He grew up in an intellectual Jewish family. As a teenager in the USSR, he and his friends were intent on subverting the system. Now he teaches history in Moscow’s School #57 and manages all the school trips. He lives with his wife Lyuba and their son, Mark, in the apartment in which he grew up in a residential neighborhood of Moscow.
She was a self-described conformist growing up in the Soviet Union — even saluting when the Soviet national anthem played on TV. She is also now a history teacher with her husband, Borya. She has an enormous course-load and teaches classes six days a week — from pre-schoolers to high school seniors.
He was one of Borya’s best friends growing up. They got in trouble together in school all the time. Ruslan is a former punk rock star from the band NAIV who now occasionally gives banjo lessons and busks in the underground passages of Moscow. He is divorced from his second wife, but tries to spend time with their 8-year-old son, Nikita.
She was the prettiest girl in their class. She now is a single mom who lives with her sister, nephew and son in their childhood apartment, right around the corner from Borya and Lyuba. Olga works for a company that rents out billiard tables to pubs, clubs and casinos all over Moscow.
He has just opened his 17th store of expensive men’s dress shirts and ties. He is the only one of the classmates who moved out of his childhood home. His family lives in a new development of large, luxury condos. He is often frustrated by Russia’s inability to be more like the West.