My parents got married in early March 1969. Less than 6 weeks before their wedding, my mom’s brother traveled through the Soviet Union. He sent this postcard from Leningrad in late January 1969 (although the picture is of the Black Sea in the Crimea).
In the postcard, he wrote to his parents and younger sister:
We are having an interesting and good trip. The weather in Mockba was cold. We flew to Leningrad today. It is 1 hour by Tupelov 104B. Russians are very friendly. The Bolshoi Ballet was tremendous. Last night we saw an excellent folk dance show (from inside the Kremlin).
What he didn’t write was that he was in Red Square at the same time Viktor Ilyan tried to take out Brezhnev.
My uncle noticed some commotion from afar, but in typical KGB fashion, the scene was cleaned up as quickly as you could say Stolichnaya. It was later learned that Ilyin had dressed in a stolen police uniform and attended a ceremony for several cosmonauts at Red Square, knowing Brezhnev would be there, too. Ilyan opened fire at what he thought was Brezhnev’s car, but which turned out to be the cosmonauts’ car instead. The cosmonauts’ driver was killed, and Brezhnev escaped unharmed thanks to Ilyan’s mistake.
I’m sure my parents’ wedding was a hoot–albeit in Elgin, Illinois–but I somehow doubt it matched the excitement and Cold War theatrics of the my uncle’s time in the Soviet Union.