American long-jumper. In 1960, Boston broke the long-standing world long-jump record set by Jesse Owens in 1935. Throughout the 1960s, Boston and the USSR's Igor Ter-Ovanesyan were the two best long-jumpers in the world, and kept breaking or tying each other's world records at international meets many times until Bob Beamon outjumped them both by an incredible 1 foot 9 inches at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Over the years, Boston and Ter-Ovanesian have become good friends.
Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982)
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death. A career Party worker, Brezhnev rose up through the ranks to become a Political Commissar in the military during WWII, and later served as General Secretary of Moldavia (1950-1953) and Kazakhstan (1954-1956), before finally making it to the Politburo (then called the Presidium) in Moscow in 1957. He was one of the key figures in the ouster of Nikita Khrushchev in 1963 (the only time a General Secretary was removed from the job before his death), and subsequently succeeded him at this post. Brezhnev proclaimed that the Soviet Union had achieved "Developed Socialism"; in future years, the latter part of his reign would be called the "Period of Stagnation". On the world scene, Brezhnev presided over the successful invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the horribly unsuccessful invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It was on his watch that Richard Nixon came to the USSR and ushered in a period of detente between the two superpowers.
Robert Edelman teaches Russian history at the University of California, San
Diego. He received his degree from Columbia University in 1974. He is the
author of two books on pre-revolutionary Russia as well as the recently
published "Serious Fun: A History of Spectator Sports in the USSR (Oxford
UP, 1993) which received the annual book awards of the Amateur Athletic
Foundation and the North American Society of Sports Historians. A former
radio announcer and sportswriter, Professor Edelman is a commentator on the
daily business show "Marketplace" on Public Radio International. He covered
the National Basketball Association for the Associated Press. His work has
appeared in the New York Times, History Today and Hoop Magazine. Aside from
this production he has served as a consultant to ESPN's documentary unit
"Outside the Lines" and worked as a researcher for CBS at the 1998 Winter
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Anatoly Firsov (1941- )
Soviet hockey player. Played for the so-called "Red Army team" TsSKA, winning the USSR national championship 9 times, the European championship 7 times, and the world championship 8 times. Firsov and three of his teammates hold the record for playing on the most Olympic gold medal hockey teams--three, in 1964, 1968, and 1972. Firsov was honored as the best forward in the world in 1967 and 1971.
KGB officer. Gyanov's job was to accompany Soviet athletes to foreign competitions and keep a close watch on them to ensure that they didn't defect, get too friendly with foreigners, or otherwise embarrass their country with their behavior, for example by drinking excessively. A bad report on an athlete by Gyanov could mean the end of international competitions, even for a medal contender.
Canadian hockey player. In 1972, the Soviet national hockey team, which until then had only played in (and dominated) amateur international competitions, felt confident enough to take on the finest professional hockey players in the world. An 8-game series was organized against Team Canada, a group of NHL all-stars. The Canadians found the Soviets to be daunting opponents, and only managed to scrape out one win and one tie in the first five matches. In games 6 and 7, Henderson scored the game-winning goals to tie the series at 3-3-1. The final match, played in Moscow, literally came down to the wire, as the score was tied until the last few seconds, when Henderson came through once again and won the series for Canada.
Soviet Greco-Roman wrestler. After competing internationally for the USSR for many years, and winning a gold medal in his weight class at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Kolesov became an official in the Soviet sports hierarchy and has worked on numerous Olympic Committees.
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Olga Korbut (1955- )
Soviet gymnast. The spunky, pigtailed Korbut with her pixie smile, looking far younger than her 17 years, charmed judges and spectators alike at the 1972 Olympic Games, where she won 3 gold medals and a silver, a feat that no longer seems so impressive in these post-Nadia Comaneci days. She currently resides near Atlanta. In a recent tell-all book, she accused her former coach of having made her his sex slave and the Soviet National Olympic Committee of having confiscated her gold medals from her.
Soviet gymnast. An Olympic champion in Mexico City in 1968, she quit competition shortly afterwards due to thyroid problems. She currently lives in Kiev and works there as a choreographer.
Alexander Kurashov (1935- )
Soviet sportscaster. As a young track and field athlete, Kurashov accidentally found himself behind the mike at a competition in 1954, and the rest is history. Since 1959, he has been THE voice of Soviet sports on television and radio. He has become such an institution that he also broadcast the annual May Day and October Revolution Day parades from Red Square.
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Larissa Latynina (1934- )
Soviet gymnast. In a career spanning from 1956 to 1966, she won 10 individual and 5 team world titles, a world record that stands to this day. In the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Olympics, she led her team to 3 gold medals, as well as winning 6 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze medals herself, for a total of 18--another record that has yet to be matched. After retiring, Latynina coached the Soviet gymnastics team to gold medals in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Olympics.
Lev Markov (1936- )
Russian doctor specializing in sports medicine. In 1964-1966, he developed a program called "Start" that was awarded a gold medal for best research in sports medicine. Markov has worked as a medical expert at numerous sporting events in his country as well as at many Olympic Games, and has done considerable work with the International Olympic Committee in the development of anti-doping programs.
Jesse Owens (1913-1980)
Outstanding American track and field athlete, who once broke 6 world records in an hour. Best remembered for the first day of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, when he set or equaled 4 world records and won 4 gold medals. Adolph Hitler had hoped to use the Games as a propaganda showcase, and had triumphantly congratulated the German who had won the first gold medal that day. He stormed out of the stadium after the unprecedented performance by Owens, who was black.
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Anatoly Tarasov (1918-199?)
Father of the Soviet hockey. From 1948 to 1972, Tarasov was Head Coach of the USSR national hockey team, perennial Olympic and World Champions. He was adored by his players as a father figure despite being a strict disciplinarian. In addition his work with the national team, Tarasov also coached the legendary Central Sports Club of the Army team, TsSKA (which usually provided the bulk of the national team) He travelled around the country scouting the best young players and drafting them--into the Army, so they could play for TsSKA.
Igor Ter-Ovanesyan (1938- )
Soviet long-jumper. Set several world records between 1960 and 1967, participated in five Olympic Games, and was European Champion 3 times. Presently he is Russia's Deputy Minister for Sports and Tourism.
Alexander Yakushev (1947- )
Soviet hockey player. In a career spanning the years 1967-1976, he led the Spartak team to 3 USSR championships and 6 European and World championships. He also played on the 1972 and 1976 Olympic gold medal-winning Soviet teams.
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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)
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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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.
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.
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.