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Real-Time Fun (Blog)


Click here to read the full article on The Moscow Times!

Meeting with Readers

Moscow, 30 November 2015 — In line with the Vesmir Publishing’s tradition of organizing meetings between its authors and their readers, on Saturday, November 29th readers of “How Not to Become a Spy” had the opportunity to get acquainted with author Justin Lifflander.

The goal of this meeting was get feedback on the book, and have friendly conversations with all those who found themselves relating to the themes expressed throughout the memoir. This meeting occurred during the 17th annual international fair of Non/fiction literature in the Central House of Artists on Krymsky Val. This fair is a long running annual celebration for literature-loving intellectuals.

Justin related the background on why he decided to produce such a work, and talked about the writing process. He discussed the more interesting moments of his story and answered his readers’ questions. Co-workers from the author’s previous job at Hewlett-Packard showed up. Some readers had previously resided in Udmurtia and but now hailed from Moscow. Present as well were friends and colleagues from his job as an INF inspector, and ex-security officers and ballistics engineers. Some readers in attendance were those who had noticed that “How Not to Become a Spy” made the “Top-List” of recommended reading at the fair, and decided to show up at the stand to meet him.  

One memorable conversation took place with a young patron and his mother. The mother, inspired by the prospect of her son becoming a writer, was most interested in learning what Justin had studied in college. “Soviet Government” – he answered. She was impressed with the fact that such an area of study had existed at all, and expressed a desire for her son to become a Kremlinologist himself. The author questioned her son as to where his own passions lay. He answered, “Mathematics.” Justin encouraged him to continue pursuing that field of study. 

Got a Diplomatic Dilemma? Send in the Clowns

Photo Credit: Ralph Robbins

More than 40 garishly dressed volunteers all donned red noses and joined clown-doctor Patch Adams for two weeks of clowning at orphanages, homeless shelters, veterans’ homes and hospitals in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Moscow Times

Dec. 01 2015 19:01

While some potential visitors have crossed Russia off their list, a group of humanitarian clowns still regards the country as an ideal destination.

The 22nd annual clown tour of Russia, which ended last week, brought more than 40 garishly dressed volunteers from 12 countries, including those with problematic relations with Russia — Ukraine, the United States, Japan and Holland...

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America Journal - 1993

In October 1993 I took out an advertisement for HP in the magazine America – the popular US government publication distributed in the Soviet Union, as part of a bilateral agreement dating back to the Khrushchev era. The editors also asked me to write a story about doing business in the USSR (image on left).

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They photographed me standing with an HP Palmtop computer in GUM department store on Red Square. It was all quite exciting for me as a burgeoning marketing specialist at HP Russia.

But you can imagine my surprise when my wife’s relatives in the Yaroslavl region sent us this clipping (image on right) in April of 1994. The local newspaper ran an article about a survey on American sexuality entitled “Exemplary Family Man, Boring Lover.” They must have had a copy of the America article and decided to cut out my photo and use me as the poster child.