what is called freedom is found in space by Laika

The best tickets in town at the moment are … [Moscow, February 1998] meditations on the classics clog the vacuum into which new writing might have rushed since 1990. This lack of creative nerve is typical of what is called freedom; but while Russia waits for its new agonies to find a voice there is at least a sincerity in its theatre not always typical of the West – the assumption of first-class acting in a company style puts to shame our creeping find-a-star-and-build-him-a-luxury-vehicle paralysis. Here, drama is definitely not just a means to pass the time: an English professional worn down by casual humiliations should take a bracing trip to Moscow, where artists are celebrated as they always were.

Are You There, Crocodile? Inventing Anton Chekhov, Michael Pennington, p. 218

Our psychology is a dog’s psychology: when we’re beaten we whine and run to our kennels, and when we’re stroked we lie on our backs with our paws in the air. How little justice there is in us, and how limited our patriotism…

– Chekhov quoted in ibid., p. 219

The Taganka, whose walls used to hum with provocation, has become [by 1998] a harmless freeway for political cabaret which weighs in like Spitting Image.

– Ibid., p. 219

– Sputnik 2’s Laika, the space dog, 1957