For some years now much of my time has been spent studying and analyzing geopolitics. The focus, for the most part, has been Russia and relations with western nations. There has been so much water under the proverbial bridge where news and stories of Russians are concerned. The fairest thing I can say is that the 147 million people who live in the world’s biggest country, are still totally misunderstood. This new series, Those Russians” will introduce the world to magnificent people, who’ve been done a great injustice.
Evgeny Maruskin is a man’s man. He’s stalwart and brave, a hunter and woodsman, and someone possessed of a kind of cuddly sweetness you might attribute to a Russian bear cub. When I first met him, he was the producer of Russia’s most important news show.
I’ll never forget the day he called me, to ask if I’d go on Sunday Time to talk about the failed detente between the U.S. and Russia. Professional and pristine in his communication, and in everything associated with his job, Evgeny was and is, one of those people you know you can depend on.
It’s been some years now since he retired from Russia 1. Evegeny’s been at a resort on Lake Baikal, helping manage a famous nature getaway. He’s called me from Dubai and other places, switching jobs and dreams as if professions and destinations were a suit of clothes in his wardrobe. He’s visited Crete a few times, and he’s so suited to the life, tradition, and culture here. Evgeny so loves the wild and nature.
There’s really no words to describe this wonderful human being. He’s a horrible dancer, I can tell you that from seeing him here on Crete at the New York Beach Club in Hersonissos. Ev dancing is like watching James Bond stand in the middle of a ballroom shifting his weight between the left and right feet, slowly, painstakingly slowly. But then, the effect is pretty cool-chic, now that I think about it.
Evgeny is also one of those crazy people who will try anything once. But then, this seems to be a trait every one of my Russian friends possesses. “Game” – that’s how us southerners from America call people like Evgeny. But in this kind man, beats a royal and generous heart. Honest, true, and as my wife sometimes says “good as bread” – that’s Evgeny Maruskin.
Ice fishing in the Russian arctic. At a grand performance at the Kremlin Palace. Parasailing high over the mountains of Crete. This is a pearl of a human being, and the world really is his oyster. If you ever meet him, make sure to get his recipe for blinis. Evgeny is also, the Bachelor Chef on Russian TV.
Like so many of my Russian friends, Evgeny is multitalented. I think this is something to do with the DNA of the people there. Necessity, it’s something that permeates the society since the time of the Scythians. These people can do whatever is necessary, and this reflects brightly from the country’s most extraordinary personalities like Putin, opera stars, ballet people, sports figures, and so on.
I love Evgeny. He’s iconic in a way nobody else I know is. Imagine a guy who has the phone number of everybody in Russia. And I mean everybody. A producer at home behind or in front of the camera, and at ease with joking or posing for photos beside Russia’s biggest celebrities, or tossing a morning vodka shot in his underwear on a balcony overlooking Crete’s amazing Amari Valley.
A driver, who can escort a presidential limo, handle an AK-47 or a frying pan with equal precision, Maruskin is just loveable and enviable at the same time. Yes, my friend from Moscow is a prototypical Russian. And best of all, a friend I know I can always count on. If Evgeny Maruskin says something is so, you needn’t have any doubt. And in today’s upside-down world, that is more valuable than gold.