Arts, Culture & Media

Journalist Vladimir Voina on leaving Russia, buying beer, and the 'foolish' US government shutdown

This story is a part of a series

First Days

This story is a part of a series

First Days


Vladimir Voina, a journalist from Russia who moved to the US in 1989, sits at a journalism reunion in Boston with reporter Peg Simpson.


Courtesy Nieman Foundation

Inspired by Philadelphia’s South Asian American Digital Archive, and its project that collects immigrants' stories about their first days in America, we’ve begun gathering similar stories from immigrants throughout the globe.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

In this next story, Vladimir Voina, a journalist from Moscow who has written for Russian and US newspapers, talks about arriving to Boston in 1989. He moved to the city for a journalism fellowship and stayed.

On his first night out in Boston, he was struck by long supermarket aisles, the massive selection of food and liquor on display.  

“It struck me as something absolutely surreal. Not possible even to imageine. I counted 83 beers…because it was so unnatural. We were drinking in Moscow just one brand of beer!”

Voina goes on to talk more about his first impressions here and how he reflects on America today.