|This is your freedom|
For five years I lived in southern Kazakstan, walking some of the same places where Alexander Solzhenitsyn lived during his days of exile in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago.
The Soviets had a decisive way of dealing with dissidents, they either killed them or locked them up and threw away the key. Having grown up in the height of the Cold War, I well remember the threat of the Soviet Union. Once I got to Kazakstan in 1993 to work with a non-profit environmental company, I could see the threat had not been imaginary.
Soviet era factories and massive housing complexes came equipped with gas masks, cave-like underground bomb shelters and training on how to survive nuclear fallout. The Soviets had a policy of calculated loss. In the event of a nuclear exchange with the United States, they hoped to save a percentage of their population that enabled them to recover while permanently crippling the US. Thus while most Americans simply hoped a Soviet-initiated Armageddon would never materialize, the Soviet communists saw it as a real possibility and planned to win it.
For the full story, subscribe to the The Ouachita Citizen's NEW E-Edition!
Ron Coody, a West Monroe native, is a Ph.D. candidate in Intercultural Studies at Concordia Seminary. From 1993-1998, he lived and worked in Kazakstan doing environmental work. Since 2002, Mr. Coody and his family have resided in Istanbul, Turkey.