Russian Journey

Russian Journey

Russian Journey

Russian Journey

Excerpt

It took a long time to get my Russian visa. Every February for five consecutive years I applied for one. I was finally rewarded in the spring of 1955 when the Soviet Embassy telephoned to say my request was granted. My desire to see Russia sprang from various interests. I was anxious to see what socialism under a totalitarian regime had done to a people and a nation. I was curious about the impact of the police state on individual freedom. I was particularly interested in Russia's Central Asia. I had seen most of the other regions of Central Asia. They and the Russian part shared much history and were steeped in the same tradition. Most of the Central Asian areas I had traveled were still feudal. I wondered what changes Russia had made.

I managed my trip so as to enter Russia through Iran. The plains and hills of south Russia are as dry as Iran's, and as Morocco's too, for that matter. The rainfall in Soviet Central Asia is between ten and fifteen inches a year. But though Soviet Central Asia is dry . . .

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