Yesterday, I was doing a tiny tasking on Russia’s nuclear regulator Rostekhnadzor. (The poor agency has recently been restructured under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, a far cry from the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission here.) In the process, I came across *a very lovely picture of Rostekhnadzor’s former head Konstantin Pulikovskiy*. (This picture was so good that I had to share it with you. Don’t you just love the Putin photo on his desk?) Anyway…
…Having headed up the agency since December 2005, *Pulikovskiy resigned from Rostekhnadzor “for personal reasons”* (or shall we say, “was resigned” or even “restructured out”) *in early September 2008*. Though he frequently appeared on television looking all busy and important, a Russian rag “noted ^ru^”:http://www.gazeta.ru/politics/2008/09/05_a_2831898.shtml that Pulikovskiy’s replacement at Rostekhnadzor, his former deputy Nikolay Kutyin, actually *ran the agency during the last three years*.
_For some reason, I had this weird feeling that I had seen Pulikovskiy’s picture before, though I couldn’t remember where. (Fast forward a few hours…) During a humble dinner (a tofu scramble), it came to me…_
*_A book by Pulikovskiy was actually on my bookshelf._*
Pulikovskiy got the Rostekhnadzor job after a stint as Putin’s plenipotentiary in Russia’s Far East from 2000 to 2005. *His book, titled _The Orient Express: Through Russia with Kim Jong Il_, describes Pulikovskiy’s train travels with the Dear Leader*. Though it has no literary value, the book is a real collector’s item. (And not just because Pulikovskiy is seemingly an egomaniac.)
For your enjoyment, a _New York Times_ review of the book is “available here”:http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9800E5D81F38F930A35751C1A9649C8B63. This paragraph is quite telling.
On a stop at Omsk, the North Korean *rejected a plate of barrel-salted pickles, dismissing the offer as shoddily marinated cucumbers from Bulgaria*, not prepared in the authentic Russian style.
“Then they served *tiny pelmenis, kopeck-size, in a small frying pan baked under cheese and mayonnaise*,” Mr. Pulikovsky wrote, recalling crestfallen faces on the Siberian hosts at the arrival of the Russian meat dumplings. “*Kim Jong Il picked at them with a fork and said: ‘What kind of pelmeni are these? They should be big, boiled and in broth’*.”
With all that experience, I can’t help but wonder if Pulikovskiy can get a job as Kim’s personal “pelmeni maker”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelmeni.