The oilmen have arrived from Beijing for a ceremonial signing over of drilling rights. "It's a holiday for them," their translator told me, last night, at the Grozny Eternity Hotel, which is both the only five-star hotel and the only hotel in the republic. I nodded solemnly; he need not explain. I came of age in the reign of Brezhnev, when young men would enter civil service academies hardy and robust, only to leave two years later anemic and stooped, cured forever of the inclination to be civil or of service to anyone. Still, Beijing must be grim if they're vacationing in Chechnya.
- From The Grozny Tourist Bureau, a story in The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra