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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Keeps Us Guessing

Small ad first: Tonight at 11 P.M. on Radio 101 I'm starting -- for the third time, with the third station -- my show called Uncle Ko's Arc.

It was cancelled for censorship reasons at national Radio One in 1990; I called it off for ethical and financial reasons at Radio Maximum in 1993, but now I am happy to accept the offer from 101 -- by far the most intelligent musical station in Moscow.

By the way, the show will be broadcast weekly and will occupy two interesting hours of airtime.

In the first several issues I'm going to recall -- briefly -- all the most interesting off-beat stuff that's been released during the year I was off the air.

Like, tonight you may hear the music from almost-mainstream Tom Waits, Julee Cruise, Screaming Jay Hawkins and Robert Fripp with David Sylvian to exotic sounds, like Michael Perilstein's (the author of the "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" soundtrack) "Elephants Gliding on Ice," Huun-Huur-Tu's "60 Horses in my Herd" and even a track from an album of Station 17, a German rock band, formed by mentally disabled musicians.

Tune in, freak out! I'm so happy to be back on the radio waves -- because I like it much more than television ...


In a loud scandal last week, rumors flew about the merging of Channel 1 and Channel 2, as inspired by a statement by Yeltsin. Well, the statement was obviously inaccurate, because the actual document, waiting to be signed by the president, says something else, as far as I know. (The idea is to make Ostankino a shareholding company, owned by the staff and some independent production companies like VID, ATV etc., whereas RTR -- Channel 2 -- remains the official state-owned television company).

Anyway, people over here -- and over there as well -- are so used to the president's unexpected twists, that the panic spread all over the media world.

I personally find all the comments, uttered by bosses of two television companies -- "This is a threat to democracy and the freedom of speech," etc. -- to be rather hypocritical.

Both channels are strictly under control, and if there were one boss and one bureaucratic structure instead of two, in terms of "freedom of speech" it would make absolutely no difference.

The real threat for television bosses was, of course, the fact, that some of them would lose the positions and, of course, payola opportunities that they enjoy now.


A friend of mine, who's close to Solzhenitsyn's family, told me that Alexander Isayevich was quite impressed with his meeting with the Yeltsins.

He said that Yeltsin has a strong intellect and an incredibly good memory.

However, on a personal level he liked Naina Iosifovna better.

I tend to believe Solzhenitsyn's judgments of the President's mental abilities -- and that keeps me wondering why the man is, so to say, misbehaving?

If this is just because of the drinking problem, there is apparently a cure for that ...


Speaking of health, I haven't been to a doctor in more than 10 years, as colds and light flu were the only illnesses that have afflicted me.

Now, alas, I'm 39 and don't feel tremendously well -- so I decided to visit a clinic and find out what state I'm in.

I have nightmarish memories about a regional clinic that I frequently visited when I was a kid.

I remember that when I didn't want to go to school and later, college, I used to have to bring a "bulletin," a statement of my illness, from the clinic.

Oh, yes, the good old days. Endless queues and bad smells were the trademarks of a typical Soviet medical institution.

But now, thanks to my television company, I am officially "attached" -- yes, prikreplen, that's how we say it in Russia -- to a privileged, ex-nomenklatura clinic. Guess what? I liked it! They seem to have more doctors than clientele there.

What I didn't like was the state of my organism. Too much partying -- and writing about it the morning after -- has made a living wreck out of me: high blood pressure and dodgy heartbeat, and the rest is still to be discovered, after they do more research on my body.