Behind The Iron Curtain: Katya’s Doves

In 1986 the Iron Curtain was starting to lift and the Soviet and American people got their first glimpses of each other. That year Katya Lycheva traveled to the United States with the mission of peace and even met with the President Reagan.
Few days ago I saw this article from some Russian publication of that time and translated it for the blog. It’s funny how even as late as 1986 the article had to include a mandatory “evil Americans” paragraph (highlighted).

Katya’s Doves:

This photograph shows Katya Lycheva. She is talking about the trip to the USA she took last spring with the delegation of the Soviet Committee for Peace.

Katya was welcomed with warmth and hospitality. Children and teachers were waiting for her in schools. They decorated their classrooms, painted greeting banners and made souvenirs for her.

From city to city a welcoming wave of warmth and hospitality was rolling with an increasing power. Chicago, New York, Washington D.C…. Children wanted to find out what Katya likes, learn her favorite songs.

When during the first days of the trip in one of the schools in Brooklyn Katya started singing “Solnechny Krug” (Sun Circle) no one knew the song and could not join in. But days later in Los Angeles the whole audience was singing with Katya “May there always be sunshine”!

However, today’s America showed Katya its hostile, slanderous, malicious underside. The enemies of peace and disarmament tried their best to harm Katya’s mission. They asked sneaky questions at press-conferences. They tried to catch her off-guard to take embarrassing pictures. They threatened her over the phone and tried to intimidate her.

Despite all these efforts, she showed up at all scheduled meeting happy, smiling and calm like the day before and again the children tried to reach out to her together with those adults, who want peaceful, wonderful life for everyone on this planet.

Katya came home, but in the hearts of hundreds of American children remained the feeling of gratitude to her, for the first time they got to learn the truth about our country. They also cherished white paper doves with the addresses of the Soviet boys and girls written on their wings – addresses of friendship.

Katya Lycheva honorably carried out the mission started by her little American counterpart Samantha Smith.

The sky’s bright blue.
The sun is up high—
This is the little boy’s picture
He drew it for you
and then wrote there for you.
Just to make clear what he drew.
Chorus:
May there always be sunshine,
May there always be blue skies,
May there always be my mama,
May there always be me!

  • Mama seems to be the same in Russian.

  • Yep, I think it’s true for many languages

  • Lena

    I think we were in grade 5, we start singing “may there always be vodka, kolbasa and seledka”. We were trying to be funny, but it wasn’t actually so funny. Katya was our idol, we were obsessed with her, almost every girl had the same haircut, just like hers. Disaster! I remember some guys were writing her letters, and on the envelope was no address, just, To: Katya Lycheva, Moscow.

  • In 86 I was 17 so I didn’t try to look like her 🙂

  • Lena

    Well, you wasn’t a girl back in 86 either, or am I missing something? =)

  • Just kidding.Still not a girl. I must’ve missed Katya’s craze, I remember when everyone had Alica Selezneva’s haircut,but in 1986 I was already in the technical school and it was different and more grown-up.

  • Lena

    Alisa Selezneva, omg, not only haircut, her clothes, and her uniform, we tried to match everything.