Soviet writer praises America and GH
he following is an excerpt from an article written for
"The Daily Cougar," the campus newspaper. It was
written by Maxim Korjov, one of six Soviets who visited
UH last summer. He was also a correspondent for TASS,
the Soviet news agency.
The possibilities for the average citizen of the U.S.S.R.
to visit the United States are about as good as those of the
Biblical camel to pass through the eye of the needle. With
the exception of a small group of people (diplomats,
journalists and the like), few Russians are able to boast,
"I was recently in the States. .."
There are times when a Russian cannot even imagine
what America is like. The radio, newspapers and TV beat
people over the heads with the information that America
is long lines of unemployed, the hungry and homeless in
the slums of New York, a bloodthirsty soldier with an M-
16, racial discrimination. And until recently weren't
Americans traveling to the U.S.S.R. generally treated
with suspicion — "You think he might be a CIA agent?"
On the other hand, those stories and books by American authors which managed to get across the ocean
somehow, the radio transmissions of the "voices of the
enemy" and all the crumbs of information aroused us
and whetted our curiousity.
Beginning of the '80s: Our troops entered Afghanistan.
The image of America took on an ominous hue. Ronald
Reagan was Enemy Number One. Radio and television
were constantly buzzing about American rockets, tanks,
The Russian visitors enjoy the freedom of
American culture.Pfrofo by Mark Lacy.
And finally, perestroika, glasnost, "democracy,".
The tone changed in the newspapers. On the televisior
they broadcast stories about the life of Soviet immigrant
in the United States. We were amazed to learn that notal
of them were working in laundries or driving taxis. Anc
that Americans aren't all that bad after all.
Exchange programs are expanding. Children, college
students, officers and businessmen travel the roads of the
U.S.S.R. and the United States in herds.
"You're going to America? Fat chance!" On the faces ol
my relatives and friends there was amazement, mixed
with disappointment. They think, "This guy's lost his
marbles. Whaddya mean, America. It'll never happen."
Texas, skyscrapers, ranches, freeways — I've read and
heard about these things and seen them on TV. But
coming into head-on contact with American life leaves
one with a slight concussion.
I have many impressions. Very many. America rep
resents a different way of life, different possibilities, a
different world. Much of what I have seen and experienced I would like to transfer to the Soviet way ol
life, to make it less arduous and more interesting. Soonei
or later, I hope, this will occur. But for now, let's get
acquainted and get accustomed to one another. The line
forms behind Houston.
Welcome to Leningrad!-Maxim Korjov (translated by
Harry Walsh, director of the UH Russian Studies Program) Courtesy The Daily Cougar
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