, I will answer, is in the figure of the preacher and in the changes that have occurred to him in recent years.Billy Graham is the most famous American evangelist. In the accounting and counting of everything and everyone in which numerous institutes and public opinion services are engaged in the United States, there is, among other traditions, this: at the end of each year, asking Americans which of their compatriots they most admire. So, Billy Graham has repeatedly been among the ten most popular Americans.Tell me who you worship and I will tell you who you are. But when you are the sea of humanity called the American people, it is not so easy to tell whom it worships. But you need to know and take it into account. The list of the top ten is usually as varied as American life with its passion for sensations and the cult of success: it can contain a multimillionaire and a television commentator, a rock idol and a children's doctor.Presidents on this list change, just like in the White House, but evangelical preacher Billy Graham remains, which, however, does not prevent him from remaining a friend of changing presidents - Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and now Reagan. Presidents are friends with Billy Graham because he has a reputation as the Bible incarnate: such friendship is a significant plus in the eyes of the voter. Well, the preacher’s closeness to the presidents, of course, proves his 100% patriotism. Billy Graham is as quintessentially American as apple pie and as patriotic as the Stars and Stripes.That's who - politically - Billy Graham is. And the Americanist writing these lines, having looked through his old correspondence, might have found in them unflattering references to the evangelist who visited and blessed American soldiers who fought in Vietnam. There is neither subtracting nor adding here.However, is it true? This truth - neither less nor more - concerns the past and the dead. While a person is alive, you can add more. If a person changes. 30 years ago Billy Graham said: “Either communism must die or Christianity must die, because it really is a battle between Christ and Antichrist.” And relatively recently, he said that “Christians should interact with everyone who honestly works for the world in And he said this in Moscow! then, in May 1982, as if testing the waters, he came to Moscow as an observer at an international conference of religious leaders against nuclear war.Billy Graham has changed and, in order to prevent a nuclear disaster, is looking for a common language with both believers and atheists. He searches and, presumably, finds. Isn’t that why, when he returned two years after his first short visit, he spent almost two weeks in our country?And so, having found time in the last hours of Moscow, he answers my questions, while heavy bronze figures of the monument to the rebels on Presnya, yellowing clumps of trees outside the fence of the Vagankovsky cemetery, and snaking railway tracks on the approaches to the Belorussky railway station rush by outside the windows of the limousine. His first trip to Moscow caused an unusually wide response - a million letters from Americans. Fantastic number! Billy Graham believes that this time, after a longer trip, the response will be even greater. In addition, Soviet and Canadian television crews who traveled with him shot approximately 40 hours of film material. A three-hour TV movie will be made and shown in America. Billy Graham is sure that he will interest Americans...Ever since the preacher touched the turbulent waters of international politics, his behavior has given rise to controversy. He has to not only preach sermons, but also explain himself and justify himself. Even one hundred percent Americanism does not guarantee one hundred percent invulnerability, as well as references to the fact that Christ himself was a controversial figure and gave rise to different rumors. In 1982, the White House and State Department discouraged Billy Graham from traveling to Moscow, warning that "the Soviets are using him for their own propaganda purposes." He was also reproached, accused and lectured in the American press.Although of those million letters from Americans, only less than 2 thousand were critical, the attacks of the press cannot be ignored. Before the second trip to the Soviet Union, the so-called “Special Message from Billy Graham” was published. The decision to travel to an “officially communist atheist country,” it explained, was made after much prayer and reflection, as well as consultation with religious and government leaders. “There will be people who will say that I am being used for political purposes,” wrote Billy Graham. “I do not want to be used, but the possibility of this always exists. There is a risk."And I, having taken up these notes, am now also thinking about risk. There is a risk that some will consider them, these notes of mine, as evidence of the use of a politically naive evangelist by Soviet propaganda. How not to overpraise him, I think, not to multiply the points of our contact and agreement with him and thereby not do him a disservice. But, on the other hand, isn’t this a strange and funny way of asking the question of who is using whom? And don’t people of good will have the right to use each other if this results in a common benefit - to the cause of understanding each other and thereby reducing the threat of nuclear war?At a press conference at the International Trade Center, Billy Graham was especially pressed by a bearded correspondent for a New York literary weekly. And all along the same line, all getting from him, whether the Soviets use him or not. He pressed on evilly - either having received an assignment from the editors, or showing his own zeal. According to the bearded correspondent: of course, they are using it. And so, under the fresh impression of this viciousness of his, when we found ourselves with Billy Graham in the limousine, I just told him that, in the end, is it shameful to use each other in a common struggle in the name of peace? Looking in my direction, at first he seemed to weigh this idea and, it seemed to me, with some distrust - did I want to use him? And then he agreed and regretted that it had not occurred to him earlier. He agreed, perhaps out of politeness, out of that humility that has become the nature of the evangelist preacher. Although, it must be said, he clearly outlines his position. He does not allow himself any public criticism of the American approach to arms control issues. Advocates the need for "adequate defence". He does not consider himself a pacifist.At a meeting of the Soviet Peace Committee, he said: “My path is parallel to yours - peace in conditions of justice.” He emphasized that he does not consider himself and does not want to be a “political person”, that his life’s calling has long been determined and that he rejects new calls and invitations to become the leader of any organizations in defense of peace, just as he rejected old repeated calls and invitations to run for office. senators and presidents or become a Hollywood movie star. He is not going to take to the streets with anti-war posters, but... But he promises to be even more active in preaching peace, participating in creating a climate of trust and understanding. The world is in a very dangerous situation, says Billy Graham, and everyone must do everything in their power to prevent a nuclear holocaust...We continued the conversation in his room at the Sovetskaya Hotel, where suitcases and travel bags were already stacked at the door. I remembered one long-ago conversation with the famous American futurist Herman Kahn, now deceased. It was in August 1980, during the next American presidential election campaign. Kahn predicted - and was not mistaken - Reagan's victory and derived his prediction from conservative shifts in the consciousness of the mass of Americans. He then also involved the figure of Billy Graham in his reasoning. The fact that in recent years Americans have consistently included an evangelical preacher among the ten most adored compatriots, Kahn reasoned, indicates a conservative mentality, their attraction to fundamentalist religion. With increased religiosity, Kahn associated the anti-communist militancy of the Americans, and even their willingness to endure, in a spirit of submission to providence, the hardships and sacrifices of a possible nuclear war.Now sitting next to me was a man who had been operated on by the late futurologist as an example. And I told him that it seems that his behavior, Billy Graham’s, does not confirm, but rather refutes the example that, moving towards the conservative side on a number of domestic political issues, Americans seem to be becoming more liberal in matters of war and peace. Does Billy Graham agree with this? He agreed, adding that widespread fear of communism in America had diminished while fear of the dangers of nuclear war had increased. Unfortunately, he noted, tensions are increasing and at the same time the path to SALT 10 is lengthening - this is how (by analogy with SALT 1 and SALT 2) he calls the ultimate goal of the complete destruction of nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction, without which there can be no real hope for lasting peace.In the conversation, Billy Graham also mentioned his small hope. It is that “Reagan will become more Reagan”, free himself from obligations to arch-conservative groups and take more moderate positions. I doubted it: such hopes had been expressed more than once over the past four years and they had never come true.The evangelist meets with the president two to three times a year, but never divulges the contents of his confidential conversations with him, as well as with officials in other countries. And this time he did not change his rule. But, in his opinion, Reagan is sincere when he emphasizes that in his second term his main concern will be achieving good relations with the Soviet Union: Perhaps we are “at the very beginning of the very beginning” of a new development, so he said he is humorous—and cautiously hopeful.— Dr. Graham, a tremendous change has occurred in your approach to issues of war and peace. How did it happen? Was there some practical impulse, some specific event, that brought about this change?“Yes, it was,” he said and perked up, as people perk up when they remember something amazing, unforgettable. And he told how, about ten years ago, a group of American military personnel appeared at his secluded mountain house a hundred miles from the North Carolina city of Charlotte - on their own initiative. They were very worried and wanted to share their concern with the famous preacher. They told him some details about the monstrous power of nuclear weapons, “and then I realized that we were crazy and that something had to be done.”And he began to take action, gradually introducing the topic of the nuclear threat and the fight against it into his sermons and prayers. But this was not immediately noticed. And now he regrets that he did not do this earlier, at the beginning of the nuclear race, when it would have been easier to stop it.Now he hears, increasingly louder, “The approaching clatter of hooves.” This is the title of Billy Graham's new book about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The evangelist illustrates the threat of all destruction with figurative biblical symbolism of the end of the world, described in the Revelation of John the Theologian, or the Apocalypse....And another horse came out, a red one; and to him that sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and a great sword was given to him...  “The clatter of the red horse’s hooves thunders in our ears,” writes Billy Graham. “The rider sits high in the saddle, swinging ever wider the sword that causes death and destruction.”  In his book, he still trusts in God, but - this is a new point - he urges people not to make mistakes. In the past, religious leaders too often took war for granted, a “fact of life,” he writes. “In the current nuclear age, we must not fall into the same psychological trap.”People create war or peace by influencing each other. Haters breed each other - and there is a climate of hostility and suspicion. Through the combined efforts of people of good will, a global climate is being created that facilitates mutual understanding. The world is small for nuclear weapons, but in the general movement to save them there is a place for everyone - scientists, writers, doctors, religious figures. It is easy to find and find a place for people, one way or another, famous, whose actions are visible from everywhere, to thousands and even millions.To whom much has been given - in the sense of close human attention - much will be asked of him, and the question will be asked quite definitely: in what cup did he put what was given to him - the cup of good or evil, the cup of peace or the cup of war? Billy Graham, listening to the clatter of ominous hooves, chooses the cup of peace.1984 yearELECTIONS-19841I had the opportunity to spend the first half of November 1984 in the United States of America - another trip related to the presidential elections. While I returned to Moscow - and returned myself to Moscow time, which is eight hours ahead of New York and Washington, while I sorted - not yet fully - a heap of new impressions - November expired and the count of December days began. Without having time to reflect on paper these two and a half weeks, with a familiar feeling, close to despair, you see how they float away, being replaced by another time, of course changing both here and there, with them, during this period of practical groping for policy by the American President , elected for a second term.The newspaperman is always afraid of being late, but in addition to the dictates of efficiency, another obstacle awaits you when you sit down to report on the trip - a certain internal duality, a confrontation between two principles. As a person who sees, hears, feels and thinks, you have returned from there again. filled with a variety of impressions. But as a professional journalist, you are supposed to not give in to this diversity, to the chaotic invasion of life; on the contrary, you should, as it were, rise above its unkemptness, neglect the particular for the sake of the general, and systematize what has been brought by the method of political analysis.A journalist has no time and is not always able to artistically process what his consciousness accumulated in the raw materials of observations on a foreign land. And he consoles himself with the fact that in his field, nothing but politics still has no place on the ever-crowded newspaper page. He consoles himself - and deliberately deceives. And the best political analysis loses its credibility if some particular and seemingly extraneous touches do not indicate the broad background of someone else’s life against which this or that political process takes place, if some characteristic landmarks, even if not directly related to politics, do not stick out, hesitatingly, from the description of the turbulent flow of someone else's life. When I arrived a week before the elections, the flow of American news did not fit into one election channel, it rushed like a mountain river on the rifts, and even burned me with molten lava. Well, first of all, the bloody murder in Delhi, the death of Indira Gandhi immediately replaced the topic of the election battles between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale on the American television screen. Then another, not at all political, sensation distracted the attention of television viewers from the final campaigning of the candidates in the cities and villages of America. Like the mysterious silent substance of life itself, the face of Little Fairy suddenly glanced blindly from the television screen onto the motley and noisy world. This is how, hiding the real name of her and her parents, they named a three-week-old girl, who, in an attempt to save her from inevitable death, was transplanted with the heart of a monkey - a baboon. The operation was performed somewhere near Los Angeles, in the little-known Loma Linda Medical Center - this in itself indicated that in the United States the concept of the province is disappearing in matters of medicine. There was a loud struggle - doctors for the life of the baby, and the public - for and against such a principle of practical fusion of man with a monkey. In the American style, sensational (probably not without commercial considerations) innovation fought with tradition, religion, age-old ideas and prejudices, until three weeks later Mother Nature herself, standing guard over the law of rejection of the alien - and alien, extinguished the trembling candle of the tragic beginning , who did not have time to realize human life.Two years ago, also during a trip to the USA, I remember, among others, such a sensational case: a boxer, like a Roman gladiator, was brutally killed in the ring, and with the consent of his grief-stricken mother, his kidneys were cut out and sent to the lucky one who was the first in waiting lists for kidney transplants. The queue was all-American, fairness and impartiality were ensured by a special computer. The amplitude of modern overseas life has reached one end into barbarism, and the other into supercivilization. There are many such opposite ends, seemingly excluded by normal consciousness, but easily allowed by life.Even a person indifferent to technology, like the author of these lines, who for a few days finds himself as an observer among the enterprising and restless people called Americans, cannot help but notice more and more evidence of their technical genius. Little Fey was still lying with her chest cut and sewn up in a crib with cheerful flowers, making her think about the ancient, primordial secrets of existence. Meanwhile, her two compatriots juggled in the abyss of outer space, looking into the future, which is equally fraught with peaceful wonders and the unimaginable horrors of Star Wars. After leaving the hatch of the Discovery, a reusable spacecraft, the astronauts, in autonomous navigation, approached first one, and a day later another communications satellite. Both satellites belonged to private American corporations, and both went haywire and failed. This was the first time emergency work of this kind had been carried out by astronauts. With caution, not yet having experience and, however, easily pushing the weightless bodies of satellites in space, the two removed them from orbit and placed them in the holds of their ship, delivering them later to Earth for subsequent repairs. For the corporations that own the satellites, this operation will save hundreds of millions of dollars that it would cost to launch duplicates...Here are just two samples from the flow of American events that had nothing to do with the election campaign. At the beginning of November, this stream carried both the usual garbage of scandalous chronicles, which simply dazzled the eyes, and material for reflection on the penultimate decade of the 20th century. Two outstanding sensations - with a baby who received the heart of a monkey, and two astronauts who removed artificial Earth satellites from orbit - to some extent indicated for me the width and speed of the flow.In the presence of such universal brilliance of news, you are somehow embarrassed to offer your modest impressions. There's nothing mind-blowing about them. But, on the other hand, I went precisely for them, for my own impressions and observations, and not just to be another viewer on the American television screen.First there was New York. In the evening, having landed at Kennedy Airport, obeying a host of signal lights, among dozens of planes, past countless buildings of countless airlines standing at a distance, they taxied to their parking lot for about an hour. The colleague who was meeting me also spent about an hour driving up his car, which was parked at another airport terminal among hundreds, if not thousands, of other cars - and this time in the underground entrance of the Pan American building was enough to return the most important of New York sensations - the density and pressure of movement. Movement of taxis, buses and a wide variety of cars. Movements of white and black, different tribes and differently dressed, multilingual people. And at the same time, the movement and pressure of all kinds of information.The next morning, a date was set up with a major businessman. Near the famous hotel on Park Avenue, he so habitually joined the crowd of business people usually hurrying along the sidewalks, as if he had never left New York, where he once lived as a correspondent for his newspaper for more than six years and where he visited many times later. The same old energetically confident, athletic bearing was present among American business people, who were simply supposed to look like a million dollars, and only American business women, as a sign of new fashion, carried unusual jackets with wide slanted shoulders, and another sign of fashion, as well as unexpected conveniences flashed on their legs for working hours in the business district sneakers.The businessman we were visiting had rented a suite on the 42nd floor of the famous hotel where he stays on his frequent visits to New York. It was the first time I found myself in its high-rise nest, but I was familiar with the impressive view from the window of the East River, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, of the huge skyscraper brothers, as if they had moved closer to each other - after all, the other concrete and stone small fry remained below, at the foot chosen ones...Manhattan, this central, skyscraper part of New York, is a unique human settlement. You won't find another one like it on Earth. If, let’s say, we stack all of its high-rise buildings, from forty floors and above, on top of each other, and perform the same fantastic operation with other cities that are nests of skyscrapers, the closest rival, like Chicago, will look like a bug from the entire Manhattan roof. Over the past two years, this symbolic roof has risen hundreds of more floors.However, not only the architecture is unique, but also the entire intensely pulsating, variously contradictory, rich in spectacles, detachedly cruel life of the largest American city. It attracts all kinds of people. Some have only the opportunity to earn a living by daily, menial work. Others, ambitious people of various stripes, with the spirit of triumphant bourgeois individualism, the cult of success, which for losers turns out to be the other side - catastrophes and collapses.I had to write a lot about New York, I even published a book, trying to capture its living, moving, dialectic that escapes from the pen. What's new? The gaze of a person who comes briefly from another country (from another world!) notices not so much the changes in their life as its contrast with ours. But here is a remark from one American interlocutor: New York is a city for the very rich and the very poor. He explains that he heard this definition from the lips of former President Richard Nixon. He, considering himself to be very rich, more than once exchanged New York for blessed California - and returned again. And our interlocutor jokingly complained about the hardships of New York life and the fact that, as if caught between two fires, he felt uncomfortable between two categories of inhabitants of a polarized city. Although he, yesterday's Washingtonian, editor of an influential magazine, cannot be considered very poor.In modern Babylon, both the super-rich and the poor are multinational. The two poles are like two internationals, although the poor are too weak, disunited and humiliated to rebel. Some are given cold sidewalks and ventilation grilles through which the warm fumes of the subway penetrate. And multinational super-rich people from all five continents are actively buying apartments and houses in Manhattan, not sparing their millions. You can't go wrong: prices for land and real estate are growing recklessly there. Plum. And safe! The small island of Manhattan, scraping the sky with houses, from which the North American continent begins in New York, has literally become the citadel of world capital. Moneybags from all countries gather under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and under the protection of Uncle Sam's nuclear missile potential.The crazy rise in prices is noticeable, however, not only at the level of the Arabian sheikhs. Two to two and a half thousand dollars is now the monthly rent for a modest two- or three-room apartment in Manhattan, and fellow Soviet correspondents are forced to pay it. Izvestia is lucky so far: an apartment overlooking the Hudson, which we rented for $300 a month back in the early 60s, now costs “only” $900. But luck is running out. The house is being removed from rental control in a proven way - by turning it into a cooperative house. Residents have already been offered a choice: either prepare for evacuation or buy their apartments at a reduced price. For our Izvestia three-room apartment this reduced price is 250 thousand dollars. And yet I do not put the words - preferential price - in ironic quotation marks. An American journalist, a native of New York, who had moved to Vermont away from the noise and prices of Manhattan, came to visit, and, looking around the office apartment, said that on the open market, without benefits, it would go for 450 thousand dollars. Madness? No, New York everyday life, Manhattan life. Another life with different prices and standards....20 years ago, when the keyword of the future computer had not yet entered Russian speech, I, then a resident of New York, was surprised by the computer-processed bills that I received from telephone and telegraph companies. I now receive approximately the same telephone bills in Moscow. That communication with the computer was one-way, and the client was on the other, unresponsive end. Now there is a massive computerization of American life. Every tenth family already has its own computer, and one must think that their number will grow as uncontrollably as the number of televisions once grew, especially since they are already connected to both the television and the telephone, these portable home computers. A feedback connection has been established with the computer. What's new? Here is a sign of recent years: electronic outposts of banks and credit corporations have been deployed on the streets, in airports, and in stores. Holders of the corresponding magic cards, having put them in the appropriate slot and dialed the corresponding secret code, enter into a conversation with the computer, which offers them available options in letters on the screen, and can give it the appropriate order and immediately, at any time of the day or night, receive cash dollars from a trouble-free electronic clerk, who, of course, will check the availability of money in their account with lightning speed. Traditional catalogs in libraries are disappearing, being replaced by centralized, computer ones. Without the use of computers, it is no longer possible to imagine teaching American schoolchildren, much less college students.And under the New York skies, which are already breathing in winter, along the mirrored shop windows reflecting the unheard-of wealth of Manhattan, with a crazy, hunted smile on his face, an ordinary pre-electronic ragamuffin wanders, not embarrassed by his pants torn to the groin, and he is not 20, and not 30, but all 50 years old, and the crowd flows by without looking back. A familiar sight! It was then, looking around and noting to yourself the indifference of the crowd, that you suddenly realized: after all, you haven’t been to New York for a long time, you haven’t entered this river for a long time.2— In some ways, our country is like a circus. If you want to succeed, learn to ride like a circus rider, standing on the haunches of two horses - and without falling. Two horses - business and politics. Without the support of politics in big business you won’t get far...The interlocutor glanced in my direction with the air of a mentor enlightening a foolish foreigner about the basics of American pragmatism, in which what is beneficial is true, and not what is moral. There were either mocking or frankly cynical sparkles jumping in his eyes. The purely practical, grounded conversation was in some ways transcendental. In any case, we were flying above the clouds in a small but powerful jet of a corporation in which our interlocutor was the first person. The corporation was related not to aviation, but to agriculture, but when the total turnover of operations amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, four corporate jets are not a luxury, but a necessity. And the American with sparkles in his eyes knew what he was talking about. Moreover, he himself rode into big business on the two mentioned horses from a modest childhood in a poor large family.The close connection and interdependence of American big business and big politics is no secret, but the rumor was somehow struck by the likening of one’s own country to a circus in the mouth of one of the owners of America. And then it made me think about something. Cynical or not, this frank comparison reflects a fairly typical American view of the nature of things and the ability to adapt to it. Of course, it is possible - and necessary - to denounce such calculating and self-interested cynicism, but we should not forget that the phenomenon of someone else’s life, which my interlocutor defined with the word “circus,” will not disappear from our condemnation. Our responsibility to understand the nature of American society, which determines the behavior of both individual Americans and the masses of people, will not disappear. To understand is not to accept. But without understanding, it is impossible to soberly and accurately imagine with whom we are dealing - the vital and mutually important matter called maintaining normal relations between two great nuclear powers in the nuclear age.Circus or no circus, the uniqueness of their life, including social life, must be taken seriously.In the first part of these notes I dealt mainly with my impressions of New York. Now, with a saying derived from a transcendental conversation with an experienced American, I would like to preface some discussions about the presidential elections in the United States.In New York and later in Washington, there were many interesting conversations with knowledgeable Americans - political scientists, journalists, businessmen, who agreed to meetings with the Soviet journalist, based on the usefulness of all contacts between Americans and Soviet people. The friendliness and interest of the interlocutors, including official ones, was, perhaps, a feature of all these meetings.One truth, visible, however, from Moscow, appeared in these conversations with complete certainty even before November 6: the predetermined victory of Ronald Reagan. Walter Mondale, candidate of the Democratic Party, had not yet disappeared from the television screen in those days, demonstrating excellent physical and seemingly political form, as well as maximum cheerfulness and smiling in front of crowds of his supporters, still predicting the greatest upset in American history, that is, the unexpected defeat of his rival, but in planning for the future he has already disappeared, written off from a major political account, it seems, forever.When it came to the reasons for the inevitable defeat of the Democratic candidate, even before the election it was clear what kind of weight was dragging him down: the legacy of Carter's unpopular presidency, when he was second in command; the reliance on ethnic and racial minorities that had traditionally excluded and now doomed the Democratic candidate; reputation as a liberal out of step with new, conservative times. Very specific political factors were listed as the reasons predetermining Mondale's defeat. When our interlocutors moved on to the advantages of Reagan, things that seemed ephemeral, elusive, but, however, possessed, as we were assured, an irresistible destructive force—character traits, an appearance that entered every American home through a television screen—came to the fore. “He has manners that please.” "He looks like someone you'd want as a friend." Such explanations, strange and frivolous, far from the rigid categories of politics to an outsider, were given regarding the attractiveness of the man whom the voter would leave for another four years as the head of a gigantic world power. And they were given by sober and experienced people.Even before the elections, with their outcome a foregone conclusion, the main question was about the policies of Ronald Reagan for his second term in office. And in the guesses and forecasts, the main place, again, was given not to the Republican election platform, not to any theories, doctrines and concepts, which, according to the general opinion, are not to the taste of the president, but to his personal qualities, his instincts of a conservative or the motives of a pragmatist, that what and in what direction - the political influence his inner circle in the White House will have on him.This emphasis on the personal, on the individual, difficult to comprehend from the outside, remained in post-election discussions, when forecasts about the impressive scale of Ronald Reagan’s victory were confirmed. How will he, personally, interpret the voter's mandate? What will it do to solve the critical shortage problem and how will it fulfill its repeated commitment to give high priority to negotiations on limiting nuclear weapons? And the most pathetic and perhaps the most important question was: how will Ronald Reagan want to go down in history? This question did look far-fetched and pompous, suggesting some defiantly immodest attitude towards history, but in an overseas bourgeois republic imitating Ancient Rome with its Caesars, quite serious and thinking Americans ask it quite seriously.The strength of long-standing American traditions should neither be exaggerated nor understated. One of them relates to the possible leadership of a president elected for a second term. According to this tradition, or myth, such a president is already freed from the daily political maneuvering dictated by the desire to be re-elected, from obligations to the groups of supporters who helped him to come to power and whom he must satisfy and appease in return. In short, in his second and last term, this tradition says, the president, no longer balancing on several horses of the political circus at the same time, rising above the bustle, thinks about his good name in history and achieves a decent, and even honorable - as it turns out - place in history books - history books.Reagan follows this tradition more persistently than his predecessors. And that's why. Over the past quarter century, of the six presidents after Eisenhower, he is the only one with the opportunity to spend the entire second term in the White House (of the six, however, Nixon also had this opportunity, but the Watergate scandal rather unexpectedly decided his place in history - he became the first president retired ingloriously). Then, discussions about the brass tablets feed on the size of Reagan’s victory and, again, its personal nature, which, as it were, gives him the right to dispose of it in his own way and gives him a free hand in the face of his ultra-conservative supporters.Many informed Americans are puzzled, confused, and even frightened by what they consider to be the irrational attraction of the majority to the current president. He has enough critics among the influential class of the American press. A number of well-known journalists, as well as political figures, used very solid arguments to try to discourage voters from Reagan and lure them to Mondale’s side. They tried and failed, which gave rise to accusations of “separation of the elite from the masses.”The venerable columnist James Reston, who is not one of the president's admirers, was forced - in a spirit of self-irony and self-criticism - to admit defeat to the "ubiquitous paper scrappers", who, as he noted, had never written so much and so well about the shortcomings of the president and had never before so little influence on the voter. “In the current mood of the country, most people simply don’t want to think about problems,” Reston complained, no longer ironically, but “the President tells them what they want to hear, and when the newspapers express doubts about his impromptu remarks, the public does not listen to them.” .Indeed, calls to think about problems and ways to solve them were a voice crying in the wilderness.I remember one such voice - a sensible comment from the famous columnist Bill Moyers on the CBS morning show. The election campaign is over, he said, but important problems have not been discussed, and among them is the problem of astronomical state budget deficits. Neither Reagan nor Mondale has a real practical plan. Congress and the people tolerate the intolerable situation and stand by without putting pressure on the President. Meanwhile, our children will have to pay for their current life beyond their means, and how?! $28 for every current dollar borrowed by a wasteful government. The average taxpayer already pays $1,000 a year in interest on the national debt. What kind of people are we, lamented Bill Moyers, if we live beyond our means, and how do we treat our children if, as a nation, we pass on to them the fruits of our extravagance?!Rejecting appeals to reason, the average American succumbed to someone who was good at arousing positive emotions that were in short supply in American life - optimism, hope and the “new patriotism” with its defiantly chauvinistic motto: “We are not going to apologize to anyone” (neither for the capture of Grenada, nor for secret war against Nicaragua, nor for what may come next). Ronald Reagan skillfully managed this trifecta of positive emotions in the well-developed arena of the television screen, which had long become the main arena of political battles and political representations overseas. No one has ever fit into the screen as flexibly and successfully as the current president. Over the head of the “ubiquitous paperwork”, avoiding press conferences with trap questions in every possible way, Ronald Reagan addressed directly to the masses - briefly, as the very nature of television requires, witty - and unclear. Accurate sayings and catchphrases completely replace serious—and therefore boring—discussions of problems on television.Just one example taken from the television screen. “Our opponent wants every day in America to be like April 15th, tax day, and in our vision of America every day is like July 4th, Independence Day” - so at the next election rally, Reagan once again extols the hot commodity of patriotism and vilifies Mondale with his imprudent proposal to raise taxes to reduce deficits.And this propaganda slogan is going off with a bang, although there is nothing in it except rhetoric (and outright demagoguery), and taxes (in one form or another) will most likely have to be increased.Let's turn again to James Reston. He gives. free sarcasm: “Modern presidential campaigns are a good show in which the appearance of things is more important than their essence. truth... For in the TV box, the world of television, visibility - everything - it seems this world of promises is more convincing than the world of illusions itself, and what TV viewers see and hear, blooms - all this is exactly what they are unlikely to receive in the next four of the year".Yes, Reagan managed to make Americans feel good, but his critic Reston presents only half the truth as the truth, reducing everything to a television “world of illusions.” The other half of the truth is revealed, among many, by another observer, David Broder, when he emphasizes that the re-election of the president was ensured by the “middle class”, Americans who once got rid of the shackles of poverty, cherish their wealth and are most afraid of it being eaten away by inflation , rising prices. The sharp reduction in inflation achieved in recent years is the decisive vote for Reagan, Brodeur suggests. And this is a strong assumption. Inflation was a more important factor than unemployment, especially as the number of unemployed people fell among white Americans (it rose sharply among blacks, especially young people - over 40 percent).The watershed in the elections occurred along the lines of the economic well-being of voters. 49 percent of Americans believe they are better off now than they were four years ago, and 84 percent of them voted for Reagan. 20 percent find life worse, and 85 percent of their votes went to Mondale. The division was even sharper if we take income: Americans with the lowest incomes (up to 5 thousand dollars a year) voted for Mondale in the ratio of 69 and 31 percent, and Americans with incomes above 50 thousand dollars voted for Reagan in exactly the same ratio. “Reagan Country,” as his supporters are called, generally starts with incomes above $10,000.In the current distribution of the American pie, social divisions coincide with racial ones. Nearly two-thirds of white Americans voted for Reagan, while nine-tenths of blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Mondale. What decided it, of course, was that whites made up 86 percent of the voters, and the other two groups mentioned only 13 percent.  It would be simplistic to call Mondale a champion of the poor, but behind his back they would like to save themselves from Reagan and his “conservative revolution,” which is increasing poverty in America. Contrary to the Russian proverb, in Reagan's America, blindness is a vice. The attitude of the conservative “new patriots” towards their unlucky compatriots, their idea of social mercy is akin to what Alexander Blok expressed in the words “and kick a hungry dog away from the door with a hiccup...” By the way, the Catholic bishops drew attention to this in their Pastoral Letter on Social Issues. “In our country, the prevailing view is that the poor are poor because of their own fault, that anyone can escape poverty if they work hard,” the message says. “In violation of the spirit of solidarity, the needy are kept on the margins of society, and are told in various forms, that they are a burden to society.”The main question remains - the next four years, the future. So far, the same three positive emotions are in use - optimism, hope, “new patriotism.”On the night of November 6–7, while proclaiming his victory at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, Ronald Reagan laid out his program for a second term in the familiar spirit: “Nothing ends tonight, everything is just beginning.”And he ended his short speech with the traditional battle cry, which he issued hundreds of times during the election campaign. Literally translated into Russian, this cry sounds like this: “You haven’t seen anything yet!”But there are also translations based on meaning. And here you can choose from two options.The first, abstractly bravura: “Everything is ahead.”The second, in the spirit of a darkly cheerful song: “It will happen again, oh-oh-oh!”3We spent a day and a half as guests of the large grain corporation Archel Daniels Midland (ADM) in the city of Dickator, Illinois.Just an hour and a half away by car, Chicago rumbles, and in Dikator, where 90 thousand inhabitants, life is quiet and boring and is connected with the work of farmers on the surrounding rich black soils. True, even there their own criminal chronicles are written in a purely American spirit. And therefore, just in case, the three Soviet guests were protected around the clock by stalwart guards from among the city police officers working part-time for the corporation. But our conversations concerned not criminal, but mainly agricultural matters, and accordingly our meetings were not on dark streets with shady personalities, but in the light of day, in the expanses of long-plowed prairies.We were accompanied by Dick Burkett, vice president of A.D.M. He was worried about his daughter, who was due to give birth any minute, but spent the whole day with the guests, showing them two farms and a grain elevator.One farm belonged to an uncle and nephew, Richard and Herbert Gulick. We learned that their lineage on this land is already one and a half hundred years old. They cultivate one land, their own and partly rented, but they live in two houses, and to meet us in the clean, white house of their two-meter-tall uncle, his nephew brought his two pretty high school daughters. All of them saw Russians for the first time—and on their own soil, too. For the first time in their lives, uncle and nephew gave interviews to correspondents, and Soviet ones at that, and did their best to hide their excitement.The meeting is vividly preserved in my memory. Not the office of an intellectual or an official, not the house of a metropolitan resident among others, but a farmer’s house, visible from everywhere and open to all winds, standing in the middle of a flat, harvested, autumnal land, a house from which people go to work right there, nearby, in the suffering from dawn to dawn . The constrained, expectant silence of an elderly woman - the wife of an uncle and two blooming girls with eyes burning with curiosity. The awkward poses of the uncle and nephew are not used to sitting idly on chairs, answering questions. In their weather-beaten faces, long arms, strong, clumsy bodies, decades of work were imprinted when a person, in the biblical way, earns his bread by the sweat of his brow - and this sweat did not stop rolling because, in addition to two pairs of his own hands on this family farm there are tractors, combines, trucks and other equipment worth no less, as the elder said, than half a million dollars. It was as if I had seen these people before and many times - not at their home, but here, in our country. The faces seem to be more sharply outlined, the haircuts are perhaps neater than ours, on the shoulders are American work jackets, on the heads are red farmer's caps with a long visor, on the feet are heavy yellow boots, not tarpaulin boots, but behind the different appearance is the same nature farmers, plowmen, hard workers, people who do not shirk work, but, on the contrary, see in it both their duty to their loved ones and their purpose on Earth.These scenes stand before your eyes - simple, but full of hidden meaning. It's so simple. This earth-nurse, resting from her labors, just lies there. There’s just a farmer’s house with neat outbuildings a little further away. The weightless amber of corn grains simply flows between your fingers: when you take a handful of them, climbing the iron ladder to the top of the round tin storage. And life itself seems to be simple. (Its difficulty begins outside this home and this land, where it is discovered that the harder you work, you and others, the higher the harvest and the lower the price of your product, the stronger the curse of highly productive labor under capitalism. And yet You can’t help but work hard, because otherwise you’ll go broke right away.)And in this world of ordinary people and their hard work, it’s even funny to ask: do they want peace with us? The answer is on their faces, in their hands: what about?!I would not like the emphasis on the simplicity that accompanies folk life to look popular or simplified. There are only a few million farmers with highly productive labor in America today, fewer, for example, than workers in the enterprises of the “military-industrial complex”, who, alas, earn their daily bread in the arms race. Yes, there are some. And yet, let’s not break into an open door: what kind of people, what kind of working people don’t want peace?!Leaving the Gulick farmers on their Illinois land and again returning to abstract categories, it must be said: with all the disputes about what mandate Ronald Reagan received from his voters, in the field of foreign policy the main meaning of the mandate is not in doubt.  Moreover, the American president received here exactly the mandate that he requested - from the beginning of the election year, persistently emphasizing the theme of peace, the limitation of nuclear weapons and, above all, a sincere, constructive dialogue with the Soviet Union and thereby in every possible way getting rid of the politically disastrous reputation of a leader who spoiled relations with another great power, disrupted dialogue, and increased the danger of nuclear war. And if we speculate a little more about the interaction between those who give the mandate and the one who seeks the mandate, we will inevitably come to the conclusion that Ronald Reagan is not very clever! - asked for exactly the only mandate - for peace, not for war, which the voter could issue.  With promises of peace, Reagan managed to outplay Mondale, especially since he eventually took the fight on the field on which the president was accustomed to playing and which is called peace from a position of strength. The voter trusted Reagan as a "strong leader." And he took his word for it, because things were of a different kind. According to one poll, two-thirds of Americans overall and nine-tenths of those who voted for Reagan believed that he would “make a real effort to negotiate a good arms control agreement with the Soviet Union.”A clear idea of the mandate of the American people to their president and government is given by a publication that I have seen more than once on the desks of Americans professionally involved in politics. “Voter Opinion on Nuclear Weapons Policy. 1984 Election Manual” is the academic title of this large-format brochure. It was published by the Public Agency Foundation, an organization that, among others, is trying to say its useful word in the political education of the public and experts.This valuable manual summarizes both forgotten and recent public opinion polls. Together they give a picture of the evolution in the sentiments of the mass American from those first post-war years, when he, along with the American elite, reveled in the illusions of omnipotence inspired by the US nuclear monopoly, and even today, when he, the mass American, is seriously thinking about the nuclear threat and the possibility the destruction of humanity as a result of the buildup of gigantic arsenals of nuclear weapons.The following figures are now well known. 89 to 9 percent of Americans agree that in a general nuclear war there will be no winner, and two nuclear powers will completely destroy each other. 83 percent to 13 believe that if one of the two powers uses nuclear weapons, it will result in not a limited, but an all-out nuclear war. 76 percent versus 23 do not at all see a “wild exaggeration” in the assumption that a nuclear disaster would completely destroy life on Earth. 68 percent to 20 percent reject an option that suggests Americans could fight and win a nuclear war against the Soviet Union.Do you want to know why there haven't been more announcements coming out of Washington lately about the possibility of a limited nuclear war or an American victory in a nuclear conflict? The answer is in the given and other figures.They prove that the American people as a whole are more peace-loving than their leaders. And at the same time, the people exaggerate the peacefulness of the leaders. 81 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that their government adheres to the principle of no first use of nuclear weapons, when the opposite is true. 69 percent are also wrong in believing that their government would not use nuclear weapons if armed conflict using only conventional weapons broke out in Europe.There is another, less encouraging part of the picture painted by the polls. Among Americans, common sense coexists with a deep—and long-instilled—suspicion of the Soviet Union. On the one hand, the majority (70 percent) calls the attempt to declare the Soviet Union the cause of “all the world’s problems” a “dangerous simplification,” on the other hand, the majority (74 percent) sees communism as a threat to American “religious and moral values.” On the one hand, 64 percent believe , that in the USSR they are just as afraid of a nuclear war as in the USA, and are ready to negotiate with the same readiness of the Americans, on the other hand, 61 percent believe that “The Soviets will only succumb to military force.”By the way, a breakdown by category shows that the percentage of suspicion towards the Soviet Union is highest among older people and among the less educated.All this does not change, however, the essence of the voter’s order, nor the opportunities to chart the course of the world that this order, this mandate gives to the people at the helm of state. If the will of the people directly set in motion the turbines of the ship of state, the path to peace would be direct and rapid. But, of course, there is no such direct impact, but there are Washington bureaucratic and ideological labyrinths, and the powerful charge of anti-war sentiment of the masses does not break through them.  And here the critical question arises about another mandate - the one that the head of the American state must issue to his employees and associates if he wants to move forward the most important, in his own words, task of his second term in the White House - the matter of improving relations between the two powers m lowering the level of their nuclear confrontation. How serious is he—in practice—about this goal? And is he determined to achieve it, overcoming obstacles within his own administration?While in Washington, I became convinced that these are the questions that are asked primarily by qualified observers of American political life. And so far they have not found definite answers. Among our interlocutors was the famous Paul Warnke, who led the American delegation to the SALT II negotiations and is now a partner in the law firm of Clifford and Warnke. On their American side, this man put a lot of effort into working out the SALT II Treaty, which later got stuck in the US Senate. Warnke, who knows exactly what he's talking about, made a simple and important point: avoiding an arms control agreement is easier than achieving one. He expressed the same idea in an article in the New York Times. “Blocking an arms control agreement is not difficult,” he wrote. “But achieving it is difficult, even when everyone tries to do it. Those officials who do not believe in arms control should be relieved of the task of pursuing it."Warnke's words speak volumes to anyone even remotely familiar with what happened to the US-Soviet nuclear arms negotiations during Reagan's first term. The mandate that I called the second simply did not exist then. And if the publication I mentioned speaks well about the presence of the first mandate - a mandate for peace issued by the American people, then the absence of a second mandate - and the desire to achieve an agreement with the Soviet Union in the first term - is very convincingly proven by another book, which is often quoted now in oral and written Washington debates. This second book, Deadly Gambits, comes from the knowledgeable journalist Strobe Talbott of Time. The author calls himself a chronicler of the American-Soviet negotiations in Geneva - on medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe and on strategic weapons. And in fact, with the care of a true chronicler, he did a lot of work and cited many facts to prove his main conclusion: the negotiations were obviously doomed to failure, because the president did not delve into the details and did not strive for a reasonable compromise, and those who knew the details, also avoided the real search for an agreement with the Soviet Union.The President was not occupied with the merits of the matter, but with presenting the American position in advertising packaging to his compatriots and allies. And there was a “war of the two Richards” - Assistant Secretary of State Richard Burt and Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. They had the final say in the practical development of the American position, but two ambitious and arrogant officials, as Strobe Talbott argues, essentially fought each other to ensure that the agreement was destroyed. In terms of resourcefulness and damage done, the leader was, perhaps, Richard Perle, a young but sophisticated intriguer, hostile to any normalization of American-Soviet relations. At one time, serving the late Senator Henry Jackson and Zionist groups, Pearl helped disrupt the already signed trade agreement between the United States and the USSR. Since then, he has greatly expanded his track record as a saboteur. Pearl is not God knows what kind of bird in the Washington bureaucracy, but she is a symbolic figure in a certain way. Behind him is not only Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, but also those hidden and secret groups who would like to corner another great power. The goal is unrealistic - and dangerous. Anti-national even from the point of view of reasonably understandable US interests. Essentially, players driven by hatred are on a crusade against their own people because the world is indivisible. Attempts to harm the security of the USSR inevitably result in an increased threat to the security of the United States.The leitmotif in the reasoning of American observers is the following: taking into account the lessons of the first four years, President Reagan, if he is serious in his intentions, must restore order in his own administration, torn by conflicts."He's an architect who needs damn good masons," says former President Nixon. There is no shortage of advice, as well as suggestions that the influence of moderates in the White House apparatus and in the State Department has increased. Congress also seems ready to do its part by moving, albeit timidly, towards reducing military spending…Washington's policy in recent years has unprecedentedly spurred the arms race, and the consequences of this - economic, political, military-strategic - are and will continue to be felt. Now in Washington they are moving towards a space arms race, as vast as space itself. It has not been abandoned even at the current time of heyday of peace-loving rhetoric. It is being prepared for the same refrain - that it will help the cause of disarmament....I asked the author of the new political bestseller Strobe Talbott at a meeting about his future creative plans. He said that he was going to continue the work of the chronicler. What will the name of his new book be? He joked: “Even more deadly gambits.”A conscientious journalist will write that continuation. what life will offer him. But this is not the kind of sequel Strobe Talbott would have wanted, with even more deadly gambits. As do many, many Americans.December 1984EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYIN DALLAS...It was in Texas, early March 1985. Together with the Soviet parliamentary delegation, accompanying it as a correspondent, I found myself in the rich and self-confident Texas city of Dallas, strongly associated in our minds with the assassination of President Kennedy.The delegation arrived from Washington in the evening, checked into a new expensive hotel, and attended a reception and dinner in her honor with the participation of congressmen from the state of Texas. And the next morning, in a long column with police motorcyclists in front and on the sides, along highways blocked for greater safety for the rest of the traffic, we all headed for breakfast to a prominent local banker. It was Saturday, and the fashionable suburb had not yet woken up from its slumber when our motorcade suddenly pulled into its quiet streets as a troublemaker, along which policemen in helmets with raised visors and gleaming good leather leggings on strong legs flew like bullets on low motorcycles.A youthful-looking banker stood greeting guests on the steps of his brick house, photographers and television cameramen were doing their job, Secret Service agents also took their places, and about three dozen modest-looking men with an iron grip in electronics, construction, banking, aviation, etc. had already gathered business - the business elite of Dallas, competing with New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and its Texas counterpart Houston. The door was also open to the back yard, a garden in our opinion, where at the very exit stood, lost among the crowd, a young housewife with her daughter, son and a baby dressed in a white dress in the arms of a maid. Over this scene, unseen, reigned the spirit of the repeated but not yet fully successful experiment called American-Soviet communication in the nuclear age.We were seated at round tables in the living room with a fireplace, and at our table of Americans were a newspaper editor, hanging out in the presence of his publisher, and the kindly prim owner of the famous store, where on the same day we saw on the models ladies' fur coats made of Siberian lynx fur, priced at one hundred thousand dollars or more. But I describe all this introduction, all this so that the reader can at least somehow imagine the scene of action and the characters.So, after juices and fruits, after some Mexican scrambled eggs on thin crispy bread like Caucasian lavash, the owner, who was sitting at the main table with the head of the Soviet delegation, got up. He recalled that about a quarter of a century ago, his senior partner and mentor Averell Harriman also hosted another Soviet delegation in New York and that over the past time the center of influence in American business has moved to the West and South, as evidenced by our meeting. And then his speech was like a speech, like many speeches of this kind - indicating the abyss that separates our systems, and a call to build bridges in the name of peace. But there was one detail in this speech that amazed everyone, one, one might say, a family secret that was revealed to the public. It turns out that the banker’s eight-year-old son, having learned about his father’s intention to invite the Soviet delegation, was horrified and exclaimed: “Dad, why are you inviting our enemies to our house?!” “They are not our friends, but we must maintain a constructive dialogue with them,” the father diplomatically answered his son and will now report this when speaking to us.But it was not his answer, but the boy’s exclamation that struck and touched us, because it was we, who loved our children and grandchildren, who instilled in him this absentee fear and horror, and not only we, who flew to Dallas for two days, but all of us as a huge people and each of us individually.Meanwhile, the boy was sitting among those having breakfast in a large room on the first floor, under the windows of which policemen and plainclothes agents were guarding the guests. He barely raised his head above the surface of the table, small and silent, trembling, not having the right to speak in the council of adults. Heads turned towards him for a moment, but no one asked anything, sparing the child. - Yes, and what a demand from a child! You have to ask from the world in which he lives, we all live. From an early age, having barely entered this world and not yet making his own judgment about it, with the same primacy of instinct that tells him not to touch the fire with his finger, he learned from adults that there is an enemy people in the world and a terrible America encroaching on his a country.Not true! - you will be indignant. Yes, it is not true, but one cannot disown it as if it were an evil force, because the consciousness of millions, which has absorbed the untruth, is a powerful and stable material force. Yes, it’s not true, but in an objective sense, through the lips of the baby from Dallas, the truth spoke - the truth about a world divided by enmity, into which he entered with parting words from adults and which, on the other hand, seemed to re-appear to adults in the mirror, his childhood consciousness and with all the power immediate childish feelings. Moreover, in the mouth of a child taking over the baton of life, this truth seemed to extend itself, spreading to the future...The head of the Soviet delegation spoke in response. The calm, gray-haired man, it was felt, was also excited by this very detail from the family preparation for the ceremonial breakfast. She excited me and, apparently, tuned me to the wave on which the consciousness of a statesman is combined with the consciousness of a man whose wife, children, and grandchildren are waiting for him after work. And in this mood, he also remembered childhood words, the words of his little grandson. Having learned that his grandfather would visit the city of Dallas in America, his grandson told him: “Why are you going there, grandfather? People are being killed there."People are killed there... Our boy, unlike their boy, did not have a philosophy of automatic enmity, but only knowledge of one sad event, a fact. But for all their restraint, the managers of the Dallas billions sitting at the round tables shuddered. Yes, the president was killed there once. Yes, according to crime statistics, Dallas is far from in last place in the United States of America. But, damn it, more than 20 years have passed since that murder, and we are not only engaged in murders here, as people in Russia must think of us! This is roughly what was read on their faces at that moment, and I remembered how the day before the organizers of the visit politely but firmly rejected my colleague’s and my request to supplement the visit program with an inspection of the place where Kennedy was assassinated...This exchange of stories about beloved descendants took place over breakfast in the banker’s house. We were even, but the balance of children's fears did not suit either the hosts or the guests. And all that day, in one speech or another, images of boys who had never seen each other surfaced. And in the evening, at a large reception in the city of Fort Worth, neighboring Dallas, where it was fun and friendly and the Soviet guests were given Texas cowboy hats as souvenirs, the famous congressman Jim Wright seemed to sum up the joint thoughts and feelings. “The world creates us, and we create the world,” he said. “The innocent honesty of two children reflected the tragedy of our time.”IN GENEVAAND WASHINGTON...A restructuring of consciousness in the name of an accelerated solution to our internal problems and, at the same time, new thinking in international life, without a pilot card of which the deadly reefs of the nuclear age cannot be avoided. These two calls, two demands were emphasized with all authority by the 27th Congress of the CPSU. Each of us, in one way or another, adapts our work to them. I also think about them, offering my reasoning about the nature of our time.Thanks to the television screen, we all become, as it were, witnesses to the largest events of the day, year and end of the twentieth century, but still we remember much more strongly what we saw and heard with our own eyes and ears. In addition, the organic memory of the heart makes thoughts more piercing. That is why, starting my discussion with a memory of the Dallas episode, I will tell you about two more impressions of an eyewitness.In November 1985, I was one of thousands of journalists covering the Geneva summit; but among only a few dozen I saw her with my own eyes. Before my eyes, two of its participants shook hands for the first time on the stairs of the Villa Fleur d'Eau in the Geneva suburb of Versoix. And then, from the side entrance, the second wave after the Americans, we were ushered into a room where, having barely met and not yet exchanged opinions, they sat half-turned to each other and to the representatives of the media. Footsteps, the usual muffled hustle and bustle in such situations, the sounds of telephoto equipment... And everything was extinguished by a special, ringing silence, the kind that can be heard under high-voltage transmission wires bending from their own weight. And through the rope that kept us at a distance of three or four steps from the two people sitting in the chairs, my colleague wished Comrade Gorbachev success. President Reagan, listening to the Russian speech he did not understand, looked constrained, and Mikhail Sergeevich, smiling, advised him to wish good luck to the American president. And he added:—We must achieve solutions together. If someone insists only on their own, I am not convinced that it will be right, that it will look like a solution. We are very interdependent...We recorded his answer on a tape recorder, copied it into notebooks and translated it for American correspondents while we waited in the cold wind from Lake Geneva for the end of the first meeting. But I remember these words not only because they were written down by me, an eyewitness. They sounded very appropriate to the place and time.They set out the foundations of new thinking, a new philosophy in international life, which were mentioned earlier and later in the speeches of the Soviet leader and, finally, in the Political Report of the CPSU Central Committee to the 27th Party Congress. Interdependence - it also implies concern for the safety of the partner, since less security on one side is simply dangerous for the other and can rock an already shaky world. Solutions - only together, only through reasonable compromises. And even a wish for Success to the other side, in which there is not just courtesy and not abstract altruism, but recognition and proclamation of the fact that in the historical interaction of two powers, both success and failure can only be shared between two, only jointly, because alone each of they cannot afford to disarm themselves or allow others to arm themselves...I would now like to compare the eyewitness testimony recorded on the Geneva wind with one more, and also my own, testimony. About three weeks before Geneva, along with three other Soviet journalists, I had the opportunity to meet with President Reagan in his official office, the Oval Room of the White House. Some of the president’s answers to questions sent ahead were given to us two hours before the interview, and the second part was in some way an improvisation, answers to our oral questions. But in the second part, one moment, as it turned out, was planned in advance by our high-ranking interlocutor. At the very end, the president, who was sitting in a chair, suddenly opened his hands folded on his chest, lowered one of them into his jacket pocket and took out a small card from there, explaining that he wanted to read out the words he had encountered in some article. And he read out the following: “Peoples do not trust each other not because they are armed. They arm themselves because they don’t trust each other.”Both before, before our meeting, and later, the American president quoted these words that he loved. I thought a lot about the thoughts they expressed. We can quite agree with her: yes, peoples and states arm themselves because they do not trust each other. (And President Reagan swears allegiance to it again and again, again and again instilling in Americans distrust of the Soviet Union in order to extort new record amounts from Congress for weapons, weapons, weapons.) It can be disputed: no, on the contrary, peoples and states do not trust each other , because they are arming themselves, and this will also be true. This aphorism can be turned on both sides at will, like a cloak that you wear either right side out or inside out.This is a werewolf thought. And, remembering the boy from Dallas, we can say that he entered her vicious circle at the age of eight, that he can walk in this vicious circle until the end of his days, as, in fact, the world has been walking for 40 post-war years, exhausted under the burden of the race weapons. The president’s favorite aphorism does not open a way out; on the contrary, it drives us into new and new dead ends - with increasing mountains of weapons, the level of military confrontation, and the threat of nuclear missile and space war.No, this is not new thinking, but old thinking - with the merciless exploitation of mistrust, suspicion and enmity.IN MOSCOW...International life is rich in currents, both passing and counter-currents, coincidences and clashes of interests, interweavings, halftones, shades. You can’t split it in half like a log with an ax blow. But when we, with a decisive effort, want to break the vicious circle, proposing a practical step-by-step plan for freeing the world from nuclear weapons by the year 2000, then the polarity of the world, the differences between the two systems and two social psychologies, cannot but affect our attitude towards it.There is one century, and the danger is equal, and no one can sit on the sidelines, but our society, born of the great idea of social justice, is, of course, by its very nature more ready, more striving for a world without weapons than their society. Imperialism, in contrast to socialism, was born with the slogan of war, not peace, on its lips. Their society has the psychology of a corporation that realizes itself through profit and self-interest, and not through common interest. Our society is much more homogeneous and united in support of a comprehensive security program than the American one with its Class Division, with a powerful military-industrial Complex, with a commercial cult of violence and permissiveness, and, moreover, with the current government, which, for all its obvious conservatism, is also split between "moderate hawks" and "immoderate superhawks" in its approaches to foreign policy and military strategy.But what to do! History gave us a partner of a completely different breed, but gave us a choice: either survive together, or die together. At the same time, we must be no worse than them in terms of combat readiness, military-strategic parity. And we must be better than them in defending the cause of peace in a broader, nobler, more generous way. Better because com. Internationalist Moonies do not recognize the biblical Commandment of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, when it comes to the preaching of mistrust, enmity and hatred between imperialism. do peoples. Better, because history itself has given socialism the opportunity to lead the struggle to free humanity from the burden of war and violence. Better, because we must have the power of political and spiritual example behind us. Better because, due to the very nature of socialism, we have a great responsibility before the future, for the fate of the planet of people.The XXVII Congress of the CPSU confirmed all this. And he himself became an example. During the days of the congress, meeting with foreign journalists who came to cover it, one could be convinced that our peace plan was having a positive impact. A sign of the changes taking place is visible, by the way, in the fact that sensible people there, in the West, trust us more, that it is on us that they place their hopes - on our openness, flexibility and constructiveness, which are now more obvious than ever, on our perseverance, resilience and perseverance in our efforts to introduce new thinking into international life.But the incredibly difficult task is still far from being solved and it is too early to rest on our laurels. As it was rightly said in the Political Report of the CPSU Central Committee to the Congress, “one or two, even very intense peaceful offensives, cannot solve the problem of international security. Only consistent, systematic and persistent work can lead to success.” This work is underway, the work of great persuasion, persuasion of the world, and in particular the American, public, tug-of-war, re-education.A hundred years ago, Dostoevsky cited the genius of Pushkin as evidence of the highest responsiveness, universality and all-humanity in the nature of Russian people. Without encroaching on the insights of the great writer, it must be said that these qualities mark the best people of all nations, who from century to century carry the dream of justice, understanding and brotherhood of people. In our time, universality and pan-humanity are directly included in the concept of both the socialist ideal and an effective socialist example. Who, if not us, can dispel the fears of a distant boy from Dallas?March 1986DOWN THE MISSISSIPPITALKTWO PARTICIPANTSWORLD CRUISEIt was an unusual, first-of-its-kind anti-war campaign—a peace cruise on the Mississippi. The idea came from the husband and wife team of Howard and Alice Fraser, who run the Connecticut-based organization Advancing Lasting Peace. They were inspired by world cruises on the Volga, which representatives of the American and Soviet public have been taking since 1982. Seven days' journey through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, approximately 700 miles down the Mississippi, from St. Paul to St. Louis, on the old paddle steamer "Delta Queen" ("Queen of the Delta"), widely known in America and included in the official register of its historical attractions. 46 Soviet guests from different cities and republics, led by cosmonaut G. M. Grechko, 130 Americans from 27 states. Scientists, artists, journalists, peace activists. Discussions on board and meetings on shore. Another attempt to improve mutual understanding between two great nations, to touch the hearts and minds of people who call their region the heartland of America.Among the participants in the peace cruise on the Mississippi were two limestone writers, political commentator Stanislav Kondrashov and feuilleton editor Vladimir Nadein. So...Stanislav Kondrashov. Vladimir Dmitrievich, living for seven days in cabin “A-III” on board the “Delta Queen”, we have already discussed a lot, so to speak, in a preliminary manner. Now we need to systematize our impressions. What if we try to break them down into the following topics: the river, the people on its banks, the tireless Howard Fraser at 75 years old, who seems to me a true ascetic of peace, a song over the river, Russian and American, the media and how they covered our cruise of the world — it was up to them to enhance or muffle its public resonance. Finally, Mark Twain. After all, you looked into his “Life on the Mississippi” when you were going to America? Yes, and others drew information there, albeit a hundred years ago. Since then, the population of Minneapolis and St. Paul, La Crosse, Davenport, Burlington, through which we traveled, has grown five to ten times, and in some places, for example in St. Louis, it has declined sharply in recent decades. Much, however, is not outdated. Mark Twain writes: “The foreign tourist has never heard of these cities.” It was said directly about our group. Moreover, most of the areas through which we followed, and the river itself, are closed by the American authorities to visits by Soviet people. Of course, the wisdom of Mark Twain never gets old. What is worth one maxim: “Travel is deadly to prejudices.”So where do we start? From the river or from Mark Twain?Vladimir Nadein. I think from the river. And more specifically - from the Volga. It was here, on board the Alexander Pushkin motor ship, which was making its third world cruise, that Howard Fraser had an idea, which he hastened to share with his faithful like-minded friend and wife Alice. Mrs. Fraser listened attentively to her co-director and husband, opened her eyes wide and exclaimed with that expansion that is characteristic only of American women nineteen and older: “Oh, Howard, dear! You are definitely crazy!”S.K. However, Alice said approximately the same thing when Howard first expressed the idea of a world cruise along the Volga.V.N. The exclamation is the same, but the cruise is different. The Moscow River, as you know, is directly connected to the Volga. And here, on the shores of Moscow, there is the influential Soviet Peace Committee, there is the Soviet Peace Fund, there is Intourist, and other public and government organizations ready to help those who want to get to know our country.You can't go upstream or downstream from the Potomac River to the Mississippi. Of course, geography is not the point. And the fact is that on both sides of the Potomac there are some institutions that react extremely nervously to the arrival of Soviet peace supporters in the United States. If we consider that the State Department has more than once shown its capricious approach to issuing visas to citizens of the USSR, like the Mississippi fairway, then Alice’s reaction to Howard’s plan becomes quite logical.But Howard cannot be denied logic. And somehow I understood this not even with my mind, but with my soul, when I looked at the bends of the Mississippi, and sometimes it seemed that just one more turn and I would see the familiar outlines of Tutaev or Yaroslavl. The Mississippi, like the Volga, almost became a victim of man's frivolous belief in the irresponsibility of nature. Pollution of both rivers with industrial waste has reached dangerous levels. The fate of the Mississippi worried the Americans as deeply as the future of the Volga worried us Russians. On the Mississippi, as well as on the Volga, very serious measures were taken to improve the health of the water and air basins. Both here and there the first beneficial results were achieved. And if they used to joke that you can’t drown in the Mississippi, you can only dissolve, now, probably, you can drown, and even swim, not without pleasure. And we even saw some swimmers on the Mississippi.S.K. Really? I saw only one - a young man from our group who dived into the Mississippi for television crews.V.N. Many of us wanted the same thing. But we did not risk introducing our holiday rules in a foreign country. Americans prefer to swim in tiled pools, located literally a few meters from the more pleasant, in my opinion, river wave. But here we can hardly come to an agreement with the owners...S.K. The legendary river attracted us all very much. In this upper course, we were, I think, the first Soviet people, at least in the post-war period. To be honest, I was afraid to be disappointed; I imagined it to be much more built-up and populated, industrialized. No, the Mississippi flows through green, curly banks. The sunrises and sunsets over the river are magnificent, and in general it immediately gives rise to a feeling of gratitude to nature, which the poet expressed so well: “You give more than they ask.” Getting closer to nature also means getting closer to people. We and the Americans found ourselves on the same ship sailing along the great river—we were all in the same boat, and no one wanted to rock it.It must be clarified, however, that we are talking about the Mississippi before the Missouri flows into it. It is narrower than the Volga somewhere in the Kostroma area. And more deserted. Only occasionally do you come across tugboats pushing 10-15 barges with a total carrying capacity of thousands of 20 tons.V.N. These barges come in a bunch of four to six rows, they occupy half the river. From a distance it’s even scary. It seems that our steamer will not be able to squeeze between the barges and the shore.S.K. Passenger shipping, as we know and love it on the Volga, has long disappeared on the Mississippi. There are no shipping lines. Along the entire length of the river there are only two cruise ships, quite expensive ones - the "Delta Queen", which is already 60 years old, and the "Mississippi Cutin" - we were not able to see it. These two “queens” are reminiscent of the times of steamboat romance on the Mississippi.V.N. It is common for an Americanist to compare America with America. For a feuilletonist like me, who has traveled to many places in his country for official reasons, it is closer to compare “theirs” with “ours.” Looking at the deserted Mississippi, I thought that the river reflected national characteristics. Pragmatism, prudence of Americans who believe that traveling by car is cheaper and more convenient, and traveling on business is cheaper and faster by plane. River travel was forced out of their lives.S.K. If we talk about Americans and their habits, they even rest more intensively. River travel is too leisurely for them and does not provide the kind of active recreation that they are used to getting on the Atlantic or Pacific coasts of their country or in the Caribbean. And returning to our main topic, I will say that the idea of a world cruise on the river justifies itself both symbolically and practically. The Volga and Mississippi are great symbols of the two countries. Both give rise to a deep historical echo and are surrounded by an aura of glory. In a practical sense, movement along the river provided a unique opportunity to observe the reaction of ordinary Americans to the appearance of Russian and Soviet people in their outback. The river is a natural phenomenon, and people’s feelings matched them - natural, natural, without concealment or embellishment.We didn't travel very far down the Mississippi—about 700 miles. In addition to the starting and final destinations of St. Paul and St. Louis, there were five more stops in coastal cities with populations ranging from 6 thousand people, like Prairie du Chin, to more than 300 thousand, like the Quad Cities, a conglomerate of four towns that sprang up around Davenport. In addition, and this is a special story, there were gateways. On the section that we passed, the difference in the level of the river with its rapids and waterfalls is more than 100 meters. So, without really stepping on the natural banks, they built a series of water control dams and 25 locks, through which the Delta Queen also passed...V.N. Gateway in English - lock. Literally a castle. But it so happened that the locks on the Mississippi became not locks, but, as it were, gates that opened Americans to us. And, perhaps, to the Americans - us. At each gateway - some more, some less - local residents gathered. I remember how once, already late at night, Esther Palo, as friendly as she was restless, our elderly companion from Hollywood, very persistently invited me to immediately go out on deck. I had to obey. On the shore, in the light of a lantern, I saw a young man with two small children. They came to the lock almost 200 miles away only to say “hello!” in Russian in a family chorus. , and then add in English that they really want peace.S.K. Well, it’s time to move from the river to the people on its banks, to how we were greeted. In towns along the way, welcoming ceremonies were planned in advance; hundreds of people gathered at the pier with signs in Russian saying “Welcome!” (Americans are not at odds with our soft sign), the mayors appeared on the stands and solemnly read out their proclamations, declaring, say, such and such a day as the day of the peace cruise in the city of Debuque, and such and such a day as the day of new beginnings in Burlington. And from the main deck of the ship hung two flags - Soviet and American, and on the blue canvas it was written: “We want peace, you want peace - let's achieve peace together.” Shouts, songs, applause, and then - to the shore, and you walk to the excursion buses through the welcoming line of residents, and see the smiles and blue lakes of the eyes of the inhabitants of the agricultural Midwest.V.N. Every day we were “sorted” into our homes, into families. There was always not enough time for meetings, and there weren’t enough of us for everyone. The organizers have foreseen this. In order not to create a fair situation like “There are many of you, and I am alone,” they held competitions in advance, distributing all the “Russians” without our desire. Each of us wore a badge with a name and serial number. While still approaching the appointed place on the bus, from a distance we saw banners with numbers above the heads of those who met us, looking out for the one with whom fate was destined to spend the coming day.S.K. Such meetings pleased and excited, but the most touching were the unplanned meetings, at the airlocks. And early in the morning, and late in the evening, and after midnight, in the darkness, illuminated by lanterns, Americans in their light, colorful, summer clothes, children, adults, and old people stood at the gateways. Coming from tens or even hundreds of miles away to see for 10-15 minutes the Russians, the Soviets, sailing through the heartland of America for the first time.V.N. These were meetings of smiles and glances. Unlike conversations on Delta Queen, where glances were not only met, but also compared.S.K. We had discussions with the Americans on board, working groups discussed the problems of disarmament, problems of political relations between our countries, problems of cultural ties and so on. But it was not this element that became the main thing in the world cruise, namely the meetings on the shore.When the Delta Queen left St. Paul, three or four hundred people gathered on the pier to see us off. There were half a dozen right-wing extremists with expletive-anti-Soviet posters. But the rest were well-wishers. Remember the students from the summer international language camp in Northern Minnesota? Their eyes glowed as they looked at us, and on their red T-shirts it was written in Russian: “I love the Russian language.” And remember how diligently and smoothly they sang: “Eh, the young, young guy has been on a spree and spree...” The mayors from St. Paul and Minneapolis, twin cities with more than a million people, wished us a safe journey. Then the ship moved. And that same evening, warm, late, remember, we were standing on the deck, the steamer slowed down at the first lock on our way, and suddenly ahead, at some distance, there were fireworks, beautiful, silent clusters of multi-colored sparks in the dark. Naturally, we did not connect the fireworks with the fact of our appearance on the river. But then we passed the lock, and there was the city of Red Wing. It was dark, but the right bank of the Mississippi was illuminated by city lights. There were thousands, literally thousands of people standing on the shore. Some shouted something welcoming, waved their arms, some whistled, also in greeting, because Americans have such a custom of whistling as a sign of approval. I remember that you, Vladimir Dmitrievich, whistled back like a bandit.V.N. To live with Americans is to whistle like an American.S.K. These thousands on the evening shore were extremely unexpected, and I thought that this must be due to the fame of the steamer Delta Queen. But the team members said that they had never seen anything like this and that this interest, of course, related to us, the Soviet people. And from then on it began - both crowded receptions in cities, which was more or less expected, and touching, unexpected meetings at the gateways. One day, also late in the evening, several hundred residents came to the gateway near the town of Moskatin, and the mayor, right from the gateway wall, handed cosmonaut Grechko a symbolic key to the city, saying: “Remember this word - Moskatin. There is no other city like it in the world.” We remembered both Moscatine and other places. When we passed the town of Kiakak in the south of Iowa, thousands of people also gathered on the shore at night, and a choir and orchestra performed American and Soviet songs...V.N. And someone from the crowd threw a stone at me. The stone flew from below for a long time, hovered for a moment, and I caught it without difficulty. The stone was wrapped with a touching letter: “I am very glad that I saw you. I would be deeply grateful if you would write me a letter from Russia.” It was the first time that such a stone was thrown at me, and, I admit, it was damn nice.S.K. In general, neither we nor the American organizers of the world cruise expected such a wide, emotionally strong response. It had no less strong moral and philosophical overtones. I would like to disassemble it without illusions. The Americans came and came not to recklessly fraternize with us. They were driven, in my opinion, first of all by curiosity, then by benevolent interest. By their appearance near the Delta Queen, they performed a civil and purely human act - expressing their readiness to maintain normal, peaceful relations with our country. These hundreds and thousands of people gathered along the banks of the Mississippi had a desire, often unconscious, through the terrible image of the enemy in absentia, which was inspired by television and newspapers, to break through to living human beings from a distant country, which is in a state of enmity and rivalry with their country.V.N. I am far from asserting that the population of our country consists entirely of handsome men. However, I am literally speechless before the need to describe in words what kind of freaks, monsters, disgusting scoundrels and gorillas wrapped in quilted jackets are sought out by the creators of numerous and sometimes very successful films to depict Soviet people.Now let’s imagine the following picture for clarity. Let’s imagine that a motor ship is approaching Kamyshin or Balakhna... Well, let’s say, “Alexander Pushkin”. And on board it, along with cosmonaut Georgy Grechko and actress Via Artmane, is a foreign group of 43 Gorynych Serpents, Bab Yag, as well as two or three Viyas from Gogol’s story of the same name. Can you imagine the excitement that would arise in Kamyshin? Probably, many Americans were sincerely delighted to see, instead of the Gorynychs, such nice people as the experienced Dnieper captain Anatoly Zhuk, a milkmaid from Poltava, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Anna Sivolap or doctor Vladimir Shinkarenko.S.K. People traveled tens and hundreds of miles to see with their own eyes that we, too, are flesh and blood and also, obviously, love our children and are worried about their future. And that all of us, as the mayor of La Crosse put it, don’t put our pants on over our heads.This is some kind of primitive mystery of the hyper-civilized twentieth century: residents of one nuclear power, seeing normal Human beings in the citizens of another nuclear power, believe and do not believe their eyes. I remember a definition I heard from the head of a well-known public opinion polling firm, Daniel Yankelovich. He said that the Americans in relation to the Soviet Union are dominated by primal fear - primary, primordial fear, the fear of people who believed in the “Soviet threat.” And there, during the days of the cruise along the great river through the middle lands of America, something primordial also appeared, but not fear, but primordial curiosity and friendliness, the primordial human ability to get to the bottom of the truth oneself. If the media carry out a process of dehumanization of another person, another society, then in personal communication there was a process of rehumanization, restoration of humanity in the guise of another person. In other, somewhat clumsy, but Russian words, the transition from dehumanization to humanization.V.N. I would not like to compete with you, Stanislav Nikolaevich, in “clumsiness of expressions,” but I will still continue your image. The fact is that our, Soviet people, humanization occurred through man, thanks to man. The media did not arouse Americans' interest in us, but rather reluctantly responded to it. I have already mentioned that there were “not enough” of us to meet with everyone. Because there were a lot of people who wanted to meet us in a relaxed home atmosphere, over lunch, which, by the way, was usually not too plentiful, but rather modest and calibrated in terms of calories. Unlike the dishes, there were many questions, and we answered them with sincere openness, sharing successes, but not hiding difficulties. Often it was necessary to start in one house, where three or four neighboring families came together for a glass of Coca-Cola, and continue dinner in another house, sometimes twenty miles from the first. Here the guests were different, with their own questions and interests. And sometimes the dinner ended after midnight, in the third house. And among the new men and women who came from the surrounding houses, the interest did not fade at all, despite the need to go to work in the morning. This purely human interest was primary, and the reaction of the press, even the “small”, local one, was secondary. Well, the behavior of the big press and the “whales” of national television is a special topic.S.K. The newspapers of the cities we visited covered the world cruise widely, there were many nice photographs, as well as reports, quite objective, although superficial, because the reporters did not touch the deeper meaning of what was happening and, perhaps, did not even comprehend. Thanks to the tireless Lou Friedman, the cruise's press coordinator, press conferences were held everywhere. National television, that is, television corporations broadcasting throughout the United States, did not immediately connect, but on the second or third day, two of them, CBS and NBC, landed their “landing forces” on board the Delta Queen.Then the helicopter circled over our ship, providing viewers with a view from above. And a photographer from the famous Time weekly herded us all onto the upper deck for a group photo. Some of the slow-moving members of the press were already missing a cabin on the Delta Queen, and they accompanied us along the shore in cars. The old steamship, with its fiery red wheel at the stern and two national flags hanging from the deck, made the evening television news - before the eyes of tens of millions of Americans. NBC and CBS broadcast interviews with Soviet and American cruise participants. The result was a wide resonance. The American cruise participants were surprised and happy. Ed Rothberg, a veteran of the peace movement, said that since the Vietnam War, American anti-war organizations may have broken through to the mainstream of America for the first time.V.N. During our trip, we often encountered cases of amazing ignorance of Americans about the Soviet Union. This ignorance sometimes seems mysterious. In fact, we visited several universities - the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin... We became convinced that there is quite a wealth of information for specialists studying our country. The library collections contain an impressive amount of materials, many books by Soviet authors. And the high level of electronic equipment allows you to quickly use exchanged information, receiving copies of sections from the desired book in a matter of minutes. In short, our country is being studied intensively by specialists. That is why it is especially surprising how much information that is available to a specialist is cut off from those who, in fact, are the general public, the people. One gets the feeling that detailed information about our country is of some purely utilitarian nature; it is “for business” and not “for the soul.”S.K. Much is explained by the fact that the masses get their information - or lack thereof - from the media, and they live on stereotypes, clichés, and scandalous sensations. And they convey to the American people a simplified, sensational and, unfortunately, hostile image of our country.V.N. I think it is no coincidence that among the 130 American participants on the Mississippi cruise there were many who had already visited our country before. Often, after taking a world cruise along the Volga and taking a train to Lake Baikal, the “ordinary” American seemed to see the light. The information he received from newspapers and television was refuted by personal life experience.S.K. It must be said that Americans, practitioners to the core, all want to look and feel for themselves, to personally become acquainted with certain peoples, places, countries. They travel a lot. You and I, we all had any number of examples in those days when people came up and said that they had been to the Soviet Union, that they had a daughter or a son, that acquaintances had gone, etc., etc. And our cruise world once again emphasized the importance and indispensability of the most diverse and multiple personal contacts. From hundreds, thousands, millions of threads, ropes are woven that attract us to each other, bridges of mutual understanding arise. Public organizations and peace activists play an invaluable role here. Take the Soviet Peace Committee or American anti-war organizations. None of these organizations is as powerful or widespread as the Soviet Peace Committee, but many are very active. And the people in them are driven by the most noble and sincere motives. There were dozens of them on board the Delta Queen, but I would like to highlight two again - Howard and Alice Fraser, the founders of cruises along the Volga and now along the Mississippi. Howard is 75 years old. From the 30s until the end of the 60s he was in government service. Alice, a teacher-psychologist, is 65 years old. The Mississippi cruise cost them two years of tireless effort.V.N. Perhaps “this is worth saying in a little more detail - for those of our readers who cannot imagine what the efforts of a private individual in the world of private entrepreneurship are.Let's imagine that a married couple of pensioners - with one part-time assistant - is the entire apparatus of the Committee. Or the Institute. Or the Academy. (Americans readily use sonorous names with capital letters.) These institutions are completely independent and absolutely self-supporting. That is, you can only count on yourself.And now two elderly people send thousands of letters to all corners of the country. At the same time they advertise in newspapers. They find out who agrees to take part in a cruise with an approximate cost of 2 thousand or more. Determine future needs. They contact travel companies and establish contacts with local authorities. They organize public events - for example, competitions for schoolchildren in the region where the cruise will take place. These are literary competitions for the best essay about peace and friendship between our peoples. The winners - in this case Mieke Mercurio and Stephanie Kahlert - are invited to the trip for free. Then Stephanie will read her essay in the Debuque city garden to the applause of touched American and Soviet listeners.S.K. And at the beginning I began the pure prose of life - financial security. Initially, they had to find funds: who was willing to pay in advance the cost - approximately 230 thousand dollars - to rent a Delta Queen for a flight from St. Paul to St. Louis.V.N. And all this could suddenly fall apart in an instant. If only for the reason that the authorities do not give us visas.S.K. And these two people of respectable age spent at least two years on this completely disinterestedly. How many sleepless nights, worries and doubts, how many different kinds of inconsistencies. But things moved forward on the sheer enthusiasm of the Frasers. And, of course, their Soviet friends and partners - the chairman of the Soviet Peace Committee G. A. Zhukov, his deputy O. S. Kharkhardin, the head of the department V. M. Sluzhivov. During the entire trip across the USA, Howard and Alice were with us all the time - from call to call. And they did everything practically without assistants.V.N. You remember, Stanislav Nikolaevich, how Howard answered your sympathetic question, aren’t you tired?S.K. He replied that the concept of fatigue simply does not enter into his concept of life.V.N. On the last day, I quickly conducted a survey (in foreign language - an express interview) of the American participants of the flight. I asked everyone three questions. First: would you take a cruise like this again? Second: if accepted, what would you improve? And third: if you were a Soviet citizen, what would you do when you returned home after this cruise?And now I turn on the tape recorder and again listen to familiar voices. Of course, many say that these are not easy questions, especially the last one. And yet it is not difficult to put the answers together, since the feelings and even words of many coincided. Firstly, everyone expresses great satisfaction with the trip, without a single exception. Many claim that perhaps these were the best days of their lives. Secondly, the comments on the organization are minimal and relate to particulars, usually related to the need for more frequent meetings and deeper discussion of the problems that we discussed on board the ship. And finally, third. The American participants on the cruise expressed to us the same wishes that the Soviet Peace Committee obliged us by organizing this trip: to talk as widely as possible about the fact that peace and friendship with the people of the United States is not a sweet-hearted dream, but a real possibility and an urgent need.S.K. We returned with the desire to talk about our impressions and make our modest contribution to the cause of mutual understanding. There are a lot of impressions. I remember Russian songs, wise and mischievous, over the American river - Tatyana Petrova performed them with daring and selflessness. Well, for example: “I suffered, I suffered for my curly hair, and then I told him: “Suffer, curly, yourself.” And the Americans listened, not understanding the words, but feeling the beauty of the song composed by another people, trying to guess what it was. I remember the tears that came to the eyes of old farmer Marion Bradley when in his stiff, worn-out palm he held a rag doll made by the grandson of one of the members of our group. Why do these two impressions stand side by side? Probably because both in the old song and in the farmer, who seemed to have become a part of his land, there is something eternal and true - and understandable to everyone.Each of us, I think, brought children's drawings among the souvenirs. I have them too, 10 drawings by American schoolchildren. One young artist painted his favorite animal - a giraffe, another - children swimming, a third - a landscape with a rainbow, a fourth - a cow with a drooping udder and the inscription: “Milk her, and she will feel good.” In an accompanying letter, Ann Stoll, a librarian at the Gompers School in Madison, Wisconsin, writes: “We would like every school in our country to have 10 drawings by Soviet children, and every school in the Soviet Union to have 10 drawings by American children... And We really, really, really ask you to send us back pictures drawn by your children. A photograph of the child, the author of the drawing, will greatly enhance its emotional impact on the average American and emphasize our universal unity...”I have mentioned the primal fear of our country that Americans are instilled in, and the primal curiosity and goodwill that we ourselves have experienced in the cities and gateways along the Mississippi. And in the exchange of children's drawings there is also something primordial. People want to communicate and unite with each other on the eternal, granite foundation of love for children, love of life, opposing nuclear death. Isn’t this reflected in new political thinking and a new moral approach?I must say that now, although there is a very tough and belligerent administration in Washington, we have rare, perhaps unprecedented opportunities to expand relations with the American public, to win them over to the side of peace and normal relations with our country. Americans feel a new, increased interest in us, in our peace initiatives, in the tasks of perestroika that we set, in our greater openness and publicity.V.N. The point is, of course, that in addition to the common and most important thing that unites us - the desire to maintain peace on the planet - there are a number of other extremely important problems. Since Geneva, joint programs are being developed that could have a profound impact on the lives of many of us. In particular, when I was in a well-known hospital in the United States in Hazelden, Minnesota, Dr. Daniel Anderson spoke about what he believed was a very effective system for treating patients with alcoholism. By the way, Dr. Anderson will arrive in Moscow in the near future to discuss measures for practical cooperation with the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. Apparently, the experts will find a common language. Unfortunately, as on the Mississippi trip, that common language will once again be English.The Americans embarrassedly confessed to us their long-standing common shortcoming: poor knowledge of foreign languages in general, and ours especially. Interest in Russian, however, is growing. More and more not only students, but also schoolchildren are taking up its study. But there are also many complaints that it is too difficult for a foreigner. Personally, I am sure that there are no easy languages at all, and ours is completely undeservedly given the title of especially difficult. Obviously, you won’t be able to master it in a month, but what’s special about that? If it were otherwise, neither Chekhov nor Mark Twain would have appeared on it.By the way, about Mark Twain. Or, more precisely, about Mark Twain. Central television showed a short story about our Mississippi companion, William McLynn. At one of the international competitions for imitators of Mark Twain (as you can see, there are some), Bill took first place. As for gait and voice, it’s not for us to judge. We haven't seen Mark Twain alive, so we'll trust the jury. But we are witnesses to the fact that Bill is actively fighting for peace, disarmament, freedom, justice, for those ideals that inspired Mark Twain.But in general, the area through which the cruise took place is very abundantly saturated with Mark T veins. In every town we were greeted by our own Mark Twain in striped pants, a tuxedo with a vest, gray-haired, shuffling and leaning on his constant cane. And in the city of Hannibal, where Samuel Clemens, who later became a great writer, spent his childhood, we were greeted by a whole scattering of his literary heroes - from Tom Sawyer with Becky Thacher to Meff Potter, who accompanied us on the bus ride, hoarse-voiced and picturesque in his carefully thought-out tattered cast-offs. As for simple imitators of the writer, they simply dazzled the eyes in Hannibal. Even the souvenir seller near the river port was dressed and made up to resemble the great satirist. True, the similarity ended with the gray mustache and vest, as the seller naively asked: “Do they really know Mark Twain in Russia?”S.K. Well, this is completely innocent ignorance. And often ignorance of our country is terrifying. I was asked one question several times: can you Soviets be trusted? Moreover, with something like this “additive”: you seem to be normal people, but what are you really like? This question is both scary and funny. If a person believes in advance that he cannot be trusted, trust on his part is excluded. And it's scary with hopelessness. On the other hand, it is funny and offensive for us, with our memory of the war, to prove to someone that we sincerely want peace. In the end, the questioner, if he doesn’t trust us, then he must trust himself, himself and his common sense, his sense of self-preservation, and thus “through himself” understand that other people are also not without a sense of self-preservation.In general, to really appreciate the significance of the world cruise on the Mississippi, I would like to recall one scene in St. Louis. At the ceremony of meeting with the townspeople and at the same time saying goodbye to Delta Queen, Volgograd journalist Vladimir Chernov poured a flask of Volga water he brought into a vase with Mississippi water. A symbolic gesture of the confluence of two rivers and two peoples. A wonderful gesture. But this, of course, is “just a vase of water from the great Mississippi and just a flask of water from the great Volga. So is our cruise. Just a drop. More and more efforts must be made to bring rivers and peoples closer together. And you have to believe in ultimate success. “Only caring people can improve this world” - where, in what city on the Mississippi did you and I read this wise saying?1986 yearA MAN FOR ALL TIMESThe third Monday in January, since 1986, has been celebrated in the United States as a national holiday - the birthday of Martin Luther King. In the entire two-hundred-year national history of this country, only the second citizen has been awarded such an honor. The first was the “Founding Father” and first President George Washington. King was not a president, but a Baptist pastor at Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and our contemporary: born January 15, 1929, assassinated April 4, 1968 at the age of forty.I needed a reminder of the simplest facts to ask the question: why is it highlighted so much? And the second, more significant question: how and in what ways did Martin Luther King go beyond the boundaries of his country, no matter how great it was? Does his life contain some kind of universal lesson in our time, when the world sits on crazy mountains of nuclear weapons and in this uncomfortable position has not yet stopped cursing and building up mountains? How is this American hero connected to world history? After all, truly great people, having risen from different national depths, cannot help but be unifiers of people and humanity.I also have a personal interest in these issues, which is far from the main one, but seems to sharpen them. By coincidence, we were born at the same time, only three weeks apart. We were not peers, because peers are people united by their childhood. We played in different yards in different hemispheres, and even the time, formally the same, was internally completely different for a boy from the Volga city of Gorky during the difficult pre-war and harsh war years and a black boy from Atlanta, Georgia, where the howling of the nation did not reach on, thundering across the oceans, and where in a fairly prosperous family of his father, also a Baptist pastor, he was already discovering a world divided by a rigid system of segregation into whites and coloreds, and already painfully felt like a second-class citizen.We were not peers as teenagers, but over the years our generation has grown, dare I say, into contemporaries, going beyond the confines of schools, courtyards and streets and somehow incorporating in our consciousness the experience of decades in our countries and around the world. Previously, the concept of contemporary coincided in essence with the concept of compatriot, expanding only in historical retrospect. Our time takes it beyond national boundaries, making contemporaries of all earthlings living at the current historical moment, and not only through the ubiquity of television, but above all with a sense of common destiny and their unprecedented responsibility. There may not be other historical moments, other generations, if time itself, as the poet puts it, is “interrupted mid-sentence”...I will add one more personal clarifying point. In the 60s, during the most intense period of the struggle of black Americans for civil rights, working as a correspondent for Izvestia in New York, I closely observed events in the dangerous epicenter of which, as a rule, Martin Luther King was located. One day we shook hands on the steps of one of the buildings at the University of Chicago, where he was speaking to trade unionists protesting against the Vietnam War, and very close I saw serious, impenetrably shining black eyes, hard large lips, a heavy chin on a broad face.We agreed on an interview, but it did not take place. The turbulent year of 1968 was already underway, and at the same time King’s life was coming to an end. I experienced a great shock one April evening when, sitting in front of the television, I learned at the last minute of the latest news that Martin Luther King had just been fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee. Then there was the shock of riots in the black ghettos, which responded with blind and unbridled vengeance to the murder of a man whom many of their inhabitants equated with the biblical prophet Moses, leading his people to the promised land. Finally, the shock of the funeral in Atlanta - not only relatives and comrades, not only tens of thousands of followers, but also the political elite of America followed the coffin - out of sympathy and out of calculation. Then the next presidential election campaign was unfolding, the season of hunting for votes, including black ones. The coffin was lying on a cart. The cart was pulled by mules. This is how our contemporary sailed into immortality from a super-motorized, electronic, nuclear-missile country...Alexander Tvardovsky, in the Siberian chapter of the poem “Beyond the Distance, the Distance,” has lines about the relationship between people in exceptional and ordinary circumstances: “But before life judges, naming fate, which one is whose, any of thousands of these destinies, and so and so I am obliged ..."Life decided: the American Congress voted and the American president, fifteen years after the murder in Memphis, signed a law on a new national holiday - the birthday of Martin Luther King. The 40th president was Ronald Reagan. He never hid his dislike for King and resisted for a long time before signing the decision of Congress. Still, it provided evidence of legality and democracy. Among his contemporaries, Ronald Reagan had a completely different hero - permanent FBI Director Edgar Hoover. The chief detective publicly called the most honest American “the greatest liar,” wanted to attach to him a discreditable connection with the communists, and established secret surveillance over the pastor. When Hoover died in 1972 - a natural death, from old age - his body was placed for farewell where the bodies of deceased presidents are placed - under the dome of the Rotunda in the Congress building on Capitol Hill. In the evening I went there to inquire. The rotunda was empty, there was no queue, and there were no people wishing to say goodbye.It was not so much life as death that instantly judged, calling infamy and oblivion the fate of Hoover, prematurely glorified by American scribblers as great and legendary. Life and death called the fate of King - a great American, a herald of justice and human dignity, a fighter against the shame of racism and the madness of war. When Tvardovsky wrote that life will judge, he meant time, history. He himself, also our contemporary, had a hard time in the last years of his life. But time decided - in his favor, in favor of honor and conscience, civic duty to the Fatherland and the people.Why does time, so harsh on the best people during their lifetime, select only them as beacons for posterity? The answers have long been given, but the question is posed anew by every generation and in every society. Another sad event gives us, Russian and Soviet people, a reason to think about this question these days - a century and a half since the death of Pushkin. It is easy for descendants, as Anna Akhmatova correctly noted, to imagine that it was not the poet Pushkin who lived under Tsar Nicholas I, but Nicholas I who lived under the poet Pushkin. But the poet is no better off from our current representation. It is often not easier for those who are in our country. time bears Pushkin's beginning of beauty and truth. Before life decided with hindsight, Pushkin was a contemporary of Benckendorff and Bulgarin. And in our time, the ways to restore the truth are difficult and bizarre...Let us return, however, to Martin Luther King. His life was swift, and his death was far from accidental. The Assassin's Bullet put an end to it after twelve years of selfless struggle, which, in the crosshairs of an optical sight, united the love of some and the hatred of others.  The Soviet reader should be reminded of what is already in the history books for the American reader. The fight began in Montgomery, Alabama, where a young pastor led a bus boycott for the right of blacks there to sit not only in the back seats, but also in other empty seats on buses.On the one hand, the United States was the first in history to proclaim the great principles of human freedom and allowed a considerable number of Americans to take advantage of them in practice. On the other hand, until recently, many millions of citizens there were, on the basis of race, deprived of the basic right to dignity, without which all other rights do not exist. In the US South, a legalized system of segregation reigned. Many of its types looked purely everyday, but is it possible to classify something similar to spitting in the face as everyday life? Everything was divided: for whites and for coloreds. Seats on buses and facilities at bus stations, hotels and motels, cafeterias and restaurants, restrooms and drinking water fountains. I personally saw this in the early 60s. Separate schools, colleges, universities. And, of course, lack of rights when hiring. Cemeteries were both segregated, for blacks and for coloreds, which obviously implied the existence of segregated afterlifes for believers. And black artists, in retaliation against white racists, painted a black Christ...“Free at last. Free at last. Great Almighty God, I am free at last" is the famous epitaph on King's grave. What is in it - an afterlife smile at fate or the pathos of a victory achieved during life? The words are taken from his most famous speech, delivered in August 1963 to a quarter of a million people from the steps of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington.  While working in Moscow on a book about King, I sometimes turned on, as if to get used to the character, a record of this textbook speech. Choking from the Negro temperament, a powerful, booming voice sounded. Familiar passionate words were heard:“I dream of the day when, on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveholders can sit together at the table of brotherhood... I dream of the day when my four little children will live in a country where they will not be judged.” by the color of their skin, and by their human merits... With this faith I will return to the South. With faith that from the mountain of despair we can carve a stone of hope. With faith that we can work together, pray together, fight together, go to prison together, stand up for freedom together, knowing that someday we will be free...And the sea of black and white people, agitated in front of him, answered in voices choked with excitement:- Dream some more! Dream some more!..King was not just a Baptist preacher, but also a born tribune. A poet who deeply feels the beauty and tragedy of the world. And the leader is far from the only one, but the most authoritative in the heterogeneous civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. How could such a nature appear and maintain an attractive integrity in a country that imposes pragmatism and opportunism on the entire system of life, based on competition and the desire to succeed? We must not forget that this country, with all its mercantile bustle and diversity, has produced many outstanding and great people and that high idealism has historically been part of the American national character.King crushed the system of segregation with the battering ram of active and mass nonviolent action, in principle borrowed from Mahatma Gandhi and transformed to suit American conditions. And he himself was in some ways an American Mahatma, if we also remember that translated from Hindi, Mahatma is a great soul. Great soul! Is this not a poetic synonym for what we call a great humanist? A great humanist, or a great soul, is always a unifier of other people and souls.Unlike black extremists who called for inverted racism, King relied on an alliance with white Americans. In addition to altruism, there was also a far-sighted political calculation - the black minority in the South would never have achieved the abolition of segregation, going into direct conflict with the white majority, awakening in it not reason and a sense of justice, but racist instincts.Of course, he could not unite and reconcile everyone in a society objectively torn apart by the struggle of social and national groups. And in the very fact of the peculiar canonization of Martin Luther King, in the solemn recognition of his historical role, there is also a calculation, both for the present and the future - a black American stands next to the first President as a symbol of the unity of the nation and its ability to peacefully, avoiding the tragedy of the civil war, decide even the most difficult problems.Free at last... Still, in this epitaph there is not a tragic note of a life cut short, but the pathos of a fulfilled destiny. The national culmination of the struggle that began with the Montgomery bus boycott was the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which abolished segregation.King had other successes and failures. American racism survived him and is still alive today, despite the efforts of King's followers. How to pull out the roots that go back to history, biology and the social system? Blacks are paid half as much and are twice as likely to be unemployed. Almost every second black child grows up without a father. The disgusting grimaces of racism are visible not only in the South, but also in the North, in liberal Boston or the diverse New York. But, on the other hand, signs of progress. Blacks are among the mayors of major cities, in Congress, professors and high-ranking officials. A layer of black bourgeoisie is growing and the black intelligentsia, sometimes extravagantly, is looking for its roots where they go - in Africa, and not in Western Europe.Martin Luther King is one of the people needed not only by his country, but also by the world, always and everywhere. And most of all now, when we talk about new thinking, we mean by it not a cunning tactic of luring the other side into our political and ideological snares, but an honest strategy for the survival of mankind in the nuclear age, designed for years and years. In the end, it is not the faceless hulks of two nuclear superpowers that stand against each other, but their official representatives, their scientists, diplomats, doctors and journalists, personalities, people conducting a difficult dialogue with each other. There are alien phenomena from which we must warn, insidious operations that must be exposed and suppressed, but we, journalists, should not get carried away with a kind of automatic exposure, allow too much of the portrayal of such negative heroes from the other side, whose appearance and actions make us suspect and hate each other. It is not at all necessary to respond to their low-grade film concoction “Red Dawn” with some kind of “Star-Spangled Sunset” of your own, because it is unworthy to participate in a competition to incite hostility, mistrust and hatred.Man is humanity - humanity. M. S. Gorbachev spoke about this eternal triad when speaking in the Indian parliament. It explains the mutual attraction between the Soviet and Indian peoples. From the realm of ethics and philosophy, this triad moves into the realm of world politics as a good formula for its humanization. Man goes to humanity through humanity, through humanism. The same road that Martin Luther King walked.January 1987THE YEAR OF TRUTHGorky has a famous monologue about a person in his play “At the Lower Depths”:“- Man is free... he pays for everything himself... and therefore he is free!.. Man - that’s the truth! What is a person?.. It’s not you, not me, not them... no! - it’s you, me, them, the old man, Napoleon, Mohammed... in one! Understand? This is huge! In this are all the beginnings and ends... Everything is in man, everything is for man! Only man exists, everything else is the work of his hands and his brain! Human! It's great! That sounds... proud!”Wisdom does not like ceremonial uniforms and the gloomy-burcheevsky expression on the face. The writer put his words into the mouth of the drunken tramp Satin, who was philosophizing in front of the inhabitants of the shelter. But in school textbooks and on propaganda posters in city parks, wisdom has shrunk to a single phrase, vulgarized by endless repetition: “Man—that sounds proud!” Meanwhile, in today's language, Gorky was in favor of an integrated approach to man. And therefore, not proudly, but very timely, what he said at the beginning of the century sounds at the end of the century. Yes, for the reckless freedom of his hands and brain, a person pays - and is paying for it - with unprecedented anxiety and new troubles, a nuclear threat, an environmental crisis. Yes, everything is in a person, all beginnings and ends - this factor operates at home, on the street, in the work collective and in the world society of nations.“It’s you, me, them, the old man, Napoleon, Mohammed... in one! Understand? This is huge!” Why don't you understand? We understand better than ever, even if from the rostrum of the party congress the common task of survival of all (all!) of five billion, complex and torn by contradictions humanity is declared. This is huge.One Moscow engineer, whom I recently met, said that all people on Earth know each other through a maximum of three or four people, through three or four handshakes. The idea is unexpected and true. Let's say I met him, and he knows thousands of people, and each of them, in turn, knows hundreds and thousands, and now, after the second and third handshake, he alone gave me almost a million new correspondence acquaintances.Let’s add two or three more such links to three or four, and we’ll get to Napoleon. Another ten and a half - and our chain of living and dead will reach Mohammed. This is truly enormous - the image of the human family, united, as it were, by personal ties across the entire breadth of modernity and the depth of history.And this is a sign of our time - people are more actively looking for each other, multiplying connections not only out of calculation and not for the sake of cronyism, but having realized their common destiny. Teleconferences, “straight lines”, discussions of poets, actors, fans of metal rock, ministers, interviews with passers-by on the streets. Children travel as peacekeepers; Katya Lycheva is one of the heroes of the year. Polyphony is a sign of the democratization of our life and the humanization of international life.States are also looking for each other. And here the image of a universal human family is extremely necessary - politically, diplomatically, morally. Actually, it already appeared, this image, or prototype, at the end of November in the Delhi Declaration of M. S. Gorbachev and Rajiv Gandhi - on the principles of a nuclear-weapon-free and non-violent world. Universal human values politically united the heirs of Lenin and Mahatma Gandhi. After Hiroshima, Gandhi said: “If the world does not now renounce violence, it will undoubtedly mean suicide for humanity.”1986 taught us civic responsibility, open-mindedness and uninhibited thought. The department, which had gained too much power, became accountable to the public, and its reports did not always satisfy critics. The Fatherland is our common home, in which ancestors, contemporaries and descendants live; it cannot be left to individual departments and ministries. Where is the son of the Fatherland in the minister? - asked the writer Valentin Rasputin, defending the eternal miracle of Baikal from the pulp needs of the day. If, finding himself outside the zone of criticism and not subject to public supervision, a bureaucrat will command in alliance with such creative workers who have stronger elbows than talent or intelligence, then with the funds of one all-Union subbotnik we will tear down Poklonnaya Hill, with the funds of another we can refill it and In the end, we will come to the need to introduce a new title - drummer of Sisyphean labor. With this arrangement, we can cut up the living body of our native nature so that the northern rivers turn south. Fortunately, the path of Sisyphus and Herostratus was blocked. It was in 1986...I write these lines and feel the editor’s pencil hovering over them in bewilderment: what does the international affairs specialist care about Baikal? Reagan's nails - and that's all for a short time. Departmentalism in journalism separated international experts from friends and colleagues who deal with so-called internal topics. According to the unwritten law, only through foreign subjects, looking beyond the borders of the Fatherland, an international affairs specialist must reveal his civic pathos and patriotism. What utter and yet persistent stupidity! Rebuilding requires breaking down partitions.Last year I traveled more at home than abroad: Baku, Uglich, Budapest, Kiev, Chernobyl, Washington, St. Paul and a thousand kilometers along the Mississippi to St. Louis, New York, Gorky, Dubna, Sochi, Tbilisi, Obninsk , Delhi, Leningrad...The bell in Uglich was sent into Siberian exile for 300 years because it notified the townspeople about the murder of Tsarevich Dmitry, but, returning home, the bell still makes a gentle crimson ringing... A shady alley in a cemetery near the airport, where they have been lying under fire for 20 years with one slab, dear father and mother... Two beams from the upper deck of the old "Delta Queen" probe in the dark the red and green buoys on the fairway of someone else's great river... A hard worker in tarpaulin boots, throwing his head back in front of a bronze one, with four well-deserved stars on his chest bust of the most famous of the marshals, mutters admiringly: “Well, good! You can’t say anything!” ...There are also other images of the year that are not reflected on paper. There is neither time nor place for everything. I will highlight the most powerful impression - Chernobyl.I visited there with three colleagues in June, speaking, of course, on international topics. There - on the Volga from Kyiv, back - by helicopter. Only a few hours in the zone. Two months after the accident. What can you add after such a lightning-fast attack to the mass of what has been written, shown, and experienced by each of us? Since there was a release that morning, we were not even allowed to fly over the emergency block in a helicopter. And yet... An international specialist, accustomed to writing about nuclear dangers, I encountered the subject of my speculative reasoning - on my native soil. This object, radiation, turned out to be incorporeal, like air. How everyone, I wondered, had this invisible enemy penetrated me and to what extent. On the sides of the highway, at the exits to forest roads, I saw prohibitory signs and barriers - like seals on the curly, lush summer greenery, on the glorious mushroom and berry places there. Nature suddenly became a leper - due to the fault of man and taking revenge on him. Man... This is truly enormous if one direct damage from the irresponsibility of several people amounted to more than 2 billion rubles and required the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people to compensate.In the hall of the summer cinema, where we performed before the shift, Returning from the construction of the sarcophagus, there were mostly young people in military and civilian clothes. It was hot and sweaty, but no one took off their caps or caps. The questions were ordinary. Not a single one about Chernobyl. I remember a handsome, student-looking young man who pressed us, asking why we, the Soviet Union, tolerated the aggressiveness of the Americans and would not kick them in the teeth somewhere in Nicaragua or Libya. And after the performance there was still a feeling of awkwardness when the guys from the audience came up to us for autographs. They did work that amounted to a feat, and they considered those who appear on television to be celebrities...We returned to Kyiv by helicopter over deserted fields and forests. Near the meadow from which they took off, a large helicopter hovered over the edge of the forest, releasing thick, dark hair: decontamination was being carried out. Returning to the hotel, on the advice of knowledgeable people, I stood in a hot shower for a long time, got rid of the suit that the Kiev Regional Committee had provided for the trip, crumpling it and putting it in a plastic bag. Without regret, he got rid of his shirt and socks, and his underwear. Arriving in Moscow, I left the boots I wore in Chernobyl. Finally, from glasses by buying others. Everyone struggled - God protects those who are protected by the invisible enemy of radiation.But what sank deepest into my soul from that trip was one impression, not even Chernobyl, but Ivankovo, from the regional center of Ivankovo, the last one before the 30-kilometer zone. We stopped there in front of the district committee building. Our guide went to get a pass to the zone for the car, and we talked with the brave senior lieutenant of the traffic police, who picked us up at the 50th kilometer from Kiev and drove at breakneck speed, crowding everyone and everything on the highway.And so, while talking with the young man, I suddenly saw a young, tall, stately and pregnant woman walking along the sidewalk towards us. She was apparently in her last month. I wasn't the only one who noticed her. Not only one, it seemed to me, glanced at her stomach, at her face, and I was not the only one who looked away. She had, like all pregnant women, the expression of a person, as if turned inward, but not enlightened, but painfully gloomy.The expression on my face and eyes read: I know that, looking at me, you are all trying to guess what is going on in my womb, with my child, almost ripe for birth, whether he is struck by the same enemy that each of us here fears. you. Is he doomed to a terrible death or a terrible life? Don’t I think about this, said the expression on her face and eyes. I think - day and night. You will ask yourself this question, looking at me passing by, and then you will forget about it. And I will stay with him, I will be tormented by him as long as I live.And we averted our gaze so as not to add to her suffering, and she walked past, and from behind she had the usual gait of a woman in labor, as if pulled forward by the weight of her belly...Now, recalling images of the past year, I see in Ivankov’s woman not only a single human being, but also a living tragic metaphor for all humanity on the verge of two years and two centuries. Aren't we all tormented by the same questions? What kind of future are we preparing for ourselves by increasing the power of both the peaceful and military atom? What is the fate of generations ripening in the womb of modern history? What are the consequences of time and how much of it are we given?From books, the word sarcophagus returned to newspapers, referring to pharaohs and pyramids. Through heroic efforts, the destroyed fourth unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was buried in the most famous sarcophagus of our days. There has never been such a burial ground on our land - neither in purpose nor in size. But it was not enough to bury all the sloppiness and irresponsibility - the story of “Admiral Nakhimov” tragically told about this, and she was not alone. What about the bureaucrat? Toady? Show off? Clerk? Are they buried? Don’t they, even pretending to be dead, have the more than once proven ability to resurrect and be reborn?!From January 15, 1986, when the Statement of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee was published, and throughout the year, the Soviet Union defended the great idea of a nuclear-free world - with very specific proposals, indicating stages and deadlines. Our nuclear test sites have been silent all year, the first in a quarter of a century, and for the first time foreign journalists were allowed into the belly of one of them. In October in Reykjavik, the world was stunned by the contents of our package and the willingness to make concessions. But to build a sarcophagus for all nuclear weapons requires not so much one-sided heroism as mutual statesmanship. President Reagan, revealing another gap in his knowledge, once said that it was impossible to deal with the Russians, if only because there was no word for compromise in the Russian language. In Reykjavik he forgot that such a word existed in English.Reykjavik was the moment of truth. And Chernobyl - in its own way, and much more. There were also days of truth, the February and March days, when the 27th Congress of the CPSU gave a powerful impetus to the renewal and purification of our lives. When the year has passed, perhaps it is time to call it the year of truth. Or - so that without adding a year of difficult restoration of truth in rights. Not the homely, tamed truth from start to finish, but the harsh, fair and impartial truth.The right to truth is as sacred a human right as the right to life and peace. Without truth, as they say, life without what? “And more than anything else, it is certainly impossible to live without the real truth, the truth that hits straight into the soul, if only it were thicker, no matter how bitter.” This idea, expressed by Tvardovsky, in other words, was expressed many times by Lenin, and his whole life was serving the truth and, through the truth, rebuilding the world on the basis of justice. Radishchev, Nekrasov, Chernyshevsky, Tolstoy, Blok - whoever you name among the best people of the Russian people, they were all passionate lovers of truth and, through this, lovers of the people and true democrats, and bureaucrats and scoundrels of all stripes were carriers of lies and self-interest. No matter how much one argues about the artistic merits or imperfections of Aitmatov’s novel “The Scaffold,” this is a significant contribution to the year of truth, because the writer raises a harsh question about the moral state of society, about the encroachment of bunglers on the very foundations of life. Astafiev's "Sad Detective" may, in my opinion, be crude in execution, but it satisfies the demand for the most acute of deficits - the deficit of truth.The queues and shortages have not yet disappeared from publicity, but things are working better. Unlike lies, the truth does not cripple, but heals, does not humiliate and divide, but elevates and unites people in the name of public interest. But we must remember: too often we were strong in hindsight. No matter how important the truth about yesterday and the past period is, the most important and difficult thing is to soberly assess today, without giving in to the hallelujahs and flatterers who, feeling themselves in reserve, are waiting for their services to be needed. And there is no need to throw your hats into the future.“Many of us even now... have begun to boast excessively of Russian virtues and are not at all thinking about deepening them and cultivating them in themselves, but in order to put them on display and say to Europe: “Look, Germans: we are better than you!” » This boasting is the ruin of everything. It irritates others and harms the braggart himself. The best deed can be turned into dirt if you just boast about it and brag about it. But with us, having not yet done the deed, they brag about it - they brag about the future!”What is this about - about obligations taken out of thin air, about fake ceremonial reports or postscripts for which awards and orders were recently received? No, these are Gogol's words. A century and a half ago, he correctly diagnosed a national disease, from which, alas, the past 70 years have not freed us, because both arrogance and social boasting turned out to be very tenacious. Only the greatest sobriety in assessments, combined, of course, with smart and hard work, will give five years of truth in the first year, and ten years, and...Finally, in this experience of new thinking, which through the unity of the world and man dictates international notes in half with internal ones, I will dwell on what is more familiar to international affairs. Will the man of the 19th century see the sarcophagus that we promise him and ourselves - a sarcophagus that forever buried nuclear weapons and the threat of all destruction? 13 years as 13 remaining steps, but where?Ronald Reagan, swearing every day to positions of power, does not give in to calls for new thinking, although, as they say, he is not averse to reserving his place in history as a peacemaker. The discrepancy between tastes – ours and “theirs” – is not so scary. Worse is the discrepancy between the cycles of historical development: when Moscow is most ready to seek agreements, Washington is the most rigid.In 1986, the United States was stunned by a high-profile scam involving the secret sale of American weapons to Iran and the secret transfer of proceeds to the Nicaraguan Contras, bypassing Congress, laws, and the Constitution.We know a lot about this scandal and, I think, we will learn even more. Now just one touch. No matter how the president rejected such proximity, a certain Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who until recently served in the White House, now stood next to him on a stage flooded with lights. An adventurer by all accounts. And - moreover... It was revealed that once the lieutenant colonel even visited a mental hospital, and, whatever the doctors' conclusions, politically - this is an obsession with anti-communism and ultra-Americanism.In Dostoevsky’s “The Possessed,” one character, having shown a fleeting interest in America in those days, says that he read in the newspaper about an American who, when dying, left all his huge fortune to factories and “positive sciences,” his skeleton to students, academy, and “his skin on a drum, so as to beat out the American national anthem on it day and night.” “Alas, we are pygmies compared to the flight of thought of the North American States,” Dostoevsky’s character notes melancholy. Satanic irony - about the skin on the drum. And an unusually insightful observation about how, in the Essence, they are close, how the famous American utilitarianism, or pragmatism, and urapatriotism, in which everything is permitted not only in relation to one’s own skin, but also of all non-Americans, pass into each other.This is the stuff Oliver North is made of. And standing next to him is Ronald Reagan himself, who at the early stage of the scandal even called the lieutenant colonel a “national hero.” It's comforting, though, that most of their compatriots don't want to stand by. At the sight of such mind-blowing proximity, common sense still prevailed among the average American, and the president’s popularity plummeted. The result of six years of drumming in the style of “new patriotism” was unexpected.What is happening, however, gives no reason for illusions or for gloating, which is not at all related to human virtues.The same task remains as before - to look for common ground, learn the art of living together and understanding each other, and not frighten each other with images of the fiends of hell. In the international arena, the past year was a time of sowing, not harvesting. We sowed good seeds, and even in these winter days, according to New Year's assessments of both friends and rivals, it is clear that good seedlings are rising.And in conclusion, as a symbolic repayment of debt to readers, two quotes from two letters I received. One is pessimistic, from an old reader from the Donetsk region (I will not name names without asking permission). This is how he ends his response to one of my articles: “We people are just a product of the development of nature, some link in its endless chain, but we want to isolate ourselves from this chain. Over the history of life on Earth, many species of animals have disappeared and died. And we consider this quite natural... What do we need - special laws? In nature, the extreme species of animals are probably dying: the weakest and the strongest, the hegemons... Apparently, our turn is approaching - to share the fate of dinosaurs and mammoths.”And another letter from fifth-grader Lera from Kuibyshev: “I read in the newspaper your and Vladimir Nadein’s stories about the journey of Americans and Russians along the Volga and Mississippi rivers. I really want to be friends with an American girl, write letters to her and receive answers to them. I ask you to send my drawing, letter and photograph to librarian Ann Stoll of the Gompers School in Madison, who really wants the children of our countries to be friends.”Two letters, two ages, extreme points between the light-winged joy of a child and the despair of a wise man. I don’t take on the role of a judge, but I think that an adult would reconcile his despair, having met a child, with the direct force of life.Recently I spoke at the Leningrad Youth Palace, and at some point during the answers to questions I was struck by the eyes of the young men and women sitting in the front rows. They burned (I’m not afraid of this word) with the indescribable light of comprehension of the world. These views, this light were an unexpected reward, although I attribute them not to myself and my story, but to the thirst for truth that accompanies youth. After the performance I tried to remember where else I had seen such light from young eyes. And I remembered: the end of July in the American city of St. Paul, the pier from which we set sail on the world cruise along the Mississippi, and at the gangway - teenagers from a summer school of foreign languages, located somewhere in the north of Minnesota. They sat in a crowd, for some reason squatting. On their T-shirts it was written in Russian: “I love the Russian language.” their eyes sparkled just like those of the young Leningraders, and this pure, innocent and intense shine seemed to take the soul out of us adults, and made us think that they believed us, they hoped for us. Yes, a person is huge. It’s you, me, them... Builders not of barriers of hostility, but of bridges of goodwill... It’s all of us who are responsible for the future.January 1987

People overseas
The proposed book contains essays written at different times about the inhabitants of the United States of America - the people the author encountered across the ocean. In selecting material for the book, the author adhered to the principle of conveying only live impressions, describing only those individuals whom I saw and felt personally, through my own heart. The characters in the essays represent an extremely small part of American society. In their stories, the national character and society are reflected, divided into classes and groups, with their characteristic features interacting with customs, politics, economic ups and downs, and the history of a great, powerful, cruel, and contradictory country. This work is the labor of a journalist who has been studying the United States intensively for a quarter of a century. The author of the book is drawn to the genre that allows conveying vivid impressions, a mosaic representation of life. Each fragment of this mosaic complements and highlights one another. Of course, our interest in American life is not devoid of political character. Our encounters with Americans are inseparably linked to politics, reflections on Soviet-American relations, and the necessity of peaceful coexistence in the modern world. In addition to essays, the book includes several political reports inspired by my recent travels, as well as several essays dedicated to important events in modern US history. Special attention deserves the essay "Touching Hiroshima," in which I describe my impressions from meeting with pilots who participated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.