Saturday, October 6, 2012

10/6 - AFSC, Retro Cars, Sakharov Center

This week brought fantastic news - I finally know my job for the next 4 years in the United States Air Force. Surprisingly, I will be unlikely to use my Russian language skills in my awarded position. I will be a Logistics Readiness Officer (21RX) upon my graduation from American University. After completing training at my assigned base, I will be working with other officers and airmen to distribute fuel, airplanes, and direct the management of these operations as needed. Within a week, I have to submit my base preferences next week - my top three right now are Andrews Air Force Base (Maryland), MacDill Air Force Base (Tampa, Florida), and Bolling Air Force Base (Washington, DC). I even have choices to work at bases in Italy, England, Japan, and Germany, but I prefer to stay close to the area where I went to school. Also, the chance to live and work in Andrews or Florida would really be a dream come true. 

On Tuesday evening, my tutor took me to the Retro Automobile Museum near Ilyich Square or Площадь Ильича. This museum featured an array of foreign cars from Western Europe, and the United States. Moreover, the largest exhibit featured cars built during the Soviet era, the majority coming from the times of Stalin and Khrushchev. There were too many cars that I liked so I decided to not post all of them here. However, it was a huge accomplishment for me to talk almost the entire time in Russian with my tutor. To go an hour and a half straight in my second language is a big deal.

Yesterday, we made a trip to the Andrei Sakharov Center (Сахаровский центр). It was a great historical experience, as the museum highlighted some of the key moments of the early Soviet Union era, especially the repressions and terrors that occurred under the infamous rule of Soviet Premier Josef Stalin. Millions upon millions of Soviets were killed, deported, and exiled in the 1930s and early 1940s if they were considered "enemies of the state." 

Sakharov Center Poster (Сахаровский Центр)

Lists of those executed during the Stalinist Terrors (Расстрельные Списки)

Moreover, why is this museum named after Andrei Sakharov? He is best known in the Soviet Union as a nuclear physicist, but also as a human rights activist in a time when it was the hardest to hold his ground.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 for his work to advocate for civil liberties and civil rights reforms in the Soviet Union. He often stood at a ideological disagreement with Nikita Khrushchev over the use of nuclear weapons as a form of defense during the time after the Cuban Missile Crisis. He thought that this would eventually lead to nuclear war, which he described in his manuscripts. In the 1980s, Sakharov was arrested, and put in to exile. In 1984, he began a hunger strike campaign to advocate for his wife and human rights missions. His legacy lives on today.

"Andrei Sakharov, Thank you!" - Андрей Сахаров, Спасибо!

A Piece of the Berlin Wall outside the Museum

Next week, I will be embarking on one of the most eventful journeys of my life. We are taking a weeklong cruise along the Volga River, seeing multiple Russian cities from Kazan to Hizhny Novgorod to Samara to Ulyanovsk, and ending with Volgograd. I will be mostly out of contact this week, but I'll try to update the blog if I have time. Its a beautiful cruise ship that would be equivalent to a 5-star liner in the USA. Some Russians wait their whole lives to see these sites, and we are lucky enough to be seeing them in our first trip to Russia. Its really an honor. Below, you can see the trip map of our journey, it is in alphabetical order of the trips starting on 8 October and ending on 14 October. 

Thanks for reading! I'll look forward to updating you on my journeys next week.

Countdown to returning home: 74 Days

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, that's what I call a cool story bro. Such a riveting tale, I honestly copy and pasted it to word, saved on my hard drive, backed it up on a jump drive, drove to the bank, put the jump drive in the safe deposit box, and will leave it there until my kids turn about 12 (when they can actually state their age, and ask what it is I'm showing them), when I will pick it up, put it in an old USB drive reader and relay this cool story to them and tell them, "kids, this is what a cool story should look and sound like...not like the stories your generation tells.