Vadim Nikitin

Vadim Nikitin investigates financial crime in the former USSR.

Kleptocracy

Vadim Nikitin, 21 February 2019

I remember​ the first time I paid a bribe. It was the summer of 1993, and I was standing at the ticket counter of the Aeroflot office in Voronezh; I was nine years old. My parents had just handed in their passports at the window. ‘Biletov nyet,’ a voice barked from behind a brown computer console labelled ‘Robotron’. The rest happened quickly. I saw my father...

One​ of my parents’ favourite Soviet films is called Autumn Marathon. Its main character, an academic translator, is living a double life. Out of divided loyalties rather than greed or excitement, Andrei spends most of his time running frantically between his home, his office at the university and the apartment of his typist, who is also his mistress. Each night, the drawbridges...

Diary: In Murmansk

Vadim Nikitin, 30 November 2017

The time capsule was buried in a secluded square in Murmansk in 1967 on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Inside was a message dedicated to the citizens of the Communist future. At short notice, the authorities brought forward the capsule’s exhumation by ten days, to coincide with the city’s 101st birthday. With the stroke of an official’s pen, a mid-century Soviet relic was enlisted to honour one of the last acts of Tsar (now Saint) Nicholas II, who founded my hometown in October 1916. From socialism to monarchism in ten days.

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