Condi Rice on the Soviet Union. "The Cloud of Fear Was Real."
During an event here at the Hoover Institution yesterday, I had an onstage conversation with former secretary of state and Hoover fellow Condoleezza Rice. Discussing Russia, Sec. Rice happened to make a comment that answered a question with which I've been struggling as I work on my book on the Cold War: How do you enable present-day Americans to understand--how can you make them see--what life was like inside the Soviet Union?
Sec. Rice's comment:
She first visited the Soviet Union as a grad student in 1979, Sec. Rice explained. "My first impression was that the Russians never looked at you. They walked along the Moscow streets looking down at their feet. This was a thoroughly cowed population. They remembered Stalin. The cloud of fear was real."
An entire nation of people afraid to look each other in the eye. That one image says it all, doesn't it?