Articles by Mark H. Teeter



All Opposed, Please Raise Your Hands, Loyally

Russian and American politics have never shared much in common, theoretically or practically, so it's hardly surprising that the idea of ""loyal opposition"" has fared rather differently in Moscow and Washington.

U.S. Russianists and Reset

Both Russians and Americans are acutely anxious about national fiscal policy these days. Perhaps we should let history suggest where our worrisome bailout billions might serve good ends for both countries -- and others as well.

Dear Barack, From Dima

Moscow's version of Obamamania reached new and intriguing heights last Thursday, when RIA-Novosti announced that effective immediately its readers could ""send a message to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.""

Realities of a Russian Visa

Travel broadens you, they say. Well, I'll see that cliche and raise you one: Visiting another country can actually make you a new man.

A Moscow State of Mind

I first set foot in Moscow 40 years ago last week, on Dec. 23, 1968. Do I really need to point out that nothing has changed?

A Time for More Hoover

Over the past eight years, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has belched out so many ill-digested public pronouncements that you might assume neither Russians nor Americans could be surprised anymore by his misstatements.

All Kidding Aside, Dmitry

Stop me if you've heard this one. Two guys walk into a bar ... Wait, the two guys are European presidents. And short. And one has a hair transplant. OK, let me start again. Two short politicians walk into a European barber shop and, um ... hey, come back, this is really funny!

1,000 Presidential Pardons

Which do you prefer -- justice or mercy? Most people probably "prefer both," so to speak, with each appropriately meted out to right wrongs and reconcile the lost, respectively. The devil, of course, is in the details. At what point has justice been done and mercy come due?

The Russian Obama Effect

It's all over but the shouting. Senator Barack Obama will carry Russia by a wide margin next week.

Even Stranger From Afar

Testing, testing -- is this mike on? OK, please take your seats, people. Live taping starts in five, four, three ...

Russia's Animated Debate

One chilly October evening in 1975, a motley contingent of American exchange students at Leningrad State University found themselves herded off to yet another peace-and-friendship function, this one convened by a beaming Komsomol chap who claimed he'd show us a film so funny it was ""guaranteed"" to make us laugh.

The Book on Cold War II

Finally! A galvanized Republican party has launched its very own ""change candidate"" for president, a straight-talkin' septuagenarian with a shoot-from-the-hip, run-against-Russia platform plank that'll stop all this shilly-shallying around with the twin pit bulls in the Kremlin.

Show Russia the Good Side

September is upon us, and millions of Russian and American students, from fresh-scrubbed schoolchildren to grizzled doctoral candidates, are dutifully filing back into the halls of academe to resume the class struggle.

Still Going for Their Gold

Several months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, I spent an evening at a congenial Washington tavern with some visiting Russian scholars and a few local friends.

Gulags of the World United

The recent publication of Jane Mayer's ""The Dark Side,"" like previous accounts of America's ill-conceived ""war on terror,"" has generated considerable op-ed ink and high-decibel dismay in the United States.

The Talented Mr. Ripsky

To the relief of anxious Russian males currently looking down the business end of an army induction notice, Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev has come up with a plan to help them beat conscription.

When I Say Russia, You Say ...

On June 12, amid the festive revelry of Russia Day, a goodly chunk of the populace may have missed the bell for round two of Rossia television's ""Name of Russia"" contest, a ""grandiose"" national project whose odd-sounding title should not obscure its noble aim -- to identify a single individual as the most significant figure in Russian history.

My Bad, Khodorkovsky

During Russia's first two presidencies, as in most of the millennium that preceded them, the rule of law was frequently more honored in the breach than the observance.

Gangstas Without Borders

Strolling through the Latvian capital, Riga, earlier this month, I had a ""globalization moment"" -- sort of a ""senior moment,"" except that I remember it just fine, thanks -- induced by large billboards heralding concerts by the Backstreet Boys and Busta Rhymes.

Medvedev the Bookworm

Forty years ago, a question of debate among American undergraduates was ""What tells you more about your dormmates -- their bookshelves or their record collections?"" Today's students probably ask ""their web Favorites or their iPods?"" -- or some other hi-tech pairing that ignores ""dead-tree books.""

Sham Inauguration Rocks!

If American voters are discouraged by a seemingly endless and increasingly hyperbolic presidential campaign -- now called ""The Campaign That Would Not Die"" by some and disparaged last week by The New York Times as ""meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering"" as it drags on -- they might want to consider what Russian voters have had to put up with after the formidably brief and utterly unhyperbolic presidential campaign here.

You Aren't Where You Went

If the ides of March spelled trouble for Julius Caesar, mid-April makes millions of Americans wary -- and without knives or men in togas. The gainfully employed must lock 'n' load their No. 2 pencils for the annual showdown with the Internal Revenue Service (guess who wins), while high school seniors face an even more fateful reckoning: By April 15, the annual college admissions sweepstakes is finally over, and students must decide where to start the rest of their lives in the fall.

Americans Are Not Stoopid

Various Russian commentators expressed irritation or dismay earlier this month when a Pew Research Center survey indicated that a majority of U.S. citizens could not name the province that had just proclaimed independence from Serbia.

Bob Is Bootless in Seattle

As a veteran foreign-language teacher, I was intrigued by the recent New York Times article ""Learning From a Native Speaker, Without Leaving Home.""

Sovereign Presidents' Day

Americans on Monday are observing Presidents' Day, another Western holiday Russians may want to adopt. In early 2012, when there will be enough former Russian presidents to make a selective Top-Two list, we could see Sovereign Presidents' Day proudly proclaimed here.

Useless Dudes in Cyber Era

February is National Reading Month in the United States -- and not a moment too soon. Last November, the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts issued ""To Read or Not to Read,"" a sobering report detailing how American youth have been reading progressively less and worse, with both frequency and proficiency declining at ""troubling rates."" Once American kids enter adolescence, the NEA intoned, ""they fall victim to a general culture which does not encourage or reinforce reading ... [so] they do more poorly in school, in the job market and in civic life."" Yikes.

Putin's Pretend Democracy

Now that the pretend results from the pretend elections to the nation's pretend parliament have been certified, the next order of political business will be the pretend presidential election in March.

Putin's Pretend Democracy

Now that the pretend results from the pretend elections to the nation's pretend parliament have been certified, the next order of political business will be the pretend presidential election in March.

The Legacy of Ilf and Petrov

Only one book published in Moscow in the spring of 1937 resounded with a good humor and joie de vivre utterly alien to the Great Terror then gaining momentum: ""One-Storied America,"" a travelogue by the two hallmark Soviet satirists, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov.

The Legacy of Ilf and Petrov

Only one book published in Moscow in the spring of 1937 resounded with a good humor and joie de vivre utterly alien to the Great Terror then gaining momentum: ""One-Storied America,"" a travelogue by the two hallmark Soviet satirists, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov.