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On January 1, 1985, President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev addressed each other’s people in an unprecedented exchange of televised New Year’s greetings. Remember that in March 1985, Gorbachev came into office, after the death of former Soviet leader Chernenko and after his very long illness. Knowing the voracity of the Cold War makes this exchange even more meaningful. The four major American networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN carried the leaders five minute speeches at 1pm EST. Even more remarkable, Soviet television agreed to broadcast Reagan’s message to the Soviet people simultaneously, or at 9pm Moscow time: prime time in the Soviet Union.
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