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Anya Schmemann


  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Anya Schmemann: Life Under the KGB's Watchful Eye in 1980s Russia

    Anya Schmemann, is the director of editorial strategy, and the director of the task force program, at the Council on Foreign Relations.Last week, Russia expelled an American diplomat, accusing him of being a spy for the CIA. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said that U.S. Embassy Third Secretary Ryan Fogle had been caught red-handed with disguises, spy equipment, and wads of cash, trying to recruit a Russian agent.The episode -- complete with cheap looking wigs, fake glasses, a compass, a street map, and a laughable "Dear Friend" letter -- seemed straight out of the Cold War.For me, it caused a wave of nostalgia and catapulted me back to the 1980s when I was an expat child in Soviet Russia.Our family moved to Moscow in 1980, at the height of the Cold War, when President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev faced off across a great iron divide. My father was an American reporter, a fluent Russian speaker, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest, and the grandson of White Russian refugees, and he was instantly considered highly suspicious.

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