I share an office with Vegas Seven’s editor, Greg Miller, and it gives me a vantage point from which to observe—even admire, at times—the restraint he demonstrates in not oversharing from his vast vault of knowledge about Russia. It’s a self-administered professional muzzle—this is a magazine about our city, after all—and it usually takes a little prodding to get him to share his feelings about events on that side of the planet.
With the world-shaking Ukrainian crisis, however, comes an exception to our house rules, and we’ve encouraged him to unleash his expertise about that incendiary region as much as possible. Just in the last week, he lectured on the topic at UNLV, he was interviewed on KSNV Channel 3 and he’s joined the morning talk-show discussion on KXNT 100.5-FM. In the March 13 issue of Seven, he offers some sharp historical perspective on the matter, which has begun to affect us all—even if it’s simply fear of an unknown future.
This side of Greg is barely public knowledge in our newsroom. Many would be surprised to know that their Las Vegas-raised editor is a former staff writer for The Moscow Times (during the fragile days of the mid-1990s), is still fluent in Russian (thanks, in part, to his wife, a Russian native) and has a Ph.D-level mastery of that region’s history and culture (his doctoral dissertation at the University of Oregon explored nostalgia in the late-Soviet era).
I’m telling you this not because I just enjoy telling people about Greg’s incredible talent, but to explain where this lesson on Ukraine comes from, and why it is unique and important enough to belong in this, our weekly conversation with you. But, yeah, I do think it’s pretty cool, too.