Mariella Alberini​​

2Fuoco Russo Segreto

"Fuoco Russo Segreto"

Collana Russa 

Anno di pubblicazione: 2002
Casa editrice: Mursia 
Prefazione: Giuliano Urbani



In the spring of 1999 Europe is deeply troubled by the events in Kosovo and is about to be bombed. In Paris Andrej Klimkin, military attaché at the Russian embassy, shoots himself. He leaves a strange suicide note........I have been being hunted down for 13 years...Chernobyl....I can no longer bear to watch helplessly the massacre which is taking place before my very eyes.... signed in a different name by which everyone knew him: Andreev, the name he was known by in the KGB. Chernobyl....KGB...What really happened on the night of April 26th, 1986 which seemed like the beginning of the end of the world? Maybe an awkward suicide has uncovered some hidden past some unknown past? This mystery intrigues Elena Skutova, a beautiful, cultivated Russian in her forties, a friend of the dead man and who, in any case had been personally affected by Chernobyl (her father, a nuclear scientist, had died of cancer as a result). Elena Skutova, a clever diplomat with a promising future, puts both her career and life at risk to solve the mystery, shocked as she is by a surprise discovery. In the file containing the dead man’s personal documents, which is her job to return to Russia, she finds a letter in which Klimkin-Andreev mentions Chernobyl again and also confesses to his wife his personal sense of guilt in the deaths of Elena’s father and the other victims of the disaster as if it were no accident but a terrible planned attack for which he feels partly responsible! Elena, whose life had already been seriously affected by the world events of the previous 25 years (her adored husband having been killed in Afghanistan) soon discovers that someone else is also after the documents in her possession (mostly of little interest except for the letter, probably someone had already taken or destroyed any other compromising documents): Klimkin’s Moscow flat had been ransacked. No threat danger deters Elena from her determination , she is driven by the feeling that a hidden power is concealing something truly terrible, she remembers her father’s dying moments (there is a moving description of this in the book in which he utters some enigmatic words about Chernobyl to which, at the time, Elena gives no importance). Elena begins living an intense and dramatic double life; on the one hand as an extremely able and accomplished diplomat in the rich and protected world of civil service, and on the other, in a dangerous and threatening underground world which takes her to Rome, Paris, Budapest and Belgrade. It turns out to be even more dangerous than she thought: in Rome, she has a rendez-vous in the Domus Aurea whit Klimkin’s supposed brother. It is a trap and she escapes whit her life when an innocent tourist is killed in her stead. The danger that Elena is in becomes ever more tangible and the reader discovers something even more unsettling. An intriguing telephone conversation, a conference call linking London, Singapore, Johannesburg, New York, Moscow and Shanghai reveals the existence of a kind of secret sect: a group of unknown but powerful men are openly discussing among themselves the failed attempt to eliminate Elena and also their plans to dominate the entire world both politically and economically!
Unaware of all this Elena enrolls the help of a powerful English businessman, an advisor to Tony Blair, who helps her to meet some influential people in the world of genetic research and international commerce. Still without any specific leads, Elena however, develops her own theory, which will not in fact be too far from the truth: an entire rereading of all the supposed values of the 20th century. Maybe the Russian revolution had simply been good business for Western capitalists, isolating Russia, preventing it from developing into a dangerous competitor! Perhaps the truths presented to the man in the street have been little more than a stage set, little more than an illusion. The presence of the West in Russian affairs is immediately confirmed by an enlightening flash-back to a discussion which had taken place within the Russian government before the attack on the parliament building: mercenaries and western infiltrators in Moscow....directing first the uprising and then its repression. Although nurturing the most terrible doubts Elena never stops behaving like the perfect Russian and continues her work: she will take part in diplomatic mission to Paris, Budapest and Belgrade, in a desperate attempt to deflect the growing crisis, the bombing of Serbia, the isolation of Yeltsin. Meanwhile someone has stolen Klimkin’s file which Elena had locked up at the railway station in Rome. It is a difficult time: from Hungary Elena travels to Serbia on unsafe roads, through poor villages which are soon to be demolished by war. During this time and years after the death of her husband, she meets and falls passionately in love whit a German journalist, Stephan Schmidt, who will travel whit her to Belgrade. Like Elena, Stephan, too, carries the scars of the final years of the century ( in Argentina, Videla’s coup, the desparecidos...) In forceful images (a bridge on the Danube, gypsies, jugglers, barges and bombs...) Alberini paints a picture of Serbia on the eve of war. Elena attends the futile meeting between Chernomydrin and Milosovic: the meeting breaks down and the Serbian leader leaves with an enigmatic “remember Chernobyl”. Another jolt to Elena’s memory, while we, the readers, learn from another world-wide phone call between the all- powerful that not only have they decided to spare Elena but they will try and use towards their own ends. The ghosts of Chernobyl torment Elena, who luckily up again with Stephan at the Metropole Hotel in Belgrade: a powerful love scene takes place while the bombs begin to fall on the city. Inevitably the rest of the plot takes place in Moscow : Elena decides to challenge danger to the limits. In fact the wife of the dead man lives in Moscow and probably keeps her husband’s secret papers. She lives in a squalid 5 storey block of flats on the outskirts of Moscow. Elena , however, finds that someone else has got there first and Klimkin’s wife has been horribly murdered. Yeltsin’s own police arrive and hold Elena with a series of vague excuses. It is clear that complex conspiracy is weaving itself around her, in which an ambiguous part is played by the androgenous beauty, Lilja, who Elena had previously met in Serbia. In the city, whitened by a late fall of snow, Elena meets Stephan again, with a Russian journalist friend of his, at the Majakovskij Museum where they all plan to go and find
Sergej Andreev, Klimkin’s brother, also an ex KGB agent, now hiding somewhere in Siberia. They have adventurous and lucky escape from Moscow by air. Then in Gloskovskoe (Irkustk) they come very near the moment of truth. Kimkin’s brother, Sergej Andreev, lives right on the edge of civilization, holed up in an izba, protected from the ice and snow. On their arrival the three have a ferocious fight with hired hitmen who have been sent to kill him, and he, in fact, is the last (and by now the only one) to know. Hidden under the floor of the izba are the documents that so many spies had been looking for. The first dates back to the 22nd May 1986: two Russian scientists inform Gorbachov that strange coded messages warning of a disaster at Chernobyl, had appeared in the magazine Seven Days (authentic pages of which appear in the book!), giving those in the know time to get away. The second refers to 1917: bankers from every nation had financed the Russian revolution, a document with all their signatures is the proof! Someone therefore had used Chernobyl to bring Gorbachov to his knees. Are they perhaps the descendants of those who financed the revolution? Are they the same ones who cold-heartedly decide the fates of both the world and of single individuals like Elena and Klimkin? The three heroes leave Andreev to dig deeper into the frozen Siberia wasteland in search of an improbable serenity. They return to west and will try and tell the world what they have discovered by publishing an article called “Planetary Government the dark side of the planet” in Isvestia and Frankfurter Allegmeine... The last chapter begins in a Moscow flat where Elena and Stephan manager to create for themselves a fleeting moment of love, while we hear again what now seems even more sinister prophetic warnings from the dead ex KGB agent, forewarning of new and terrible international terrorist attacks (at this time only a few years before the epoch making tragedy of the twin towers) whit which the great and the powerful of the world subjugate the people and crush those who oppose their plans. Whoever cold-bloodedly planned the millions of deaths in the Ukraine is not going to hesitate to be the architect of other atrocities, in the name of a “new man”, perhaps will never exist. 

Un pacco di fogli stampati di fresco: sanno ancora di estenuanti revisioni notturne. Sulla prima pagina Mariella ha corretto a mano, probabilmente qualche minuto prima del nostro incontro. Mariella è Mariella Alberini: buona giornalista; esperta di politica estera (conosco e apprezzo il gran lavoro che ha svolto al Parlamento Europeo). Un’amica, soprattutto, da anni. È per questo che non capisco il suo strano imbarazzo, mentre mi allunga quei fogli.  La sua voce, che prima saliva in un trillo audace, ora precipita in un baratro sordo.  - Un esperimento. – la voce torna squillante, voce di eterna bella ragazza - Ho scritto un romanzo. Un altro.  Gli impegni politici hanno da tempo riempito la mia vita, come un padrone troppo esigente.  - Non ho tempo per i romanzi, Mariella. Non ho proprio tempo.  - Dagli almeno un’occhiata.  - Che cosa desideri, in realtà? - Solo un po’ di compagnia in quest’avventura sciagurata. Sarei felice se ti piacesse.  E allora me lo sono portato a casa, il pacco di fogli che profumavano d’infinite riscritture. Non sapevo quando, e se lo avrei letto davvero.  Poi mi sono imbattuto nell’incipit, così secco e distaccato, eppure così drammatico. Tra quelle prime righe si mostrava una parola terribile: Chernobyl.  Sono arrivato sino in fondo, facendomi portare attraverso i luoghi più affascinanti della nostra Europa: Parigi, Vienna, Budapest, Roma… un rondò mozartiano. È la primavera del ’99: i tempi della crisi del Kossovo. Alberini ritrae Belgrado sconvolta dai bombardamenti; dipinge Mosca avvolta dall’ultima neve crudele; si spinge sino in Siberia. I suoi personaggi sono spesso individui di qualità superiore e la protagonista è come lei: impetuosa e fragile, sicura e piena d’incertezze.  Mariella non ha rinunciato alle sue radici di giornalista: il suo libro è cronaca. Vi si respira dunque un’atmosfera inquietante. Tali e tanti sono i riferimenti a eventi drammatici della fine dello scorso secolo, che pare di leggervi spiegazioni del tormentato inizio di questo Millennio. Di più non dirò, per non rovinarvi il piacere della sorpresa.  Le chiedo: - Mariella, dove hai trovato… certi spunti… e quei documenti… - È solo un romanzo… ma gli occhi si chiudono in una fessura ironica. Crediamoci, che sia solo un bel romanzo, però Mariella Alberini, forse, non ce la racconta giusta.

Giuliano Urbani

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