Someone has said, “There are no experts on Russia—only varying degrees of ignorance.” In the few days I was in and around Moscow I realized a little more fully the Soviet enigma. I even hesitate to put in writing my impressions and experiences lest they add to the confusion of ignorance. Yet even a visitor to Moscow senses that he is in a totally different world.
A Los Angeles businessman who had been to Russia several times had flown to Australia to urge me to go as a tourist just to get “the feel” of the people. He had brought greetings from religious leaders and assurances that we would be warmly received.
On June 11 we arrived at Moscow airport by way of a Russian TU-104 Jet. In no country in the world did we receive such cordial and courteous treatment by customs and immigration officials. Not one of our bags was opened for inspection. Yet even at the airport we knew that this was to be a different experience from any we had ever known. We already “felt” that indefinable something that is the Soviet World. Only a handful of people there at the airport knew who we were. (This is one part of the world where I believe I can move among people almost totally unrecognized.) But as we were going through a line, a young woman with a bright smile inspected my passport, then, looking around as if to be sure no one would see her, she silently pointed upward. This was my first experience among the silent believers that are in the Soviet Union today.
From the airport to the heart of Moscow we drove in a Ziv through the countryside that could easily have been Illinois or Indiana. Suddenly the driver turned a comer and we saw hundreds of new apartment houses which mark a part of the Soviet Slum Clearance Scheme. These magnificent apartments ...1
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