Because of growing up in a peasant family, and my experience of life and the war — which I saw myself, all this blood and destruction, horrible destruction — all this had great significance. This was all when I was a child, and yet that whole period is as clear as if it happened yesterday.  I have forgotten a great deal of what happened in my life, but all that hasn’t left me. At that time, I began to feel the desire for something more; I wanted to do something to make things better. This was unconscious; it was just something that was brewing inside of me, without my really being aware of it.  So, when my father said, “If you want, why don’t you go and try to get an education. If not, you can go on working the land with me.”  And I said, “I want to try.” I ended up at the university, and this was a completely different world, the start of a whole new life.  The university was like a door opening up on the whole world. For a young man thirsting for knowledge — coming from the sticks, from the back of beyond, coming to the capital, to Moscow, to the university — it was cataclysmic.