Mark Goldberg


Back to the USSR

It has been more than 37 years since I was last in Moscow. I went to Russia in March of 1974, when Western relationships with a cold-war era Soviet Union were being thawed by hockey summits. Our grade 12 history teacher found a special way to bring life to a curriculum looking at the “History of Revolutions.”

We had a broad cultural immersion that week. I recall learning to drink vodka shots in a loud disco in our hotel in Leningrad (as St. Petersburg was then called), arguing about whether (current Canadian Senator) Frank Mahovlich was really Russian. I recall the fun we had with their mispronunciation of his name, claiming it was really Махолович [Maholovich], so we responded with our index finger raised:  Махолович один, Канада один. I still proudly display my collection of pins from trading Bazooka chewing gum with people on the streets.

There were other extra-curricular activities that are best shared at a later time.

Next Sunday, I am going back to a very different Moscow, en route to the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the launch of the world’s most advanced communications satellite. It has been a while since I have been this excited about a business trip. Xplornet is partnering to dramatically increase the amount of capacity available for rural and remote broadband service, enabling far faster speeds at a more attractive price point.

As I mentioned last week, Xplornet has a special website ( that allows you to share in the excitement as launch day approaches. The space shot itself will be streamed to a live feed on that site.

I don’t expect to be arguing about hockey in the hotel bar, but one of the Russian phrases we learned 37 years ago will still come in handy: “водки, пожалуйста”.

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