Articles by Vladislav Schnitzer



A Wireless Turns One Woman's Life Around

Over the summer, my wife and I decided to renovate our entrance hall. We hired an old friend, a painter named Valya, to do the job.

What Do You Give the Man Who Has It All?

A very wealthy man by the name of Savva is forever in my debt. Savva is a former fighter pilot who left the Air Force in the late 1980s and went into business.

The Mystery of the Underground Sculpture

Not long ago, I arranged to meet a friend of mine by the sculpture of Gorky, located in the crossing between metro stations Tverskaya and Chekhovskaya.

Phony Captain Trades On a Mother's Fears

My friends' son Viktor failed to get into university last year despite having studied all summer for the entrance exams. As a result, he was called up for Army service in the spring.

Local Clinic Fights a Battle With Bacteria

Our district clinic was unrecognizable when the scaffolding came down after recent renovation work.

A Neighbor's Joy Amid All the Horror

When the weather is nice, my wife Maria and I like to round out the evening by relaxing on the bench outsider the entrance to our building and chatting with the neighbors.

Place of Birth Causes Stress at the Border

I have two sons. The elder emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, while the younger lives in Moscow.

Jam Session Turns Into a Sticky Saga

Summer! How I love this time of year, especially when the markets overflow with fruits and berries from the Moscow region, the southern reaches of Russia and even farther afield, from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Pensioners and Vets Debate Subsidy Issue

Waiting for the bus on Leningradsky Prospekt during rush hour is torture. The bus stops are mostly filled with pensioners who while away the time in conversation.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Growing old alone is no bowl of cherries. My neighbor Sergei Ivanovich was once a popular actor and a real ladies' man. But in his golden years he ended up alone.

Past Pleasures in Picturesque Pitsunda

It seems like only yesterday that Abkhazia was a peaceful holiday destination, where my wife, and I would relax with our friends each summer.

The Hidden Perils of Delivering Magazines

Much of the world was in the grip of a terrible economic crisis in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Millions were hungry and unemployed. In the Soviet Union, it was nearly impossible for white collar workers to find a job.

Fishy Close Encounter With a U.S. President

A friend of mine, now a retired admiral, recently told me a story from his days as the commander of a diesel-powered submarine at the height of the Cold War.

Aging Gracefully Can Have Its Drawbacks

My neighbor Inna recently retired. She looks far younger than her 55 years, and in her younger days she could easily have found work as a model. Men still check her out on the street, especially when they're walking behind her.

A Walk in the Polish Woods Leads to Baku

In 1944 a new physics instructor named Ryzhanov turned up at the Caspian Higher Naval College. The day before he had been spotted in the uniform of a rank-and-file soldier. Then the brass raised him to the rank of lieutenant, stuck silver shoulder-boards on him and sent him to lecture the cadets.

Tregubova's 'Tales' Are Just Too Hot to Handle

Earlier this year the Russian press reported that customs officials had seized a truck hauling copies of Yelena Tregubova's tell-all book ""Tales of a Kremlin Digger,"" based on her experience as a Kremlin pool reporter.

A Vnukovo Lesson in Capitalism a la Russe

It used to be that to make a call from a pay phone all you needed was a couple of kopeks.

An Old Friend Learns the High Cost of Lying

On a rainy day not long ago I was walking home when I caught sight of my neighbor Andrei trudging across the street.

Soviet Traveler Wears the Colors of Home

When I returned from a trip to Italy not long ago, I was full of stories and shared a few with my old friend Pavel.

A Surprise for a Soviet Tourist: A Conscience

Soviet children born after the Revolution, particularly in the cities, were raised as atheists.

For Comintern Elite, the Best Healthcare

In the Soviet era the Podlipki cardiological clinic was reserved for the elite.

Riding on Bus No. 105 Without Breaking Eggs

""What on earth's happened to you?"" gasped Maria. Our daughter-in-law Anna stumbled into the flat, flung her bag down next to the door and collapsed onto a stool in the hall.

Trials and Tribulations of Uzbek Gastarbeiter

We've got to do something about our front door,"" my wife Maria declared the other day. ""Look at it. The leatherette's at least 40 years old and it's completely worn out. Do something about it!""

A Patter of Tiny Paws Brings Anxiety Attack

Next to our building there is a small area scattered with bushes where the residents walk their dogs. Recently I saw our sixth-floor neighbor, Alexander Govorov, carrying his curly white lapdog Dunya out for some exercise.

Dangers of Making Tea in a Defense Enterprise

My nephew Andrei is an engineer. He's a good man and a workaholic. Having completed the Moscow Steel and Alloys Institute, he was taken on by one of the more prestigious research institutes in Moscow.

Saved by a Bell on Earth But May Pay in Heaven

Natalya and Ivan Alexeyenko are both so youthful and spry you'd never guess they were both over 80.

In Pursuit of Freedom From Fear of My Wife

If you were to ask me if I fear my wife, I would say that when I've got nothing to hide, I have no fear.

A Weepy Tale of Flowers in Wintertime

A few days ago I didn't have time to do the shopping during the day. I set off for the supermarket next to the Leningradsky Market at 11 p.m., and my eldest son decided to tag along.

Tales of Trip Troubles Back in the Old Days

A while back I got together with some old Navy buddies, all of them pensioners like me now, and we swapped stories about the old days, when taking a trip abroad was a major event in the life of any Soviet citizen. You couldn't leave the country without permission from the authorities, and there was no point in appealing a rejected application.

'Hounded' From Russia By Bullies and the Cops

Six years ago, a neighboring young couple -- both engineers with a 5-year-old son -- emigrated to Israel. The decision to leave Moscow was not motivated by ideological or patriotic considerations, or by a particular desire to improve their material well-being (the young couple were making pretty good money in Moscow) -- but rather by concern for their son's future.