From small numbers a decade ago, Baltimore's Russian community has grown into a colony of a couple of thousand families. Every week sees newcomers settling in.
A number of these relatively recent emigrants from the Soviet Union have decided to take a plunge into American capitalism. There are now Russian delicatessens and caterers, beauty shops and florists. And of course, taxi drivers.
Among the new businesses is "Moscow Nights," a 10,000-square foot restaurant which recently opened on the premises of the former Bolton Hill Dinner Theater, at 1111 Park Avenue, not far from the Meyerhoff Concert Hall.
Restaurants come and go and the opening of another one, however good or however ethnic, usually does not merit comment in these columns. "Moscow Nights" is a special case, however. It is the first truly Russian restaurant in the Baltimore-Washington region. Why the nation's capital, with its sizable Eastern European community, has never had one is a mystery. In any event, those wanting to sample the flavor of Russian nightlife, including culinary delicacies that are better prepared than most anything in the Soviet Union, now can do that in Baltimore.
Meanwhile, a new Russian-language journal has been launched from Owings Mills. Called Vestnik ("Messenger"), it has a print-run of 3,000 copies and appears every two weeks.
Vestnik hopes to build a circulation base in East Coast cities with a large Russian-speaking population -- New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Its first issues offer tips to newcomers on finding employment as well as serious discussions about the Soviet Union's problems.
Problems in their new country also are tackled. "Many of the journal's founders are trained as scientists and have school-age children. They are especially aware of deficiencies of the American educational system in the areas of mathematics and physics. Therefore we plan to publish challenging problems for school-goers in these areas," its editors state.
Each article contains a synopsis in English, reflecting the editors' desire to make it an indispensable tool of American students learning Russian. We welcome Vestnik and wish its readers well.