Retired Radio Moscow personality. For many years, Adamov produced and hosted the popular English language program "Mailbag" on Radio Moscow.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
British Prime Minister 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. A British aristocrat, Churchill spent most of his life in the British government. Churchill's close personal relationship with Franklin Roosevelt ensured American support for Britain during the early days of WWII despite the USA's proclaimed neutrality, and later helped convince Roosevelt to join the war, while his unflappability and resoluteness in the face of the Nazi German attack on Great Britain gave his people a sense of calm confidence in their ability to overcome diversity. He took part in the 1945 Yalta and Potsdam Conferences that helped shape post-war Europe. An accomplished historian, writer, and painter, Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857)
Russian composer. Classically trained in Europe, he strove to combine Russian folk themes with the classical style, and is therefore regarded as the father of a truly Russian style of music. Glinka is best known for his operas "A Life for the Tsar" and "Ruslan and Lyudmila". He is back in the news today because one of his songs was chosen to be the current post-Soviet Russian national anthem. However, the tsarist words that he originally set to the music are not part of the current anthem--just the melody. The State Duma organized a competition for new words, but as yet no winner has been announced.
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Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- )
The last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Having come of age in Nikita Khrushchev's post-Stalin "thaw", Gorbachev was a firm believer in the ideals of Communism, and felt that the Soviet system could be reformed from within to become a viable political force. To these ends, after coming to power in 1985, he introduced the policies of "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring), in the hope of breathing new life into the decrepit structure that the USSR had become. Gorbachev's fatal miscalculation was his belief that there was still something to save, when in actuality the system was already rotten to the core. He ended up unleashing a torrent of pent-up discontent from all elements of Soviet society, and watched in uncomprehending horror as the whole hollow edifice crashed to the ground around him in 1991. Currently highly respected abroad, Gorbachev is vilified by many Russians as the man who personally destroyed a perfectly good country.
General Alexander Haig (1924- )
American soldier and statesman. West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran Haig was first invited to work at the White House as an aide on the National Security Council by Henry Kissinger in 1968. When several of President Richard Nixon's closest associates resigned at the height of the Watergate scandal, the politically unsullied Haig was appointed White House Chief of Staff, a post he held through Nixon's resignation and beyond, until President Gerald Ford appointed him Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe in 1974. After a stint in the private sector as President of United Technologies, a military contractor, in 1979-1980, Haig returned to government as Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of State in 1981, only to resign suddenly and inexplicably after a year and a half on the job.
Soviet television personality. Pozner spent his early childhood in the United States, and speaks both Russian and English fluently. This skill turned him into a semi-official spokesman for the Soviet Union whenever the American media needed someone for a live debate or sound-byte. In the 1980s, he did a series of historic live "space bridge" people-to-people talk shows with Phil Donahue which were enormously popular and earned Pozner cult status in his country. These days, Pozner hosts occasional public affairs specials on Russian TV and continues to make appearances on American television to explain what is going on in Russia in ways that Americans can understand.
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George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish playwright. Truly one of the great literary figures of the 20th century (his most famous play being "Pygmalion"), he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Politically, Shaw was decidedly socialist (he was one of the founders of the Fabian Society), especially after the disillusionment of WWI. He became a strong and vocal supporter of the new social experiment being conducted by Soviet Russia, and particularly admired powerful leaders who used force to bring about fundamental changes in society, such as Stalin and Mussolini. Among the other radical causes he supported was an attempt at spelling reform of the English language.
Edward Teller (1908- )
Hungarian-born American nuclear physicist, one of the key figures in the Manhattan Project, father of the American H-bomb. Unlike many of the Manhattan Project scientists, Teller did not experience any moral doubts about the devastation his work had caused at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When colleague J. Robert Oppenheimer questioned the need for his pet project, the much more powerful hydrogen bomb, during the height of the McCarthy Era "red scare", Teller lashed out against him and cast doubt on his loyalty, which resulted in Oppenheimer losing his security clearance, effectively ending his career in weapons development. Subsequently, Teller worked at Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory, and continued to be a vocal supporter of new weapons programs, including the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars").
A typical Soviet housewife who experienced the complete political indoctrination that the Soviet system imposed on all its citizens from early childhood through the Little Octoberists, the Pioneers, and the Komsomol.
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Marshall Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893-1937)
Tukhachevsky served brilliantly in the Red Army during the Civil War immediately following the October Revolution, and was one of the top military leaders in the country afterwards, rising to First Deputy People's Commissar of Defense in 1936. In 1937, he fell victim to the sweeping purge of the Soviet military that left it so unprepared for WWII. Tukhachevsky's crime had been to spend a few years at school in Germany before the Revolution. Because of this, Stalin accused him of being a German spy and had him shot. He was posthumously rehabilitated after Stalin's death.
Boris Yefimov (1900- )
Soviet political cartoonist. In a remarkable career that spanned the entire existence of the Soviet Union, from the October Revolution to Perestroika, Yefimov's bitingly sarcastic observations on Soviet society and inspiring WWII propaganda posters graced the pages of Pravda, Izvestiia, Krokodil, and many other publications.
Boris Yeltsin (1931- )
Yeltsin, an otherwise typical Communist Party functionary, seemed to have a sixth sense for the changes that were taking place in his country in the last days of the Soviet Union. After falling out with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, he made an unprecedented political comeback, and gained huge credibility with the public when he became one of the first prominent figures to dramatically tear up his Party membership card. In May 1990, he was elected to the previously ceremonial post of President of Russia and was becoming at least as popular and powerful as Gorbachev himself. During the failed coup attempt in August 1991, while Gorbachev was being held incommunicado at his dacha in the Crimea, Yeltsin was manning the barricades outside the Russian White House, giving fiery speeches about democracy from the top of a tank. After a chastened Gorbachev returned to Moscow, it was clear who was in charge. Gorbachev offered to confer the title of Hero of the Soviet Union--the highest award in the country--on Yeltsin, who refused the honor, and instead went about declaring the Communist Party illegal and otherwise setting the stage for the peaceful phasing out of the USSR at the end of 1991. Since that time, Yeltsin has shown himself to be extremely erratic and unpredictable. On the one hand, he has encouraged the free-marketeers and democrats in his administration to continue their reforms, on the other hand, he has occasionally unexpectedly fired them and replaced them with hard-liners, only to bring them back later just as unexpectedly. In October 1993, he staged a showdown with the Parliament outside the White House, only this time it was his side that was seen as being the undemocratic one, imposing its will on the representatives of the people through the spilling of innocent blood. Lately he has taken to replacing his Prime Ministers every few months. Yeltsin had heart bypass surgery several years ago, and seems to be ill most of the time these days--there is ample evidence to suggest a serious problem with alcoholism. Indeed, he seems more and more reminiscent of the old school of Soviet leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev, who spent the last years of their lives nominally in charge but by and large out of the picture. Serious doubts are being raised from all quarters about his ability to lead the country through its difficult transition period, although rumors persist that he intends to stand for re-election in the year 2000. However his political life ends, Boris Yeltsin will always be remembered as the man who engineered the peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union and set the foundations for its transition to a market-based democracy.
Current leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the largest party in the State Duma (although without a majority, given the large number of parties). Although the CPRF is the direct descendant of Lenin's Bolsheviks, today it follows a rather pragmatic, Social-Democratic line. On a personal level, Zyuganov is extremely uncharismatic, but the Communist Party still has a certain appeal among a significant minority of the Russian population, making him a figure to be reckoned with in Russian politics and a perpetual front-runner in any Presidential election.
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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: 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)
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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.
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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.