On January 31, 2004, Maya and I flew to Varadero, Cuba. Wed never been here before. We combined this vacation trip with the annual meeting of FES Free Economic Society.

The Imperial VEO is the oldest social organization in Russia, founded in 31 October, 1765 by the highest Decree of Her Majesty the Empress Catherine II (social organization, but created by the highest decree).
Presently, the president of VEO is our famous scientist and Citizen, Gavriil Kharitonovich Popov. Here he is at one of the VEO sessions in Moscow. Holding the mike is Victor Naumovich Krasilnikov, General Director of VEO.

Havana, and the part of Cuba that wed seen left a heavy impression poverty, destruction
But Varadero is a decent resort, although it is a sort of reservation: simple Cubans cant go there. We, on the other hand, were enjoying the beautiful weather, pleasant company, exotic excursions. Three years since my retirement a pensioner as was, by the way, my wife, whom you can see dancing away with the entertainer during one of the excursions.
We were supposed to fly back on February 6.

On Wednesday, February 4, the news broke out that the day before criminal charges had been filed against VympelCom. Evidently, theyd been looking for an excuse for a long time, and finally found it unlawful entrepreneurial activity with a large profit: the license was issued not to VympalCom, which conducted business with subscribers, but to its direct offshoot, KB Impulse.
My friends, including some Russian and American lawyers, strongly advised me not to go back to Russia just yet.
Why? For what?
They explained:
Youve been in retirement for three years, theyve forgotten about you. The attack on VympelCom, according to many newspapers, had been orchestrated by a high-positioned official who was fighting with one of the VymeplComs shareholders. You have nothing to do with it. But if the criminal case goes through, the search engine for the perpetrators will be launched. And you were the one to whom the licenses were issued. So, wait it out.
Someone told us that extensive search of VympelCom offices was ordered for Friday, February 6. I hadnt slept for almost two full days, since it was night time in Cuba when I would call Moscow.

On February 7 we flew to Paris. Why to Paris? Hell knows still closer to Moscow. Plus, we had the visas. Not having financial constraints, we stayed in one of the best hotels, and yet we were in anguish and felt deeply offended. God, how hard it must have been for our immigrants...

Our unexpected stay in Paris was made much more enjoyable by two connoisseurs of that great city: the author of a very interesting book, Russia in Paris, Yuri Ilyich Rubinsky only recently an important diplomat and, incidentally, son-in-law of Stanislav Shekshnya; and the already mentioned Andrei Alexandrovich Guchkov, my remote relative. Here he is in the photo, sitting with us in a cafe.
They are very interesting, knowledgeable people, and wonderful storytellers. But every now and then I would catch myself; my thoughts were in Moscow, while the little-seeing eyes and the little-hearing ears were in Paris. Naturally, I didnt tell them about the reasons for my unexpected visit to Paris for them, I just happened to be in town. They may find out now from this book if they read it.

And the next photo transports us several years forward, to a beautiful July day in 2006, when the story here told was long and happily over. This takes place at my dacha. On the left at the table you can see the son and the grandson of the legendary Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov, who accepted the abdication of Nicholas II, took part in the Anglo-Boer war, was a member of the Provisional Government, etc, etc For his son and grandson at the table all of these are close-to-home family stories that radically influenced their fate. In the background you can see my grandson and his friends, for whom, I suspect, all this is as distant as the Punic wars And everybody is sitting at the same table. So, there you have it.

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