Travel #2: Soviet Union – Summer, 1987 and 1988.

September 14, 2019


           Jennifer Green from High Mowing School and I shared how much our high school students responded to the study of Russian literature. We decided to take a group to various republics in the Soviet Union to experience “the Russian soul.” Jim and I established Dialogue for Peace, Understanding, and Friendship to foster people to people contacts. We offered the first trip to adults and the second to high school students and some adults. Jennifer joined on the second trip.

Under Mikhail Gorbachev, 1987 and 1988 were two important years to visit the USSR. Everything was changing, the country was opening up and there were more opportunities to connect with the Russian people than previously. In addition to visiting key Russian cities such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Novgorad, we also visited Tblisi, Georgia; Samarkand and Bukhara, Uzbekistan; and Kishinev, Moldova. This gave us a taste of the meeting of Asia and Europe.

We met people involved in political, economic, and social circles, as well as university students. We experienced home visits. The most exciting experiences for me personally had to do with poetry. We were able to visit the home of Boris Pasternak, author of Dr. Zhivago; my colleague John Wulsin and I met with the poet Andrei Voznesensky in the House of Literature. This trip opened us to further travels in Eastern Europe, particularly Latvia, but that’s another travel story.