September 07, 2012
The conquest of space
The phrase comes up again and again as I sift through dozens of Soviet documents of the period. By 1986 the ardent years of the Space Age were of course over, its most notable vestiges a few space stations orbiting Earth, but the embers still retain a beguiling, and decidedly nostalgic, glow. In East Berlin especially there has always been a great habitation of the sky: the television tower in Alexanderplatz, often beheaded by fog, the stately socialist buildings lining Karl Marx Allee, In East Berlin especially there has always been a great habitation of the sky . . . the less elegant prefabricated tower blocks farther east . . . That same summer of ’86 I crossed Checkpoint Charlie and in a bookstore on Friedrichstrasse, one of East Berlin’s most important arteries, I met my friend Stefan. Born in Moscow, where he lived until the age of eight, he spoke, among other things, about his Russian grandfather Ivan Ivanovich Bryanov, who in the late fifties and early sixties had been doctor to the Soviet cosmonauts, endeavouring to cure them of their more terrestrial ailments.more from Chloe Aridjis at Granta here.
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