Moscow University, Faculty of Philosophy

msu

I entered the Faculty of Philosophy at M. V. Lomonosov State Moscow University in 1972. I was entering it immediately the Ippolitov-Ivanov School of Music which I had graduated with honours, which entitled me to enter any higher educational institution and not continue my musical studies at a conservatoire or head an elementary school of music somewhere in Siberia.

My entering the Faculty of Philosophy was driven by the aspiration to find Truth, which increasingly took hold of me, replacing my ambition to carve out a career, even if the most prestigious one. Also, it took me some time to come to believe that Truth should be sought precisely there. At that point, my mother helped me immensely, although, frankly speaking, she was pretty strange to such an agenda. Through her acquaintances, she arranged for me meetings with competent people, among them, Michail Ryklin and Grigory Kakovkin, thanks to whom I could make the right decision. Invaluable assistance was then rendered to me by Nelli Danilovna Kufakova.

To enter the faculty of philosophy, I only had to pass just one exam, the history of Russia, and get the excellent mark in it. This seemingly simple task, however, was effectively a high-stakes drama, since, in case of failure, I would be drafted into military service, which was definitely not my cup of tea. I can’t say that I answered the exam questions brilliantly, but, in the end, I managed to get the cherished mark five.

The Faculty of Philosophy was housed then (and, maybe, it is at present) not in the main building, not in the “skyscraper”, but in the 10-storey glass-and-concrete “humanities” building, or the “glasshouse,” constructed thereabouts. Lectures would be delivered in spacious tiered “batch” theatres located on the ground floor, the seminars being conducted in smaller rooms on the 10th floor. We, who had matriculated ahead of time, were not offered vacation, but had to sort books at the university library. Classes began in September: a full complement of those admitted to the Faculty of Philosophy, at last, got together, so I could meet my fellow students. Who were they?

The “nucleus” of our 1st-year student body consisted of the so called “rabfak” (workers’ faculty). They were people who had served in the military and gone through a crucible of material production. Among them, there occurred quite overgrown fellows (one even remembered how a Nazi had given him a sleigh ride during the war). They came to the faculty from the preparatory division without entrance exams and were meant to guard younger students against falling into dissidence (communist ideology in Russia lived out its remaining decades at the time, but was still in force). Among those admitted immediately after finishing secondary school, there were children of top officials of the Soviet Union’s republics (the “natskadrs”), children of professors and top officials of the Russian Republic proper, and, finally, children of such of the country’s capital city, Moscow. Besides, students from “socialist countries” were also present. There occurred occasional individualists, but they would hardly survive in the above medium. I, too, felt uneasy in such an environment. My thirst for friendship was never quenched, although I had a couple of companions, with whom I could spend time talking more or less trustfully.

Moreover, there were persistent rumours that a sweeping “weed-out” was expected following the results of the 1st semester. This, too, caused me some anxiety, since I did not know the teaching standards and the demands made on students there. Besides, among the subjects studied in the 1st year there was “higher mathematics,” which could not help making a humanities-minded person tremble. However, my misgivings proved exaggerated: higher mathematics, the way it was taught to us, appeared to be an exciting science, least of all related to counting. As a result, I became so keen on mathematics that I subsequently attended an optional course on the theory of quaternions. I also attended the “Aleksandrov Tuesdays” hosted by academician Pavel S. Aleksandrov, where he told us about his life and work.

In the meantime, we were not yet admitted to philosophy proper: we were taught a course called “Introduction to Speciality” instead. As to other subjects, I took a special interest in “logic” – the science of correct thinking. It appears that in everyday life the laws of logic are violated quite often, causing a great deal of misunderstanding. Still ringing in my ears are lapidary formulae, like “then and only then, “if, and only if,” “proofs have to be necessary and sufficient.” Even such as, it would seem, plain word as “some” may mean “some and only some,” and “some and, maybe, all.” I was also surprised to learn that such a self-evident assertion as “all men are mortal” is based on “incomplete induction,” so it cannot be regarded as strictly valid.

Anyway, I managed to go through the 1st semester quite successfully, and I felt more at ease in the 2nd. Then, the history of philosophy appeared in our curriculum, and I enthusiastically plunged into studying it. Certainly, the origins of philosophy can be traced back to Ancient India and Ancient China, but I found our European antique thinkers to be most congenial to me. At the time, the official ideology demanded that they should be considered from the viewpoint of dialectical and historical materialism. As a result, the ancient philosophers were divided into the “elemental materialists,” who expressed the interests of the exploited masses, and the “idealists,” who expressed the interests of the owners of the means of production. Such an interpretation seemed to me too simplistic, but I could not yet offer any alternative then.

My world outlook at the time could be characterized as “dialectical materialism”; it had been formed under the influence of the ideology inculcated in our country. My attitude towards Marxism was rather watchful. Certainly, I liked the idea of the “liberation of man”, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, etc. But I was confused by the practice of Marxism, and “real socialism” allegedly built under Leonid Brezhnev was “wishful thinking” in many ways. As an old Bolshevik with whom I was acquainted put it, “What we were fighting for, we’ve found ourselves impaled upon”. Anyway, I was convinced that Truth should be sought for in the material basis of society. I even felt sorry at one time that I had entered the faculty of philosophy, not that of economics.

Resuscitating the traditions of classical education and also in an endeavour to read philosophical texts in the original, I started attending 2 optional courses, Latin and Ancient Greek. In the meantime, I attempted to restore my piano technique attending the university’s piano class run by Undina M. Dubova-Sergeyeva. However, we failed to build a relationship between us, so I continued to maintain my piano technique on my own. Frankly speaking, I had little time left to practice the piano, while my exposure to philosophy made my self-analysis grow, taking away the remains of my artistry. I was already incapable of play-acting, and increasingly felt the nakedness of my existence. I remember my last public performance in some village hall near Moscow during our tour of the sites of military glory. I played Rachmaninoff’s prelude in g-minor, and that was a complete disgrace. Later on, I came to realize that, ultimately, the fear of the stage was a more natural occurrence than performing on it.

Mathematics did not leave us altogether, either, in the 2nd semester; it found its continuation in “mathematical logic” – a complex, but exciting science, ultimately joining with philosophy. It turned out that you can create an infinite number of formal systems with their symbols, axioms, and the inference rules. If your system is non-contradictory, it is sure to describe some realm of the Universe. Isn’t it a proof of an indissoluble relationship between Matter and Spirit? However, if the system is non-contradictory, it is “incomplete.” So, a question arises: whether one can create a “complete system,” which would describe the entire Universe?… Generally speaking, these so called “complex” sciences, in their highest presentation, remind rather a game, most easily understood by a Child. It is not without reason that Heraclitus of Ephesus would say that Eternity is a Child arranging and rearranging His draughts.

Among other subjects studied in the 1st year, “psychology” should be specially mentioned. It was taught to us by Piotr Yakovlevich Galperin, a member of the old Russian intelligentsia of the Jewish origin. It was amusing to hear various pre-revolutionary archaisms coming from his lips. But the most remarkable thing about him was that we could see in front of us a creator of his own teaching, which was called “the theory of the stage-by-stage formation of mental actions.”

Although Galperin was allowed to teach at the University, the authorities treated him with suspicion. Certainly, psychology is not philosophy, and the question of what is primary may not be dealt with here. Psychic activity comes up here as the subject matter. And yet, the ideological front functionaries were kept on alert by the fact that, instead of Matter, as primary, here appeared some Subject with Its “orientation activity,” the Subject’s “class position” being unclear. Galperin, for his part, would offer reassurances that his doctrine was based on Marxism, which was true, for, ultimately, he, as Marx had done, proceeded from people’s “sensuous objective activity.” Galperin admitted consciousness as a function of the brain. However, in his view, psychology studies not how the brain produces psyche, but psyche proper.   

Galperin believed that Human has no instincts, and He becomes Such only thanks to Society. Galperin’s theory was used largely in Child’s education: it helped form in Him the desired skills infallibly, which prevented pupils from lagging behind. In Moscow and other cities of Russia, experimental schools were created with students being taught in line with Galperin’s doctrine. Such a predetermination of Man by Society and also Galperin’s theory’s “tailoredness” to the needs of education gave rise to many questions. I heard some dissidenting students (possibly, provocateurs) ask him after a lecture: “Aren’t you afraid that your theory may be abused in a totalitarian society?”

Galperin was an advocate of S. Freud and acknowledged the existence of the “complexes.” Yet, according to Galperin, such are not necessarily related to the sexual sphere, but can be generated by any event, which an immature psyche cannot “digest.” As to education, Galperin urged to set before the students only feasible tasks, since a student will grow dull, if faced with a task that exceeds his capabilities (for which reason Galperin proposed to break down the teaching of the desired skills into “stages”).

The 2nd year started for us with harvesting potatoes on one of the collective farms outside Moscow. Such an occasion failed to arouse my enthusiasm: although I had been brought up in a country of “triumphant socialism,” my heart resisted collective physical labour. Yet, the landscape around was beautiful – forests, fields, and ponds, and the contingent was relatively friendly – the “philosophers,” after all. We crawled across the field, gathering potatoes, then sorted them, stuffed them into sacks, and load them onto the tractors. I remember a lesson of the Great Russian language given to us by one of the tractor drivers. Having cast a glance at our work, he shouted: … (there was an untranslatable play on words, which approximately could be rendered into English as “What f-ck have you f-cked it f-cking high? Unf-ck it, f-ck you!). We admired this philological pearl, while our girls were shocked. I can also recall how, during the potato campaign, we “marked” the 1st anniversary of the military coup in Chile. First, a rally was held, where we “unanimously condemned” the junta. Then we all got so boozed up that in the morning could hardly arise from our beds.

After “potatoes,” we had another trouble lying in wait for us. It was extended in time, and it was called “military training.” From now on, in the course of 3 years, we were supposed to devote every Thursday to mastering the theory and practice of war. In terms of survival, such a “payment by installment” was, probably, better than a “lump sum payment.” And yet, that was so very depressing a way of spending time. Once, on one of those Thursdays, when pea-jackets were handed out to us for field training, someone joked gloomily: “Under communism, too, it’s gonna be the same: to each a padded jacket, and forward we go.” Rabfak guys paid no heed to these seditious words, since they themselves were pretty angry at having to effectively do their military service for the second time.

However, my depression was not altogether hopeless. On those very Thursdays, after the military classes, my friend and I took to attending meetings of the Moscow Methodological Circle, held on the premises of the Institute of Psychology. Georgy Petrovich Shchedrovitsky was the life and soul of the Circle. Frankly speaking, we would not quite understand what was being said there. We were just attracted by a free-thinking spirit which reigned at those assemblies, although discussions held there, by the highest standards, did not go beyond the framework of Marxism. Still, such a refined Marxism, presented in the form of “methodology,” would not be encouraged by the authorities who needed more pronounced signs of loyalty. So, this Circle was kept down: Its members did not take senior positions and could hardly have their works published.

In the meantime, the educational process continued along its way. We kept on studying the history of philosophy. The teachers in this branch of knowledge were all very nice and friendly, and perfectly versed in the subject. I can call to my mind Arseni Chanyshev, Mikhail Kissel, Boris Gryaznov and his junior namesake Alexander, Alexei Bogomolov, Gennady Mayorov, Alexander Dobrokhotov, Alexander Kazaryan, Archzhil Ilyin, Vladislav Kostyuchenko, Anatoliy Zotov, and others. There were also ladies, such as Tamara Kuzmina and Galina Streltsova (the latter had confessedly been holding Hegel’s “Wissenschaft der Logik” in her hand while delivering). However, special emphasis at the faculty was laid not on the history of philosophy proper, but on studying orthodox Marxism, dialectical and historical materialism, and scientific communism.

We continued studying world history, where sticking to my memory most there have been lectures delivered by Valerian Bondarchuk, devoted to the French Revolution. I was impressed by his humanistic spirit in describing this historic event. Whereas the official ideology, in line with Marxism, extolled this revolution and called it “great,” Bondarchuk laid stress on its bloodiness and senselessness. He was the only lecturer who would be applauded, even by the “ideologically grounded” rabfak fellows.

The economy of capitalism was taught to us by Lyudmila Miksha. She would persistently emphasize the naturalness of a free market, considering it to be the basis of economic development. At the same time, she would confess that she did not understand the economy of socialism, where as acting were regarded such laws as “the law of a steady rise in the well-being of the Soviet people.” It should be mentioned here that free-thinking traditions had always been rather strong at the University of Moscow, so teachers (and students, too) of that place could enjoy more liberties than their peers at other higher educational institutions of Moscow and Russia. From time to time, the authorities would play with freethinkers some dirty tricks (e. g. repeatedly sending some obstinate professor to a reserve officers’ training camp), but would not, as a rule, resort to outright repression. I remember how at a meeting with students (there appeared such occasions in our curriculum) we asked our teacher of logic Vyacheslav Bocharov: “What is your world outlook?” “I’m a Platonist,” – he answered simple-heartedly. Then, having looked at his watch, he said: “Oh, sorry, I must be going to a party meeting now” (he, like the majority of professors at the university, was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union).

Zara G. Muratova was the one who inculcated in me a taste for the English language. Her method of studying a language, in her own words, was “similar to a rolling snow-ball.” She brought us up in a tender spirit, and the atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding always prevailed during our classes. By the end of my studies with Zara Gazizovna I could chair scientific conferences in English. I did not suspect at the time that translating was going to be my major occupation, or, more precisely, the main way to earn a living.

We spent most of our time at the university library. There, we could get an access to the books that were then banned in Russia – they appeared in our guidelines as “the literature for criticism.” Among those “forbidden fruits,” the “sweetest” to me were the Bible, and also the works by Nietzsche.

In my 3d year at the university, the question of majoring arose. I was leaning to the history of philosophy. But, in the end, I was persuaded to join the Chair of Scientific Atheism. Among the reasons “for” there was one that under those conditions that was the only way to go in for religion on legal grounds. However, I was somewhat misled in my expectations: there was no profound study of religion proper at the chair. There, religion was straight away determined as a “false ideology,” and most attention was given to uncovering its “roots.” So, I actually had to study religion all by myself.

First of all, I enthusiastically got down to reading the Gospel and taking notes from It. The main conclusion I drew in the process of doing that was the following: it is not fiction. In each of the Gospels one can find episodes that are overtly disadvantageous for Christ’s reputation. For example, when Jesus was told that His mother and His brothers had come to see Him, He pointed to His disciples and said: here are my mother and my brothers. Or, when He got hungry, and there happened to be no fruits on a fig-tree, He cursed it and wished it would wither away. Moreover, one can find flagrant inconsistencies in the Gospels, e. g., ”I come not to bring peace, but a sword”, and “all those who take the sword, will perish by the sword”, which dexterous fabricators would not have failed to smooth down. If the Gospels were fiction, everything in Them would be glossy, like, say, in the official biography of Lenin or Stalin.

The fundamental commandments of Christ impressed on my soul. Those were: God is love… Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the rest shall be added unto you… The kingdom of God is within you…Those commandments provided the basis for my value system and became important landmarks in the boundless sea of worldly passions.

Around the same time, I came across a poem by the ancient Indian author Asvaghosha, “The Life of the Buddha,” as translated by the Russian poet K. Balmont, which I also took notes from with great pleasure. Certainly, the form of poetry, in which narration was presented there, implied various exaggerations and euphemisms. But there, too, I found a number of significant moments, which it would have been hard to invent. For example, it was said that the Buddha would sometimes respond to certain questions with “noble silence.” Having taken the course in logic, I got the point: those, most likely, were so called “loaded” questions (kind of “Do you keep on drinking cognac in the mornings?”), which really had no answer. The Buddha, having received an excellent education, could not but know of such questions (in Ancient India there was a solid logic school), and He cared about how His word would echo.

Surely, I was carried away by the Buddha’s main idea, self-improvement. However, such a self-improvement implied detachment from the world. In the meantime, I was almost completely absorbed in the world, and would put off my strict adherence to the Buddha’s maxims till the remote future. For example, “Do not get attached!” is the maxim, which, by the highest standards, I only began to stick to in my declining years.

By my 4th year, I got so accustomed to university life that I would allow myself some liberties with my curriculum. I would attend lectures at other faculties, among them, those presented by Andrei Kozarzhevsky, devoted to historical and architectural monuments. I can also recall lectures delivered by Yuri Isaakovich Leibfreid, which enabled one to see the life and works by the 19th-century Russian writers and poets in a new light. Besides, I accompanied a choreographic ensemble on the piano and also worked as a scene-man at the Moscow House of Composers. In my free time, I liked to wander down the wide alleys of park surrounding the university buildings. Most of all, I liked the place where this park run to a high bank of the Moskva-river, and from whence a magnificent sight of the city opened up.

But retribution for such an unrestricted life was not slow in coming: after the 4th year at the university, to complete the course of military training, we faced spending 2 months in a camp. Thus, all these individual “black Thursdays” were now thickening into an unbroken, cheerless darkness. One of my pals, hinting at my “elevated sensitivity,” teased me with the following syllogism: “I know that I will feel bad there. But I also know that there will be someone there, who will feel worse. Hence, I will feel not too bad.”

The said camp was situated in picturesque surroundings, in the pines, on a high bank of the river Klyazma, and that was, perhaps, the only solace. As for the rest, it was a hell. On arrival, all our warm clothes were taken away from us, and military uniform was handed out instead, including tarpaulin boots and foot-wraps. We slept in tents, on a sleeping-platform. The 1st night was the most terrible: some drone and roar could be heard all the time (I was told thereafter that tank exercises had been conducted hereabouts), while my fellow cadets were tossing and turning on both of my sides. I shivered severely the whole night through, and after the rouse my neighbor said to me: “I thought you wouldn’t live until morning.”

видимо_присягаBut I did. And I lived not only until morning, but until next morning, and even until the end of the entire camp session. In the meantime, a number of cadets dropped out of race in the very beginning: some had rubbed their feet to the point of bleeding, others failed to digest soldier food. Our company was commanded by a hysterical loser, who had remained too long in the rank of major, because of his quarrelsome character: he had a short fuse and would shout at anybody, without respect of persons. Apparently, that was his last chance. So, he took it into his head to make our company a showpiece and, after all, get promoted to lieutenant colonel. Therefore, in 30-degree Celsius heat, we would run across the field dressed in chemical protective clothing and with fill kit, while “fighters” in the neighbouring company would safely lie in the bushes. The camp’s commanding officer was a certain lieutenant colonel Kocherzhuk. He would regularly hold ceremonial reviews, where he would warn the cadets against perils lying in wait for them in the course of the camp session. In particular, he would complain that some irresponsible cadets “warm fires”, and, on another occasion, “one here went down to the river for the reason of to wash his legs and drowned.” Besides, a forester would come and ask us not to urinate on the pines.

Perhaps, it was a time, when I had my first experience of communicating with God. However, it was rather a “negative” experience, since He was perceived more like an “absence,” and the feeling that overwhelmed me then could be loosely defined as “God-forsakenness.” And yet, in the midst of this termless depression certain signs could be traced that this ordeal was sent down to me not to crush me, but, rather, for the “plenitude of sensations.” I would notice respect and compassion shown towards me, and everyone would cheer me up on occasion. During forced marches, when I was about to fall because of exhaustion, one of my fellow cadets would pick up my machine-gun. On the most disastrous day, I happened to stay in the camp as an orderly. On return from the field, one of my pals (the one who was supposed to “feel better that I”) uttered: “Thou shalt thank thy God… The major told that today no one would get out alive.” Thereafter, he cut out a little wooden cross, gave it to me, and I carried it in a pocket of my soldier’s blouse up to the end of the camp session.

In rare minutes of leisure, I would read Hegel’s “Science of Logic” – this book could always be found on a bed-side table in our tent. I did not quite understand what I had just read, but, anyhow, I had a feeling that the time spent reading Hegel was an unlost time. Maybe, it was the way Hitler had read Schopenhauer during quiet moments at the fronts of the 1st world war. Only he had been being imbued with Will, I, however, was being imbued with Development. By the end of our sojourn in the camp, I was introduced to one of the cadets in the neighbouring company, who, too, was keen on Hegel. We exchanged our phone numbers, and subsequently, when back in Moscow, a group of those wishing to study Hegel was set up.

The camp session was concluded with the final exams, where my performance was not too bad, at least, not worse than that of the other lieutenants-to-be. “Congratulations, comrade cadet,” – said the examinations commission chairman addressing me. “Thank you,” – I replied enthusiastically. Then he repeated it more emphatically “Congratulations, comrade cadet!” “Thank you very much indeed,” – I replied more enthusiastically. In the end, he gave up on me hopelessly, as if saying “this member of intelligentsia is hardly corrigible (I was supposed to have replied “I serve the Soviet Union!”).

The 5th year at the faculty was not noted for a too busy curriculum – the students were deemed to concentrate on writing their graduation paper. Sure enough, I found something to busy myself with: I fixed myself up with the doorkeeper’s job, working as a stand-in every other night. 70 rubles per month was pretty good money for those days, so my financial standing dramatically improved. Sleepless nights, however, shattered my nervous system almost completely (on the other hand, development implies living with a “training load”). At work, I found myself in a nice company, and we would spend our time in friendly disputes – this is where the living Russian culture really resided! Among the door-keepers, there were left-wingers and right-wingers, Christians and atheists. Our shift supervisor was an ardent “liberal”, Yudif Sheftel (she contended that each person was supposed to have his or her own opinion). She was an extraordinary woman, well-educated at that (in particular, she was the first to bring it to my attention that it was the apostle Paul who was the actual father of Christianity as a world religion). Yudif Grigoryevna would often tell us about her daughter, who was a pianist, pupil of Heinrich Neuhaus. Mussorgsky, Scriabin, and Shostakovich were her favourite composers, for which reason foreigners would call her a “Russian chauvinist.

Surely, I kept on reading avidly. Of the books read by me at the time, I liked most Augustine of Hippo’s “Confessions” arranged in parallel translation with the Latin original. My knowledge of Latin was still fresh, so I could also enjoy both the beauty of the language and the aphoristic style of writing. Augustinus Aurelius was the founder of “confession” as a literary genre, taken up in Modern Times, among others, by J.-J. Rousseau and L. Tolstoy. I followed compassionately this cry of a lonely heart, coming from the depths of the perishing antique world. His “Confessions” helped me reassess my loneliness, which in the light of the presence of God no longer seemed so desperate, but was felt more like the “sweetness of the desert.”

My deteriorating health prompted me to consult doctors. Here, I came across a couple of unforgettable persons. Inessa Pavlovna Slutskaya was an ordinary general practitioner at our district polyclinic. She seriously concerned herself with me. Having literally taken me by the hand, she would drag me along to various medical specialists, where I, thanks to her effort, would be received out of turn. After those peripatetics, she would often reiterate: “What, on earth, should I do with you? Perhaps, marry you off?” There was another doctor, who pleasantly surprised me. He worked at our university polyclinic, and his name was Grigory Andreyevich Kulizhnikov. When I entered his consulting room, he was sitting with his legs crossed and reading an English-language newspaper (although that was an authorized, Communist newspaper “Morning Star,” still it was impressive). There was no queue behind me, neither I nor he were in a hurry, and our interlocution flew smoothly into a heat-to-heart talk. To my endless lamentations, he suddenly replied: “Do you remember what Pushkin wrote?” and quoted:

  • But, oh my friends, I do not wish to die
  • I want to live, so I could think and suffer.

He laid emphasis on the last 2 verbs. How simply and plainly, it turns out, one can express what exactly man lives for! They say, if, after seeing a doctor, a patient did not feel better, that was no doctor. Well, Kulizhnikov was a Doctor. Subsequently, I learned that Grigory Andreyevich’s main place of employment was in the Navy, where the colleagues, alluding to his good knowledge of English, jokingly dubbed him the “quiet American.” Besides, he wrote a number of books, among them, “Leo Tolstoy on Medicine and Physicians.”

As for my graduation paper, I would like to somehow combine religion and music in it. In the end, it was titled “Music as an element of the early Christian cult,” which sounded rather challenging for an ideological faculty of a communist country’s leading higher educational institution. But I kind of ”knew nothing” and kept on absorbedly working out this theme. Still, such heedlessness had consequences, which showed during my graduation paper defence. After my introductory address, the chair’s head bluntly asked me: “To what extent does your paper’s theme comply with the chair’s specialization?” In the end, I got a “4” (using a 5-mark scale).

So, I was a graduate. What paths did open up before me then? First of all, it was teaching Marxist-Leninist philosophy at a higher educational institution. Or, I could continue education by entering post-graduate courses. In the beginning, I leant to the 1st option and wanted first to sweat and toil as a teacher and, subsequently, God willing, decide upon post-graduate courses.

At the cost of much effort, I finally managed to gain admission to post-graduate study – not at the university, but at Moscow’s other higher educational institution. Yet, I kept on for many years visiting my alma mater. Over and over again, I would enter Its precincts and wander in the university park, taking special notice of the place where this park run towards a high bank of the Moskva-river

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