Veronica Davidov has a good post at All the Russias’ Blog (sponsored by the NYU Jordan Center) about “how American Media misunderstood the Sochi Olympics opening,” with an analysis of the “long grand narrative of Russian and Soviet history presented as a psychedelic dream of a young girl named Lyuba.” Davidov focuses in particular on the image of the red balloon, “uniformly interpreted throughout the American mediascape as letting go of the dream of communism,” and I urge you to read the whole thing (and listen to Bulat Okudzhava’s “minute-long existential melancholy song about a blue balloon and the cycle of life and time” [text]). What I want to mention here, though, is what won me over when I was watching the ceremony. It was a one-two punch: first, for the letter Н (N), they had the name Nabokov and a bunch of his beloved butterflies; then, for Ъ (the hard sign [not П = P, as I originally wrote!]), they had Pushkin (of course)… and Khatul Madan! How could I resist?