Born in 1950 in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, Soviet Union, Yuri spent his life devoted to individuals' freedom until he passed away in Chicago on January 25, 2023. 

Yuri had a vibrant youth. As a child, he attended music school, specializing in piano. Although he ultimately decided not to pursue piano, his love of music, specifically the classical works of Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Chopin, stayed with him his entire life.

Yuri began his studies at Kazan State University before transferring to Moscow State University, where he completed his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Labor Economics. Later, after holding several prominent positions in research, educational and financial institutions, he joined Gorbachev's economic advisory board, focusing on designing and implementing the perestroika reforms. During his tenure at the USSR's International Labor Organization, he traveled and worked throughout Europe, a cosmopolitan theme he would carry on throughout his life.

Always critical of the Soviet system, Yuri was drawn to Western writings by Ludvig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. 
Graham Greene, Robert Service, Thomas Wolf, and William Faulkner were his favorite authors for their deep understanding of drama and the complexity of life.  Later, in the United States, his favorites grew to include the farce of Leslie Nielsen movies.

In 1989, while on a Soviet official business trip to Finland, Yuri made an impromptu dash for the United States, ultimately successfully defecting from the USSR. After various intelligence debriefings in Germany, he made his way first to New York City and then to Washington, D.C., where he became a fellow of the Institute of Peace. While in DC, he testified before Congress and appeared on multiple news outlets, including Fox News, CNN, and C-SPAN, discussing the inanities of the USSR and communism. In one of his proudest and happiest moments, Yuri became a United States citizen in 1995. 

Driven by his passions for speaking and teaching, Yuri moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1991 to begin as a Professor of Economics at Carthage College, where he remained until his passing. In his three-decade tenure at Carthage, Yuri became well known for his lectures, commitment to his students, and student trips to exciting and often out-of-the-way places. These trips included meeting with local communities, educational organizations, and government officials. Yuri said his student tours to Cuba "were the best way to inoculate young minds against the evils of communism." Yearly family trips were just as action-packed. 

Yuri believed to his core that individual liberty and property rights were the natural foundations of human existence. He wrote two books, co-authored nine books, and wrote over three hundred articles exposing the horrors of totalitarianism. Yuri befriended the giants of libertarian thought, Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, from the Austrian School of Economics and was humbled to become a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute.

Yuri's knowledge of economic thought, world history, and human nature was exceptional. He gave hundreds of speeches at universities and colleges in the US and abroad. Additionally, he spoke at numerous worldwide military installations to senior officials in intelligence agencies and the Department of Defense. His humor and personal stories touched the lives of many worldwide with the ideals of freedom and his critique of authoritarianism.

Yuri will be remembered for his vividly amusing and wise stories about his life and the historical events he witnessed. He was loved by all and will be missed dearly as a husband, father, brother, son, friend, and professor.

Yuri is survived by his wife Rita, whom he met in Lithuania in 2002, and their two children, Laura and Stanley. He is also survived by his older daughters, Alexandra and Hannah, his sister Natalia, and his mother, Olga.

A Tribute from National Review by George Leef
January 31
January 31
A Tribute from National Review

Professor Yuri Maltsev has passed away. I had the pleasure of getting to know him, and he will be missed.

Yuri was born in the Soviet Union and studied economics there with the intention of becoming a professor. During his student days, however, he came across the forbidden writings of the advocates of economic liberalism, such as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman. He combined their insights with his own observations on how poorly the Soviet system worked for everyone except those at the top to conclude that Marxism was a disaster. Not wanting to teach students ideas he knew to be false, he managed to escape.
Yuri found a home at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., where he taught until his death.

He was a terrific raconteur, and a story he especially liked to tell was that, as a Soviet academic, he had a military rank. The funny thing was that after he had fled the Soviet Union, he kept on being promoted.

Among the many aspects of statism that Yuri attacked was control over healthcare, as Jeffrey Tucker relates here. If current trends are not resisted, there is a danger that the U.S. might go down a path that could see our own healthcare system increasingly Sovietized, making it more like the system Yuri Maltsev fled.
Carthage College Tribute
January 27
January 27

The longtime faculty member and global economic thought leader passed away Jan. 25 at age 72. He is survived by his wife, Rita Nicholson, children, mother, sister, and other family members.

Prof. Maltsev offered unique insights as perhaps the only person to brief governments on both sides of the Cold War in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Raised and educated in Russia with a growing disdain for the communist system, he served on a senior economics team that developed Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms package.
Fearing for his safety after openly criticizing the Soviet regime and its sluggish pace toward reform, Prof. Maltsev made an impromptu decision to defect during a 1989 business trip to Finland. He described a remarkable “James Bond-ish” journey that brought him to Sweden and, ultimately, the United States.
“Yuri Maltsev’s incredible life story — especially his intimate, firsthand experience with the failures of governance and economics under communism in the Soviet Union — made him a truly outstanding faculty member and mentor,” said Carthage President John Swallow. “Carthage students and, in fact, students of political economy around the world all valued his perspective. He will be greatly missed.”
Quickly integrating into American life, Prof. Maltsev initially worked for a federal research agency in Washington, briefing congressional and executive branch officials on national security and foreign economic issues. He joined the Carthage faculty in 1991, teaching a range of economics courses.
Drawing on his extensive connections, Prof. Maltsev also led J-Term study tours to South Africa and surrounding countries. There, Carthage students explored developing economies, visited historical sites, and soaked in the natural beauty.
Alumni from the 1990s to the 2020s cite him as a major influence. Established in the professor’s honor, the Yuri Maltsev Distinguished Scholars in World Business and Free Enterprise fund provides scholarships for returning business, economics, and international political economy (IPE) students.
Jim Padilla, founding dean for the School of Business and Economics, calls him an “irreplaceable” part of the community.
“Yuri Maltsev was an incredibly vital economics faculty member for Carthage whose knowledge, background, and stories are unmatched. He added a level of expertise to our campus that blessed everyone and impacted decades of Carthage students,” said Mr. Padilla. “All of our thoughts and prayers are with Rita and their children.”
With deep knowledge and dry humor, Prof. Maltsev drew frequent invitations to lecture worldwide. Media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN, and PBS sought him out as a guest expert.
A prolific author, Prof. Maltsev wrote five books and hundreds of articles for U.S. and foreign publications. Active in several national and international think tanks, he received the first Luminary Award from the Free Market Foundation in 2013.
Arthur I. Cyr, director of the IPE program and professor of political science, came to know Prof. Maltsev as an intelligent, colorful, and straightforward man.
“Yuri was a popular teacher, loyal colleague, and valued friend. His background and heritage from Russia, and experiences in various places on the globe, added value to our community,” he said. “This was true not just in the classroom. I shall miss him a lot.”
Alternate arrangements are in place for students who had Prof. Maltsev as a faculty advisor or who registered for his spring courses. Staff from the Office of the Registrar will contact the affected students in the near future.
Services are pending, and the College will provide updates as details are finalized.

If you would like to make a gift to the Yuri Maltsev Distinguished Scholars in World Business and Free Enterprise fund, please contact Bridget Haggerty in the Office of Advancement at 847-702-1446.
Epoch Times, Jeff Tucker
January 27
January 27

As often happens, I only wish I had one last chance to say goodbye to economist Yuri N. Maltsev, my good friend who died this week. We could have spent an entire day and evening reflecting on the great times we had together, laughing uproariously the entire time.

It has been a few years since I last saw him, which I believe was at an event in Wisconsin where he taught economics. We agreed on most everything but there was some tension between us in those days because we had a disagreement over Trump: he was more for him than I was.

That didn’t matter so much, however, because our history stretched back to the final days of the Cold War. I was living in Northern Virginia, when I heard that a major economic advisor to Mikhail Gobachev had just defected. This was before the entire Soviet project fell apart. I couldn’t wait to meet up, so through an intermediary we met for lunch. He had been in the United States only a day or two at most.

At the D.C. restaurant where we met, he ordered a sandwich that came with potato chips. He kept cutting them with a knife and eating them with a fork. Even though we were trying to be formal with each other, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I interrupted to explain that in the United States, we tend to pick up potato chips with our fingers. He laughed uproariously and I did too. Thus was the ice broken. After that we hung out nearly daily for longer than a year.

We became very close collaborators on projects. In those days, the whole world was fixated on the meltdown of a succession of states that once rallied around Soviet-style economics. Not too many months after Yuri got here, those regimes fell like dominos. The world was looking for interpretations, and Yuri was the perfect person to give them. He could talk a mile a minute, and I was anxious to transcribe everything he said and get it in print.

So his experience in D.C. was an absolute whirlwind of interviews, articles, speeches, meetings, and so on, including frequent consultations for the CIA for which he was paid handsomely. He used to laugh at how dumb they were to pay him to show up and tell an afternoon of jokes.

For anyone else, this instant fame would be a drug that produces arrogance. But Yuri had been around the block too long in the political world in Moscow and very clearly recognized that the fakery of Moscow and Washington had much in common. So he adopted a light attitude toward it all. He laughed through the whole ordeal from the beginning to the time he left for a teaching position in the Midwest.

Oh, my goodness, the times we had together!

Let’s start with his small apartment. When he moved in, it was empty. Two days later, it was stuffed from one end to the other and every closet was full. I came over and I was startled because what he had in there was rather unconventional. He had bought an extra toilet, the stuffed head of a deer, piles of paintings, piles of kitchen things, several desks and three sofas, plus more. Even an old piano. I was astonished. We could barely get in the door.

I asked why he had done this. He explained that in the Soviet Union, everything not nailed down was immediately stolen, even paper clips at the office. The whole society was based on thieving and hoarding and he had happened by a couple of yard sales and simply could not believe his eyes that all this amazing and great stuff—either unavailable in Russia or unaffordable—was just sitting there for the taking for a few bucks. He simply could not resist. I explained that this stuff would always be available and that he didn’t need to do this. He agreed and decided to have a sale of his own. He tripled his money.

This is just how Yuri was: seemingly reckless but actually oddly brilliant. He started buying cars the same way simply because no normal person could get a car in the Soviet Union without getting on a yearlong waiting list. In the United States, he could buy half a dozen cars in a day, which he did. They lined the streets outside his apartment. Only a few worked, sadly, but that was fine. A few weeks later, he sold all those cars at a profit too. This guy was magic.

He later did the same with real estate of course, and enjoyed his wild time as a slumlord. I used to go on rounds with him as he attempted to fix the plumbing and electricity at the apartments he now owned. He knew nothing about either but did his best and just laughed it off. He would also hang around the city court looking for properties confiscated and resold for nonpayment. He would buy them and resell them.

Yes, he loved his life as a capitalist! And he was darn good at it too.

Social life was good too. We had a big circle of friends, and Yuri would drag me to all sorts of parties and bar hops with them. I wonder how he made so many friends so fast. He explained that most of them were either KGB or CIA spies checking in on him and monitoring his behavior and contacts. So of course they were following me too, along with several honeypots. I was absolutely astonished and alarmed.

He explained that it was nothing to worry about. They are just people with jobs to do, and part of their business was converting their single-agent positions into double-agent positions and then to triple-agent positions, and so on, knowing the whole time that of course their bosses were doing the same. That’s how nuts the world had become by 1989 and 1990. Everyone was spying on everyone and everyone was lying in that world.

He said just to treat it all with humor and enjoy it. So I did. Crazy times. The spies eventually left me alone when they discovered I was not a spook but a book collector.

Yuri was quite fashionable in D.C. in the day, so anyone he asked over to dinner would naturally come immediately. He invited a few of our spy friends plus the ambassador to Czechoslovakia and his wife to dinner at his apartment. I arrived early to help him with dinner but he didn’t want help. He was making “Georgian Chicken.” I asked what that is. He said it was everything in his refrigerator in a big pot of boiling water. He explained that when you are foreign, guests forgive everything.

Just before dinner, he went across the street to get some wine and vodka and returned with a disheveled man. He was homeless. Yuri bumped into him on the street and figured he would make a good guest. True story.

The guests all arrived at this little apartment. He had only card tables on which to eat, having sold all his other furniture. The ambassador’s wife took off her full-length mink and sat down. Yuri passed around empty water glasses for everyone and filled them half-full with vodka. He explained that to honor his Russian heritage everyone would need to drink down the whole glass before dinner.

Everyone complied but of course immediately everyone was drunk. That made the strange evening go better.

Yuri then served a plate of saltine crackers with meat on the side. After some time, I decided to try the meat but the ambassador’s wife got my attention with a silent headshake of: no don’t eat that. I wondered why and then I realized: Yuri had sliced up a package of raw bacon and served it as an appetizer. He did not know because there was no bacon in Russia when he was there.

Eventually the huge pot of boiling stuff landed in the middle of the table and everyone ate, and truly it wasn’t bad at all! Georgian Chicken indeed.

At every possible opportunity, I would have Yuri to my place for all-day hangouts. I would have plenty of sausage and vodka for him and just ask questions about his life and observations. I would sit at the desk and he would pace around madly and tell extravagant stories of his history as a Soviet economist. When I wasn’t doubled over in laughter, I was typing frantically to get his stories on paper. Two days later we would go to print with it all.

What a glorious outlook on life he had. He saw the hilarity of life all around him everywhere. But this was also backed by extraordinary erudition. While studying at Moscow State, he read deeply in the history of bourgeois economics, simply because both he and everyone around him knew for certain that Marxism was a bunch of hooey. He was astonished to find that many academics in the United States took all that claptrap seriously.

Have you ever been around a person whose intelligence and good humor just shows through on their very person, just when walking into a room, and everyone else was so drawn to it and they got on board? This was Yuri Maltsev. Another person I knew with the same gift was Murray Rothbard. So you can imagine what it was like when they met. The whole room became absolutely explosive.

Great times those were. We watched his home country fall apart in real time along with the fall of all states in Eastern Europe and the Berlin Wall. I was wildly optimistic about the future but Yuri was more wary. He had already seen how bureaucratization in the United States was growing and many of the same political pathologies that wrecked Russia were growing in the United States. He did his best to stop them with his writing and speeches and teaching.

He leaves behind a tremendous legacy. The deep sadness I feel in his passing is mitigated by the incredible and delightful memories of our times together. He surely did affect my life in wonderful ways, and so many others. I miss you Yuri! Please have a glass of tall vodka on me and I shall drink to you and your great life as well.
A tribute from Mises Institute
January 27
January 27
A tribute from Mises Institute
by David Gordon is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and editor of the Mises Review.
Mises Institute Twitter strand
I am sorry to have to report that Yuri Maltsev has passed away. He was a professor of economics at Carthage College in Wisconsin. He held various government and research positions in Moscow, Russia. Before defecting to the United States in 1989, he was a member of a senior economics team that worked on President Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms package of perestroika. Before settling in the Midwest, he was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. a US federal research agency.

His work involved briefing members of Congress and senior officials of the executive branch on issues of national security and foreign economic and military assessment. He also testified before the US Congress and appeared on CNN, PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN, CBC, and other American, Canadian, Spanish, South African, and Finnish television and radio programs. He wrote and coauthored fifteen books and over a hundred articles. He was a recipient of the Luminary Award of the Free Market Foundation and was a Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute.

I first met Yuri at a Mises conference in the early 1990s and was immediately struck by his warmth and good humor. In his frequent talks at Mises events, he offered an inside look at the failures of socialist planning, vividly making Ludwig von Mises’s calculation argument before his audiences, and for this he was much appreciated by Murray Rothbard. Maltsev lectured for many years at Mises University, where he was very popular with students and formed lasting friendships with a number of them.

Yuri delighted in life and always had funny stories to tell about the many adventures in his life and about the people he had known, such as the Russian economist Yegor Gaidar, whom he called the world’s fattest economist. He once pulled from his coat about six or seven passports he used, many of which had different names. But beneath his humor was an abiding devotion to the free market and individual liberty.

In recent years, he faced some serious health problems, but he always managed to surmount them, and his friends thought he was indestructible. I will miss him.

Contact David Gordon

David Gordon is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and editor of the Mises Review.
January 26
January 26
I am facing the most challenging task: writing an obituary for my big much-loved brother.

It is impossible to imagine that his incredible charisma powered by life force, brilliance, optimism, and great sense of humor will not be here anymore. He traveled everywhere in the world, he loved, and he lived. There was always a sense of adventure and inspiration in everything he was doing. His lectures were engaging, peppered with his humor: he could explain complex ideas in a concise, accessible way. Yuri was a people man: he could talk to people at the top of society and the beggars in the street with the same interest and attention. His understanding of life and human nature was deep and slightly sentimental. He was like that from a very early age.

Yuri and I grew up in the USSR, in the ancient city of Kazan on the banks of the Volga river. Our parents were medical doctors, scientists, and professors at Kazan State University. When he was just a boy, Yuri already was in the middle of attention -- talking to people, big and small, lecturing on whatever subjects interested him at that time, and making everybody laugh. Our parents moved to Moscow, and the big city life was very stimulating for Yuri: new friends, new adventures, and a thriving intellectual environment. Since he was a student at Moscow State University, he got fascinated by the ideas of the Austrian School of economics. This fascination determined his future passion and life-long crusade against totalitarianism in all its incarnations.
After graduating from Moscow State, Yura got his Ph.D. in labor economics and held several important positions, including being a part of Gorbachev's team of economic advisors. He understood early on that the reforms of Perestroika did not go far enough and would not guarantee that the resurrection of the totalitarian regime wouldn't ever happen. Sadly, considering the criminal madness of present-day Russia, time proved his vision to be correct.

After defecting to the US, Yuri continued to be himself -- a brilliant speaker, a much-loved professor, a family man, and a world traveler.
Only one day passed, but I already miss him so much!
Mark Hendrickson
February 14
February 14
A Tribute by Mark Hendrickson at the Institute for Faith and Freedom

Last week, economist, professor, and adventurer Yuri Maltsev passed away. Yuri’s passing is a gigantic loss for the economics profession, for the conservative and libertarian movements, and for me personally. He was a courageous advocate for truth, justice, and liberty—a champion for the rights of every member of the human race.

Someone ought to make a movie about Yuri’s life. Indeed, his life story is illuminating, informative, and inspiring. Born in Tatarstan, Soviet Union in 1950, Yuri’s life was impacted by Soviet cruelty from the start. When Yuri’s father was a boy, his own father (Yuri’s grandfather), a renowned architect, was summoned by none other than Josef Stalin himself to work on a building project.

The senior Maltsev was highly regarded in his field, and there was a lengthy waiting list for his services. Understanding Stalin’s great power, Yuri’s grandfather told Stalin that he would put his project at the top of his list and would commence work on it immediately upon completing the project he was then working on. Most people would respect the integrity shown by a builder who would not abandon a partially completed project, but not Stalin. The terrible dictator had Yuri’s grandfather summarily shot as a saboteur.

The trauma of his father being executed as an enemy of the state had a devastating psychological impact on Yuri’s father. Yuri told me that his father never got over it, and he died at a young age, leaving behind Yuri’s mother, sister, and Yuri.

From his youth, Yuri began to think about how to escape the world’s largest prison camp, the Soviet Union. One of the realities of life in the Soviet Union was that many privileges—including foreign travel—were generally reserved for members of the Communist Party. As a matter of expediency, not conviction, Yuri joined the party. This enabled him to earn three degrees in economics and opened the door to (relatively) good jobs and foreign travel on government business.

During his studies, Yuri encountered ideas that would change his life. One of his assignments was to become somewhat familiar with the writings of free-market economists—writings that were off-limits even to most members of the Communist Party—so that he could lie and propagandize against western ideas more effectively. This plan backfired spectacularly on the communists. As Yuri read the forbidden texts of the Austrian economists, the proverbial scales fell from his eyes. He knew he had found the truth about economics. So captivating was that truth that Yuri and a colleague, risking multiple years in prison, would smuggle forbidden manuscripts out of their depository, stay up all night reading them, and then smuggle them back the next morning before anyone could detect that they had been removed. That is how Yuri became an Austrian economist.

Yuri rose through the ranks of Soviet bureaucracy, patiently biding his time. At one point, he was one of 328 bureaucrats in charge of setting 23 million prices for every imaginable economic good in all parts of the USSR—a land mass that spanned 11 times zones. In a market economy, prices are free to adjust as needed to changing conditions of supply, demand, technological improvements, newly discovered efficiencies, etc. By contrast, Yuri and his colleagues set prices that often remained unchanged for years. They set prices based on woefully incomplete information about the myriad factors impacting supply and demand. Even if they had had comprehensive knowledge about any single market, how could they possibly obtain such information for 23 million prices? Even if each bureaucrat could somehow determine the “right” price for one good in one market in one hour’s time, the 328-person bureaucracy would only be able to set 2,624 prices per day. If they worked steadily at that pace, it would take them over 8,700 work days (about 29 years if working 300 days per year) before they could revisit and reset any given price. No wonder the Soviet economy was stagnant!

The Soviet economy was also wasteful. Econ 101 teaches that a price set too high above the market-clearing free-market price results in scarce resources being wasted in the production of things that people aren’t willing or able to pay for. Contrariwise, if prices are set too low (which was more common in the USSR because the communists figured that in a workers’ paradise, prices would be low) there are pronounced shortages. Shortages, of course, have been a glaring standard characteristic of socialized economies. Indeed, so severe were shortages of consumer goods in the USSR that, as Yuri told me, at the time the Soviet Union collapsed and dissolved in 1991, approximately 70 percent of consumer goods were produced in black markets. That was technically illegal, but tolerated because it was the only way to keep the economy afloat, even at such an anemic, impoverished level.

A bright individual and industrious worker, Yuri rose through the bureaucratic ranks, becoming a member of Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic advisory panel on perestroika (“restructuring”) in the mid-1980s. In 1989, while on a trip to Finland (a government-authorized trip, of course), Yuri made the boldest move of his life. He defected to the United States. He was 39 years old. Yuri had deliberately avoided marriage and children up to that point so that when an opportunity to defect finally presented itself to him, the Soviet authorities wouldn’t be able to use his wife and children as leverage over him. Yuri loved his adopted country wholeheartedly. One of his proudest moments was becoming a U.S. citizen in 1995.

Yuri enjoyed his new-found freedom in the United States with an intensity that few of us born here have. For example, he bought and sold cars with an amazing frequency. Yuri bought and sold over 80 automobiles by the end of his first decade here. That might not seem practical to us, but remember: private ownership of autos was forbidden in the USSR. For Yuri, the seemingly compulsive and unnecessary buying and selling of autos was done for the sheer joy of finally being free to do so. And even though some of the used cars that Yuri bought were lemons by our standards, they still compared favorably to the shoddy automobiles produced in the USSR.

Besides having owned more cars than anyone else I have ever known, Yuri also used his freedom to travel to more countries than anyone else I have known. Indeed, he had passports from multiple countries, and their pages were jam-packed with stamps from well over 100 countries. Wanting to open the eyes of his American college students, for years he organized two-week visits to various foreign countries, including, most memorably for Yuri, to Cuba. I accompanied him on his 2005 trip to central Europe, where the differences between countries that had been trapped behind the Iron Curtain and those not so trapped were vivid. You could see the visible scars of abandoned collective farms with shoddy equipment abandoned and rusting in the fields. The drive of those formerly oppressed peoples to catch up economically to their western neighbors was palpable. And then there were the former prisons and torture centers that had been operated by secret police ruthlessly carrying out Moscow’s bidding—still intact lest anyone forget, and now rechristened as “Museums of Communism.”

More Americans need to see such things.

My wife and I met Yuri in 1991 at a Mises Institute conference at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Finding that he had joined the faculty of Carthage College, my wife’s alma mater, we hit it off from the start. Yuri visited us in Pennsylvania at least a dozen times over the years, first alone, then with wife, then wife and children, and once we even had the treat of hosting Yuri’s mother and sister who were permitted to emigrate from Russia during the Yeltsin years. We, in turn, visited Yuri and family in Wisconsin several times, too. Our daughter loved hearing Yuri’s stories, which he generously shared with her over the years. He also shared his special perspective on the world with students at Grove City College, both in a public speech and in the privacy of our home. What a treat!

I should add that there is a significant parallel between Yuri and Grove City College legend, the late Hans F. Sennholz. Hans (a pure Austrian economist who was the first of four to earn his Ph.D. in economics under the mentorship of Ludwig von Mises) was, like Yuri, born into a country that was both a foe of the U.S. and featured heavy government control over the economy. Hans reached adolescence and spent his teen years in Germany during Adolf Hitler’s rule. Having become a Luftwaffe pilot as a means of improving his social standing, Hans was fortuitously shot down in Africa and then transported to the United States where he lived in safety in a POW camp in Arkansas. Later, fully comprehending what a miserable lie central economic planning is (whether the fascist or socialist variant) after being repatriated to Germany after the war, he returned a few years later. For over 30 years, Dr. Sennholz taught classes, wrote articles and books, and gave lectures far and wide in defense of the free-market principles that had made the United States the most prosperous country on Earth.

Yuri’s path was similar: For over 30 years, Dr. Maltsev taught classes, wrote books and articles, and gave lectures far and wide, reminding Americans of their own heritage, rousing Americans from their dormant understanding of the economic principles upon which our prosperity is based. Indeed, it is an amazing world in which a pilot in the Nazi air force and a Soviet bureaucrat emigrated to the USA and became stronger and more eloquent defenders of free enterprise than all but a tiny minority of home-grown Americans. Like Hans, Yuri was often vilified by leftists, and like Hans, he had the strength to withstand the meanness and persist in his defense of American freedoms.

Now my larger-than-life friend Yuri is gone. He is survived by his wife, Rita, four children, and his mother and sister. Thank you, Yuri, for all you did for our country by constantly reminding us what a wonderful blessing liberty is. Thank you for teaching sound economics. Thank you for the courage to withstand the taunts, barbs, and persecutions of leftists—Americans too blind to see the dangers and evils of central planning from which you were trying to save us.

Mostly, thank you for being my friend. God bless you, and rest in peace.
February 1
February 1
I am sending my condolences to the family and all friends of Prof. Maltsev.
We have hosted him in our office together with his students once in Ankara, Turkey. And I remember our memories in other international meetings, we shared many thoughtful discussions together. I learnt a lot from his talks about the Soviet Union and his broad perspective about the political systems in the world.
He left a remarkable place in the intellectual struggle for freedom.
Ozlem Caglar Yilmaz
Association for Liberal Thinking

February 1
February 1
Yuri Maltsev was a rare man - a scholar who showed great courage both in his personal life by being in the literal forefront of the fight against tyranny, and in his professional life through his writings and presentations where he was fearless in taking on the oppressors. I was honored and pleased to have been his friend for many decades. May he rest in peace.

Richard W. Rahn
Chairman, Institute for Global Economic Growth
February 1
February 1
Yuri was a champion for freedom. Having grown up in the Soviet Union, he understood more than anyone else how precious liberty is. He dedicated his life to preserving fundamental values, furthering them with humility and humor. Yuri was a good man, and it has been an honor for Lydia and I to have known him.
January 31
January 31
My heart just breaks at this moment. I just found out my long time friend Yuri Maltsev passed away at the young age of 72 and I was unable to make it to his funeral. I was the Best-Man at his wedding- actually, I was his best man at 2 out of 3 of his weddings. Yuri was my hero for a host of reasons; his intellect, his economic opinions, his ultra-dry humor, to name a few. Another big thinker, Aristotle figured there were three kinds of friendships:
• 1) Friendships of utility: exist between you and someone who is useful to you in some way. ...
• 2) Friendships of pleasure: exist between you and those whose company you enjoy. ...
• 3) Friendships of the good: are based on mutual respect and admiration. ...
Yuri was all three to me since the day I met him. 30 years can come and go quickly. He left the world a better place for having lived in it. I will miss him greatly. God bless and God speed my friend. A consequential life well lived!
January 31
January 31
I've written a tribute elsewhere, so I'll try not to repeat myself. Since writing the tribute, I went to the afternoon reception for Yuri (in 5 degree--if not below zero--weather). The room was filled. A couple of my Carthage colleagues (Katrin and Tim) and many Kenosha locals who had traveled with Yuri to Russia--frequently, as Dr. Cliff Peterson recalled 15 such occasions. Before leaving, I introduced myself to Rita as a colleague and friend of Yuri's even though I was a 40-year member of the English Dept. But, as a jazz pianist and music educator, I also met Yuri in social-musical contexts, and we even talked about Washington D.C. and my passion for the Washington Wizards. It turns out Yuri was not the totally "free agent" I had once thought he was. Clearly he's been in good hands with a conversant, observant, and most perceptive partner. My deepest sympathies to Rita and to Yuri's family. Dr. Sam Chell, Professor Emeritus (the program insists on using one of my aliases for a name)
BTW, if Yuri was responsible for the music for this tribute, I must compliment him on his good taste. If I have to hear "My Way" again, I'm "all in" as long as it's by my guy. Sure enough, the version was by its original singer, Ole Blue (F. Sinatra)..
January 30
January 30
Yuri's knowledge of the darkness of the world made him the perfect inspiration for those seeking the light. He truly championed freedom in its most meaningful forms, and his humor allowed him to be able to coax people away from the acceptance of oppression. He was a wonderful companion on the many trips we took together, and it was impossible not to think of him as close relative. He will always be an inspiration.
January 30
January 30
With big sorrow I and my husband Aleksandr Nilov, old friends of Yuri Maltsev, whom we met in the beginning of our immigrant life in Kenosha (after we arrived in WI in 1994), learned of Yuri's untimely death. Yuri and Aleksandr were almost of the same age...
Honoring a friend's death is truly about honoring his life. Friendship transcends death. Memories made will never be forgotten... Warmth is found through fond memories. Our friend Yuri was ridiculously happy in life, so let us celebrate that life rather than weep over death.
Friendship is a connection that does not weaken in death but instead grows stronger for those who remember.
A friend taken from life too soon is nothing but tragedy. His death affects everyone who knew and loved him. We will honor his legacy and remember him always.
- Lyudmila Filatova and Aleksandr Nilov.

January 30
January 30
My heartfelt condolences to Yuri's family and friends. I remember his stories in class with a smile and a heavy heart. Yuri sparked my interest in Austrian economics. I lived in a post-Soviet republic, and his stories and viewpoints replayed in my mind many times. I regret not reaching out to him more. What a unique and remarkable person.  

May heavy hearts and tears of sadness, turn to joy and fond remembrance.
January 30
January 30
I knew Yuri as a valued and supportive colleague, a challenging intellectual sparing partner on matters of political economy, and as a warm and generous friend to me and members of my family. I chaired the Economics Department at Carthage when Yuri was hired in 1990, and I knew at the time we had added breadth (of academic training and knowledge) and depth (of life experiences) to our small, three-person, department. Little did I imagine, however, how responsive our students would be to Yuri as a teacher, story-teller, and all-time champion J-term trip leader at Carthage. Looking back, I can say that over the past three decades, Carthage Econ majors, and nonmajors who took our courses, have gained an appreciation for the diversity of economic thought and policies. In his recent book, the economic historian Brad DeLong frames history as a duel between the insights of Friedrich Hayek and Karl Polanyi. Our Department (Yuri, Brent McClintock, and I) provided students with this range of economic thinking, while insisting that there was a rich body of economic science that we all valued and structured into the many courses we taught to many, many Carthage students over these decades.  I retired from Carthage in 2014, and regret that I will not be able to discuss the DeLong book and other things with my old and dear friend Yuri Maltese

Robert Schlack, Professor of Economics, Emeritus.          January 30, 2023 
January 30
January 30
We give our condolences to Yuri's beautiful wife, Rita and his children. May God greatly comfort you.
I met Dr. Yuri at a 2nd amendment rally on the south side of Milwaukee in 2012 and was so honored to have heard his wisdom and sarcasm on economic matters in the US and marxist/socialist countries.
Through the years my husband Don and I had the opportunity to enjoy many gatherings with Yuri.
Dr Yuri was a larger-than-life person. We never had a dull moment in our conversations.
We lost a wonderful charismatic being. I wish we had more time to spend with Yuri. He was just an exceptional person.

Hugs and prayers

The Pridemores

Tina & Don
January 30
January 30
This site with it's richness of memories of Yuri is wonderful: written tributes, pictures, biographical info, partial memoir, etc. is such a treasure. I met Yuri over 30 years ago, just a few years after he moved to the US, after escaping (he came to hate the word "defecting" for the fairly obviously terrible propaganda connotations of that word) the Soviet Union. We became friends quite quickly and stayed friends for all this time, though not always in frequent communication, but renewing the friendship as often as possible.

It was such a pleasure to read the partial memoir this morning, posted on the "Life" tab on this site. What a wonderful memory of his early years and the two key people who influenced him then. I had never heard him mention them before. But so poignant, and so well described, as well as such perfect examples of how the soviet system really worked, and harmed people in very real ways.

I cherish the multi-faceted nature of Yuri, his experiences, his ability to plan and partake in more adventures, communicate them in such fascinating ways, and how this site is such a fount of exploration of those many facets.  I look forward to coming back to drink in the new tributes, pictures, stories, possibly add some more of my own that time will unearth and permit and share the wisdom of this much loved man, who enriched us all. 

My sincerest condolences to all his family. 
January 29
January 29

As with many others on this list of commemoration, I came to know Yuri through the Mises Institute, but expanded our friendship at other gatherings and occasional email correspondent. Yuri at his college, and I at mine, created many study trips for students, and for a couple of years thought of combining our forces and staging a trip together. The timing never worked out, but I think now about the spectacular opportunity I missed—to travel with this fearless and good-humored globetrotter. I never saw Yuri without my day brightening up. As others have indicated, he was a world class raconteur. It was impossible to talk to Yuri Malstev without hearing a great joke or a funny story or a poignant description of his life in both the Soviet Union and the United States. I have seen him less in the last few years, but in one of these encounters, I was privileged to be in a seminar with him on the Bolshevik Revolution in 2017. Some high-powered mainstream scholars were were among the small group for a 3-day discussion. Yuri was eloquent, fierce, unbelievably knowledgeable far beyond the standard literature for historians and economists. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson writing about John Adams and the hectic days pre-Revolution days in Philadelphia, in that seminar and in that group, Yuri was Colossus.

Yuri was a tough, independent advocate for Liberty. I will miss him. Sincere condolences to Rita and the whole family, and all good wishes from Karen and me.

Hunt Tooley
January 29
January 29
Quiet, Gentle, Understated. Never misrepresented ideas. Instead, he formulated them in a way that stripped them of their ambiguity and exposed their contradictions. And he'd smile and wait for you to make sense of what he said, and then he'd nod and his eyebrows would lift and he'd say "Yeah. That's true." he was a riot.

Yuri enjoyed life. Indulged in it. He drank wine, and brought caviar to dinner. And if a steak was particularly good, he would find out every detail about it. He never betrayed any regret. If he wanted to do something, he didn't wait. He just lived a fulfilled life.

It's my view that often the most relevant and useful knowledge is that of personal experience. It is clear to me that Yuri felt the same. He had so much perspective shaped by such radically unique experiences, I think he felt that it was more important to share those, rather than anything else.

He had an obligation to you. To give whatever he had to offer, from the moment he met you. But most importantly, he wanted nothing more to sit with you and enjoy life as often as you would sit with him. And then he would be tired and say "Alright. If you don't have any more questions, than I think we will end our discussion for today."

I used to say to myself, I need to record these classes. Not for the economics. That was all written down somewhere. It was the stories he'd tell. The experiences he shared. His personality. His humanity. I didn't because it would be impossible for the mic to pick his quiet voice up. It would just be the laughter of the class for hours on end.

He's domyllne so much for me. I could never hope to repay him. He will be dearly missed.
January 29
January 29
I have known Yuri for over thirty years, and we shared a lot of interests especially what's wrong with socialism. He was a warm and lovable person, full of life and good humor. He will be sadly missed and his absence is a major casualty in the worldwide army for liberty.
January 29
January 29
Dear Rita - It was with great sadness that I learned of Yuri's death - Yuri was a deeply loved member of our family for many years- I was deeply grateful that he attended and spoke lovingly at the memorial services for my parents, Marian and Leroy Merrifield, who had welcomed him to this country and into their household when he defected in 1989 - I remember so well Vicki and my visit with you and Yuri in Kenosha in 2006 - We enjoyed the outdoor cookout overlooking Lake Michigan that Yuri provided with you ,Stanley, Laura, and your friends with the local symphony orchestra - and the picnic down by the river when you visited here - I remember Stanley was practicing the fiddle and was anxious to learn to play Mississippi Breakdown - He and Laura had a good time tossing the football around while we growing ups enjoyed visiting with each other at the picnic table - Just recently, we reconnected when I responded to his humorous posting of the photo of Selma Hyeck on Facebook - We both expressed the desire to visit again after the hiatus of several years - I'm so sorry we didn't have the opportunity to see each other again -
   May I express my deepest sympathy to you, Stanley, Laura, Alexandra, Hannah, his mother and sister -
    with sadness and much love,
                          Randy Merrifield
January 29
January 29
Thank you, Yuri, for over 30 years of friendship. We loved your many visits, and I am so grateful to have accompanied you on your trip through central Europe in January, 2005. You did great work for a great cause -- the liberty of every human being. Wishing peace and comfort to Rita, Stanley, Laura, Alex, Hannah, Olga, and Natasha. We will miss you. -- Mark Hendrickson, fellow Austrian economist, and Eileen and Karin
January 29
January 29
Yuri was a good colleague and friend who always extended his helping hand when I needed it. I will miss his stories, his humor, and his advise.
January 28
January 28
Dr. Yuri Maltsev was a wonderful teacher, travel guide, and friend. I had the great privilege of being his student and teaching assistant at Carthage. I loved his stories and his incredible sense of humor. He had a high tolerance for immaturity and was patient with his students. He understood the theoretical attraction of Communism especially to young people, and freely shared stories of life in the USSR and his defection in hopes to temper the allure of non-free market systems.

I traveled with Yuri to six counties outside of the USA and my adventures with him were always memorable. My first time outside of the country was as a sophomore in college with Yuri. I have also shared “Yuri trips” with many friends and my wife and mother-in-law.

I loved introducing Yuri to family and friends. He was his own brand and would light up a room. I feel very lucky to have been his student and that he found himself at a small college in my hometown after a fascinating career advising the USSR, and - after his defection - the USA on economics issues at the fall of the Cold War.

Yuri told me that he took language lessons soon after his defection in hopes to lose his thick Russian accent. But, he learned that people underestimated him because of his accent so he stopping taking lessons. I remember his quick retort (in his intentionally well maintained accent) explaining his general nonchalance: “But, Erik, your jails are better than our apartments!”

Yuri is a part of many of my favorite memories. He will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time.
January 28
January 28
Yuri was a scholar and a gentleman...and an inspiration for all those who love and yearn for freedom. I had the honor of getting to know Yuri these last 7 years on the lecture circuit. The most time I spent with him was when he was kind enough to give me a ride from LAX to one of the speaking engagements he and I were going to last year. Two hours into inland California and I haven't laughed that hard on a road trip probably since college. His insights were deeply valuable and heartfelt. He was not like many academics that I've known. Yuri could bring humor and calm to the tensest situations--as he often did during our panel discussions on the lecture circuit. An off-color joke here and an interesting personal quip about his time in the Soviet Union there, and no audience could resist his charm. The last time I saw Yuri was with my wife, in a little hole-in-the-wall fish house in northern Florida--just the kind of place you'd expect a uniquely brilliant and gregarious man, like Yuri, to enjoy--for a speaking engagement we were all involved in. The three of us must've spent two hours talking about music, the Russian Far East, and traveling by train (which he so loved to do). Rest in peace, Yuri, you will be missed. And may God bless your family and help them through this difficult time.
January 28
January 28
Yuri was a brilliant man and an amazing professor. I took my first Economics course with him as a freshman at Carthage and from then on I took every course he taught. I was privileged to spend a lot of time with Yuri outside of the classroom at countless dinners and economic forums where he would share his life stories and experiences. I still repeat his stories to this day because of how much he meant to me. I’m sad he’s passed but I know his memory will live on through all those who were lucky enough to spend time with him.
January 28
January 28
My sincerest condolences to the family. Yuri made a huge impression on me when he visited the Solidarity movement in South Africa. I have enjoyed his speeches.
He was repected and great man. It was an honor to known you Yuri. Rest in peace.
January 28
January 28
I’m so sorry to hear this news. I took one of his J-Term courses to South Africa in 2008. It was amazing experience. I remember him to be quite funny but rarely breaking a straight face. He was a great professor. I had no idea about all of his achievements. My deepest condolences.
January 28
January 28
I first met Yuri when he joined the Carthage faculty in 1991. I was a young adjunct economist while Yuri was a well experienced and widely respected economist. Yet Yuri treated me like an equal. He was so kind. I remember the wonderful conversations we had about economics, life, and the future. Oh the stories he could tell! He has impacted so many people over the years, including me. The world will not be the same without him. Rest well my friend.
January 28
January 28
My deepest condolences to the family. I never met professor Maltsev – we only have had a few video streams together, and were planning to have more in the future. An outstanding man has left us; a great loss for the forces of good in this world.
January 28
January 28
I first met Yuri around 16 years ago, and since then, we've developed a close connection in which we freely share our opinions on a variety of subjects.
He was a great storyteller and was always fun to listen to.
He was an expert at standing out for freedom and criticizing the wrongdoings of the Soviets and Putlerists. He took a brave stand against Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.
A really nice man was lost. His contributions to the industry will continue to carry on his legacy.
I will sincerely miss him.
I'd want to send my condolences to the family and friends.

January 28
January 28
Sad news indeed. Yuri was the only kind of patriot worthy of the name--one who loves liberty and works as hard as he can for the liberty of all. He was one-of-a-kind in so many ways, all much appreciated by everyone who came into contact with him. Thank you, Yuri and the Maltsev family, for all you've done to inspire a world that sorely needs it. -- Lawrence W. ("Larry") Reed, president emeritus, Foundation for Economic Education.
January 28
January 28
As a student of Yuri's in 2007 and 2008 at Carthage College, I am thankful for the life Yuri lived with passion and intention. I fondly remember his classes, his teaching, and the stories he would share with us. His legacy will be remembered. Grateful.
January 28
January 28
My friend, and co-author.

You were a treasure of experience, insight, and good nature. I'll miss you.

-Roman Skaskiw
January 28
January 28
I will miss the amazing person dearly. I will cherish our special times in South Africa. Thank you for keeping in touch over the years after I left Carthage. One of my idols and someone I will always remember. Rest in peace Yuri.
January 28
January 28
I knew Yuri for many years. I met him for the first time about twenty years ago when introduced by mutual friend Michael McKay. Anyone who met Yuri became his friend and admirer. Despite the risks that he took to escape communism and become an advocate for freedom, he was never gloomy. He exuded good will and had a wonderful sense of humor. I was honored when he gave a speech at The Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin, where I taught for over thirty years. He peppered his serious speech with humor and won over an audience of several hundred serious, senior bankers. Yuri admired Frederick Hayek, of course. During his talk he referred often to Hayek and then showed a picture...of actress Selma Hayek. "Whoops!", he said, "Wrong Hayek." Typical Yuri humor that endeared him to his audience.

Yuri encouraged me to write and submit essays to The MIses Institute. HIs encouragement meant so much to me. I'm sure he did the same with many others. We will miss Yuri, but his influence will live on and grow.

Pat Barron
January 28
January 28
One of the greatest minds I wad fortunate enough to meet. He took our class to Turkey and had us sit in on some amazing lectures. Truly a amazing man who's comments and messages will be greatly missed.
January 28
January 28

Ira and I were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Yuri’s death. Our deepest sympathy goes out to Rita, Stanley and Laura as well as Natalia and his dear mom.
Yuri was everything you could possibly hope for in a friend and colleague: smart and funny with his own unique take on virtually every subject worth discussing. He was such a presence on the DOD seminar circuit, where I got to know him, it’s hard to imagine how any effort to sort out the state of the world will ever be the same.
What a loss to all of us who knew Yuri and to the uninhibited flow of ideas.
Yuri’s many gifts—his insatiable intellect and generosity of spirit, his quick wit and infectious laugh—will be missed by everyone lucky enough to have known him.

January 28
January 28
He had a great influence in my life and worldview without even knowing about it.
January 28
January 28
Yuri has impacted the lives of many and will be greatly missed. He provided his students with opportunities of a lifetime, to experience the world through his love of culture and economics. I will forever remember our trip to Turkey and Greece and will be forever grateful to Yuri for broadening my cultural knowledge and experiences. May he Rest In Peace.
January 28
January 28
My professor, My friend.
Yuri an Icon.

No one can teach charisma, they say it’s innate.. they say charisma and charm come from the heart, when you search in the dictionary next year Yuris picture will come up as the definition of charisma.

Yuri and i didn’t always agree, but we both had kids, jobs, a life in Kenosha and similarities that all humans have, a pursuit of happiness and freedom from all bounds that prohibit one’s self actualization no matter how crazy the idea… He would listen and somehow let you see that that idea was a mustard seed and you should never give up.. “then again so was putting on blue jeans and defecting”

Yuri as a friend was a combination of, comedy, danger, and applicable content stories always with impeccable timing and his absolute appreciation for the moment.

Yuri had a skill the ability to can truly give you all of the moment to engulf you in his storytelling and intellectual engagements,

Even amidst chasing our kids at the zoo, stopping for breaks having snacks, He still had a calm collected manner to tell me I would succeed, I believed him and he made me feel that He believed in me.

Yuri as a professor was blunt, fun, and charming, He would open your eyes and bring a practicality for how things can sway quickly, we have not always agreed on political or economic policy, but He always invited thought!

I am extremely grateful that his family let us students, have a little bit of Yuri, His time was cherished by every single person that got to enjoy him.

My heart goes out to Rita and the kids.


January 28
January 28
With great grief I write this tribute to a great man and Defender of liberty. I met Yuri around 25 years ago and frankly, we mostly had a great time making fun of socialism and laughing about how crazy big government is. In approximately 2015 I attended his seminar at Carthage College with Herman Machado (hope this is correct spelling) of South Africa, a black man who went from aparteid to millionaire businessman. Yuri graciously allowed me to set up a table and distribute free books to attendees and I had a great time that day talking to all sorts of interesting people. More recently I got to know him better and we made several trips as I drove him around SE Wisconsin and into Illionis simply enjoying the countryside and talking about politics. We were working on a co-authored article when news of his passing reached me. His sense of humor was awesome. His best line was: "Russia. It's a great place to be from."
January 28
January 28
My condolences go out to Yuri's family and friends.
I remember Yuri as a freedom thinker, economics enthusiast, great professor and my mentor during my time at Carthage.
As a foreign exchange student in 2000 he took me under his wing and showed me the fascination in economics (as I hadn't decided on a major yet).
Speeches, awards, field trips (Chicago board of trade was hilarious), a Cuba trip and his extremely smart and huge network were impressive and formed me as a young student.
Thank you for making such an impact on my life and the life of many other students.
With deepest sympathy from Germany!
January 28
January 28
As a long time student of the Austrian school of economics I was treated to learning of Yuri many years ago. He wass such a funny and lovable human being. I am saddened and will miss him enormously. Godspeed Yuri.
January 28
January 28
It is with a heavy heart that I received the news of Yuri's passing. He was one of the most memorable men that I've met; he was kind, captivating, and deeply interesting to my young mind. I greatly respected him and remember fondly our trip to Turkey and Greece and his lectures in class. How he was able to relate nearly any situation to economics (the supply/demand graph of romantic exploits was of particular enjoyment and drew plenty of laughs) was fascinating.

He was a passionate crusader for his beliefs, in particular economic freedom. This was something I have always admired greatly. He helped to shape my own economic views and delve further into economics - something I never imagined I would find myself enjoying so much.

Thank you for everything, Yuri. Your influence has touched many and has left a wonderfully positive mark on this world. You will be missed.
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His Life

Yuri's Biography in His Own Words

I found several chapters of a memoir that Yuri started to write a while ago. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1.

I was born on the last hour of December 31, 1950, in Hospital number 3 in Kazan, the capital of the Tatar Soviet Socialist Autonomous Republic. Kazan was one of the biggest cities in the USSR in the 1950s, with over a million people of over fifty nationalities on the banks of the Volga River. My grandmother Marina was a medical doctor and a Division director at the Infectious Diseases Hospital. My mother, Olga, was a professor of microbiology, and my father, Nikolai, was a professor of biophysics at Kazan State University. Both were medical doctors who practiced medicine for a while but withdrew into research and teaching as Soviet socialized medicine, especially in the rural heartland, was a constant struggle for supplies and survival.

My birth started a life of surviving the improbable. My first problem, which I was unaware of until much later, was created immediately upon my delivery: I was registered as born in 1950, so I had already halved my chances of getting into the university and doubled my chances of ending up In the Soviet Army instead.

During my first years, I was in the bliss of ignorance about life's possible unpleasant surprises. I spent happy days in a cozy cocoon of love and comfort from my babushkas, parents, and nannies.

Our family lived in a spacious seven-room apartment in downtown Kazan on the second floor of a solid brick building built by a wealthy Tatar merchant for his family just before the Revolution. This merchant was lucky enough to escape the Red Terror with his big family and ended up in Turkey. His building was confiscated and turned into 38 mostly communal rooms with shared kitchens and tiny apartments populated by people of various ways and means.
Our family occupied the best apartment on the second floor, with a view of the Bulak River and the enormous Stalinist building of the Kazan Pedagogical Institute across the river. We were on the top of the building's hierarchy, inhabiting the most space, and belonging to, if not privileged, but respected medical class. Babushka Marina was also a recognized matriarch of the family who cared for all of us.

My parents worked, and so did my babushkas. The family could afford to hire me a nanny instead of sending me to the State-run day nursery. Most of these were known for neglect and disease. I was too young to remember all my nannies, but two really impressed my childhood - Paulina and Sophia Alexandrovna.

Paulina came from a peasant family who, like most peasant families in the USSR, lived in what we in America would consider dire penury. As they did not know better, they were pretty content with living in a picturesque rural setting in a shack together with animals, which were taken in the house during cold winters. They also had a small plot of land, which provided the family with basic staples like potatoes, cabbage, and beets. My beloved nanny Paulina represented the best of Russian peasantry - she treated my caprice with eternal endurance, always with a smile, always listening more than talking, suggesting rather than commandeering.
Her project was a success; after working for my family for about a year, she met a young man discharged from the army and married him both for love and a residence permit. She quit the dubious pleasure of being my nanny when I was five and joined the proletarian masses by getting hired by some factory. Paulina developed a real bondage with my family and me. She would often stop by our apartment for a cup of tea or a meal with my babushkas, ask me about my explorations and achievements, and talk about her family and factory life.

At this time, I already had another nanny - Sophia Alexandrovna, who my desperate family hired to take care of me, desperate in the sense that they could not handle me by themselves and could not find anybody else but Sophia Alexandrovna.
Sophia Alexandrovna, in another life, Princess Sophia Dzhavadova was in her sixties, a worn-out splinter of an illustrious empire. Married at 18 for just half a year to a brilliant Georgian Prince Mikhail Dovgadze, who Bolsheviks shot in 1918, she went through all "circles of hell."
Her real life ended at 25 after her voluntary return from emigration to France as she felt lonely and out of touch with French society; it was a grave mistake. Upon return, her life turned into a grim sequence of rape, humiliation, torture, and harassment. Like Solzhenitsyn, she went through numerous Gulags and exiles. She taught French in a small village school after "rehabilitation" during the Khrushchev's "thaw." Then she led the miserable life of a Soviet pensioner living in a small cubicle in a shared apartment with people who hated her with all the fervor of the truly proletarian class hatred.

She was a great nanny - telling stories about life as she knew it so long ago that she was unsure whether it was reality or a dream. She was the first to talk to me about God, patiently answering all my irreverent questions. She told me about her life in Paris in the 1920s but never about her hardships and humiliation.

One thing which impressed me greatly at that time was her telling me that she was so afraid of death and loved living, seeing the sunshine in the morning and feeling the freshness of the air in March. She looked strange in her self-sewn clothes, covered with self-made beets-based make-up produced during long lonesome evenings; no TVs and tickets to philharmonic or movie theaters were out of reach for her meager pension.When people laughed at her for the peculiar pretentious of her style, they didn't realize that she had a lot of taste that she could never accommodate on her meager income, coupled with drab and gray choices and pervasive shortages of almost everything in Soviet stores.

Sophia Alexandrovna was the first genuinely religious person that I met. She regularly attended the church and had a little altar with icons and a small burning icon lamp. Even then, under Khrushchev's "thawing" reforms, being religious and attending the church was a mortal sin from the government's point of view. Even my loving and caring babushkas were cautious about having her in our house and talking to me about Sophia Alexandrovna; they remembered only too well what could happen to people harboring class enemies.

The family

Yuri, or Yura as we call him in Russian, was born to a medical family. Our maternal grandmother was an infectious disease doctor, and our parents held M.D. and Ph.D. in medical sciences. Yuri's grandfather on the maternal side was a Professor of Botany. 
Our grandfather on our father's side was a charismatic, Europe-educated architect from a prominent family. In the 1930s, he worked on reconstructing a former Tsar's villa in Sochi for the needs of Stalin, who wanted to use it as his winter residence. As soon as the reconstruction was completed, my grandfather and the whole crew were arrested as "enemies of the people" without any explanation or a trial. Apparently, Stalin's paranoia didn't want to keep alive people who knew the building and adjacent gardens well. Only in 1957 our grandmother discovered that he was shot three days after the arrest. 
Our well-educated grandmother, who spoke several languages and strived to be a concert pianist, could not find a job because she was the "wife of the enemy of the people." Unfortunately, history repeats itself in Russia, and the best of the nation is getting to Gulags again.

Recent stories
January 29
I started my career at Carthage College in 2006 as a theatre professor after a career as a scene designer and professional actor.  In fact, it was arranged that I appear as the Doctor in our production of "Uncle Vanya" that year.  After seeing the show, Yuri wrote to the whole faculty (back in those days you could just send a blanket email)--singing the praises of our production and saying it was better than when he saw it at the Moscow Art Theatre!  Well needless to say I was humbled and flattered.  Several years later I asked Yuri to come and speak to the cast of "Stars in the Morning Sky," a play set in 1984 Moscow.  Who better to inform the students what it was really like back then?  He introduced himself as a "big economist"--in every sense of the word!  Then he proceeded to tell us the heartbreaking conditions he had escaped from, opening up to the young actors in a way which I am sure was difficult and painful--how generous of him.  Later he had his wife came to see the play--they gave us a standing ovation, I will never forget it.  Thank you Yuri and on your next journey may you have fair winds and following seas.

such sad news

January 28
I first met Yuri through the Wisconsin Forum which he addressed many times. Afterward, if there was a gathering of more than three people,Yuri was the center of all discussions. A natural story teller, respected scholar and teacher, He leaves a legacy of standing up for freedom and will be missed by many

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