A couple of years ago I bought a book called Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After The Fall by Andrew Meier, and American journalist who spent 1996 to 2001 as Time magazine’s Moscow correspondent. For one reason or another I never got round to reading it until now, and it appears I have been missing out on what is an excellent book. But in one way I am glad I left it on the shelf so long, because one of the places Meier travels on his journey is Sakhalin Island, and obviously the chapter which he devotes to the place is a lot more meaningful to me now than a year ago.
Meier opens the chapter with a quote, from an American who spent years on the island trying unsuccessfully to run its largest timber concern, which made me guffaw loudly.
I arrived on Sakhalin thinking Russia would be like Germany or Japan after the war. But it turned out to be more like Germany or Japan during the war.
Yup. That’s Sakhalin.