The Two Russias


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In the late 1980s, Hollywood reflected the real world thaw in the Cold War by depicting the idea of two Russias: the cold bureaucratic state run by grey men intent on propping up a crumbling regime, and the beautiful, little known country of real, everyday Russians who live rich and full lives despite it all. Our three films this week show the two Russias in different ways and in different stages of the 1980s Cold War. White Nights, the story of a Russian ballet dancer who defected to America and is forced to return, came out in December 1985. The Hunt for Red October, based on a 1984 Tom Clancy novel, was released in March 1990, a few months after the world changed. The Russia House, based on John le Carre’s 1989 novel came out Christmas Day, 1990, exactly one year before the Soviet Union closed up shop for good.

Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.

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