here and went on to make Christianityrnthe ofhcial religion. I noted that the interiorrnof the church was in a fine state ofrnrestoration and outside large mosaicsrnwere in various stages of completion, andrnFather Pavlov replied that the work wasrnbeing paid for by the worshipers. Most ofrnthe churches seized by the governmentrnwere being returned. In front of thernchurch and in the foyer were several afflictedrnpeople and some simple beggars,rnand although no one seems to havernmuch money, they give them their alms.rnI asked Helen how she came to be Orthodox,rnsince most young people hadrnbeen educated to be nonbelievers, asrnwere her parents. At first she said shernstarted reading the Bible. I quizzed herrnfurther, asking if she merely stumbledrnonto a Bible one day and starting readingrnit. Then she said, “As a young child Irnused to visit my granny who lives at thernfoot of the Urals, and one time when myrnparents were not there, my granny hadrnme secretly baptized. Now I go becausernit makes me feel lucky.”rnWith the former president of Crimearnno longer in office (the office abolished),rnthe go’crnmcnt is being run by AnatolyrnFrantchuk, the premier, appointed byrnthe president of Ukraine, Leonid Kutchma.rnThis will be the status quo until thernCrimean pariiament writes a new constitutionrnthat conforms with Ukrainian law.rnI had an appointment with the viec-prcmicr,rnIgor V. Ivanchenko, to ask aboutrnthese matters. Helen, although in herrnearly 20’s, could pass for 16. She led mernto the big government building wherernthe interview was to take place, the doorrnbeing manned by guards with automaticrnweapons. She whispered, “Don’t say anything,rnjust walk past.” I was beginningrnto feel like I was part of a Peter Sellersrnmovie. She did not want to get mixed uprnin the inevitable paper and documentrnshuffle. Sure enough, we sailed on past.rnSubsequently we were led into a hugernoffice and I was introduced to the affablernvice-premier. I think he was amused atrnthe youth of my interpreter and remarkedrnthat he had a daughter her agernstudying in Germany. On the questionrnof the Crimean constitution, he admittedrnthat it had been written in haste andrnthat changes had been necessary betweenrn1992 and 1995. He explained thatrnthe Ukrainian constitution was the oldrnSoviet constitution, and that Ukrainernwas not then a federated state. Only thernSo’ict Union had such a document. Ifrnthere had been a constitution suitable forrna federated state, many of the conflictsrnbetween Crimea and Ukraine mightrnhave been avoided. He said the majorityrnof the Crimeans had not wanted to be arnpart of the Ukraine, but that the Russiarngovernment doesn’t want it back, onlyrnthe hardliners do. I le said further thatrnno serious politician talks of Crimea goingrnback to Russia.rnMany of the problems, he noted,rncome from the deported people. Theyrncame with nothing. When they soldrnwhat they had in Uzbekistan, inflationrndestroyed the value of their money.rnOther republics made promises aboutrnhelping the deported, but at leastrnUkraine had delivered some, which is asrnmuch as it can. In the case of the Tartars,rnhe says some help comes from Turkey,rnand all the deported get some moneyrnfrom the United Nations.rnOn the economic front, he noted thatrnlarge reserves of gas had been discovered,rnone well being brought in with the helprnof a British company, JKK Oil & Gas,rnwith credits from the European Banks ofrnReconstruction and Development. Shiprnbuilding in Kerch is very strong, with ordersrnfor cargo vessels that carry them tornthe end of the century, especially Creekrnorders. Earlier, he said, privatization wasrnblocked by the Crimean government,rnbut this is changing. Hotels will be auctionedrnoff, and foreigners can particrnipate, but there is a problem with foreignersrnowning the actual land underrncurrent law. That will have to change, hernsaid, and there is no question that foreignrntourism is hurt very much by thernlack of foreign investment.rnOutside and across the governmentrnplaza, preparations were being made torncelebrate the day of Ukrainian independence.rnIn years past the yellow and bluernUkrainian flag had been burned, but forrnthe time being, this was changing too.rnNearby, I stopped to watch the policernkeep watch over two groups of very loud,rnold people. They were all pensioners,rnbut the Ukrainian group carried thernUkrainian flag while the Russian pensionersrnscreamed at them, yelling “Downrnwith the Ukrainian government.” Theyrnscreamed they were much better off underrnthe Soviets and wanted to go back tornthe old way. Their pensions were inadequate.rnThis War of the Old People is almostrna daily occurrence.rnIt reminded me of the situation backrnin the States. Roosevelt-Johnsonian junkrnbonds were issued, and they were to bernpaid by another generation, always afterrnthe officeholders were gone. I rememberrnmy father telling me in the late 40’s thatrnhe was going to do fine with the SocialrnSecurity scheme, because in the beginning,rneveryone paid a pittance for thernpromise of future security. But, he said,rnyou and the grandchildren will have tornpay for it. The Russian pensioners, likernour own elderly, want the old way tornremain, no matter what. They have dependedrnon it. In Russia in December,rnnearly all the votes for the resurgingrnCommunists came from the pensioners.rnWhen a couple of generations havernsucked on the teats of the Super State forrnso long, there may not be a political forcernstrong enough to wean them. The Behemothrnmay have to die first. My view mayrnbe too apocalyptic, but it is my sense thatrnif the sainted congressional freshmen arernrebuffed in the next election and powerrnshould return to the Democrats, forrndecades to come no smart politician willrntake the risk of listening to what his constituentsrnsay they want, but will fall backrnon the time-tested rule of promisingrnsomething for nothing. It has stood thernpresent White House demagogue inrngood stead.rnI met some interesting people in thernCrimea and wish them well. It is difficultrnfor us from the semifree enterprisernWest to understand how almost a centuryrnof super-state socialism can shape thernminds of the people. When the SovietrnUnion collapsed, most Westerners believedrnthat without the police state, privaternenterprise would grow naturally.rnMostly, though, the old politicians arcrnstill in place under other rubrics. Morernimportant, the people over 30 have neverrnlived under an environment of free enterprise.rnThose who are hustling, whichrnthey must do to stay alive, are thwartedrnby the old rules of socialism, or worse, byrnthe criminal gangs who never obeyed thernrules anyway.rnWhere is the hope? The main sourcernis in the young people—those under 30,rnlike Helen and Vova and Ireni, for theyrnhave seen the real teleology of Marxistrntheory. Helen explained to me thatrnwhen her parents finished their technicalrntraining, they knew they had a job guaranteed.rnHer generation understandsrnthat it must be more flexible. Yet thernyoung must pay the cartage for the oldrndispensation, which is very high indeed.rnWilliam Mills is a novelist and poetrnwhose latest work of fiction is Propertiesrnof Blood (University of Arkansas Press).rnJUNE 1996/47rnrnrn