Thursday, December 8, 2016

Arriving In The USSR Just After Communism Broke It

Even their Passenger Airliners had bald tires

Upon landing in Bucharest, Romania, soon after the Soviet Union had begun to disintegrate under Communist rule, having run out of the stolen wealth of the nations it had conquered, the first thing I noticed in the dilapidated airport of that Capitol city, was demoralizing decomposition.  Even the antiquated baggage conveyor system was in irreparable condition, and didn't work, but there were a dozen conveyor mechanics all sitting around on the ruins doing nothing. I was not too surprised considering the refreshments we had been served on the plane, three pretzels and a paper cup of stale water. Also, unbelievably, the airport TV monitors were playing American cartoons. Strange indeed.

Leaving the airport in an ancient, coughing taxi, also with bald tires, we were jostled down the streets of potholes past a statue of their evil, just executed, President, Nicolae Ceausescu, It was all splattered with a dozen colors of paint. and insulting signs hanging around his neck, in the Central Square. We finally got aboard the crowded train to Moscow with our baggage and one case of our many boxes of Russian language Bibles which we intended to give away on the train. We were stopped at the Russian border and a large number of Federal agents, who carried machine guns, came aboard. The officer in charge chose us to question and investigate. He didn't seem too interested in what was in our bags and box of Bibles, but wanted to know if we had any American Credit Cards. We did, of course, and he wanted to see them. So we pulled them out for him to see. He went through them one at a time and studied every facet of each card. The expression on his face was sheer amazement and unbelief. He asked a dozen questions about their use a how many people in America had one, how long they were good for and how much money they represented. When he returned them to us, Buddy Nichols asked him if he would like to have a Bible. The man couldn't believe we were offering him the Bible free of charge. He quickly took it, caressed it to his chest, and slipped it into a worn brief-case. You must remember that few people in the USSR had a Bible after 73 years of Communist Atheism and certainly nobody had a new one. A few minutes later he returned and asked if he could have two more for two fellow agents.

We arrived in Moscow late in the evening and went directly to Red Square to see the midnight changing of the guard. Lenin's Mausoleum, his tomb and Saint Basil's Cathedral are there as well as the Kremlin and other government buildings. It was all lighted up like day-time and a highlight in my life of fighting Communism since I first met it in Seoul, Korea among the hundreds of dead bodies of innocent South Korean civilians, hands tied behind them and executed by the retreating Communist forces of North Korea.
A visit to a department store, to buy mementos of our trip for family members, revealed hundreds of people searching for necessities and finding only empty shelves and a handful of nonsense items nobody needed or wanted. The only impressive things we saw in the USSR was Red Square and the few surviving Christians who could finally meet with other Christians to worship. They could now teach, pray and fellowship together in churches which had, for 73 years, been controlled by agents of the government. We preached, through translators, to those relatively few, faithful believers, who had suffered so much, and who now clung to every word and didn't want it to stop. The way things are going, in our country, their experience could well soon be ours. Strangely, that failed political system which executed millions of innocent lives and ruined many nations, appears now to be the system of choice for nearly half of Americans. But they don't call it by its real name .... Atheistic Communism. They call it "Free Stuff Socialism", "Progressive", "Liberal" or "Democrat". Wake up America! RB