Russia is certainly in the news a lot lately - and is ALWAYS in the mind and books of Minnesota author Robert Alexander. His third historical fiction novel in his trilogy is "The Romanov Bride" (previous books were The Kitchen Boy and Rasputin's Daughter).
"The Romanov Bride" (see a cool video/movie of the book here) is the story of the Grand Duchess Elisavyeta who is ensconced in the most lavish court in the world - the Romanovs. In that same city, Pavel is a simple village man who is moved to overthrowing the Romanovs when his young bride is killed during a peaceful political demonstration.
I asked Robert about the current climate of Russia and President Obama's trip there. He told me,
"There are 4 things to remember about Russia. 1. they are hard negotiators 2. in Russian NO is the BEGINNING of negotiation 3. They are drama queens from the get-go. 4. Russians are fearful of us; there is a central premise that the U.S. has a hidden agenda to destroy Russia."He went on to explain this assumed agenda,
"That was sort of played up in the cold war era and in early 90's it faded away.... but after the collapse of the Soviet Union we didn't do much to help it get up. In fact, we offered NATO membership to 1/2 of central Europe and 1/2 of the former allies of Russia... but we haven't offered NATO membership to Russia itself."
Tune in for our conversation this week - about the book - about the various names he writes under and his mix-up with Robert Zimmerman late at night on the phone.