October 29, 1991 |
We were well into our 16-hour journey across the Central Asian wasteland, rumbling and lurching between two of the 39 long-forgotten station stops on the weird route of the Bishkek-Tashkent Local, when Chief Conductor Ilias Cherigbayev uttered one of the great truths of the universe.
March 21, 1995 |
This bleak and faceless steppe is almost as unsuitable for human habitation as the surface of the moon. Baked to dust in summer, frigid in winter, wind-bitten every season, cursed with brackish water and bereft of trees, the Baikonur space complex epitomizes the triumph of Soviet secrecy over proletarian comfort. But when the giant firecrackers go off, the dreariness and dilapidation of the cash-strapped cosmodrome are forgotten.
September 17, 1995 |
When Robert Redford set out to film the movie "A River Runs Through It," he went to the Blackfoot River in Montana where the novel of the trout-fishing family story was set. But the Blackfoot doesn't run through it anymore. The trout are gone, their water habitat degraded by logging and misuse. So Redford moved the set to the Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers near Yellowstone Park, where the trout still run. It is the latest chapter in an old story.
September 15, 1992 |
When the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the people of this remote herding settlement stopped getting cabbages, penicillin and most other necessities of civilization, which they had received under the vast Soviet distribution network. Now most of the 7,000 residents survive on tea and bread made from their waning stores of flour. Wealthier families slaughter a lamb once a month or so to supplement their diets. "People are barely making it," sighed Kabylbek Tashtanbayev, 30, Susamyr's head doctor.
December 25, 1996 |
OK, so he built towers of human skulls from Baghdad to New Delhi. If Soviet history portrayed Tamerlane as nothing but a bloodthirsty conqueror, so what? In this long-forgotten capital of his 14th and early 15th century empire, history can be--and is being--rewritten. Tamerlane is back--on equestrian statues proclaiming "My Strength Is in Justice." In a bizarre revival, post-Soviet Uzbekistan has repackaged the Mongol tyrant as an enlightened prince and national role model.
March 8, 1994 |
Uprooted by war, forced to flee famine and flood, made homeless by economic and political upheaval, millions of frightened and largely forgotten people are moving across the global landscape, creating a new crisis for the post-Cold War world. No corner of the world is exempt. In the 1990s, the migrants--the "internally displaced"--can be found in European capitals, remote African villages, Asian industrial sites and the mountains of Latin America.
March 26, 1992 |
Sometime in the 1920s, futurist Yevgeny I. Zamyatin put his vision down on paper: On a vacant lot somewhere in the new Soviet state then being built, there would be two small shops, one selling sausage, the other tickets to Mars. For more than three generations, the Russian writer's brash dream seemed quite logical.