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elegance to revolution and back again

MOSCOW (AP) — In 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed around him, Alexander Mishakov was summoned to a place that was off-limits to most citizens — the Metropol Hotel.

Newly graduated from a technical institute, the 24-year-old had scored an interview for a breakfast chef position. Catching the first morning train into central Moscow, he walked through the hotel’s grand entrance and into a sphere of unimagined elegance. At the time, the hotel was open only to foreign guests and a privileged echelon of the Soviet elite.

“I will never forget my first impression walking into that…

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