The Autobiography of a Sportscaster by Alexi Uvarov
The book titled “Colors of a Middle East: The Making of a Middle Eastern Culture in India”, by Kamal Amrohi and S.H. Shaji is published by Oxford University Press and will be available from select retailers in the UK and the USA in early 2021. This book has received praise from many Indian and international readers as it offers an intriguing look at two vibrant nations locked in conflict today. Although India and Iran have been bitter enemies for over a century, the relationship between the two countries has improved somewhat under the former leadership of Manmohan Singh. The book seeks to explore how this relationship has changed since the Islamic Revolution, with an eye to current events in the region and Indian interest in the oil markets.
“COLORS OF A MIDSummer Night’s Party” by Kamal Amrohi and S.H. Shaji is a report on the history of the spectacular Central Asian state of Turkmenistan and the ex-Yugo leader turned politician; the late Amin Bukharianov. The book covers many topics including Amin’s early years in exile, his time in post-war Kazakhstan and thereafter, his time in Russia, his time in Afghanistan and later, his decision to turn against his former patrons and help put together a Turkmen team to challenge the former Soviet Union in Kharkov, his life in Russia and his unfortunate association with Alexi Navalny, an exile from Russia who is later to become one of the leaders of Dashnakha or Peace.
The book chronicles Amin’s rise and fall, his early days in exile, his time in Moscow, his time in the Kazakh government, his time as a sports journalist in Russia, his association with Aleksandr and Leonid Dyanskogul, his trial for corruption in Russia and how he was rehabilitated by ex-KGB spy boss Valentin Krasavski. He is also involved in the preparation for the Olympic games in 1996, enjoys his time with his family and goes to Russia for the opening ceremony. He is not selected for any of the four games and subsequently dies of a heart attack while taking his wife there with them. A year later, his body is discovered near a coal mine in Ufa.
Alexi Navalny is the most fascinating character in this book. He was close to Amin Bukharianov and at one point was even seen as the next to the successor to the head of UFA. However, his time as an exile did not take him very far, as the authorities found out that he had headed an illegal organization called “The Organizers” and sought to arrest him and ban him from traveling to Ufa, which is where the book ends. His trial for corruption and other charges ended in his acquittal, but it was a bitter end for Alexi and led to the cancellation of the Olympic plans.
The main story line takes place inside the Ufa itself, where Alexi is accused of arranging the death of opposition leader Natalia Poskova without telling any of the organizers. The investigation reveals that Alexi had received money from Poskova’s husband to organize her death, thus preventing any real competition from occurring. But before the case gets to this stage, the organizers themselves discover Poskova’s body hidden in a suitcase somewhere at the club. Before the case goes to trial, however, the new Prime Minister of Russia arrives in town, claiming to have ordered the murder. The main suspect in the case is a certain Yul Brynneck, a former adviser of the deceased prime minister.
The author of this book has put a lot of effort into organizing an entertaining read. The events in the book are well documented and referred to with total precision. There are detailed discussions about the various sports involved, including how to deal with them when there is no competition taking place. The book also covers the politics behind the sport and how it influences Russian society more generally.