Viewers Share Cold War Nostalgia After the Broadcast Premiere of My Perestroika on POV

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Each Friday, we post a selection of viewer comments relating to the week’s film. This week, viewers watched My Perestroika, an intimate look at the last generation of Soviet children, and shared their memories of growing up in the Cold War era.

“My first clear memory as a human being on this planet is sitting in my living room floor watching Ronald Reagan inaugurated President. I recall my father saying “Here’s a man who might finally save us from the Russians.” As a child, my whole life was colored by rumination on the possibility, or near inevitability, of nuclear exchange. I might have been the last generation of student in my school system to be shown “Duck and Cover”. Everything from Red Dawn to Mad Max dominated the pop culture I was drawn to. If you had told the child version of me that I would be sitting in a future today comfortably commenting on the War That Never Happened on this high-tech internet thing, I’d have told you that you were crazy. Everyone knew that the future was a blasted wasteland. It was a reality we all accepted. “
—Paris Battle

“I remember being in 3rd grade in the Bronx when the teacher sat a new kid next to me. She said to be nice to him because he and his family just escaped from behind the iron curtain. I could only envision a pair of iron curtains and wondering how hard it must have been to get around, in my mind, literally I thought, iron curtains!! I couldn’t wait until he was able to speak English to ask him about it. But he never answered me. I wonder if he knew the meaning of that phrase too!”
—folkfan

“In the middle 1980′s I began searching for my father’s family still in Russia. All I had were some old letters to my Grandmother from the late ’40′s and 50′s. Through blind luck I began corresponding with a young mother, like myself who had some old letters like mine, and we thought, perhaps, we might be a relative because of these old letters. We wrote back and forth and when things got hard for her and her children I found inventive ways to send her packages of food, shoes for the boys, comic books, Americana and toys.”
— Mstojic

The conversation spread to Twitter and Facebook and other parts of POV’s My Perestroika companion site:

“I grew up in Poland during the 80′s and so many memories came flooding back while watching this program.. That was a different time then and the influence of the Soviet Union on all of the eastern block European countries was very strong. I’ll never forget my childhood because of it all – rations for food, gas, nothing in stores and long lines to get anything (even toilet paper).”
— Dariusz Bródka (via Facebook)

“My experience in the USSR moved me profoundly and made me a changed person; it shifted my perspective so radically, and completely challenged everything I had known about life at such a tender age (of 17). Watching My Perestroika tonight brought back a lot of memories — of joy, happiness, hope for the future, fears of the unknown — and made me very nostalgic for those times gone by.”
— Joe

“@povdocs wow! brings back memories; ’93 i was in kiev for 6wks; intense place. great doc!”
thejesuscat (via Twitter)

We’d love to share more of your Cold War recollections and thoughts on My Perestroika. Join the discussion at Your Perestroika or on Twitter @povdocs.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.