In the fall of 1945, a new government order to liquidate all the monasteries came to Moldavia. In the south they decided to start with the monks, and in northern Moldavia they picked the convents. Trezvory was the first to be closed. One early morning the bags and buckets, pillows and homespun rugs, sacks of flour, chickens and turkeys — all were loaded high on carts and rapidly disappeared in four directions.
The speed and the well-organized manner in which this lawlessness was carried out left everybody paralyzed. Then came the hour when they actually started dismantling the churches and burning the sacred books. They drove out animals and dragged out the church furnishings. The insolent gangs, intoxicated with the sweet taste of power and destruction even more than with the wine they had consumed, were chasing after the young nuns. The horrified old nuns were crossing themselves and bidding each other their last farewells. They all were shoved into trucks and driven away in different directions. In the middle of all this noise and confusion, a young girl of about seventeen from a nearby village approached the old, sick Abbess, who was standing there in silent despair. The girl quietly told the Abbess that the previous night she saw an angel in her dream.
The word “angel” had an awakening effect on the old nun. She had been expecting a sign from God, or any kind of message from above, all day. She composed herself, comforted her flock the best she could, and found a quiet corner to talk to the girl.
“So what did the angel confide to you, my child?”
“He said: Leave your parents' house and go to be a nun.”
“Nothing less than that! Your angel must think that it can be done in one day, or even one morning!”
“And why not?”
“My child, you have to serve a novitiate for several years before you can take your vows...”
“Then take me as a novice.”
“How can we take you? Don't you see that they are taking us away?”
“What should I do, then?”
“Pray to the Holy Virgin, thank her for the fair dream, and forget about it. You are young and pretty; the young men will soon be coming back from the war. Get married, have children and forget about our grief.”
“No,” the girl said. “The angel told me to go to you and to live my life near the monastery springs, like that kind Samaritan woman who gave the Savior water to drink.”
“Well,” the Abbess said hesitantly, “the springs are over there, in the ravine. If you have time and desire, you can look after them...”
“But to be able to fulfill this task, I need somebody to install me here. I need somebody to give me a strict order what to do, and to give me a coif, so that I can wear it like other nuns. Don't worry, I will wear it with honor and will bring no disrepute upon your convent.”
“Good Lord,” the old woman said, “what do you need the silly bonnet for? Because of it they may, God forbid, take you for one of us, throw you into a car and take you away!”
“They won't. I had two brothers in the Red Army. One was killed and the other came back. Please, give me a coif.”
“But this is futility, my daughter!”
“I am asking not so much for my sake as for yours. If you allow me to wear the coif, you can go in peace. You will know that you did not leave the convent to the mercy of fate, that there is somebody here who will always take care and preserve...”
“But to take care of what, my daughter? To preserve what? It's all gone now...”
“Why, the churches. And the cemetery where many deserving people lie. And the springs.”
“You are just obsessed with those springs!”
“Well... It's not only that our convent got its name from the springs, but its very existence depended on them. I mean no disrespect, Mother, but in my simple mind I believe that even after you are gone, the water in the creeks will remain cool, healing and sacred...”
At this point, so the story goes, the Abbess embraced the girl, kissed her, took off her own coif, put it on the girl's head, and tied up the laces under her chin. Having done that, she seemed completely to regain her confidence. She found the officer in charge and announced that she and the remaining sisters would not leave the convent unless they were allowed to assemble in the main church for the last time to bid farewell to the altar and the bells. They say that her wish was granted, and that the girl was allowed to join them too, and that the Abbess kept her close the whole time.
Of course the legends are only the legends, and some believe in them and some don't. As time passed, some people alleged that all this was old wives' tales. They were saying that when the convent was being liquidated, the girl came with other villagers hoping to get hold of a pretty rug or something, but she came too late, when there was nothing left. All she found was an old dusty cap, so she put it on, and only afterward came up with the story about her dream and the angel. They insisted that the girl could not possibly have met the Abbess, simply because the old woman was on the verge of madness and was mounting such curses that they took her away first, before dawn, even before the beginning of the operation.
The bells were silenced, and the dust settled down on the road to the monastery. So, was it good-bye Trezvory? But even though the nuns were taken away and their property stolen, the monastery stood as it had before. Solid and elegant, it settled in comfort on a small plateau in the ravine, surrounded by hills covered with shrubs and oak trees. It was noticed long ago that the monks in general possessed a keen sense of beauty and understood its elevating power. The sites they chose for the monasteries always were special places that seemed to bear a sign of holy grace. From whichever direction one approached Trezvory, the monastery appeared like a miracle born from the earth's depths and elevated in the palms of the mountains to be handed to the skies. From a distance, one could see the tall freshly painted white walls and two clusters of green cupolas behind them. Inside, besides two cathedrals, were several large houses, some auxiliary buildings, and the long row of nuns' cells, which reminded one of a honeycomb. All this was surrounded day and night with a light whisper of the springs chattering at the bottom of the rock on which the monastery stood. Actually, it had all started with the healing waters of those creeks. According to the legend, Stephen the Great, the founder and king of Moldova, his leg badly wounded in a lost battle, reached the springs one night and was healed by their cool waters. Since then, the fame of the springs spread by word of mouth as well as in written chronicles and old books.
I wonder: If it were up to you, dear reader, what would you do with this suddenly vacant place? Say, would you put a school there? A hospital? A ranger's station? Well, maybe, but in Moldavia they thought differently. Why, our wise heads asked, don't we put there a regional tractor depot, an MTS! Of course, they had to overcome some obstacles. For example, how to get all the machinery up to the top of the mountain when there was not even a dirt road that a horse cart could manage? Or, how to cram a garage and shops and all the offices into such a small place? Or, when the time comes, how to get the thousands of tons of this tractor fleet down to the fields and later back up the mountain? As you can see, the problems were not small ones, but after all, isn't it what the Soviet people have installed us for?
Done. Climbed up, wriggled through, and squeezed in. The more racket and mayhem, the better, so that the rest of the world will know that the new era has arrived...
A germ of destruction, perhaps, lies dormant in everybody, biding its time. So it was to nobody's surprise that the young men, recruited from the nearby villages to study in the tractor school, rushed into the sudden vacuum to prove what they were made of. They created a whole new folklore: “true” stories of the intimate life of the young nuns. Fiery imagination drove them on every evening as, on the way back home to their villages, they stopped and wiped their tarry hands on the white monastery walls, leaving behind the kind of art and literature of which humankind has never been particularly proud. However, to the great disappointment of the future mechanics, their most brilliant artistic statements disappeared before they had a chance to gain their rightful notoriety. The more colorful and witty the writing, the faster it was erased. It reached the point that the main instigator decided to stay on guard one night, and the self-appointed censor was caught. Ghostlike, carrying a bucket of whitewash, her white cap askew from the eager endeavor, she was busy nipping their fence wisdom in the bud.
The guy turned out to be not all so bad after all. He felt guilty for having frightened the girl, so he walked her home and even volunteered to carry her bucket. Near the girl's house, they sat for a while on a bench under the old chestnut tree. After some deliberation, the fellow asked for a glass of water. It's an old tradition in Moldavian villages: If a fellow likes a girl, he asks for a drink of water. The girl ran to the well and fetched a bucket of fresh water. After drinking two full mugs in gulps, the lad asked her the reason for her strange behavior. He would not leave off until she gave up and told him about the angel in her dream. “Hum-m!” was all he said.
About a week later, the youth returned. Since she already had taken a vow and couldn't leave the monastery, he said, the logical thing for her to do now would be to marry him. After all, he said, it didn't matter to him whom he married, so why not her? For her, however, there could be nothing but advantage: As his wife, she would be able to visit him openly in Trezvory at any time and do there whatever she saw fit.
“Do you think we could actually move in there?”
“What do you mean, move in?”
“Well, let's say, to make a little house for ourselves somewhere in a corner?”
They had no wedding feast because by that time famine had started. They were married in a small church fifteen miles away where services were still held. After that, with the help of both families, they put together a small shack in a nook behind the main church. By Christmas, together with the first snow, a rumor spread in Northern Moldavia that a nun was surviving in the monastery-tractor yard. What was even more surprising, the nun was married.
Meanwhile, the MTS was gaining momentum. From morning to night, the engines wailed and the iron crashed. The smart guys were learning fast. They learned how to assemble and how to take apart a motor. They could start it, clean it, and tune it. They had even figured out where to get scarce spare parts. The only thing they couldn't get right was the bean soup.
The problem was that in the drought year of 1945, along with the monastery liquidation campaign came the whirlwind of the compulsory meat and grain collections, sweeping through Moldavian villages. They took anything they could find — milk, grain, chicken, and cattle. By winter, the famine moved in. Half-abandoned villages seemed sunk in a lethargic daze, day or night. The MTS, however, was a new-era organization, it had no right to be torpid, it had to live a whole-blooded life. To boost their spirit, the mechanics were given a ration of eight hundred grams of bread, which most sneaked home to their families. So the administration decided instead to serve a hot meal once a day, and for that purpose they brought three kilos of dry beans from the regional center every day, to make soup.
Right from the start, the beans started exhibiting some odd behavior. They shrank, slipped away, mysteriously disappeared, evaporated, and cooked down so much that when the hour arrived to serve the soup, there was not much there but clear water — not a single tiny bean, not even a bean skin, not a vague resemblance of what used to be called bean soup.
“I wish they had left at least one nun here,” the mechanics complained. “Ask the old people what great bean soups they used to make!”
“What about that girl in a white cap? She looks like a nun...”
“Do you think we could actually accept her?”
And that is how the good times came. Every day at two in the afternoon, the thick smell of real bean soup reigned over Trezvory. The only thing that bothered the mechanics was that the foolish woman never squirreled away anything in her pockets and was the last to sit down at the table. If there was anything left by that time — fine; if not, it was fine with her too. Even worse, however, was that she got it in her head that on the monastery grounds they were expected to feed not only those on the tractor school list, but whoever was hungry. There was no telling how many hungry people were sneaking in every day attracted by the smell of the bean soup! The mechanics tried to explain to her that the MTS was an atheist organization in character, but she threatened to quit the kitchen over such talk. They settled on the compromise that she could feed the strangers, but only with the leftovers. In those hungry years, however, leftovers hardly ever remained. Then on one gray spring day, she found a dying old man at the monastery wall and brought him to the table. When he received the cherished plate, the old man closed his eyes and just sat there, breathing in the smell of the soup for awhile. After it cooled, he ate it slowly. Then he stood, faced the empty right corner of the room where the marks left by the icons still showed on the walls, crossed himself, and pronounced in a suddenly strong voice: “Thank you, Maika. I bow to you low to the ground and kiss your hands.” The thing is, in Moldova the name “Maika” is reserved for the most deserving and respected of nuns. And so it was that the rumor spread in the north of Moldova that even though the Trezvory Monastery had been closed and its churches were stripped and services were no longer conducted, a nun still lived there. Not only could one often see her around the grounds, but they said that in time of trouble you could turn to her for help and be received, and fed, and consoled. As tradition had it, the nun would walk with you all the way down to the springs, sit with you there for a while, comfort you, and give you hope...
As time went on, somewhere in the mysterious depths of power the idea was born that MTS had become obsolete. The thing to do, they decided this time, was to give the machinery directly to the collective farms. So one fair day, after a long and painful occupation by the roaring machines, Trezvory Monastery became empty and quiet again. Two more years passed while discussion on what to do with the grounds went on, with alternating intensity, at different levels. While they argued about it somewhere at the top, in the monastery two babies were born. The happy family was busy around the clock trying to bring the place back to life, so that the orchard, and the vineyard and the churches would once again look like what are called orchards, and vineyards, and churches in the rest of the world.
Now again I wonder: If it was up to you, my dear readers, what would you install in a such an abused and empty, but still sturdy and homey monastery? Maybe a folk art museum? A research institute? A sanatorium for tuberculosis patients? I don't know. But in Moldavia, as the old people say, no matter what seeds you plant, you can never be sure what you are going to harvest.
One day at dawn, the whole ravine filled up with the roar of an exhausted herd. What stupid cowherd would drive his cattle into such a tight place? Maika thought. She ran outside the gate, still half-asleep. Couldn't he find a better watering-place? Meanwhile, the herdsman drove his cows higher and higher, and here he was ordering her to open the monastery gate. When Maika refused, he broke it open himself, and the cattle filled the yard.
As it turned out, the discussion on the top ended in the resolution to give Trezvory to Zagotskot, the regional meat supply station. The problem was, after the years of famine, the cattle requisitioned from the nearby villages were in such bad shape that the meat did not meet standards. The cows had to be fattened up a bit before they could be transported to the slaughter-house. It occurred to somebody that Trezvory would be an ideal place for that. Certainly, there were some problems. First, how to get the cattle there? They collected some animals from as far as a hundred miles away. So what? Can't they walk? Second, how to feed the cows? No grass grows on these rocks, and the nearest train station is twenty kilometers away. So what? We shall bring the feed over. That's it. That is what the people installed us for, to solve problems in a speedy manner.
She did not weep or beat her head against the monastery wall. The main vow of a nun is to carry her cross humbly and patiently. The former cook became a cow-women. Together with her husband, from dawn to sunset, she chopped straw, cleaned the stalls, took out manure, and carried buckets of water for the animals all the way from the bottom of the ravine. For more than three years the thick stench of a cow shed reigned over the ancient walls and cupolas. The workers stole the grain meant for the livestock and forged the accounts of calves that allegedly fell off the rocks. For hours, they cooked the meat in huge boilers. The feasts were followed by endless drunken brawls. The murals on the walls in the churches grew moldy from dampness, and the foundations of some structures sank. The constant traffic of cattle and machinery in the ravine resulted in the disappearance of one of the springs somewhere underground. Who knows where all this would have ended, if not for that wonderful day when...
History has its own way of intertwining events, and it is not up to us — witnessing only our own times — to interfere with the order of things. To make a long story short, a celebrated French writer, spoiled by fame, visited Moscow with his wife and expressed a wish to visit Tashkent just on the eve of the horrible earthquake there. Because of the catastrophe, they clearly had to change his itinerary, and somebody came up with the idea of luring the famous guest to Moldavia. Especially because Kishenev had been pushing for the title of the “most hospitable city” for a long time. They prepared a reception on a most grandiose scale, but while on the plane the celebrity happened to pick up a magazine prepared for foreign tourists traveling in Moldavia. It is nobody's secret that our left hand often doesn't know what our right hand is doing. The magazine cover was sporting a beautiful picture of a curve of the River Dnestr, captured at spectacular sunset. In the background, glowing in the rays of the setting sun, the white walls of Trezvory Monastery stood in all their beauty with two groups of green cupolas behind them. The couple from the banks of the distant Seine were totally charmed.
“Would you like to go there, dear?”
What started then in Kishenev! They exerted all kinds of influence and attempted all kinds of strategies. After one especially successful dinner with fine wines, they even attempted to fool the couple and send them in the wrong direction, but the writer turned out to have served in the French army during the War and had an excellent topographical sense. For two days the difficult guests refused to leave their luxury suite in a hotel for foreigners and even threatened to break off the visit...
At times you may actually believe that we are capable of working miracles. The government's call to save the monastery was answered by all regions. People dropped their work in the fields and went to save the witness of their history. They cleaned, scrubbed, painted, and planted flowers. When three days later the important guests arrived, the Trezvory Monastery once again stood in all its beauty. In the ravine the springs were babbling, and on the mountain serene melancholy reigned, reminding a visitor of the imperfections of the world below. At the iron gate, repaired and freshly painted, a uniformed doorkeeper with golden epaulets, brought for the occasion from Kishenev, stood guard, as it is supposed to be in a civilized country. As for the cows, nobody knew exactly what happened to them. Of course, they could always have fallen off the rocks...
Now, time passed and our people were not starving any more. They dressed better and moved into better homes. And the agonizing question, which always arrives on the heels of prosperity, arose: What to do next? What had been the purpose of all the hard working, building and accumulating? In other words, what does a man live for? What is life? For many centuries the church had taught that life was love. The aggressive side in a man is capable of destroying everything, and only love can create. Love is the only medium in which the human spirit can ascend and thrive in its difficult search for the eternal and divine... This may be a disputable theory, but the world has been standing on it for two thousand years and has not quite fallen apart. Having closed the temples and monasteries, the new order announced that life was nothing more than permanent class struggle and all the discussion about soul was just a useless talk. The final goal of Marxist teaching — the harmonious development of a New Man — was set forth in all republics of the Union. It reached Moldavia too. Moldavians didn't argue with that. They even tried to make certain steps toward this noble goal, but, for some reason, didn't make much progress. Moldavians would assure you that they were prepared to go to any lengths and spare no effort to develop that harmonious thing. They just were not quite sure what it was...
After being temporarily liberated by a French humanist, the Trezvory Monastery again fell into a time of uncertainty. Discussions about its fate continued. Meanwhile, the tireless family living in Trezvory found a bucket of green paint left behind by the workers who propped up the monastery for the foreign guests and, ignoring all safety regulations, climbed up and freshly painted all the cupolas. Then they dragged some white paint from somewhere and painted the outside walls as well. After this was accomplished, the Moldavian photographers wasted no time. Soon a series of excellent pictures of Trezvory found its way into the pages of the Soviet Union, to the horror of the local authorities...
Say, dear readers, what would you do now? What would you install in such an old but somehow indestructible dwelling? A summer camp? An environmental institution? A spa for collective farmers? That's what you might have done, but in Moldavia they had another urgent problem to deal with at that time. It suddenly became clear that the Moldavians were lousy drinkers. They simply could not keep up with their brothers from other republics. The pernicious habit of growing grapes in every yard, the hard labor from dawn to sunset, and irregular nutrition eventually took their toll. En masse, people started getting intoxicated too fast. They would have just a drop of wine, in fact, just a smell of it — and they couldn't walk straight. When such an embarrassment happens in the bosom of the family, that's one thing. But what if there are some important guests around, or even worse, foreigners? And important guests were coming to Moldavia in droves at that time, by car, train, and plane, from all over the Soviet Union and even from some fraternal countries. A very important experiment was being staged here: industrial super-concentration and extra-mechanization. It became vital to hide all those boozers as far away as possible. Some uninhabited islands or thick woods might have taken care of the problem. In the absence of such, they decided to ditch them behind the Trezvory's tall walls.
The former cook, cow-woman and dauber now became a nurse in a detox hospital for alcoholics. The methods of such institutions are well known: some emetic mixed into a shot of vodka, plus the power of paternal exhortation. As far as the exhortation goes, the bums quickly learned how to shut it off. As for the rest of the treatment... Most of all, the “patients” suffered from the humiliation and the bitterness of their fall. They were ashamed of their nurse and begged her not to come. Just stay home, they said, keep yourself busy with your knitting, make rugs or something, just don't come here. We will take care of everything ourselves. She smiled quietly, as if she neither saw nor heard them, and before they knew it she was back again. They cursed and damned her. It was not appropriate, they said, for a young woman, who was raising two sons, to watch this disgrace and infamy, not to mention cleaning up after them. Even their families had abandoned them! But she would only smile at them from her never-never-land and come back again. She fed them, and cleaned up after them, and washed their clothes, and turned her eyes away only when it was really... At late summer the prosperous life of our land reaches its zenith. On moonlight nights, when the scent of young fermenting wine is breathing from every yard and they celebrate yet another wedding in the hills, the Trezvory prisoners, tormented by shame and loneliness, lie two men to a bed in a main church, watching with glazed eyes a flying cherub in the cupola and waiting for their end. But wait! The huge door opens quietly. A woman wearing a coif enters carrying two heavy milk-churns full of fresh spring water. The fact that she is the only one who has not left for the wedding celebrations in the hills makes the poor souls feel that maybe God exists after all. And if that is so, perhaps, it is worth taking at least one sip from the cool churn. Who knows, maybe the water in those springs is really magic?
Trezvory Hospital was regularly named the best in Moldavia. Three years later, however, the super-concentration and extra-mechanization campaign flopped, the tide of important visitors dried out, and they decided to close some of the alcoholic treatment centers, Trezvory among them. The patients and personnel returned home, and all returned to normal: Let's drink this one to your health, and this one to our health, and may you prosper, and may we prosper...
When a soul casts aside its path to God, human fate abandons its connection to the eternal source. This disappearance of the spiritual source of life opened the way to a materialistic Gomorra that to some degree drew all of us in. No wonder then, that our fates have fallen into the hands of all kinds of thieves and scoundrels. Endless “experiments” have left our people and land exhausted and poisoned with pesticides. The rivers and forests are perishing. Together with wildlife, our people's star is in the descendant as well. It hurts to write about this, but out of ten babies born in Moldavia, at least one is born with birth defects.
Let me ask you again, dear reader, what would you do with Trezvory now? Yes, you've guessed right this time. Indeed, they turned the monastery into a school for mentally retarded children. Of course, if we had forsaken islands or thick woods, we would have no problem, but we don't...
The cook, the cow-woman, the dauber and the nurse now became a laundress. The most amazing thing about her was this incredible mixture of will and determination with endless kindness and acceptance. Her sons grew up, got married and moved away. One night her husband suddenly died. After his death, Maika asked someone to buy her in town a few yards of dark sateen, the kind they use for clothes lining. She made a cassock for herself and covered her head with a dark cloth. Then she rolled up her sleeves again. It was certainly very nice that the children at the school for the mentally retarded were all given jeans and denim jackets to wear. However, kids are kids, and denim is the hardest thing in the world to wash. Once soaked in water, it turns into wood. It made for two hundred pairs of wooden pants and two hundred wooden jackets, with wooden sleeves and metal buttons. All this had to be washed by hand and mended, and the rooms had to be cleaned too. After days of this work, the nights came, when the children cried, missing their families. Helpless in their anguish, these feeble children could not comfort themselves or each other. Instead, when one started crying, all the rest joined in. In the middle of the night, the heartbreaking chorus would awaken Maika. She would get up and go to this house of grief to console, and comfort, and, once again to be somebody's mother, home, and hope...
One day, somewhere in northern Moldavia, I was wandering around a local cemetery and came across Father Grigori, a priest whom I had known for many years. It was a hot day. We sat down to rest on a small bench near a grave. Our conversation was about those thousands of churches and seventy monasteries that were closed in Moldavia.
“I think Zhabka Monastery is the only one left,” Father Grigori sighed.
“Why, and what about Trezvory?”
“There is a school there now, for — what do you call them — the idiots. There is also one spring there left...”
“And what about the nun?”
“Isn't it true that by a miracle there is still one nun who survived?”
“Nonsense. That old woman was never even properly veiled. She did not even receive the blessing to wear a cassock!”
Meanwhile, years are passing. Every spring older children graduate and leave, and new children arrive. Did you ever give a thought, dear reader, where the mentally retarded graduates go? Naturally, they go home, to their villages. Did you know how short is the life of these poor souls? Usually no longer then thirty, thirty-five years. They try to work like everybody else, but they cannot stand up to all the trials and hardships of healthy people. Neither can they drink as much as normal people, and sooner or later they get into trouble. The majority ends up in prison. Many of those who have done their time and survived don't know where to go. Often, they pass by their family houses and find themselves again knocking at the gate of Trezvory. They come back to complain about their fate, to get fed, cleaned, and consoled, and, maybe, to complete their life near the only one who loves and understands them.
“Thank you, Maika. I bow to you low to the ground and kiss your hands.”
© 1992 Sonia Melnikova
About the writer:
Ion Drutze was born in 1928 in northern Moldavia (Moldova). He served in the Red Army and subsequently wrote for Moldavian newspapers and magazines. He became a renown author and playwright, writing both in Russian and his native Moldavian languages. His many plays were performed in more than 100 theaters in Russia, Moldavia, Byelorussia, and other former Soviet republics, as well as in Europe. Some of Drutse's novels, such as The Time of Our Kindness, White Church and others, elicited heated controversy but were nevertheless published in the former Soviet Union and abroad. At the end of the soviet era, Drutse, a USSR People's Deputy at the time, joined other vocal advocates expressing their concerns for survival of the indigenous cultures and environment. In 1887, together with other prominent writers from Russia, Moldavia, Byelorussia and the Ukraine, he wrote an open letter to the General Attorney of the USSR, “Chernobyl Effects: Criminal Actions of Bureaucrats.” Ion Drutse is a member of the Block for a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova. He lives in Moscow.
Certified Russian translation by a Certified Russian Translator: Sonia Melnikova-Raich is a Russian-English translator certified by American Translators Association (ATA). She is a certified Russian translator, certified Russian interpreter, certified court interpreter, Russian court interpreter certified by the State of California and Judicial Council of California, and a federal court interpreter. She has twenty years experience with expertise in legal translation, business translation, real estate translation, health care translation, medical translation, education translation, environment translation, communication translation, social services translation, social science translation, marketing and advertising translation and cultural adjustment, religion translation, art, film and video translation, architecture translation, and literary translation from Russian into English and from English into Russian. She works as a court interpreter for Superior Court of California, US Federal Court, USCIS (INS), Workers Compensation Board, and interprets for depositions, arbitration, trials, immigration and political asylum interviews, business meetings, and conferences. She provides certified translation of diplomas, academic transcripts, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, adoption papers, immigration documents, business contracts, immunization records, and other legal documents in compliance with requirements of the USCIS (INS), US courts, credentials evaluation services, medical boards, boards of registered nursing, American colleges and universities. She can also provide a certificate of translation (affidavit of translation or affidavit of translation accuracy), and notarized translation, if needed. She translates from English into Russian and from Russian into English. She interprets English to Russian and Russian to English, performing consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, sight interpreting, and voice over. Other services include linguistic analysis of company and product names, localization and cultural adjustment, Russian-American cross-cultural communication, cultural sensitivity training, and cross-cultural conflict resolution.