Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Obituary: Margaret Wettlin
An American liberal who travelled to the USSR in 1932 and stayed 50 years; wrote Fifty Russian Winters.

I haven't got a lot of sympathy for old Communists but actually I know somebody a lot like this, who effectively emigrated in the 1950s (!) and stayed about 30 years, eventually repatriating himself after the Soviet Union was no more and bringing his large Russian extended family home with him. (And like Mrs Wettlin's family, they became instant US citizens - actually they're dual citizens.) Literally a gentle man: wouldn't hurt a capitalist fly.

A while back there was a stage play called Black Russian about a similar immigrant, somebody whose black American father had immigrated to Russia during the Depression, when lots of understandably disillusioned folks were keen on Communism. Again, I am acquainted with somebody like that! Part of the same extended family described above, his story is a little different as his father was Cuban. But he is Russian, black and living in America.

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