Soviet Coup, 1991 I

Lead: In late summer 1991, conservative elements of the KGB and Communist Party tried to revive the collapsing Soviet system. For a breathless moment it looked as if they would succeed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For a dozen years prior to 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was the golden boy of Soviet politics. After law school at Moscow State University, in 1955 he returned to his native region of Stavropol near the Caspian Sea in southwestern Russia. He held a number of posts in the Communist Party organization and was named a member of the Central Committee of the national Party in 1971. Under the guidance of his patron, the party's chief ideologue, Mikhail Suslov, Gorbachev moved quickly up the ranks and by 1980 was a full member of the Politburo. When Konstantin Chernenko died in 1985, Gorbachev was his logical successor as General Secretary of the Soviet Party.

The U-2 Incident II

Lead: On the morning of May 1, 1959, Francis Gary Powers piloting a U-2 spy plane was shot down by elements of the Soviet Union's Air Defense Force.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fallout from the incident went far beyond the fate of Francis Gary Powers. He was tried, convicted and then exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Able in 1962. Khrushchev went to the Paris summit conference on the 15th of May and disrupted it completely, using the U-2 incident as an excuse.

In fact from the very beginning, the Administration had known about the flights and the President had authorized them. The CIA had assured the Administration that no one could survive an attack by a surface to air missile, but had then provided a parachute for the pilot. 

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The U-2 Incident I

Lead: The capture of Francis Gary Powers set back U.S.-Soviet Relations for a dozen years.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: On the morning of May 1, 1959, Francis Gary Powers, an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency climbed into his reconnaissance aircraft and prepared to take off. His aircraft was the U-2, was black and cigar-shaped. Its wings were very long and designed to enable the plane to fly high in rarified atmosphere above 50,000 feet. On the ground the wings had to be supported or the plane would tip over. As the ungainly but somehow elegant U-2 took off into the morning sky over Turkey, neither Powers or his handlers would know that this flight would result in a international incident that would begin the slide of a Russian leader from power, further the chance of change of American administrations and bring a dozen years of icy relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States.


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The Last Days of Citizen Romanov II

Lead: In just minutes it was over, the Romanovs were dead.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: On July 16, 1918, Nicholas Romanov the last of the Russian Emperors and his family were murdered by members of the Bolshevik secret police. Here's what happened. At four in the afternoon, the family went for their usual stroll in the garden. At 10:30 they went to bed. About midnight Yurovsky, the chief of the secret police detail awakened them and told them to dress quickly and come downstairs. He explained that an army opposed to the Bolsheviks was getting close to their prison in Ekaterinburg and the local Soviet had decided that they should be moved. The former tsar came down the steps carrying his son, the boy’s arms tightly wrapped around his father's neck. The rest followed. Young Anastasia held Jimmy, their small spaniel. Down they went to a small basement room, 16 x 18 feet. They were asked to wait, chairs were brought in and the tsar and his wife sat down.  

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The Cossacks- Part II

Lead: In the late sixteenth century, the Cossacks, fierce warriors in service to the Czar of Russia, moved from their traditional homes in the Ukraine and began the occupation and conquest of Siberia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Cossacks settled in southern Russia and the Ukraine beginning in the late 15th century. Cossacks, fierce fighters and skilled horsemen, were nomads, escaped serfs and outlaws many of whom were of Slavic origin. The Cossacks lived in independent settlements and were given virtual autonomy in exchange for protecting the Russian frontier. The largest group of Cossacks, those living on the lower Don River, known as the Don Cossacks, in 1581, under the leadership of Yermak Timofeyevich, crossed the Ural Mountains and wrested control of the small Tartar khanate, “Sibir” – hence the name Siberia, which means “sleeping land.”


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The Cossacks Part I

Lead: In the late 1500s Russia expanded into the vast and often desolate region of Siberia. Leading the way was a band of fiercely independent military cavalry warriors called the Cossacks.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Cosssack is a derivative of the Turkic word” kazak,” which means “adventurer” or “free man.” Cossacks were escaped serfs, religious refugees, nomads and outlaws drawn together by their common estrangement in present day southern Ukraine and the steppes of western Russia.


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Beria III (Russia)

Lead: After clawing his way to the top of the ailing Joseph Stalin's pyramid of bureaucratic terror, Lavrentiy Beria seemed set to succeed the maximum leader.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1938 Stalin brought him to Moscow after Beria had distinguished himself as the bloody enforcer of the Great Purges in Georgia and other southern Soviet provinces near the Caucasus Mountains. He became assistant to Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD, in the waning days of the purge, and after Yezhov's fall from power and execution, Beria took his place. He became a candidate member of the Politburo and during World War II he sat on the five-member State Defense Committee, which, with Stalin, directed the war effort. Beria was responsible for internal security as well as foreign intelligence operations and the network of forced labor camps he ruled, the Gulag Archipelago, turned out much of the raw material for the Soviet war industry.

Beria II (Russia)

Lead: Of the henchmen of Joseph Stalin, none struck fear in the hearts of Russians quite like Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born of Georgian peasant stock in 1899, Beria became a Marxist sympathizer while attending technical college in Azerbaijan. At the fall of the Russian monarchy, Beria dropped out of school to join the Army, apparently to spread Communist ideas and help undermine morale. When the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional government in the October Revolution, Beria returned home to finish his studies but was soon caught up in his party's counterintelligence service, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or CHEKA.