Beyond my grandparents, I know nothing about my genealogy. Genealogy in general is a privilege of the noble and the rich. I was descended from very common folk, and they usually do not show great interest in their distant ancestors. Besides, to keep track of them in the turmoil of constant change and movement so typical of my country during the last century would have been difficult. And not always safe. Who knows whom you might find among your ancestors? Maybe a counter-revolutionary or a priest, or somebody else who, by Stalinist standards, could spoil your career, maybe even your life - forever?
- Georgi Arbatov in The System: An Insider's Life in Soviet Politics