Alexander Dolitsky: The Dnieper, Kyiv, Zebra
By ALEXANDRE DOLITSKI
Anatoly Mikhailovich Mikisha was a talented and accomplished mathematician in his late thirties. He was a rocket scientist, working at the Moscow Aviation Institute in the 1960s and 1970s – the years when I knew him and communicated with him.
At that time, it was the most prestigious university in the former Soviet Union for aerospace engineering and for research on satellite structure and systems engineering in spacecraft. Anatoly Mikhailovich and his family resided in Moscow, Russian Federation.
Anatoly’s wife was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. Almost every summer, Anatoly, his wife and their young daughter vacationed at Chertoroy, a long white-sand beach on the Dnieper, about 20-30 minutes north of kyiv by river ferry.
Chertoroy was a popular vacation spot laden with many small one-room corporate cabins available for affordable rent through the Soviet Unions. There were also private cabins and tents set up everywhere between and around the company cabins. The huts were more like cabins, with a single window and a single door, hastily built to protect people from the weather.
Every summer, our family friend, Naum Osipovich Talinovsky, a prominent engineer and manager in the Leninskaya Kuznitsa shipyard in Kyiv, was able to secure a cabin for us and his family in Chertoroy. Our families had been loyal friends since before WWII and always looked forward to sharing summers together.
Chertoroy was a popular vacation spot for all age groups. It was a place where Soviet citizens from all over the country (Baltic Republics, Russian Federation, Georgia, Armenia, etc.) could experience the pure fun and joy that life offered in the summer season – playing beach volleyball , beach football (soccer), swimming in the Dnieper, relaxing on the beach and gathering at night near the bonfire with a group of friends. It was a happy melting pot.
For a long time, every morning, Anatoly sat by the river, contemplating perhaps something significant. One day, my adolescent curiosity led me to approach this mysterious man. “My name is Sasha, I live in this cabin, on the right,” I introduced myself, pointing to the cabin. “I am Anatoly Mikhailovich Mikisha, I am from Moscow. Every year, my family also vacations here,” Anatoly replied, scanning me up and down.
“I apologize for asking. What do you see in this river? I noticed that you sit here every morning, watching the river,” I asked shyly. Anatoly then turned around and looked at me carefully and said, “Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher born two thousand five hundred years ago, said, ‘No man walks twice in the same river, for it is not the same river and it is not the same. male.'”
I was intrigued by this revelation and shared a thought: “It seems to me that the river is the same every day, and I am the same too.” Anatoly paused for a minute and then continued, “Yes, from a practical point of view, at first glance, the river and you look the same every day.
But I wonder: how can I mathematically, via an eloquent equation, prove or refute the observation of Heraclitus? For me, the river is always moving because it’s alive, so it’s never the same. On the other hand, every day people change because they acquire new experiences, expectations, adaptations, emotions and knowledge, which shapes them. »
I was somewhat confused and lost by these interpretations – way above my age and education. But, at the same time, I was remarkably attracted to Anatoly’s creative personality and lively observations.
From that moment on, I accompanied Anatoly every morning by the river, listening to his exciting stories about trips around the world on the research ships of the USSR Academy of Sciences. I also asked him many teen-related questions about the meaning of life, equality versus equal rights, human freedom, dignity and honor, happiness, and true friendship.
Our teacher/student bond and communication have become strong and lasting. Anatoly guided me for 12 years until my departure from the Soviet Union to the West in March 1977. Due to his affiliation and highly sensitive security position at the USSR Academy of Sciences, our communication, at his request, ended several months before my departure.
Nevertheless, of the many life-related truths Anatoly has shared with me over the years, several have become important beacons in my life. The most relevant and applicable to the social environment of our country today are the following:
“Life is like a zebra; it consists of black and white stripes. When you are in the white band, take advantage of it and hold it for as long as you can, and at the same time educate yourself and prepare for turbulence in the possible black band ahead. And when you are, through unfortunate circumstances, in the black stripe, calm down and discipline yourself in anticipation of the white stripe; it will definitely come back.”
“You can only equalize the poor with the rich by taking away the wealth from the rich. You can only equalize the weak with the strong by taking away the strength of the strong. You can only equalize the stupid with the intelligent by turning mind and dignity into flaws.
“Some people are going to leave you, it’s not the end of your story, it’s the end of their role in your story.”
“If people want to live in a democratic, crime-free society, and if they want to defund or completely abolish law enforcement institutions, then everyone should obey the 10 commandments, in whatever way is most appropriate. : Honor your father and your mother; You will not kill; You will not steal; You must not commit adultery; You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour; and you shall not covet.
“Happiness is when you can make others happy and then look at their happiness with an open mind and with joy.”
Here is my song dedicated to my old friend and mentor, Anatoly Mikhailovich Mikisha, wherever he is, still alive or in eternity.
My life is a river,
As the waves roll out to sea,
Wave after wave, mighty and free,
The road to the sea may still be long,
But the river rolls, it rolls,
And I never believed that such a strong current
Could slow down as suddenly as my song.
Alexander B. Dolitsky was born and raised in kyiv in the former Soviet Union. He obtained a master’s degree in history from the Pedagogical Institute of kyiv, Ukraine, in 1976; a master’s degree in anthropology and archeology from Brown University in 1983; and was enrolled in Ph.D. program in anthropology at Bryn Mawr College from 1983 to 1985, where he was also a lecturer at the Russian Center. In the USSR, he was a professor of social studies for three years and an archaeologist for five years for the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In 1978, he moved to the United States. Dolitsky first visited Alaska in 1981, while conducting field research for Brown’s graduate school. He first lived in Sitka in 1985, then moved to Juneau in 1986. From 1985 to 1987 he was an archaeologist and social scientist with the US Forest Service. He was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at Alaska Southeast University from 1985 to 1999; social studies teacher at Alyeska Central School, Alaska Department of Education from 1988 to 2006; and served as director of the Alaska-Siberia Research Center (see www.aksrc.homestead.com) from 1990 to present. He has conducted around 30 field studies in various regions of the former Soviet Union (including Siberia), Central Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and the United States. (including Alaska). Dolitsky has been a lecturer on the ships World Discoverer, Spirit of Oceanus, and Clipper Odyssey in Arctic and Subarctic regions. He was the project manager for the World War II Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Memorial, which was erected in Fairbanks in 2006. He has published widely in the fields of anthropology, history, archeology and ethnography. His most recent publications include Fairy Tales and Myths of the Bering Strait Chukchi, Ancient Tales of Kamchatka; Tales and Legends of the Yupik Eskimos of Siberia; Ancient Russia in Modern America: Russian Old Believers in Alaska; Wartime Allies: The Alaska-Siberian Airway in World War II; Spirit of the Siberian Tiger: Folktales of the Russian Far East; Living Wisdom of the Far North: Tales and Legends of Chukotka and Alaska; Pipeline to Russia; The Alaska-Siberia Air Route during World War II; and Old Russia in Modern America: Living Traditions of Russian Old Believers; Old Tales of Chukotka and Old Tales of Kamchatka.
Some of Dolitsky’s old MRAK columns:
Read: Russian proverb: Defeat your friends to make your enemies fear you
Read: Neo-Marxism and Utopian Socialism in America
Read: Old Believers Preserve the Faith in the New World
Read: Duke Ellington and the effects of the Cold War in the Soviet Union on intellectual curiosity
Read: United we stand, divided we fall with race, ethnicity in America
Read: To succeed, American schools need this ingredient
Read: Nationalism in America, in Alaska, in the world
Read: The case of the ‘delicious salad’
Read: White privilege is a troubling prospect
Read: Beware activists who manipulate history for their own agenda
Read: Alaska Day Remembrance of the Russian Transfer
Read: American leftism is a true picture of true hypocrisy
Read: History does not repeat itself
Read: The only Ford Mustang in kyiv
Read: What is greed? Depends on generation
Read: World Migration of Old Believes in Alaska
Read: Traditions of the Old Believers in Alaska
Read: Language, Education of Old Believers in Alaska