A friendship forged through Dostoevsky and Leonard Cohen
This is a story about two men in Ottawa, about language and music, about Dostoevsky and especially Leonard Cohen.
Mikhail Rykov grew up in Byelorussia—now known as Belarus—playing banned cassettes and his beloved guitar. He became a computer engineer.
He loved his homeland, loved his language. But when the Soviet Union collapsed he — along with millions of others — looked to leave.
Rykov had friends in Ottawa who had already emigrated.
"Come," they said. "Canada will be good. And you can be part of Jerry's class, too."
The "Jerry" Rykov's friends were referring to—Jerry Golland—taught English as a second language, in his own special way, to refugees and immigrants.
In 2001, Rykov made his way to Canada and to Golland's classroom.
Eventually, the two men found a "secret chord" that still connects them today.
David Gutnick's documentary about the two men is called All of Us Are Sputniks.
Click 'listen' above to hear the full documentary.