March 01, 2019

Skirmish in the Far East

Skirmish in the Far East
Verbny and Zhenbao Islands, in the Ussuri River. TowerCard

What was the spring of 1969 like in the Soviet Union? A cloud of gloom had descended on the country, enveloping both those who could not see it (or at least thought it had nothing to do with them) and those only too aware of it.

The cloud had formed as a result of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia a half year earlier.

My third-grade school year began in the fall of 1968 with us children being shown the front page of the newspaper Pionerskaya Pravda, with the headline “Fraternal Assistance to the People of Czechoslovakia.” For some reason, after we lent Czechoslovakia that helping hand, imperialists of all stripes began to attack our country with particular fervor. Not as violently as they attacked Vietnam, of course, where things were truly awful. The North Vietnamese embassy was right next to my building, and a giant map and horrifying photographs were displayed in front. The world was becoming an increasingly scary place.

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