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I won't be visiting Smolensk and other cities around Moscow:
I am to go to the Ukraine instead.

Friday, October 24th, 2003

Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

Change of Plan

Now going to the Ukraine

Avadhut Maharaj left for India yesterday. He is planning to be there for three weeks. Before he left, he called to revise my post-Govardhan-puja itinerary; he now wants me to go to the Ukraine for two weeks.

So it looks like my tentative schedule for visiting Smolensk, Bryansk, Tambov, Yaroslavl, and some other nearby cities and towns around Moscow is on hold, or at least suspended, for the time being.

Vijay Raman Prabhu — who still sometimes fondly remembers the old days back in the U.S.S.R. — is incredulous that one now requires a passport and visa to go to the Ukraine, formerly a part of the U.S.S.R. (The Ukraine became independent after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991.)

If I remember my sixth grade geography correctly, the Ukraine used to be the "breadbasket" of Russia, with the fertile steppes supplying much of Russia's grain. Now the country is perhaps unfairly associated with one of the most infamous and devastating nuclear power plant accidents in history: Chernobyl.

Amrita Krishna Prabhu takes my passport so that he can apply for my invitation and visa. I will begin my lecture tour with the city of Zaporizhzhya in the southern Ukraine, at the end of next week.

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