Distance Learning Project - Moscow, U.S.S.R.
"So, do you want to go to Moscow?"  This was the first hint that, several months from now, I would be on a 12 hour flight from NYC, to Helsinki, and then to Moscow. Myself, the director of our division (David Courtright), and the now retired district superintendent (Custer Quick) were on a mission to place computer systems in several schools in downtown Moscow as part of a distance learning project funded by Data General Corporation.
Our trip was all the more difficult, because several months before we were to leave, another group of people from our organization had met with disaster on their exchange trip to Russia. While dining in a restaurant, the group was caught in the middle of an attempted robbery. One of the Russian hosts was killed, and an American visitor was injured. The entire group of 12 students and 4 hosts had to immediately return to the US, their planned 10 day stay now tragically ended.
It was with this in mind, and with scenes of tanks blockading the Russian White House, that we left for the trip in October. I had no idea what to expect. The Fodor's Guide had many foreboding warnings about travel, food, transportation, etc. What I found was dramatically different from what any guide could have prepared me for. I found people that were friendly, inquisitive, proud, and very generous. It seemed that being visitors from the West, we were treated like honored guests. People went out of their way to welcome us, ask how our trip was progressing, and be generally kind and friendly.

Our host for the trip was Dr. Alexander Uvarov, a gracious, educated gentleman. We spent many evenings enjoying the hospitality of Mr. Uvarov , and his wife Natasha. Highlights of our trip included visiting the area around Red Square, including St. Basils, Lenin's Tomb, the GUM department store, and the Kremlin. We traveled to the home of Alexander the Great, toured an integrated circuit factory in Zelenograd, enjoyed the ballet "Cinderella" at the National Russian Theatre, visited with notable academic staff at the USSR Academy of Sciences, and met with staff at a number of elementary and secondary schools in Moscow. 

  We spent an entire evening on the Russian Underground (subway), enjoying the unbelievable beauty of the various subway stations. These included stained glass windows, chandelier lighting, tile bas-relief frescos, bronze statues; many seemed more like museums than like public transportation. There was not a piece of paper, cigarette butt, or other trash to be found, anywhere. Local music groups played for the coins that people would toss into their instrument cases. The trains came and went with a rhythmic predictability; they were all computer controlled.

Trip Picture Album...