Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (1930- )
American astronaut, second man on the moon. Aldrin, an Air Force pilot who had fought in the Korean War and had previously flown in space on a Gemini mission, was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 team that successfully landed on the moon on June 20, 1969.
Neil Armstrong (1930- )
American astronaut. He flew combat missions for the Navy during the Korean War, and subsequently became a test pilot before joining NASA. On June 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. Since then, he has purposely kept a low public profile.
Konstantin Feoktistov (1926- )
Soviet scientist and cosmonaut. During a flight of the "Voskhod" spacecraft on October 12-13, 1964, Feoktisov became the first scientist in space. This flight also marked the first time three persons had been sent into space in a single craft, and the first soft landing on the ground by a manned spacecraft.
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Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968)
Soviet cosmonaut, he became the first human in space on April 12, 1961. Upon his return, he was hailed as a hero, a living symbol of the supremacy of Soviet technology and ideology, and awarded a coveted apartment in Moscow. Overnight, Gagarin, with his boyish good looks and disarming smile, became larger than life, loved by all and lavished with praise everywhere he went--which he found difficult to cope with. After a while he began drinking, and his behavior in general no longer fit the squeaky-clean image required of someone of his prominence. Gagarin died under somewhat mysterious circumstances when a trainer jet he was flying in crashed; to this day, rumors persist that someone had decided to eliminate him because he was becoming a liability. He was buried with full honors in the Kremlin wall, along with the greatest heroes of the Soviet Union. A crater on the far side of the moon has been named after him. For more information on Yuri Gagarin, visit the Russian Archives Online.
Yuliy Khariton (1904-1996)
Soviet nuclear physicist. Khariton was one of the leading figures, along with Igor Kurchatov, in the race to develop a Soviet nuclear weapon. He had studied physics at Cambridge with the legendary Ernest Rutherford in the 1920s. Khariton helped found the Soviet Union's legendary top-secret nuclear weapons laboratory, Arzamas-16, and was its Scientific Director for 45 years.
Sergei Korolev (1906-1966)
Father of the Soviet space program. While incarcerated as an intellectual "enemy of the people" in a special Gulag prison for scientists during WWII, Korolev helped design the "Katyusha" rocket, one of the Soviet Union's most effective weapons. Released after the War, he was put in charge of getting as much as possible out of the German V-2 rocket program and the captured German scientists who had been working on it. The fruits of these labors included the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile and the launch vehicle for the first artificial earth satellite--Sputnik. The propaganda value of the Sputnik flight was so great that Nikita Khrushchev was inspired to finance other space milestones under Korolev's leadership, such as the first man in space, the first woman in space, and the first two-man and three-man space flights. Korolev himself was classified as top-secret throughout his career, and his name became known to the general public only after his death.
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Robert Goddard (1882-1945)
American physicist and rocket pioneer. Goddard's most notable achievement was when he successfully fired the world's first liquid-fuel rocket in 1926. During WWII, the US military, not convinced of the value of rockets as weapons delivery systems, used Goddard's skills for the development of rocket-assisted airplane takeoffs. Goddard had over 200 patents in rocket, guided missile, and space flight technology.
Daughter of Soviet rocket scientist Sergei Korolev. While he was alive, Korolev was considered to be so important that his name was completely unknown to the general public, and even his family was not allowed to know or talk about what he did.
Igor Kurchatov (1902-1960)
Soviet nuclear scientist. Kurchatov was a brilliant physicist and is regarded as the father of Soviet nuclear research, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons. He was in charge of all nuclear research (primarily aimed at developing an atomic bomb as quickly as possible) in the USSR from 1943 until his death. He was buried in Red Square among the greats of the Soviet Union. The Atomic Energy Institute in Moscow which he founded is named after him, as is element 104--Kurchatovium.
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Alexei Leonov (1934- )
Soviet cosmonaut, the first man to "walk in space". On March 18, 1965, during the flight of the "Voskhod-2", Leonov made history by stepping out of his craft and floating around in space connected only by a tether. Ten years later, he flew on the "Soyuz-19" that docked with an American Apollo spacecraft, a vivid symbol of the thaw in the Cold War.
Vassily Mishin (1917- )
Soviet rocket scientist. One of the first Russians to see Nazi Germany's V2 facilities at the close of WWII, he subsequently was a close collaborator of Sergei Korolev's in the development of the first Soviet ICBM and in the Sputnik and Vostok programs. After Korolev's death, Mishin tried unsuccessfully to commit the Soviet space program to landing a man on the moon.
Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989)
World-famous nuclear physicist, member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, known as "the father of the Soviet H-bomb". In his later years, Sakharov became an active anti-nuclear and human rights activist, protesting against such issues as the USSR's intention to violate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, its treatment of political dissidents, and its involvement in Afghanistan. He thus became a celebrated dissident himself, even winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. In 1980, in order to cut him off from his Western supporters, the government sent him into internal exile to the city of Gorky, which was closed to foreigners; this only increased his reputation abroad. In 1986, Sakharov was "pardoned" by Mikhail Gorbachev and triumphantly returned to Moscow to continue his activism. In the last year of his life, he was elected to the new, democratic Congress of People's Deputies.
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Dr. Robert Seamans
One of the original founders of NASA, he worked on the early American space program during the "space race" with the USSR.
Valentina Tereshkova (1937- )
Soviet cosmonaut, the first woman in space. Building on the propaganda success of Yuri Gagarin's first space flight, Nikita Khrushchev came up with the idea of sending a woman into space in order to demonstrate the equality of the sexes that had been achieved in the Soviet Union. Tereshkova, a textile worker and amateur parachutist, was chosen for the honor, given an officer's commission in the Soviet Air Force, hastily trained, and shot up into space for three days in 1963. Upon her return to earth, she was given numerous medals and elected to the Supreme Soviet.
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)
Russian rocket pioneer. A provincial schoolteacher by profession, Tsiolkovsky can be described as the "missing link" between the science-fiction fantasy of Jules Verne (he was a big fan, and wrote a number of space-travel novels himself) and modern rocket science. Truly a visionary ahead of his time, in 1903 Tsiolkovsky published a scientific paper on travel into space through the use of multi-stage liquid-fuel rockets, essentially the technology used today. Although he was not taken seriously in his day, and never actually built a rocket himself, Tsiolkovsky was truly the grandfather of Russian rocket science, inspiring young engineers such as Sergei Korolev, the chief designer of the first generation of Soviet spacecraft.
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Andrei Tupelov (1888-1972)
Soviet aircraft designer. Since 1922, the design bureau which he founded and that now bears his name has built more than 100 different military and civilian aircraft, including the workhorse of the Aeroflot fleet, the TU-154. Tupolev planes have broken 78 world records. In one of the more bizarre stories of the Great Purges, Stalin had the entire Tupolev design bureau arrested as "enemies of the people" in 1938. Nothing changed in their work, except that they were now all prisoners in the Gulag and that Tupolev's name was not mentioned in public until his release in 1943.
Wernher von Braun (1912-1977)
German rocket scientist. During WWII, von Braun was part of the design team that built the V-2 rocket that nearly brought Great Britain to its knees. After surrendering to the US Army at the end of the War, von Braun and many of his colleagues were offered contracts to continue their research in the US (some of their more unlucky colleagues were captured by the Soviets and taken to Russia to continue their work in prison conditions) The team helped design numerous American missiles, as well as the Redstone rocket that launched the first US satellites and manned Mercury spacecraft into space. In 1960, von Braun and his colleagues were transferred to NASA, where they continued designing ever larger rockets, including the Saturn V, the most powerful rocket in the world, which put men on the moon.
Marshall Georgy Zhukov (1896-1974)
The most decorated military figure in Soviet history. One of the few gifted top military men to have survived the Great Purges, Zhukov advanced through the ranks to become Chief of Staff in 1941, second in command only to Stalin himself. He masterminded the defense of Moscow in 1941, the battle of Stalingrad in 1942, the breaking of the Leningrad blockade in 1943, and the advance towards Germany in 1943-1944. He took personal control of the capture of Berlin, and on May 8, 1945, accepted the unconditional surrender of the German High Command. Fearful of Zhukov's enormous popularity, Stalin had him removed from the limelight into semi-retirement in 1946. After Stalin's death, Khrushchev brought Zhukov back to prominence, making him a member of the Party's Central Committee and later even of the elite Politburo (or Presidium, as it was known then), as well as Minister of Defense. Later, when he fell out of Khrushchev's favor, Zhukov was once again forced into retirement, only to re-emerge in the public eye yet again after Khrushchev's ouster.
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Gábor Beszterczey, Ph.D.
Web Site Producer
Gábor Beszterczey, Ph.D., is Abamedia's Director of European Business Development. In this capacity he represents the Russian State Film and Photo Archive outside of Russia, supervising the cataloguing, database and software creation of this project. Dr. Beszterczey was the producer/director for over half of the Fodor's films, and served as
international producer for Made in Russia (CTC, Russia) and Yanks for Stalin
(History Channel, USA)
He is an international journalist and has produced over 200 documentaries and series programs for Hungarian and international television. As the Western European Correspondent for Hungarian TV Channel 1, Dr. Beszterczey has produced projects in Western Europe, the United States and the Middle East.
With over 15 years of experience in international production, a Ph.D. in Sociology and a second Ph.D. in Politics and International Relations, Dr. Beszterczey is a valuable asset for contacts on the world political and media scene.
Writer, Producer, Director
RED FILES: SOVIET SPORT WARS
RED FILES: SOVIET MOON MISSION
Greg Barker has reported and filmed for BBC, Reuters, CNN and PBS Frontline and conducted interviews in Iraq, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, the Gulf War, Azerbaijan and 40 other countries.
His film credits include: "Pol Pot: Brother Number One" (1998), A&E Networks, London. Writer, producer and director. "A Need for Speed" (1997), Café Productions for Discovery US. Writer, producer and director. "Idi Amin: The Jolly Dictator" (1997), A&E Networks, London. Writer, producer and director.
Writer, Producer, Director
RED FILES: SECRET VICTORIES OF THE KGB
William Cran's career in television started at the BBC in 1969, where he worked for eight years, three of them at PANORAMA, the Corporation's flagship current affairs program. In 1976, he moved to Canada where he became senior producer for THE FIFTH ESTATE, CBC's top-rated public affairs program. In 1979 he began a lasting association with WGBH-TV in Boston.
Cran is a documentary filmmaker whose independent production company, InVision, has produced more than 50 television programs since 1980. He has won more than two dozen awards, including four national Emmys, two duPont-Columbia awards, and a Peabody award.
InVison's recent productions for PBS include FRONTLINE's lauded "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians" and "Ambush in Mogadishu" (which won the Edward R. Murrow Overseas Press Club Award), both telecast in 1998. Other FRONTLINE documentaries for PBS include "The Godfather of Cocaine" (1995), "Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?" (1993), and the controversial and critically acclaimed "The Secret File on J. Edgar Hoover" (1993), which made headlines around the world. The eight-part series "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power," which aired on PBS in 1993, won numerous awards and garnered national media attention.
Mr. Cran is currently working on FRONTLINE "Apocalypse!" (working title), a two-hour special to be telecast on PBS on Tuesday, November 22 (check local listings)
RED FILES Companion Book published by TV Books
George Feifer, a well-respected journalist and writer, has written the companion book for the RED FILES series.
Mr. Feifer graduated from Harvard College, and received a Russian Institute Certificate from Columbia University, with an exchange year at Moscow State University. After working as a news writer for CBS News and holding various roles on BBC radio and television, he has primarily concentrated on free-lance writing. His published books related to Russian topics include: Justice in Moscow, Message from Moscow, The Girl from Petrovka, Sozhenitsyn, and Moscow Farewell. His work Tennozan: The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb, was selected as a New York Times "Notable of 1992". He has additionally published articles, essays, and book reviews in major American, British, and European magazines.
Under the banner of his company 'Sound to Picture', Paul Foss has been composing successful, award-winning music scores since 1988. An experienced composer with an international reputation, Paul has written sound tracks for several international documentary series and for numerous single programs. In 1998, he created the full music score for the WGBH four-part series "From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians", and the BBC story of the Roman Empire's last, great conquest, "The Roman Way of War." Frontline/WGBH has recently released a soundtrack CD of the music included in "From Jesus to Christ."
Additionally, Mr. Foss composed the full musical score for the landmark PBS 8-part series on the oil industry, "The Prize - The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power". His score for the Learning Channel's "Flights of Courage" was nominated for an Emmy for Music Score. Other work includes creating music for CNN's daily programming covering the trial of O.J. Simpson in 1996, and numerous scores for other BBC, A&E, and PBS programs.
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J. Mitchell Johnson
Drawing on more than two decades of filmmaking, RED FILES series producer, J. Mitchell Johnson - founder, president, and CEO of Abamedia - is an award-winning producer of documentary and current affairs programming for domestic and international television. Abamedia's reputation for unique access to Russian cultural, academic and governmental institutions stems, in part, from Mr. Johnson's pioneering efforts in US/Russian television programming, having produced the first U.S./Russian current affairs series, "Everybody's Talking," with ABC News for Ostankino/ORT Russia.
In 1996 Abamedia was invited by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to participate in a media partnership program in the former Soviet Union, which led to the creation of Abamedia's Archive Media Project (AMP): the official international trade representative of the Russian State Film and Photo Archive at Krasnogorsk. Krasnogorsk is the major repository of historic documentary images of Russia and the former Soviet Union - many of which have never been seen by Western or Russian eyes.
Among Mr. Johnson's documentary productions for PBS are THE VAN CLBURN INTERNATIONAL PIANO COMPETITION; LILI, a docudrama on the life of pianist Lili Kraus; six film shorts on SESAME STREET (Children's Television Workshop) and the award-winning documentary on Philip Johnson's celebrated design, WATERGARDEN.
His work also extend to new media. Abamedia's Russian Archives Online (RAO) and World Archive Online (WAO) is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) supported human heritage database project to be instantly accessible for self-customized levels of research via the Internet. A preview of RAO will be part of the RED FILES Web site at www.pbs.org.
RED FILES Web Site
Currently working toward her Ph.D. at Harvard University, Barbara Keys adds a wealth of historical knowledge to the RED FILES project. Her particular expertise lies in the following areas: Modern International History, Modern Russian History, Medieval Russian History and United States History since 1789.
She has served as a tutor for this History Department at Harvard University, teaching weekly seminars for junior honors candidates and sophomore history majors. She also led weekly discussion sections as a teaching fellow.
Barbara has been awarded numerous fellowships and awards: Jacob K. Javits Graduate Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 1989-94; Phi Beta Kappa, 1987; Sarah Bradley Gamble Fellowship, Harvard University, 1994-95; Honors in Independent Study for Senior Thesis, Carlton College, 1987; Noyers Prize, Carlton College, 1986; and Mortar Board Freshman Prize, Carlton College, 1984.
Her published works include the following: "Victor Kravchenko." Censorhip: An International Encyclopedia (Fitzroy Dearborn, forthcoming); "James Jesus Angleton." American National Biography, John A. Garraty, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); "Russian Serfdom." The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, 2 vols., Junius P. Rodrigues, ed. (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 1997); and "Developing Students' Ideas Through Paper Proposals" (Co-author with Erika Dreifus) Harvard Writing Project Bulletin, Fall 1996, p. 10.
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RED FILES Web site Writer
Mr. Lang is a freelance Russian interpreter and translator residing in Washington DC. He has an extensive background in Sovietology and ethnography, including graduate work at the prestigious Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He is fluent in Russian, and has travelled widely throughout the former Soviet Union in his work for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and numerous US Government Departments, Agencies, and National Laboratories, and Fortune 500 corporations. A partial list of the persons he has interpreted for includes Vice President Al Gore, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, Henry Kissinger, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. He has been the translator of the academic journals "Soviet Statutes and Decisions" since 1989 and "Anthropology and Archaeology of Eurasia" since 1992.
Series Development and Story Editor
Web Site Development
Steven Leibman is Abamedia's senior vice president of creative affairs. Previously, Mr. Leibman was with Touchstone Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, as vice president of Tom Schulman Productions (the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Dead Poets Society); director of marketing and communications for the Los Angeles Theater Center and Connecticut's Hartford Ballet; and co-founder and president of the licensed genre film merchandiser, The Thinking Cap Company (e.g. Blade Runner, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back)
Jonathan Sanders, Ph.D.
RED FILES Web site Investigative Resources
Calling upon his extensive background as a former CBS News Correspondent in Moscow, Jonathan Sanders brings years of research experience to this project. As a News Correspondent, he provided a history-based perspective and eyewitness reporting on all major political, economic, social and scientific developments across Eurasia. Most notably were his stories on the Chechen war for independence; Russian Presidential Elections; and breaking special news events, particularly the failed coups against Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.
He spent 1977-78 as a Fulbright Scholar at Moscow State University and received a Ph.D. from Columbia's History Department in 1985. Professor Sanders is the author of Russia 1917: The Unpublished Revolution; V.V. Shul'gin: The Years; Comrade X Was Wrong: Soviet, TV Coverage of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster; and with Heidi Hollinger, The Face of Modern Russia's Political Opposition (forthcoming, North America: summer 1999; Russia: Nov. 1999)
From its founding until summer 1988 he served as assistant director of the W. Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union. Sanders created the Working Group on Soviet Television at Columbia University and helped spread its technological innovations to many other university-based Soviet Studies programs. He also served as Assistant Director at Columbia University of the Russian Institute School of International and Public Affairs between 1980 and 1982, and as Princeton University's Ferris Professor of Journalism from 1998-1999.