Sunday, April 19, 1998

Russian irony

Sarov is one of those old Soviet closed cities that doesn't appear on maps. There are still closed cities, which in practice means that no visitors are allowed, all phone calls are monitored, and the place is surrounded by a fence and heavily guarded. Sarov is where the a- and h-bombs were developed and now has a population of 80,000. Liberals in the Duma proposed opening it up, but the residents decided that given the way the rest of Russia is going, they would just as soon keep the barbed wire fence, thank you very much. The lesson is that good fences, interior ministry troops, gun emplacements, internal passports, and restricted rail access, make good neighbors.

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