by JOHN FOWLER

  I found the girl of my dreams in Russia. by JOHN FOWLER
Growing up I was fed equal amounts of Western and Soviet propaganda.Missiles, threats, bellicose posturing on all sides.Sporting prowess counted for a lot. Weight-lifters, the Press sisters, 2 metre tall basket ball players.‘Our’ size and scale versus ‘Your’ size and scale. All I knew as a young chap was this kind of confrontational tension. A degree of awareness of beautiful ballet dancers and long novels – this compared to cartoon mice and gaudy cowboy films. Sputnik and Gagarin versus Mercury and John Glenn. I never really encountered any charming, everyday images of Russia. It was people and tractors, women in fields and fac¬tories. Imagine my surprise in 1972 when we saw Olga Korbut at the Olympics in Munich. And her less well known colleagues. Charm and beauty – as well as poise and skill. (We only ever saw the ballet dancers on stage – inaccessible and invulnerable). In the last ten years I have seen films with charming, vulner¬able, human, characterful women. I have also met some of the same. The girls/women in ‘Here the dawns are quiet’ and ‘The cranes are flying’ I find inspirational. And I’m sure they all looked like the Alyenka girl when they were very young. So the charming image of her is one that I wished I’d known of sooner. Because my views would have been formed differently. For me she reflects humanity, joy and optimism.A quality of life in times past. Striking. Surprising. Truly caring. Something to look for when you’re in Russian shops and streets. A degree of awareness of beautiful ballet dancers and long novels – this compared to cartoon mice and gaudy cowboy films. Sputnik and Gagarin versus Mercury and John Glenn. I never really encountered any charming, everyday images of Russia. It was people and tractors, women in fields and fac-tories. Imagine my surprise in 1972 when we saw Olga Korbut at the Olympics in Munich. And her less well known colleagues. Charm and beauty – as well as poise and skill. (We only ever saw the ballet dancers on stage – inaccessible and invulnerable). ….. In the last ten years I have seen films with charming, vulner-able, human, characterful women……I have also met some of the same. …. .In the last ten years I have seen films with charming, vulner-able, human, characterful women……I have also met some of the same. ….. The girls/women in ‘Here the dawns are quiet’ and ‘The cranes are flying’ I find inspirational. …..And I’m sure they all looked like the Alyenka girl when they were very young. …..So the charming image of her is one that I wished I’d known of sooner. …..It’s one of the sweetest memories I have.
TOP ROW: Painting by Sergei Smirnoff. Icon from Church of Christ. Tsarina Alexandra
MIDDLE ROW: Painting by Sergei Smirnoff. Icon from Church Painting by Sergei Smirnoff. Icon from Church of Christ.

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