Val Karren: The Deceit of Riches

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Val Karren The Deceit of Riches
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    The Deceit of Riches
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    Fly by Night Press
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    Триллер / на английском языке
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In the new Russia, nothing is as it seems. A senior Russian military engineer is murdered. Is it espionage or treason? In the modern Russian revolution, corruption and hidden agendas in both government and industry have replaced law and order. When Peter Turner, an American student uncovers a murderous shadow network of extortion, money laundering and espionage he must get out of Russia before the KGB and gangsters silence him for good. When morals become relative, and all choices are dangerous, self preservation is no longer intuitive.

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V M Karren


Today is a little worse than yesterday, but a bit better than tomorrow.

- Russian proverb

The following is a work of fiction, as was most of official Soviet history.


Dear Reader,

As husband and wife living and working in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia during the same tumultuous time period as the author, we so identify with this gripping novel. Though Peter Turner might be fictional, the chaos, the explosion of crime and the mafia, and the struggle for basic necessities were not. This was a dangerous, yet exciting, time to be in Russia but also deeply sad to see how the Russia people suffered due to all the changes enveloping their country—criminal and otherwise.

Val Karren brings to life this crazy, unsettling time during the fall of the Soviet Union by telling us the compelling story of Peter Turner, an American university student in Nizhny Novgorod, who inadvertently gets caught up in the local power struggles. He experiences first hand many of the day-to-day struggles facing the common man and woman; describing some of the repercussions of what Russia’s new-found freedoms brought to the Russian people and their culture. Through the eyes of Peter Turner, the author is also able to give us a glimpse of the difficulty of moral choices when circumstances become dire, and nearly everyone seems corrupted, either through need or greed.

A positive thing that does come through the author’s words is his love for the country of Russia itself; its beauties and the paradoxes of the Russian culture and its people.

This story will be entertaining and enlightening for anyone interested in this period of Russia, especially as seen through the eyes of someone who was actually there. For those who experienced Russia, while all this tumultuous change was happening, this will be a particularly great read. It is a glimpse of life that most outside of Russia and the Soviet Bloc know very little about; it shows hardship and how it can change people—for good or bad. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it shows that there are people who will fight for what is morally right—even when the outcome is in doubt.

We are looking forward to many other stories about the “Motherland” and Peter Turner’s adventures from author Val Karren!

Mike and Bonnie Ramsdell Best-selling Author of A Train to Potevka

0. Obituary


November 14, 1994 / Union News Services

Moscow / Bishkek

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation this morning expressed his condolences to the family members of Ivan Sergeyevich S. who was found dead in his Bishkek hotel room in the late evening of Sunday, November 13, 1994. The Kremlin, it was stated, is committed to a full investigation into the death of S., which has been classified as an act of terrorism against the Russian Federation. The authorities in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan have committed their full cooperation to solve the crime and bring his murderer to justice.

Ivan Sergeyevich S. was a decorated veteran of the armed forces of both the Soviet Union and Russian Federation. S. was awarded the medal “Hero of the Red Army” in 1978 for his contributions to the advancement of both Soviet and Russian military aviation.

S. served in the Red Army in the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s after the liberation of Europe from fascism, helping to restore peace and security on the borders of the Motherland after the Great Patriotic War.

A graduate of Moscow State University with an advanced scientific degree in radar and radio sciences, S. served his country heroically in the research and development of aviation supremacy of the Soviet military, successfully protecting our homeland against the imperialist aggression of the United States & Great Britain for thirty-five years.

This morning the President of the Russian Federation, Boris N. Yeltsin, had awarded S. the highest civilian honor of our country for his selfless sacrifice in fulfilling his duty to the Motherland. S. was murdered while taking part in a security operation with the RF state security agencies against the theft and smuggling of Russian military technology through former Soviet republics in central Asia, to Chechen separatists and terrorists.

S. is survived by his wife Natalya Federovna and his only son Igor Ivanovich who live still in the Volga river city Nizhniy Novgorod. S. directed radar technology development at the Government Institute of Military Avionics in that provincial capital city since 1979 until his untimely death.

Glory to the Heroes of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation!

1. Yulia

Up until the moment that the airplane touched down at Moscow’s International Airport, the nerves and doubts played over and over in my mind on a repeating loop. It had been seven months since my last stay in Russia. I was unsure of what would happen once I was again on the ground. Would I still be able to speak Russian? Surely, I’ve forgotten too much already! Will I make it to my hotel without getting mugged? Why am I doing this again? As soon as the wheels touched the runway, all my insecurities scattered as quickly as cockroaches from the morning sun. Finally!

The only question from the stern-faced woman controlling my passport behind the thick, scratched glass was: “Do you speak Russian, Mr. Peter Turner?” She asked me with disapproval in her voice.

“Yes, of course!” I answered with no hesitation but taken aback that she even addressed me.

“Where did you learn it?” she asked looking up from her computer terminal without moving her head, her eyes on me with a glance of suspicion.

“On the Volga,” I replied again with a wisp of nostalgia in my voice and a smile.

“On the Volga?” she asked surprised and looked me full in the face.

“Yes, On the Volga,” I repeated with animation, “In the towns on the river like Yaroslavl, Plyos, and Nizhniy Novgorod.”

“Very nice,” she muttered with just twinge of a smile in her eyes.

She stamped my student visa and my passport and slid both back to me under the glass with a lingering trace of curiosity on her face. I collected my documents and nodded my thanks to her.

Perhaps more unusual in this exchange than an American happily speaking Russian to the stern, khaki-clad immigration officer in Moscow, was the smile on the officer’s face as I stepped away. Centuries old ingrained suspicion of foreigners in their country was melting quickly with the changes in the early 1990s. Russians expressed pleasant surprise when westerners spoke fluent Russian with them. Such exchanges perhaps went to validate a citizen’s hope in the post-Soviet shift, as Russia lurched ideologically closer, with abrupt starts and stops, toward Europe and the United States. If foreigners were learning their language and coming to stay, they thought, perhaps it wasn’t such desperate situation after all. Maybe the sun was just about to rise again!

Russia, in the early years after the rejection of the Soviet Union and its communist mandate, had embraced the ideals of free market reforms and the privatization of the country’s entire infrastructure and economy. It was moving quickly to undo the almost seventy-five years of state control over almost all economic activity and personal choice. Unfortunately, most citizens were not ready for the rapid changes dictated from the top down which clashed with all they had known and learned from childhood. Groups of very clever, dishonest people in high places within Moscow’s inner circles of power, and criminals who violently usurped it, were those who benefited the most. Those same people also accelerated the pace of reform where they could before their advantage evaporated with the re-education of the population. While foreign money poured into Russia to invest in newly privatized hotels, factories and oil fields, which was being reported with glee in western newsrooms, the workers and pensioners were being swindled out of their shares and homes by con-men and gangsters who could more deftly adapt when the wind changed directions. Banks weren’t just robbed, the banks were stolen and moved to Switzerland. What once belonged to everyone, now belonged to only a few. Those who couldn’t stand the motion sickness caused by the untempered gyrations towards capitalism and democracy were simply ground into the dust that covers the cars and buildings in the cities and villages across Russia.

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