He had warned me. "They will not find the village," Anatoly Projdakov had said. "I'll meet you." And so this morning he was sitting in his little Niwa SUV right behind the bridge over the Volga, where the road leads into Rzhev a few hundred yards away. About 200 kilometers west of Moscow. Which was admirable for two reasons: it was Prodakov's birthday. And: This year, 2010, he was 80. His warning was fully justified. We drove off the highway and through the villages to the north, nowhere there were signposts, and soon the asphalt stopped. It was foggy, meadows and harvested fields were bathed in dirty brown, to the east they fell to the Volga.
This article was published for the first time in issue 2/2019.