Russia Is No Riddle

Russia Is No Riddle

Russia Is No Riddle

Russia Is No Riddle

Excerpt

I first went to the Soviet Union early in 1934 to study first-hand what was commonly referred to in liberal-progressive circles in those days as "the Russian Experiment." I had planned to remain for a year at the most, but force of circumstance in the form of marriage intervened and I stayed on for more than five years - until June, 1939, when the Soviet Government granted exit visas to my wife and our son, who had arrived while we were waiting.

In a planned society our marriage had not been according to any plan -- either the Soviet Five-Year Plan, my personal plans, my wife's plans, or the plans of the trade union committee at the foreign language publishing house where both of us were working. The trade union committee had simply given my wife as her "social assignment" the task of cheering up a somewhat lost and aloof young American. For the purpose they had staked her to almost unlimited movie tickets and to occasional seats at the theater. Too late did the trade union committee call my wife in and tell her she was rather overdoing it.

As the years passed, my preconceptions about the Soviet Union - born in the slough of the great depression back home -- were revised in the light of experience. But together with a knowledge of the Russian language and Russian culture, I acquired through daily contact and observation, a lasting admiration and sympathy for the Russian people. This experience is not peculiar to myself. It has been that of practically every American who has lived for any length of time in Russia, regardless of his politics. Russians who come to the United States acquire much the same feeling toward Americans.

It is indeed remarkable how readily average Americans and Russians find a common ground. The most striking evidence I saw of this was at the American airbascs in the Ukraine, where G. I. Joes . . .

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