These Old Boots…
Slogged in the Russian snow….
These boots took me to a lot of places. Since they remind me
of days slogging in the snow along the Neva in
photographed them with this Soviet sailor’s hat.
It was time for them to go. I haven’t worn them in many years, yet I felt sad about putting them in a charity bin, but now some deserving soul might be able to get more miles out of them.
I bought them when we moved to
in 1980, because they were
awfully good walking through deep snow, and there was plenty of that. New Hampshire
Then we got sent to the
Soviet Union. I was assigned as Naval Attaché in ,
1981-83. Most of our work
consisted of traveling to other cities where we could observe the Moscow . As a naval officer, I led a group of
two naval officers and one Marine officer and some of us were on the road
nearly all the time. USSR --especially its navy
Most of our trips consisted of catching the midnight train from Leningrad Station in
en route Leningrad (now ). We would arrive in that far northern
city about 8 a.m. and a
driver would pick us up and take us to the American Consulate. We kept a small four-wheel drive
vehicle, a Soviet Niva, at the Consulate for our business. As soon as we dropped our bags at the
Consulate, we would get in the Niva and start our travel around the city. St. Petersburg
Our job was to observe as much as possible of the construction of new warships at the many shipyards in and around
. We would also observe what ships were in
the harbor, and in the Leningrad ,
including barges and ships, which traveled back and forth in the Soviet canal
system. Neva River
Some of the time, we would park our Niva and get out and walk, often in heavy snow, to get the best look at a particular intelligence target.
The KGB knew when we had filed to travel to
, and they generally followed us
wherever we went. Sometimes
they followed us closely; sometimes they kept their distance. Leningrad
Usually our routine included a walk along Lieutenant Schmidt’s Embankment of the
Neva, where we could see a lot of ships tied up all along
Slogging in that snow along Schmidt’s Bank was a cold exercise.
Ships tied up along Schmidt’s Embankment,
, St. Petersburg Vasilyevsky
Women’s Day in
—Fats took the day off. Leningrad
At Schmidt’s Bank hundreds of boats and often warships and submarines tied up. Many of the smaller, lighter draft boats were awaiting a schedule to move up the canals that cut across
. Here we could see these boats and ships, and Red
Fleet ships, and also ships under construction in the many shipyards of Russia . Leningrad
Whenever we would take these walks, we tried to take along our cameras and collect photos of interesting things. Photography in this area was forbidden, however.
The KGB assigned an elderly “goon” that attachés named “Fats.” He and some of his associates generally were around to follow us wherever we walked, or drove, and to make our job harder, or impossible. They wore the red armbands of “Druzhniki,” or “concerned citizens.” Sort of like elderly volunteers who operate as school crossing guards, except these were assigned to look after the foreign “spies.” The Soviets considered all foreign diplomats spies—they hadn’t changed their attitude toward foreigners in centuries.
Peter and Paul Fortress, from across the
One day, March the 8th, 1983 to be exact, it was International Women’s Day. Now, in fact, the Soviets didn’t care much about women’s rights, except the right of old women to stand in the street all day long in the winter, smashing ice with a heavy iron rod.
But this day, as we arrived to do our job of collecting intelligence in
, there was NO KGB. They had the day off! Leningrad
I was traveling with my assistant, Pierce Crabtree, a big, burly former Navy football player. With no KGB to bother us, we went wild photographing shipyards and ships and everything we could see. We were driving a Soviet “Niva.” 4 x 4 vehicle.We thought this would be a great day to check out some radar installations near the Czars’ summer palace at Petrodvorets. However, somewhere between Kipen’ and Ropsha, we got stuck in the snow.
If the KGB had been around, we would not have been able to get that far. Now, free to travel, we had gone and gotten ourselves in trouble. The snow was pretty deep.
Fortunately, along came a bus full of Russians. The driver and some of the passengers got out and helped push us out of the snowbank.
The KGB would NOT have helped us out of the snowbank, but these Russians were like good neighbors you meet anywhere in the world.
Those boots took me through all that snow. Not only in Leningrad, but also in Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia; Volgograd (Stalingrad); Kiev, Ukraine; Irkutsk, Khabarovsk and Nakhodka, Siberia and many other places.
I’ll miss those boots, and I kind of miss all that snow.
Here are some items the Personal Navigator offers:
Memories of the Russian Court, First Edition, Reprinted, November 1923 by Viroubova, Anna 1923 New York, NY: The MacMillan Co. "It is with a prayerful heart and memories deep and reverent that I begin to write the story of my long and intimate friendship with Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II….and of the tragedy of the Revolution which brought on her and hers such undeserved misery, and on our unhappy country such a black night of oblivion." The author tells of life at court in
and Peterhof, Tsarskoe Selo, Livadia and elsewhere; how the Emperor whistled
for the Empress, the children, and for Viroubova. Book contains many excellent
photos of the Imperial family, including several aboard the Imperial Yacht
Standert. Photos of letters
from Nicholas II and his children to the author are particularly poignant. One
of the last letters from the Empress was written in Old Slavonic. 400 pp. 14 x 20.6 cm. Brick red
decorated cloth on board, very clean and fresh. Plate showing letters in Old
Slavonic is loose. Owner bookplate (William C. Bowlen, Dec. 1923) on front
endpaper. No dustjacket. Very good. (5706)
$130.00. History/Russia St. Petersburg
V.O.K.S. Published by the Soviet Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Vol. II No. 4, 1931 Yoffe, Yakovlev, Semyakin, Mikhailov, Tsypkin, et al 1931 Moscow, USSR: VOKS, Trubnikovsky Pereulok, 17. V.O.K.S. (Vsyesoyuznii Obschestvo Kulturniyi Svyazii Zagranitsiy), All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries was founded in 1925 and widely recognized as Stalin's heavy-handed effort at foreign propaganda. "The Planning of Science"-- how it is done with the new Five-Year Plan, by the new socialist people. The language of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" referring to the "shock-brigade troops and the storming detachment of Communist Youth" is so obviously immature, in its attempt to speak to a sophisticated foreign audience, yet satisfy all the propaganda needs of an ignorant bureaucracy at home. "Tecnics of the Future" by Academician A.F. Yoffe. talks of new ideas for harnessing solar energy, and efforts to harness water power (Volkhovstroi, Svirstroi, Dneprostroi). Poem "Industrial 1931" by Vassili Semyakin, a worker in a Moscow Co-operative Candy Factory. "The Fight for the Metal" story by N. Mikhailov, worker at the "Sickle and Hammer" Sheet-rolling Factory produces a fanciful story of the massive effort in the factory to fulfill the Five-Year Plan. Photos and text tell story of return of Maxim Gorki to
in May, 1931. "What is Polytechnical
Education?" by I.
Pistrak includes photos of men and women learning on heavy machines. "Sverdlovia" Moscow
by E. Ukhalov. Photo essay shows foreign workers in the Communist University ; Italian
woman instructs Uzbek women workers in silk mill. 100 pp. 17 x 26 cm. Periodical, heavy
cardboard cover loose from text block, spine worn, edges frayed. Fair. (8126) $85.00.
History/Propaganda/Soviet USSR Union
Detskoye Selo --Parks and Palaces Tourist Guide for Intourists [in English] N. Arkhangelsky, Editor 1934
Leningrad, USSR: Park and Palace Dept., Soviet. Early in the life of the Leningrad Soviet Union, this little Stalin-era guide was produced
for English-speaking Intourist visitors to St. Peterburg, and especially for
the 26 kilometer trip to
Tsarskoye Selo, renamed by the Soviets "Detskoye
Selo" or "Children's Village" in 1918, reflecting the Soviets'
uneasiness with the history of the Tsars. In re-naming it, the Soviets
designated this village one for caring for children, and this text states that"formerly
the domain of a privileged few, have become a source of education and
enlightenment" for the
masses. In 1937 it was re-named "Pushkin".
Text in this little book tells about life in the time of the Tsars, but is
generous with the Soviet approach. Photos show Catherine
Palace, Gala Hall, Amber Hall, Large
Throne Hall, White Hall, Drawing Room, Private Chambers of Catherine II, , Chinese Theatre, more. 64
pp.10.7 x 14.4 cm. Paper booklet
with dustjacket with view of Alexander Palace , minor wear and
chips on dustjacket, booklet very good.
(8122) $65.00. Travel Catherine
Peterhof --Parks and Palaces Tourist Guide to Tsar's Summer Residence near
English] N. Arkhangelsky, Editor 1934 :
Park and Palace Dept., Leningrad Soviet. Early in the life of the Soviet Union,
this little guide was produced for English-speaking Intourist visitors to Leningrad, USSR , and
especially for the 30 kilometer trip by water to Peterhof. Text in this little
book tells about life in the time of the Tsars, but is generous with the Soviet
approach, noting that at Peterhof is now a town of rest for the workers of the St. Petersburg Soviet Union. Photos show Mon Plaisir, Study and Chair of
Peter I, Large Fountain Cascade and Palace, front staircase, Chesma Hall, Peter's
Hall, Picture Hall, Gothic Chapel, Railroad Carriages of Nicholas II, more.
Dust jacket features
drawing of Fountains. 64
pp. 10.7 x 14.4 cm. Paper booklet with dustjacket, minor wear and chips on
dustjacket, booklet very good. (8121)
Posev Ezhenedelnik Obschestvennoy I Politichestkoi Mysli (Weekly Social and Political Thought), with Zarubezhnoe Prllozhenoye (The Sowing, and anti-Bolshevik Journal, with foreign supplement), Sunday, 27 December 1953. [In Russian] 1953
Posev Izdatyels'stvo Posev (The sowing) was the journal of an anti-Bolshevik
Attaché in Moscow-- Richard Hilton" tells
story of his work in Munich, Germany .
Lead article in this issue: "Process
of G. Mueller (N. Khorunzhego) is Completed"--On Friday 18 December
the Frankfurt American Court completed the process of George Muller (N.
Khorunzhego) and his wife Elizabeth Mueller, accused of Soviet Espionage. This
report takes up nearly three pages of this issue. Bureau of KTsAV has
asked to publish this letter to the Editor of the Washington Post that
underlines the fact that American social opinion wholly approves of the
Committee for Freeing from Bolshevism, etc. Letter, from USSR , is signed by S.P. Mel'gunov,
President of Bureau. Ads for forthcoming issue of "Mysl'" (Thought) from the Posev Press;
Bust of A.S. Pushkin, price 16.50 Marks (20 kron.); ad for gift books for
Christmas from Posev Press includes several by N. Gogol, one by N. Nekrasov,
one by Tretyakov, one by Chekhov, and one by L. Tolstoi. "Sovietskie Prosoyuzi" (Soviet Tradeunions) by S.
Slovesnoi Shirmoi" (Behind
the Masked Words) --- "Besklassove
Obschestvo" (Classless Society); "Diktatura Proteliariata" (Dictatorship of the Proletariat); "Religia--Opium dlya
for the people); "Akuli s
Uoll-Streeta" (Sharks of
Wall Street). 16 pp. 30 x 42 cm. Newspaper, small tear in fold, main section
unopened, very good.(8079) $33.00.
Cold War Munich
Soviet Theatre ca. 1950
Collection of photos of Soviet theatre performances of 1950s, including actors
Y. Tolubeyev, Z. Kirienko, A. Shatov, G. Stepanova, G. Menglet, V. Lepko, A.
Kruglov, V. Orlova, T. Samoilova, R. Nifontova, V. Pashennaya and A. Katsynsky;
Ballerina Galina Ulanova as Juliet, Yuri Zhdanov as Romeo. 26 pp. 27 x 18 cm. (5695) $15.00. Travel/Educational Moscow,
Marches in the Soviet Zone of by Otto. Bertram 1961 Germany :
Berto-Verlag G.M.B.H. Book of excellent photos of Nazi era and Soviet era show
how Hitler's regime is re-created by Soviets in their zone of Germany under
Ulbricht. Same no-choice elections, Same dullness. Same marching troops. Same
police state. Very skilful, sometimes funny anti-Soviet propaganda. 94 pp. 24 x 22 cm. Paper booklet,
cover shows photos of Nazi troops marching for Hitler and Soviet troops
marching with same goose-step. Cover shows moderate wear, very good. (6546) $22.00. Cold War/Communism Bonn, Germany
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