January 01, 2021

In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Malcolm Gilbert in January 2020.

In a year filled with death and mourning, I pause here to remember an individual who was for me, and for this magazine, profoundly influential and truly remarkable.

Malcolm Martin Gilbert passed away at the age of 88 last October. A professor of geography and history in Carmarthen, Wales, he impacted thousands of students over the years, myself included. His colorful, charismatic lectures on Russian and Soviet history* led me down a path of study and work that inexorably led to this magazine (which he loved). We kept in touch over the years, and last January I managed to return to Wales to spend a treasured afternoon with Malcolm and his daughter, Jane.

According to Jane (who provided the text below), Malcolm always said that he hoped there was no reincarnation, as he could not imagine enjoying a second life as much as he had this one. Born in Cwm, a mining village in the Ebbw Vale, he recalled a halcyon Valleys childhood, sliding down mountains and slag heaps on tin tea trays, bunking off school, learning to improvise jazz piano and walking miles to play cricket, two of his great loves – and meeting the greatest of those loves: pretty, clever Norma Handy of neighboring Abertillery.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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