I'VE BEEN TO RUSSIA i3y - Ashton Jones
Yes, I've done it. I've done what so many people critically, cynically, and in so many cases contemptuously, have told me to do, ..amely, "Co to Russia. You are nothing but a Communist anyway'.'. So, Laving the opportunity, I went to Russia to find out what it is I am accused of being.
I am more convinced now than ever before that the Corm.;unists would no more have me than the Democrats or Republicans, i ith a pacifist philosophy (as I have) 1 would be even more unpopular in Russia than I am in America.
Perhaps many will ask, "V/iiy did you make such a trip'1? Ily answer is two-fold. "irst, Crom a historical point of view, Liussia was under the Tsarist Regime, . corrupt ruling class, nominated by the Creek Orthodox Church which made the common people serfs and slaves, .econd, since the Russian Revolution in 1917 I have read with interest what rias been talcing place for the benefit of the masses, chose people who had been held in slavery for the past ten centuries. It has been my understanding that since the overthrow of the Tsarist Regime Russia has made greater progress in every phase of development for the benefit of all the people than any other government has made in a comparable length of time.
Uaturally, I wanted to see for myself what had taken place. In 1948 my wife and 1 tried to get a Visa to enter Russia, but it was too soon after World War II, and a great portion of the land was dreadfully devastated. L-Ince then it has not been possible from our own financial standpoint. i*ad it not been for the encouragement from my wife and my sister to make the trip, and the fact that the opportunity to join a tour at a very reasonable price came my way, I would not have gone.
Thanks to the capitalist system under which we live, ana in spite of the fact that I so heartily disapprove of its increasing ability to create great wealth in the midst of a sea of desolate poverty, ...y wife and I sold our little home in Vista, California at a $4,000 profit. "INFLATION" made this possible, something over which we had no pu-tfcrol, >y sister loaned us sufficient finances two and a half years ago to buy the house.
The sale of the California house made it possible to pay cash for our house at Koinonia Village, near Amer-icus, Georgia, and to be able to enjoy the cherished fellowship with our ivoinonia Partners. The house is in the na?ie of Noinonia Partners so we expect to make it "home" •;o-: the remainder of our earthly existence.
I know our vegetarian friends and many of our Christian Science friends disapprove of vaccination. Vhough I, nevertheless, am neither a vegetarian nor a Christian Scientist, I agree with them. In fact,, I did not en-uhuse over the idea that it was required before I could get started for Russia, However, I did some investigating after discussing the matter with the health Department of the USSR Embassy in Washington I was told that if I would get a statement from a physician that I was in good health and had no communicable disease this retirement would be waived. The Public Health Department of new York City cooperated and there were no questions asked when I entered Russia. e-entry into K-e
fared as well. The only stipulation was that if a communicable disease develops within six weeks I was to present the card (given to me by the Dept. of Health at the Customs House) to my physician.
because of Russia's past, sufferings and hardships during the Tsarist Regime, and now the apparent loyalty of the Russian people to the present Socialist Regime, it would be unthinkable that there should or could be student revolts, demonstrations, riots, etc., in Russia such as has happened in recent years in the U.S. There are none.
I fext quite safe and secure, as I'm quite sure e"««eyone does in Aussie, "hile walking along the streets. I saw no children, eld people or maimed ones begging, .ill who are able to work have jobs and all others have complete security. Kach person is assured of free medical, hospital and dental care. I saw no hitch-hikers: however, it was winter and many cars are laid up for the duration. All modes of transportation, ^irports, railroads, buses and the subways were crowded. I did learn that if anyone is involved in an accident it is thoroughly investigated by a three-man committee in each community and whoever is found guilty suffers severe penalty.
Crimes are few, if any. 1 saw no person drunk though there is plenty of Vodka (liquor) sold in stores. Tney have 110 drug problem. There were no policemen carrying guns or clubs. any soldiers and sailors were shoveling snow*
..-ducation is free for every child, and if capable of a college education, that too, is free. it is no doubt true there as elsewhere that "■education1 equals brain-
•.shing by the establishment. The child is taught to believe and do what the establishment wants. It is also true in the U.L....
.hettos or slums are non-existant. .ince such place*? are the direct result of poverty, a secure society just does not foster pockets of misery.
Land in Russia can not be sold. It is all owned by the government. This eliminates speculation by buying land cheap and selling it at inflationary prices, 'jner-ican millionaires, to a large extent, are made in such a manner.
it is common in America as well as in Russia, -chat people have strong feelings against those in the other country. ..s 1 tried to talk with people who could not understand English but did understand I was an American, I could see expressions of hatred on their faces.
I suppose every man and woman In Russia would follow their leaders in a war against America. That would also be true in the U.S. (except a few who oppose all wars). From babyhood practically all nations teach their people there is no way to end the evils of exploitation and slavery except by war. To find a bona-^ide pacifist in Russia would be very difficult, indeed.
I am very happy I made the trip to Russia but 1 have no desire, especially at my age, to gc again, I found it next to impossible to feel comfortable surrounded with the luxuries in the plush hotels in wnich our group stayed. There was, perhaps, sons basis for things as they were since use was made, especially in Leningrad and Moscow, of palaces left by the Tsarist Regime. In Kiev, we were located in a new modern hotel. There was always more than an abundance of food, jnd even some of the Russian people could not have half as much.
we had a smooth landing and found the weather extremely cold! The sky was overcast and promised some kind of precipitation. We were met by a beautiful young lady who was to be our guide and interpreter, J. special bus was at our disposal and after a long riae we were at the Europa Hotel which was the former palace of the Tsarist ruling class. My roommate and I were assigned to a most beautiful suite of rooms, 3 large living room, hall, bedroom and private bath.,
Sunday was what might be expected. The morning was spent in a bus tour over the city. Leningrad had its beginning in 1703, It suffered the greatest devastation in Russia during the second World War. As a result, the city has been completely rebuilt, ana as one could expect, it now is a very modern city with very wide streets, beautifully laid out and consisting of four-story buildings of stone.
We were told there are 365 bridges in Leningrad, so one naturally surmises there must be many canals, ant1 there are! Canals everywhere! Of course, it is the Ivr ,est tfaval port in all of Russia, so canals were easily built, Statues and paintings of Lenin are seen everywhere .
The most famous place vn p*srs«dueni owr'-.toour was the "HERMITAGE" where the government resides- As Leningrad was the former Capital of Russia these buildings were oc cupied by the government under the Tsars. There are six large, beautiful buildings on the Hermitage grounds.
It would be strange, indeed, if Russians living in Leningrad should not wonder why all the talk in the U,' . -.bout pollution? Air pollution caused by smok? is practically impossible since all buildings are heated by a central gas heating plant. ..eat is piped deep underground to all buildings. It is most amazing how tiie buildings have been restored since the he-.v • bombings during the Second World \.*ar, .11 the streets iramaculately clean, iot a sign of rubbish anyw\ere to be seen,
mis being their holiday we found few people or automobiles on the streets. .n fact there is little neces sity for private cars as the transportation system of buses, ubways and trains seem very adequate a::c efficient. lane travel is crowded.
In the evening we attended the Opera House where, e listened to the great Opera "Rigolletto:. The theater was lavishly ornamental - gold, ,;old everywhere. This was formerly the leading theater of the royalty of past yt:ars. '.the price range is within the ability to pay of jillrei tlx&as - vi.< - r- • , »:> ~ tv- to
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All our time spent in Russia was as crammed full of interesting places to see and things to do, as it was this Sunday, so I will have to pick out only the most interesting places we visited.
A forty mile ride took us to the town of Rushkino
where we visited the museum in the former castle built by Queen Elizabeth. I have never seen a more gorgeous array of gold and beautifully adorned buildings. AA11 these were restored since the bombing by Hitler's air-force.
As it has been my delight to perform marriages for my- friend who had wedding chapels in Las Vegas, New, Yuma, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, you can imagine my thrill as we visited and witnessed a Russian marriage in the largest wedding chapel 1 have ever seen. The palace was beautifully adorned for weddings and weddings are the only activities which take place within its walls. It is easy to get the marriage knot tied in Russia and I understand just as easy to get untied.
After seeing the Atheist wedding ceremony it seemed fitting that we next visit the very large Atheist Museum-To me this was just a history of pre-histori.c man and his development through the past thousands of years- I understood by talking with an American student attending the University of Leningrad, who ;could read Russian, that the artist pictures represented the terrible fight-ingof the Christians against the common people, the slaves and serfs. It would seem inevitable that sooner or later the common people would turn against their oppressors - the so-called Christians of their time.
Diets come and diets go; but today's diet of an educational nature was surely enough for an oidster like myself. I attended our first real banquet which began at 8 p.m. and ended I know not when, as I left before it ended. Food, fodd, and more food waa^the menu. The affair was in one of our hotel "special" restaurants-arid eating, drinking and dancing were in full swing. How true that 3/4 of the people of the world never know how the other 1/4 live. They only hear about it: I think the most sinful thing which causes crime is the willingness of the 1/4 to live in luxury while 3/4 suffer even in hunger.
We visited the school where only English is taught to children until they reach 17 years of age. There were 650 pupils and practically all of them go from
this school to college. Isn't it strange that all countries teach their youth that Peace can be achieved only by being prepared militarily? The English school children get indoctrination, also. Leo Tolstoy, Che great Russian author and pacifist, is looked upon with considerable suspicion, if not scorn, therefore he is not considered a patriot.
At the Soviet Friendship House we had t;he opportunity to meet with about 40 or 50 members for a general discussion on any and all subjects. It was held in a beautiful building, a former palace, built in 1790 by a millionaire.
The afternoon was free before we were to leave Leningrad for Moscow, so my roommate and I decided we would take a long bus ride. When we reached the end t>f the line we took a walk around the neighborhood. The interesting and challenging experience came when we tried to visit a factory. For an hour and a half we were interrogated in a small room. Two young ladies tried to interpret. for us but we were never able to get anyone to show us thru the factory. \e did not even find out what the factory turned out. The Russian gentlemen seemed quite suspicious of us. Finally one of the young ladies walked with us back to the bus and waited until we caught the bus.
My long anticipated visit to Moscow became a reality as the clock neared the midnight hour Dec. 23rd. because of the heavy snowstorm which lasted all day, our plane was delayed for about 10 hours before leaving Leningrad. i.e were finally tucked away in the famous, beautiful and palacial Metropole Hotel. This was formerly the entertaining palace of the royalty but now used to accommodate the tourist trade from all countries. The hotel is located in the very center of the city, only a few feet away from the most publicised seat of govern-merit in the world.
Our first morning was indeed most exciting as we took a bus tour of the city. Surely Moscow lives up to its reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities ih the world. With its wide streets, its hundreds of lovely parks and beautiful old, old and new buildings, it is wSmething long to be remembered. Of course, the beautiful snow enhanced its beauty. The weather was not too cold, seemingly about 14°? We stopped at the center of "RED SQUARE" which is in front of the largest and newest department store in Moscow,
1 had decided even before reaching Moscow that my first afternoon would be spent in the unique experience of trying to find my friends, the elderly couple I had known earlier in Los Angeles, After the first hour, spent with the Russian intelligentsia at the Friendship House where about the asual questions and answers were being exchanged, I started on my way, without any help except the street address, to find my friends.
I caught the first subway train and placed a sheet of paper giving the address of my friends before a gentleman. He could not speak a word of English but seemingly he understood that 1 wished to reach the address. He was most cooperative as he exchanged subways with me about four times and finally gave me, thru the sign language and someone who could at least understand a little English that I was to stay on the last subway train until J. reached the end and that I was to take a bus from there to the address. I found the subway system most efficient and the most beautiful 1 have ever seen. It is perhaps the most beautiful one in the world.
Well, at the end of the subway I held the paper up before a gentleman to find out where to catch the bus. He was kind enough to not only go with me to where I-could get the bus but he accompanied me for a long distance to where we got off the bus and walked a very long distance to find the correct apartment house my friends lived ine There were, it seemed, no end of high-rise apartments in this section. It was snowing and the
Weather was very cold; but like the mail-man nothing deterred him until he went up on the sixth floor and rang the door bell, r.e then wanted to leave but I insisted that my friends tell him how much I appreciated his kindness.
Fellowship with my friends was wonderful but all too short. They, like myself, are senior citizens. They had lived in America for a long time- Their parents were from Russia and they came to America to escape the persecution of the Tsarist Regime. Their son, who was born in America, is now a college professor. He left America when he was only 7 years old and has never been back, l.e is now 43 years old and happily married to a lovely Russian young lady She is also a professor in the University. Of course, k.ty friends wanted me to meet them so he made it possible for us to be together,. They invited me to spend the night with them but because of our tour schedule the next morning I finally bade them good-bye with hugs and love kisses, tr. Beatus (nearly 79) took the bus with me and went to the subway, ;e put a token in the turnstiLe fare box and urged me to ;.t?ke another one for good measure.. My heart rejoices at the goodneas . of people even though we know there is so much robbery, unhappiness and killing in this beautiful world God has made for his children to enjoy.
On the subway I put a paper which bore the name and address of my hotel before a lovely young lady, to test my luck again. She couldn't speak or understand a word of English but she changed subways several times, urging me to follow her. I had been told by Mr. Meatus that I would have to change only once. I was a little worried but having plenty of faith L followed along. We finally got off the subway and she, thru the sign language, beckoned for me to come along with her, After walking many.blf blocks I was in sight of the hotel. She continued to wilk with me until we reached the entrance. In parting, after our long journey together, I didn't spend much time figuring out a way to express my appreciation for the lovely companionship of the young lady, so I just up and gave her a big hug and kiss. So ended a lovely day*
CHRISTMAS DAY and such a day it was. I never expected to live long enough nor to ever have the experience of of spending this day in such a manner as visiting inside theKremlin walls, Moscow University and ending the day by attending the most elaborate banquet I have ever been privileged to enjoy,
Russia does not observe Christmas as we do but as her holiday begins one week later we witnessed great preparations everywhere, "Old St. Nick" was seen in the parks, parks, in front of the large department store and, in fact, like our Santa Claus he could be found here, there and and most everywhere. It was indeed a novelty to see what we would call Christmas trees, all bundled up and hanging out the windows of many of the high-rise apartments.
The inside grounds of the Kremlin seem to cover a mile or two square. There are dozens of beautiful old and new buildings and soldiers guard the gate entrance as well as the museums and other buildings. This was the seat of government where the Tsars ruled with an iron hand fortheir own benefit but now, it seemed to me that all the people felt Chat everything is being done by the government officials for the benefit of all the people .
It was a real treat to spend about three hours in the afternoon inside the 31-story building of Moscow University. The building houses not only class rooms but museums and dormitories as well. It is one of Moscow's tallest buildings and is most modern even though it was built in 1953, The University was founded in 1755, I understand they have about AO,000 students. The professors get about 200 rubles, (about the same as our our dollars) per month but everything is furnished tn make their teaching the very best. In spite of Russia's avowed atheism, it was good to find in most of the museums pictures and statues of Christ,
m It would not be surprising if Lenin wil, perhaps sometime in the dim future, be worshipped and called the Saviour of his people the same as millions worship Christ, Buddha, Mohammed and others. His picture and statue was (next page)
prominently displayed in this University building. Everything dates from Lenin's birth to the present (1870 to 1971), as I noticed beneath pictures and statues of him.
Little do I deserve to have had the opportunities of travel as I have during most of my life. To see and hear as it has been my pleasure to do has been most wonderful, I wish every person could have such opportunities as
there is no better way to bring about an understanding and respect for other people,
From 7 to 11 p.m., another "swell" banquet with the most luscious food, and of course, everything else to go with it - beer, wine and Vodka (liquor) were being served, the latter three being consumed by the gallon, it seemed.
Everybody, except myself, seemed to be drinStiggtoto their heart's content. I really did enjoy the entertainment, It surpassed anything I have ever seen. This kindo^f luxury would have cost in America at least $18 to $20 per person,
1 was glad to have a visit with the son of the friends I visited, he, his wife and 16-year old daughter spent the afternoon with me in my room. The conversation with them was most Enlightening. I understand he has worked his way up sufficiently to be a member of the Communist Party. There are only 147,000 members of the party out of the 237,000,000 people in Russia. Eli seemed vyry open and free to discuss any subject. He certainly appeared to be very happy with his life and displayed the greatest feeling that he was helping all people. His wife and daughter were left with my roommate while he and I went out to shop for something I could bring back to Marie. We finally decided to buy an album of stereo re-co rds.
As I had teckets given to me by our group, my friends were my guests for the evening. They accompanied me to the grand opera. Really, I hwe never seen a more exquisite site opera palace. Gold trimmings everywhere. This building was one of the newest buildings inside the Kremlin grounds. Of course, the opera performance all being
in Russian, all T. got was the sound of the music and iat was superb, Our seats were not together. Next to me sat a 30 year old professor from Japan. He had just left there a few hours before. He could speak fluent English so we got acquainted and walked back to the hotel together, as he was staying there, also.
Letiaide a^awaywitbnyou a marvelous morning which will always stand out in my memory. It is believed by most Americans that people in Russia cannot attend a protestant church in Russia* Please let me assure you that they can and do, by the thousands. Of cbutise, it is true that most of them are taught that the Christian Religion is the "opiate" of the people and from the example of their former ruling class little did they at-i.enpt to live the Christian ideals.
I made my way alone and thru the snow and ice, about an hour's journey on foot:, until I reached the Baptist. Church I had to ask many people and at last an elderly lady accompanied me to the door. I am sure she went out of her way because she went back the same wav we had come.
As I opened the church door the people nearly fell over me, the vestibule was so crowded- In fact, I have never found any place more jammed with people .A- All the seats in the sanctuary were filled and not an inch of standing room vacant, 1 stood in this jam until after the service., about 45 minutes. What a pushing and shoving then, with those inside trying to get out while those waiting to ; enter tried to squeeze their way into the sanctuary* There are three services - one following another. So those who had been waiting to get in naturally compli
cated the situation? Finally, I succeeded in making my way to the group of ministers in the pulpit area. I was then taken to a room in the front of the church where I met the President of the Ail-Union Council of the Evangelical Christian Baptists of the USSR - and several other ministers. The pastor could speak a bit of English and acted as interpreter until he sect out to get some help, A very smart young college girl came in to act both as interpreter and guide. We did have a glorious time for an
hour or more carrying on our conversation with the President and other ministers before being taken totheir small dining room where they wanted to serve me a dinner. I accepted only tea and bread and butter as I had planned to be back at the hotel for 1 o'clock dinner.
I learned much about the work of the church. They have over 5,000 members, the largest number of members worshipping in the smallest church building I have ever seen. The church is self supporting. I am quite sure no minister would be permitted to preach a pacifist sermon - to love your enemies, return good for evil, (even in time of revolutions or war), to put up your sword, to treat others as you would like to be treated, all of which would end war and all preparation for war. These Christians must conform just as most American Christians feel they must do, to the government's dictates. The lovely young lady guide accompanied me on the 45 minute journey back to the hotel. I offered her a dollar but she wouldn't accept: it, so T. lave her a Koinonia kiss of appreciation for her loveliness to me-
Sunday afternoon I visited the only museum which was filJed with a splendid array of what. Russian children created. There was much to be seen as all the children's work was artistically arranged in the very large building.
To top off the day, T. put in the evening hours attending my first Ballet entertainment. It was the story of the lovely Cinderella - ail done tn the most artistic dancing and put on at the big, beautiful Opera House inside the Kremlin walls. As has been my observation, the house was packed just as every place seems to be in Moscow.
What I have done today is almost too good to be true. This a.m. the group toured via the Metro (Subway) and had much about it explained to us by our guide. There are 85 Subway stations and each one is beautifully different and quite unique. The walls are all marble and the ceilings and some of the walls are painted by artists depicting the life and suffering of the people
for their liberty from the terrible, corrupt Tsarist Regime. The subways are clean and warm - t-.urm, as they are deep underground. They are deep for the principle purpose of being used as bomb shelters in case of war.
The "Gold Museum" was the next sight to see - following the subway ride. It is inside the Kremlin walls and contains all kinds of good things such as sliming room tableware, chairs, even guns, etc. The array of things dated back to the 12th century. The contents of the museum were used by the Tsars and other nobility. Among other things was a beautiful China dinner set given to Alexander the Great by Napoleon, though they had been enemies in war. Statues of horses, chariots, saddles, guns, etc., used by the Tsars in their desplicable rule over the peasants, were on display.
The most beautiful picture of all was out-of-uoors where all the lovely trees in the parks and grounds were covered with dazzling, sparkling ice-covered snow, it was almost breath-taking as we rode along the streets and walked in the Kremlin. No artist could ever experience such beauty except as it is done through nature.
Tonight we joined with the people of Moscow to enjoy an outdoor entertainment. It is carried on throughout the winter months, Oancing, skating, riding in troika sleds and carriages are some of the enticing forms of happy fun-making to help one keep warm. We had dinner inside of one of the noted restantrants in the park. This is the place where tourists are always taken.
were too, we enjoyed the singing, aancing, and other entertainment from 8 o'clock until 11:30. I learned that this dinner and entertainment would cost $20.00 for a couple, so I know with the very small salary (about $150 to $250 per mo.) not many Russians could afford such lavish entertainment. The salary or money gap here in Russia is, of course, not as great as in America., but I am convinced they are leaning in the direction of capitalism - at least to some degree.
At 9 a. .. we left our hotel in Moscow to take the
beautiful One-hour drive to the airport. The trees were still covered with frozen snow, At 10:30 we learned that our plane would not depart for Kiev until 5 p.m., so we returned to the hotel. There we were taken to another unique museum - this time with another guide. The museum was formerly a chapel which is very old-. Its contents consisted, perhaps, of hundreds of wood carvings. The work was done by two ladies. Artists would surely classify the work as superior.
In another museum, we still had time to visit, there were paintings of revolutionary heroes. Among them, also, was a most prominent statue of Karl Marx. Therewwi?.ee three revolutionary periods in the 20th Century before final victory over the Tsars.
At 3 p.m. we were back at the airport for a big dinner in the main dining room. Finally we reached our new hotel in Kiev after having left Moscow at 7:20. it ms a modern hotel in which we found ourselves at 11:30 p.m. 1 am sure it would equal any in America, both in appearance, accommodations and cost - no doubt as much as $'L0 to $15 dollars per day.
We were almost immediately ushered into £tohebeauti-ful dining room where eating and dancing was in order. Since we had eaten at 3 pcm, I felt no need of food, so as soon as I got my room key I left the food and entertainment arid came to the room. Now I am ready for a night's sleep. Sam left me as a roommate, ue and Robert Kerr exchanged places. Robert is a young man from Lcng Idland.
A glorious morning this is for a three hour bus tour of the city in mild and sunny weather. It is 34°! Kiev is the most important city in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is as large and old as France; 47,000,000 population and Kiev has 1-1/2 million of them. It is about 700 miles south of Moscow. Our first stop was on top of the mountain in one of the famous parks. There are two dis-..ict. ions of chri city ...ne, ol section ' ;Mch
at the foot of ti;.c Ut.'c* -:.c\/ oj t : c-a-..rn
.. ction, at ".iij £op. is c. ^ea^ti f»/li/ city,
i iias opler.uiu transper tatUu, via 3a.A7f.yi, ~uses, .*nd 3 ^reet cars.
%c. the oldest Cathedral, built in 1057 A,. . -e saw ancient fresco paintings on the walls with gold every-* .ere.
The tour took us by the Ukraine University, established in 1834. /here are 20,0JO students. Then we stopped at the large outside sports are.ia which will seat ICO,000. Ue vis j. tea several large parks. *t one -.;v saw the tomb of The unknown Soldier, similar, but ,.. c as tall as the vJas^ington Monument- Tne eternal lj .i.:a always our.iZ. -ne next inter is t.i:.g event wr.s to crjs.: the I^neiper .,iv?r, frj.iovs for its i..any powei dams supply electricity for much of "ussia.
To see the ir^ny people fishing t;iru the Ice was unique, One guide told us they always ccme home \ tl\ Li t even tao they r.iay have to go by t.ie fish market o;. rue way
.fter our visit to ?Vie Exposition of Advance v. .i^vei-ents curing, the afternoon we returned to the ...ttil ut j p. , imposition is located in one of
siev'.; 150 parks. the park are 17 buildings, each •:o.itaining 9 nails displaying products aj ther grown or .ai.ufactured in the Ukraine. xhe Ukraine is the 3rd .argest Republic in Russia. Ihere was time to visit aly two of the buildings*
..e were about two hours visiting the Monastery in ,.i!ch were 86 cathedrals and caves. -his work dates oack to 1073. ^ach cathedral is composed of 5 or 6 rooms filled with artifacts from the past centuries. j.n 1913 the cathedrals took in $1,^00,^00 in contributions. ..e had time to visit only one of the deep caves. It seemed as tho we descended many hundred feet before reaching the very deep, dark roo:..s where the Monks lived. To me it made plain that human beings willp.ptfr-r.ecute themselves to a-'.y extent to follow what they believe to b'.- the spirit of God, This was my first and only experience in a cava used by Monks. ..t is almost beyond comprehension to realize they were built by the labor of the Russian peasants.
The Russians can compete on a comparable level wit'i America in the science of sending men to the moon, an.' in the building of armaments of war, but it seems, mak'j little effort m building elevators in their hotels ard modern buildings• hi ac country have I experienced itx re inefficient elevator service.
'.It is of note that I'ussia surpasses every other country in its number c-f doctors. Seventy-five percent of them are women. A.i medical and dental facilities are free.
Housing rent is extremely low - between four and five percent of the salary„ During the past 10 years Moscow has completed 300 new apartment buildings everv day, ;7roir. my observation, - can agree.
..e were thrilled to see a fine entertainment our • ins tae afternoon. It was in the Pioneer Palace - a large youth center. Children from 7 to i.7 are welcome and tnev hcve created most of the wonderful exhibits V.e building contains* -hey put on the fine entertainment on tMs Hew Year'.- .,ve - vhich is their Christma--celebration. The two hour performance was a perfect demonstration of liow beautifully they can be trained to engage m such worth while experiences, -.ow true, also, is the fact that they can as easily be trained to follow their political leaders - to hate and be ready to kill others. I have witnessed no more beautiful performance by children anywhere.
At 6 p.m. a big celebration is taking place in front of my hotel window. It is being watched by a large crowd of people. Celebrations of one kind or another will continue, 1 understand, until the New Year comes in. Cur group is looking forward to an 11 o'clock ('till?) drinking party in our beautiful dining room.
ic located on one side of a great open round plaza.
It snowed during the night. After the drinking ball in the hotel dining room which, I am told, lasted until 4. a.m. or after, I ani just wondering how all the 20 feel. I understand they were all present except myself.
Lreakfast at 10:JO a.m. I am back in the room enjoying the Russian circus on TV. I understand there is a TV in each room. We leave for the airport at 12:^0 noon, uoping to go to iloscow for the night. ' e finally left Kiev at 4:00 p.m. It was a pleasant hour and ten minute flight. V,e arrived in Moscow in a snow
storm where it had been snowing all day. We were bussed to the Metropole liotel, assigned room and at 8 p.m, were served supper. .11 our meals have been abundant and very appetising.
After the 8:30 breakfast we were bussed to the airport. ±ne weather was mild and the sun came out beautifully. >t 11 a.m. we were going thru customs for departure from Russia. v»e boarded, perhaps, the largest plane on the trip. It was a Russian plane carrying 300 people. It was 1 p.m. before we were finally air-Lourne. The sun was shining brightly but almost immediately we were above the clouds. Nothing to see except clouds which looked like snow - on the two hour trip.
A lawyer and his wife from Copenhagen were seated next to me. Le could speak English, so we talked together some of the time. A delicious meal was served en route. When we landed in Copenhagen it really seemed like being back in America. The airport was very modern, and up-to-date as our USA airports. Had a lovely (extremely modern) bus ride to ;the Hotel Grand where we stayed over night.
Copenhagen was founded in 1158 A.J. It is now a beautiful city of over 1,000,000 population. All of Denmark has only a little over 5,000,000.
It is now 7:JO p. and most of our group of 20 are out for the evening at one of the swell restaurants, eating and drinking as usual. »/e had a meal only a few hours before on the plane, so I certainly felt no need of more food.
My roommate and I took a walk and a long subway ride. The subway system here is much inferior to the new, beautiful and most efficient subways in Russia, i.ere, everything is commercialized with Neon signs and everybody competes with one another. I understand that by law practically all the stores have to close from 1 p..;i. Saturday until Ilonday morning.
I an., as I h<we been for so many years, more disgusted with the wastefullness of people with money. Enough food has been wasted by the group of 21 to have fed 21 more every day. It was a jolly group and they seemed to enjoy eating, drinking and dancing.
.fter breakfast I took a long wall; to the Friends Uorship service. Weather v;as very mild. eleven were present. fter the worship, introduced nyself and, 1 -and beholc, ..t couid happen in few places in tiie wcrid, that everyone could understand r..e - I spoke about ten minutes, then a few questions were asked. v first remark was 'Vhat a joy to be nere this morning coming directly from what is purported to be the most anti-reli-,ious country in the world.
We boarded the f>AS planr, ;.t 2' 45 p.m. and finally got off the ground at 3:.-5 . . -.'or New York City where we landed at 5:25 p.m. New Yoiy* tine. There are 6 hours difference in the time. Our trip was concluded with a wonderful flight and we all seemed very glad to get back to the U..».A.