Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Warm Thanks to All Who Helped Attack Victim

The following letter concerns the case of the 8-year-old boy who was brutally assaulted in St. Petersburg late last month. The Moscow Times is withholding the victim's name to protect his privacy.


The American International Health Alliance would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support and assistance during the evacuation of the boy to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for treatment:

Sheila Gwaltney and her coworkers in the political and consular sections of the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg for so promptly providing visas for the family and attending physicians.

The medical staff of the American Medical Center in St. Petersburg for giving so freely of their time and expertise.

Joyce Larcom-Wright and her staff at Baxter Healthcare in Moscow for their efforts in procuring the needed high-protein intravenous solution.

Robert Hannah of Delta Airlines in Moscow, who very kindly made inquiries after a stretcher section when Delta was unable to provide one for us.

Linda Guiman at FinnAir for providing a stretcher section and seats for the family and attending physicians at a reduced rate.

The boy's trip to the United States would not have been possible without the help of all of these people.

We would also like to thank Susan Reynolds, vice president of Medical Affairs at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, for providing the opportunity for Dr. Lidia Alexeyeva and Dr. Andrei Biscop to remain at Children's Hospital for two weeks to monitor the boy's progress with their American colleagues and to experience American hospital practices firsthand.

Although he has a long road ahead, the boy is doing well and is in good spirits. His father, mother and grandmother are with him in Pittsburgh.

Linda A. Poteat,

Regional Administrative Officer

American International

Health Alliance

Disillusioned by Yeltsin

In response to "Yeltsin Cannot Be Blamed for Russia's Divisiveness" (Oct. 8), a letter to the editor by David J. Horne.


Horne dismisses Stephen Cohen's criticism of President Yeltsin and his policies (Sept. 27) on the grounds that Cohen suffers from "Gorbasms" in an ivory tower 6,000 miles away. I, too, am an American professor, although I own an apartment in one of those five-story Moscow buildings recently described by Mayor Yury Luzhkov as housing which he would not wish upon even his worst enemy. Like many an observer of the Soviet, and now Russian, scene, I hold Mikhail Gorbachev in high esteem, although it is perhaps an exaggeration to argue as did Vitaly Tretyakov that the former Soviet president will go down in history as the greatest reformer of the century, an international hero and the Shostakovich of politics. What Horne objects most to, however, is not praise for Gorbachev but criticism of Yeltsin.

During the heady days of Aug. 19-21, 1991, when I moved with other demonstrators from the Moscow City Soviet to the White House, I had respect and admiration for Boris Yeltsin. Sadly, however, I was quickly disillusioned by the Russian president's words and deeds. When Yeltsin signed decree No. 1400 dissolving the Supreme Soviet in September 1993, there were shouts of "bravissimo" in the West. When the BBC Russian Service hosted a program with interviews about the situation, I was perhaps the only commentator who disapproved of the dissolution, seeing it not as an act in the name of democracy but rather as an approach to problem solving so characteristic of Communist Party apparatchiki.

The subsequent use of tanks against the opposition was perhaps the ultimate demonstration of what Vice President Alexander Rutskoi had in April 1993 called the Kremlin's obkom -- or regional party committee -- mentality. The events of Oct. 3-4, 1993, may not have been a Kremlin conspiracy against the opposition, as argued by the London journalist Jonathan Steele and more recently by a senior official in the Russian Counterintelligence Service, but it was certainly "irresponsible madness," as Gorbachev said at the time.

The soothing sounds of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a favorite of Soviet leaders during times of crisis, have been replaced by brooding and gloomy refrains from Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, the choice of Russian television for the storming of the White House. It is little wonder that Russia's application for admission to the Council of Europe has been turned down with the admonition by a panel of experts that traditional authoritarian thinking, not democratic thinking, remains dominant in Russian public administration.

John H. Hodgson


'We All Need Heroes!'

In response to "Puppets of the Regime," a comment by Alexander Kakotkin (Oct. 4).


At the end of Kakotkin's comments, he writes: "I would hope that when a normal civil society emerges heroes will not be necessary." I disagree. We all need heroes! They help us to achieve what we thought impossible. They give us hope and courage.

I've always had heroes: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Frank Sinatra, Jonas Salk, Isaac Stern, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, etc.

Throughout Russian history, heroes have always been there: Tchaikovsky, Pavlova, Chekhov, Sakharov, Peter the Great, Pushkin -- the list could fill the entire newspaper.

Without heroes, the children of today -- who will govern tomorrow -- have no role models. They are relegated to a vacuum of violence. A world without heroes is a world without dreams. Long live Russia's heroes of yesterday, today, and especially tomorrow!

Barbara DeKovner-Mayer

Encino, California