I have only read on Russia a small percentage of what Fur Coat has gulped down in the last few years, but I share this sense of the extradinary allure it all possesses. No other country, culture, or historical record can compare with Russia's when it comes to pure Nabakovian enthrallment. I find it interesting though that this coincides in myself with a twinge of xenophobic horror toward the country, such that I'd feel much more secure traveling in Singapore, Egypt, Israel, China or a host of other countries where statistically my chances of running into danger are probably higher. I can't envision traveling to Russia without being blown away in a hotel lobby by a scarred mafioso, or finding myself wasting away in some rural prison for a few decades because I lost my passport. This all could be the unconscious legacy of growing up in the 80s under anti-communism, but I was never particularly anti-communist myself. It could be residue left by accounts of the Gulag, but I've spent plenty of time in Germany without worrying that I'd be dragged off to a concentration camp. Of course the death camps weren't on German soil, but still... I remember during the last winter Olympics an American figure skater was photographed wearing a nostalgic CCCP jacket while he caroused with Russian groupies in their village. I was astonished that Russia had become cool. Maybe it had something to do with the craze for vodka which emerged about that time.