Our involvment in this project was unknown to Russian governments, authorities or institutions. We were neither assisted nor oppressed by them, so there is no one to thank or to blame.
Publication of the whole collection was conceived shortly before this authors' transition to the West, which was initiated and prompted by Professor Dmitry Leites of Stockholm University. Subsequent support of Professor Jan-Erik Roos of Stockholm, Laust Pedersen, Sten Kaijser, Ed Griffor, Ulla Birgegaard of Uppsala, Stephen Milne of Ohio State and Arkady Vaintrob of New Mexico State Universities was instrumental for his re-establishment within the academic community. But meeting Professor Adriano Garsia of UCSD initiated a change that was beyond all expectations. It is completely due to his open-mindedness and support that the 25 years' dream became reality.
Thousands of computer hours were needed to produce an electronic image of this collection. Equipment, software and Internet access were provided by, or used at the Russian Academy of Sciences at IMGRE, Moscow, Departments of Geophysics and Mathematics at Uppsala, Sweden, and University of California, San Diego. An overwhelming portion of this work was done at the UCSD Mathematics Department. The author highly values the freedom of research and the spirit of collaboration which reigns here. "We are all one big family", as system administrator Joe Keefe used to say. Thanks, Joe, and thanks to Professors Ron Evans, Peter Doyle, Nolan Wallach for your help and advice. Special thanks to WWW expert Dmitry Beransky for his commitment to this project, as well as to broader tasks of promoting Russian culture at UCSD and around.
Collecting modern folklore stemmed from interests in math and information, poetry and music awakened in this author by Jana Kutin, and reiterated at Moscow High School for Physics and Math No.2. The role of the then school principal Vladimir Ovchinnikov, my late supervisor Tatyana Olegina and humanities teacher Vladimir Alenikov in this respect cannot be underestimated. Later the author had a chance to learn the trade of researcher from mathematicians Yury Manin and Alexei Rudakov, and linguists Vladimir and Anna Dybo. Many other Russian intellectuals, especially math high school graduates, made significant contributions to this collection.
However, it is the attitude pertinent to the whole work which is far more basic than knowledge or skill or even the data itself. It is the understanding that every person has something good inside, and that everyone deserves our attention. This attitude, together with commitment to unearthing knowledge of social realities, no matter what common beliefs are, and to passing it to further generations, is inherited from Ola Shatunovsky. Let this publication be a tribute to her tremendous work, still sealed and hidden in Russian secret archives.
La Jolla, California,
August 13, 1996.