Eliot Rothwell

18 October 2023

In Yerevan

In Yerevan, there were few visible manifestations of events a four-hour drive away: a handful of men in uniform stood by the entrance to government buildings, wary of protests; some shops and cars displayed the flag of the Republic of Artsakh; on Northern Avenue, the pedestrian thoroughfare that bisects the city, electronic advertisement hoardings displayed messages of solidarity with Karabakh Armenians. But the presence of the people who’d been displaced was not yet felt. Aid stations and registration points had not yet been set up.

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30 May 2023

Pre-Trial Detention

In August 1959, a group of students from Oxford travelled to Moscow on a red doubledecker bus they’d bought from the London Transport Authority. One of them was Nicholas Daniloff, an American studying law at Oxford. His grandfather, General Yuriy Danilov, had served as chief of operations for the Russian Imperial Army but emigrated to Paris after the October Revolution. Daniloff told me a few years ago that the trip deepened his resolve to become a foreign correspondent in the Soviet Union. In August 1986, when he was the Moscow bureau chief for US News and World Report, Daniloff was arrested by the Soviet authorities on espionage charges.

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11 August 2022

In Tbilisi

In the last week of March, I joined the thousands of people who left Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. I travelled first to Yerevan, in Armenia, before taking the thirty-minute connecting flight to Tbilisi. The capital of Georgia is a haven for opposition-minded Russians. Many of them are young IT workers or creatives, taking advantage of a year-long visa waiver. Others are journalists, including the editors of TV Rain, Russia’s last independent channel until it was forced to shut down a few days after the invasion. Soon after arriving I called a few language schools and found that beginners’ Georgian classes were already oversubscribed.

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