October 01, 1998

Opposites Attract: Russian-American Marriages

What do the granddaughter of one American president and the assassin of another have in common? Both were married to Russians. Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, married the distinguished Soviet physicist and political activist Roald Sagdeev in 1990; Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated John F. Kennedy, married Marina Prusakova in 1961.

Despite cold war images of the "enemy" in the form of a Red Commissar, slinky blonde spy, exploiting fat capitalist or war-crazed Pentagon general, Russians and Americans have been falling in love and marrying through good times and bad. Indeed, the tensions and problems Russian-American couples encounter often reflect the broader relationships between their countries. And stereotypes die hard. The father of one young American woman reacted to her marriage to a Russian Ð in 1994 Ð with the indignant cry, "How could you marry a damn Communist?"


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