Saturday, September 06, 2014

Sergei Khrushchev Visits Anchorage

Nikita Khrushchev loomed large in my younger life.  I was still young enough to be caught up in the Cold War propaganda about the crazy Soviet leader who threatened annihilation of the world.  I remember the tense drama of the Cuban missile crisis, though in LA we felt out of the reach of possible attack.  It would be the east coast.  Khrushchev, as I think back now, was a larger than life figure.  In a way, he was like a fictional character I only saw in photos or television.

So it seemed imperative to head over to UAA to hear his son talk the other night.  To be reminded that Khrushchev was just a human being.  And Professor Sergei Kruschev of Brown University did a good job of making a childhood super villain into a human being.  A lot of other people felt the need to come as well. The auditorium was packed with people standing in the hallways. 

The first part of his talk had been reported in some detail in the ADN that day.  It was little things that struck me - that when Krushchev went to meet Eisenhower in Geneva in 1955, it was his first time out of the Soviet Union.  Earlier, people were afraid to go abroad because such trips could be used to accuse one of being a spy.  It wasn't so much what he said, though he was a thoughtful speaker, who could talk about this larger-than-life figure as "my dad."  The mere fact of his being there, in the flesh was the critical thing for me.  My mind is still readjusting. 

I'm still trying to understand what it means that the daughter of Stalin and the son of Krushchev both became American citizens, though she  eventually got a Russian passport and then a British passport.  

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