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Though both of his parents were Party members

they had him secretly baptised in case

Stalin died. They often spoke about

the Doroga Zhizni, the Road of Life,

the ice routes built across Lake Ladoga

each winter, under bombardment, to help

lift the siege of Leningrad. He spent

much of his childhood chasing after rats

in the bombed-out ruins of Peter the Great’s

once imperial city. Perhaps he was

playing at being Ivan the Terrible

routing the Tatars from Crimea.


He appeared, in middle age, to have discovered

the narcissist within. Now he is elderly,

possibly addicted to anabolic

steroids, allegedly the owner

of gold-plated toilets in a palace

on the Black Sea, perhaps the mafia boss

of his old cronies from St Petersburg,

apparatchiks in expropriation

and manipulation. Certainly he appears

to believe that what a bunch of Varangians

aka Vikings got up to on a stretch

of the River Dnipro more than a

millennium ago must determine

what happens now.



© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • Ashen Venema
    May 27, 2022

    In an interview
    he recalled being attacked by a rat as a child.
    His conclusion: Don’t corner a rat.
    Deep fear can turn into paranoia.
    Is that why he cornered himself?

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