Articles by Matt Bivens



Wishing All of the Best to The Moscow Times

Like many Moscow Times alumni, I thoroughly enjoyed Chloe Arnold's look at the paper's 15-year history (""Still Doing It Daily 15 Years On,"" The Moscow Times, Oct. 3).

Abu Ghraib Reveals the Monster In All of Us

Those notorious Abu Ghraib photos evoke all manner of emotions, and I've run the spectrum.

Vershbow Should Step Up and Be Counted

In 1996, the United States paid $22.56 in rent for Spaso House, the ambassador's elegant residence in central Moscow.

Armageddon Almost Not Averted

The mental image we all have of a near-nuclear war scenario goes like this: A threat is detected; military men dutifully begin working their way through a crisp and precise set of protocols.

Spaso House Isn't a Rent-Control Building

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, recently gave a speech titled ""Taking Relations to a Higher Level"" to an audience of Moscow foreign affairs students.

Chubais and the Privatization of History

Anatoly Chubais seems to give most interviews these days to the Financial Times, probably because he gets such deferential treatment.

Fallujah's Untold Story: Civilian Casualties

Eyewitness accounts from Fallujah make clear that U.S. forces are engaged in intense urban combat, apparently with all sorts of collateral damage -- mosques, hospitals, ambulances, women and children.

Bush Vacations While U.S. Soldiers Die

A recent editorial in The Washington Post conceded that the latest eruption of violence in Iraq marks ""a turn for the worse,"" but then quickly found a silver lining: ""For months it has been evident that it will be impossible to stabilize Iraq ... unless factional militias are disarmed and disbanded."" Now, ""that painful but necessary battle will go forward.""

Yawning Boy Is No Laughing Matter

David Letterman's late-night comedy show offered some hilarious footage this week: As President George W. Bush spoke from a podium in Florida, a 12-year-old struggled valiantly to stay awake.

Plague of FBI Agents Descends on Scientist

Did you hear about the scientist who was subjected to a KGB-style interrogation and railroaded into jail despite the horrified objections of human rights groups and the scientific community?

Inner Turmoil at the World Bank

Not so long ago, enormous demonstrations were rocking the streets of Seattle, Ottawa, Prague, Genoa and Washington. The World Bank, IMF or WTO would gather for another politely exclusive, nondemocratic discussion about our economic futures, only to find themselves besieged by protesters.

U.S. Harbored Terrorists to Bolster Its Case

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a one-legged Jordanian militant in his late thirties, and he's being described as the new Osama bin Laden -- an al-Qaida princeling who's come to Iraq to mastermind the worst terror attacks there.

Farewell Dossier: Wrong in a Big Way

I've been pondering the Farewell Dossier, a sordid little Cold War episode that has suddenly, chest puffed out self-importantly, revealed itself.

Rybkin Affair Is No Laughing Matter

Back in 1994, Grigory Yavlinsky's older son, Mikhail, was a piano player in his early 20s. Unknown assailants mangled Mikhail's hands. They also stuffed a note in his pocket warning his father to get out of politics.

Responding in Kind?

About this time last year, a group of 15 armed and masked men -- from their accents, Russian soldiers -- arrived at the home of a Chechen family and seized two brothers, Kharon and Aslanbek.

Moral Ambiguity at the Dinner Table

With the family all around the dinner table, I asked my 8-year-old daughter Casey what she'd done in school.

The Folly of Fingerprinting

A 5-year-old child, a Chinese grandmother, a Welsh insurance agent, a prominent scientist and two average Joes. Six cases of mistaken identity -- six grounded flights between Paris and Los Angeles.

America's Almanac Alert

On Christmas Eve, the FBI issued a terrorism bulletin to some 18,000 police organizations across the United States. The message: Be on the lookout for anyone carrying an almanac.

Search Is On for Pushkinian Ghostwriter

In late September and early October, America's first lady, Laura Bush, took a whirlwind tour through Europe. It was time to mend fences with critics of the war in Iraq.

Good Pheasant Hunting, Brezhnev-Style

KGB agents in scuba gear used to swim under Nikita Khrushchev's boat, putting fish on his hook.

Wolfowitz Beggars Belief and Country

It's not often someone writes a snotty five-page memo that ends up indirectly costing his nation upwards of $8.3 billion, but Paul Wolfowitz likely now has that distinction.

Road to U.S. Is Paved With Humiliations

A few years ago, my Ukrainian-born wife and I were killing time in a waiting room in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Fate of Seleznyov Is in U.S. Hands

A huge swathe of the Russian electorate will ignore this Sunday's elections as completely as the politicians will have ignored them throughout the course of the campaign.

Five Chefs and the Queen

Ten years ago, George W. Bush was just the president's smirky son, and his mother warned him sternly he was not to speak to the Queen of England when she visited.

Bush and His 'Enemies of The People'

As a legal concept, can someone explain the difference between President George W. Bush's ""enemy combatant"" and Josef Stalin's ""enemy of the people""?

Broadening Democratic Deficit Debate

What's President Bush's plan regarding the lack of freedom in the Caspian Sea region and the Caucasus?

Me and My Oil Company

For all his indignation, Khodorkovsky mentioned neither Chechnya nor the creeping Sovietization of media.

Uzi Bullets And Nuclear Plants for All

Imagine a crime-ridden city where the mayor has armed his police with Uzi submachine guns.

The St. Petersburg Crowd

In October '93 a cunning police commander prevented St. Petersburg from erupting into murderous violence.

Mirror, Mirror: Who's the Crookedest of All?

It's amazing how often an occurrence in Russia will be seized upon as evidence of a nascent dictatorship -- while an identical occurrence in America goes unnoted.