No Relation No. 7

In the seventh installment of the ongoing No Relation series–which sorts out newsmakers with confusingly similar names–Explainer takes on the Gessens and Glennys, as well as the many variations of Kaczynskis:

Masha Gessen is the chief correspondent for Itogi, the Russian affiliate of Newsweek. Her reports on the turmoil in post-Communist Russia have appeared in the New Republic, the Christian Science Monitor, the Moscow Times (the city’s English language daily), and Slate (click here to read her assessment of Viktor Chernomyrdin and here for one of her “Dispatches from Hell”–Russia’s extreme north). In 1997, she authored Dead Again: The Russian Intelligentsia After Communism and edited Half a Revolution, a collection of contemporary stories by Russian women.

Recently, Gessen has filed occasional reports from the Balkans, which is where Misha Glenny gained notoriety. Glenny was the BBC’s Central Europe correspondent before and during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. His long-term perspective on the region landed him frequently on NPR, as well as in the New York Times, Harper’s, and Foreign Affairs. After writing a book on the roots of the Yugoslavian wars, he is now working as an independent journalist. His second book–a history of Balkan nationalism–will be published in early 2000. Misha’s father, Michael Glenny, is well-known for his translations of Russian works. Most of his translations–including Mary, Nabokov’s first novel–are of literature, but he also translated Boris Yeltsin’s autobiography, Against the Grain.

The name Kaczynski is, of course, most closely associated with the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who is serving a life term in federal prison. Kaczynski is appealing his sentence, maintaining his confession was not voluntary–a claim that will be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. One of the judges on that court is Alex Kozinski, who has also participated in Slate’s ” Breakfast Table.” But the jurist should not be confused with Alex Kuczynski, the New York Times media reporter, formerly of the New York Observer. She ruffled feathers most recently with her unflattering assessment of Tina Brown’s Talk, charging the magazine with selling out to promote Miramax films.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, too, is a journalist. But he is best-known for his 1991 book, The Soccer War, which chronicles the horrors he witnessed covering 27 revolutions and coups for the Polish Press Agency between 1958 and 1980. Jerzy Kosinski, another Polish-born author, won wide praise for The Painted Bird, a fictionalized version of his experiences as a child during World War II (he was separated from his parents and traveled alone through Poland and Russia to escape the Nazis). He is also author of Chance, which won the National Book Award, and Being There, which was turned into a movie starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine. He committed suicide in 1991.

Previously in this series, the Explainer tackled the Cohens(two Stephens, three Richards), the Rays(two Elizabeths), the Hirschfelds(Abe and Al), the Strausses(Robert and R. Peter), the Broders(Jonathan, John M., and David), and the Moores(three Michaels).

Have you noticed people in the news with confusingly similar names? Send your suggestions to Explainer.