The Party Line

The American Soviet Walk of 1987 was a historic event, in more ways than one.

For the first time during the Cold War period, Soviet and American citizens walked together through Russia’s cities and countryside, joined in a common mission of peace through nuclear disarmament.

For the first time, a joint rock concert featuring singers and bands from the two countries was held in Moscow.

The Walk was an unprecedented case of international cooperation between U.S. citizen groups and the Soviet Peace Committee — both at the official, and the grassroots, person-to-person levels.

One could expect for an event like this to generate press.  The on-going effort to catalogue English-language public records about the Walks as part of a Wikipedia page was mentioned in an earlier post.

As a complementary resource, a special exhibit in the Our Move Archives is dedicated to collecting and digitizing primary sources of the Walk’s coverage by the Soviet press.

The exhibit already contains a copy of the letter by Mikhail Gorbachev, addressed to the Walkers, published in the summer of ’87 in the newspaper Pravda (“The Truth”), the flagship state-run Soviet-era newspaper.

Another artifacts is am 8-page feature story in Soviet Life, an English-language magazine published specifically for American audience by the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C.

More examples likely exist, and will be included in the exhibit as they are discovered, translated, and converted to a digital form.

Digital Editions

A collection of materials, including a book about the ’87 walk in the USSR, is now available on the social publishing site Scribd.

The collection features high-quality digitized print documents, including brochures, articles, essays, letters, and memoirs.

Scribd offers features not available on other platforms, like Google Books. It is perfect for publishing all sorts of print materials, from books to papers to presentations.

Click here to view our Scribd digital collection. We often add new stuff!

Our Move print materials on Scribd

If you have an old PowerPoint or slide presentation related to the peace walks, please consider giving it a new life online. We can help make it happen.

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A Moving Image

Happy July!  The holiday fireworks’ crackle no longer resonates in the twilight across neighborhoods.  The mental recovery from the camping trips or get-togethers with friends and family is almost complete.  The shopping binges are on hold, until Thanksgiving.

On the Our Move end of things, we didn’t quite make it.  That is, we didn’t make it in time for the 4th of July, the day of a historic, first-ever joint American-Soviet rock concert at the Ismailovo Stadium in Moscow, USSR.  We also didn’t quite make it to coincide with the formal conclusion of the Peace Walk on July 8, 1987.

But we did make it…in July!  The “it,” of course, is a video collage to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the American Soviet Walk, a walk to help end an arms race nobody wants.

The clip combined photographs from the book about the Walk, the (color) photos from contributors to the Archives, and “reclaimed” footage from a 1988 Soviet documentary on stereotypes in the mass media.

Please take a minute (about 5 minutes, to be exact) to watch, give feedback, and pass along to anyone who might be interested!

The video is hosted on YouTube, and is also part of the Our Move homepage.

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Remembering Chernobyl

On April 26th, Ukraine marks a the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

According to an article by Nuclear Power Daily, World marks Chernobyl under shadow of Japan,

“In the early hours of April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl atomic power station in the then Soviet republic were carrying out a test on reactor four when operating errors and design flaws sparked successive explosions. Radioactive debris landed around the reactor, creating an apocalyptic scene in the surrounding area, while material also blew into the neighbouring Soviet republics of Belarus and Russia and further into western Europe.

“Moscow stayed silent on the Chernobyl disaster for three days, with the official news agency TASS only reporting an accident there on April 28, after the Forsmark nuclear plant in Sweden recorded unusually high radiation. In 1986 and 1987, the Soviet government sent more than half a million rescue workers, known as liquidators, to clear up the power station and decontaminate the surrounding area, many not fully aware of the scale of the calamity.

Dr. Alexey Yablokov, who was an advisor to the Gorbachev administration during the Chernobyl disaster,  has stressed the long-term health and environmental consequences of nuclear accidents (for instance, in a recent publication, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, also discussed in an interview, found here).

The sentiment regarding the unacceptably high risks associated with nuclear energy are shared across national borders.  American author and peace activist Jonathan Schell believes the nuclear threat is on par with the dangers associated with climate change and environmental degradation.  “The most dangerous illusion we have concerning nuclear energy is that we can control it,” he said in an interview with Spiegel Online.

On Easter weekend, thousands have marched in countries such as Germany and Japan, calling for a peaceful and nuclear-free future.  According to one report,

The Easter weekend peace march tradition goes back 50 years, when demonstrators in then-West Germany began protesting against nuclear weapons during the Cold War era. The Easter demos reached a peak in the early 1980s, drawing several hundred thousand marchers amid the nuclear standoff between East and West. But after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and with it, the end of the Cold War tensions in the 1990s, interest in the Easter demos greatly waned.

However, the most recent nuclear disaster in Japan at the Fukushima plant, and the Chernobyl anniversary, underscore the continued timeliness and relevance of the threat associated with nuclear power for the human health and the environment.

The Chernobyl nuclear plant

(source: Ghost Town)

For one of the most well-known accounts of a return visit to the Chernobyl zone, visit this site.

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Our Move Archive

 Our Move Archives is a digital repository about the American Soviet citizen diplomacy movement.

The Archives provide free pubic access to online resources about the peace and nuclear nonproliferation movement.

The repository plays an important role in facilitating collaboration and educational outreach.

Click here to browse!



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