You were first seen attending the president’s August 20 reception in the Kadriorg Rose Garden, and I’m glad to report you have moved to Estonia.
No, I live in Saint Kitts and Nevis (a country of 261 square kilometers in the Lesser Antilles). I flew over because the president invited me. (Smiles) I signed a document promising not to reveal where and how I live. I’m still not allowed.
Well, I was strongly urged not to give out that information.
Before I switched on my recorder, you said you were a fan of Remarque but…
I used to be. Not so much these days. I read Remarque when I was 14 or 15 and was mesmerized by war romanticism: “Arch of Triumph,” “Shadows in Paradise,” “The Night in Lisbon.” It is fantastic how he writes about it – the calvados and what have you. But I liked reading those books not living them! Today, I am in them, running from country to country like Dr. Ravic without his papers. History has come full circle and by now arrived back in the moment where a new Reich was born in Europe, one preparing for war and complete with an unhinged Fuhrer, with yours truly running around in the middle of it.
I suppose we might say yours is a characteristically Russian tale as it is becoming clearer by the day that it is impossible to live in Russia these days – it is very dangerous even?
Not even by the day – there is no longer any need to prove anything to anyone. One might have been told, “Prove it! What precisely is so wrong?” just a few years ago. But everyone gets the picture today. What happened in Belarus did away with illusions. It’s the same story every century. Nothing ever changes in Russia. The regime and rulers make no difference – the Golden Horde, czar, communists, democrats or Putinists – they all arrive at the same thing eventually: conquering new lands and killing their neighbors. There have been some bright flashes; for example, a few years after 1991 or between February and October 1917. But the rest of it is the same Russian empire where nothing changes for centuries.
Dr. Ravic made do in pre-war Paris in the “Arch of Triumph” by practicing illegally. How do you make do in different countries?
Luckily, it’s the 21st century and I’m indebted to technological progress. My location has no bearing on my work. I have the internet and Facebook – I have access to news and can inhabit the information sphere of my choosing. I keep an eye on it and work from there. I’m a freelancer and it is the perfect time to be one. Officially, I’m prohibited from working as I do not have the necessary permit, while no one can stop me from keeping an eye on the situation and information.