Rumors abound. Conspiracy theories flourish. The Russian community knows -- absolutely knows -- that nothing is ever what it seems.
The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" have come to Los Angeles.
First a disclaimer: I have never met Arnold Schwarzenegger, have never spoken to him, was never contacted by his political people, no one ever asked me to support him, or offered me money to do so. I supported him because I respect him and because I am convinced that he will be good for California. In fact, if I may brag just a little, I started predicting that he would be the next governor of California many months ago, when only a few hard-line nuts seriously considered that a recall could be successful. I didn't think/hope that Gray Davis would be recalled. I just was sure that Arnold would run and win the next race.
Michael and his wife went to a kibbutz in British-ruled Palestine in the 1930s. He joined the navy when war broke out and later ended up teaching French and metal shop at a London high school. It was there that he accepted a challenge that changed his life.
"Do you remember me?" he asked. "I am Semion, the soldier with the camel. In Berlin, at the Brandenburg Gate, remember?"
I sure did. During the war there were no trucks for his artillery unit, so several dozen camels were shipped in from Soviet Asia to pull the guns.
The battalion is the brainchild of Roman Rathner, a former major in the Russian green berets -- the Spetznaz -- who immigrated to Israel a decade ago, who offered his expertise and knowledge to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and was refused because he was older than 30 -- too old. A year ago he went on the Russian radio and appealed to his former colleagues.
"Aren't you tired of watching our women and children getting killed on TV? Don't you want to do something to help?" he pleaded.
The handling of the October hostage crisis in a Moscow theater is only one of the examples of a Russian attitude that is incomprehensible to the average Westerner.
What the Russian Jewish immigrants of Orange County lack in numbers they make up for in passion.
"Stalin is our fighting strength, Stalin is our youth.... Singing, struggling and victorious, our people go with Stalin." -- from a popular Soviet song.
The New Melones Lake, a reservoir near the city of Modesto, is in a quiet, rural area in central California. The reservoir resembles a river more than a lake as it winds its way among the hills of Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.
The reservoir is a popular fishing area, but in the middle of March its catch of the day wasn't fish: It was four decomposed bodies of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who were kidnapped from the Los Angeles area.
A German corporation that used slave labor to produce some of the weapons that killed American soldiers is now building a monument in Washington to honor the Americans who fought and died in World War II.