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TOUR ITINERARY - 1992


This is a report describing our tour of Russia and Ukraine in 1992. The group included Americans, Swedes, British, Chinese historians and military officers. It was conducted with the very deeply appreciated assistance of Russian military officers from the Frunze Academy and Military History Institute and Ukrainian officers from the Ukrainian military Academy, and officers of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. For interest, I have included in this report links to photography taken not only during this tour but also during repeated visits in 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2005.

July 2:
Depart from Dulles around 6 PM on Lufthansa for Frankfurt. An excellent flight. They are very accommodating about lots of baggage and allow more than the other airlines. There is a delay of 5 or 6 hours to change planes and then it is on to St. Petersburg, Moscow, or Kiev as the case may be.

July 3 Day 1:
St. Petersburg: Arrive in the afternoon at St. Petersburg, short city tour. "St. Petersburg as a military capital of the Empire". The lengthy procedures in retrieving baggage at the airport, which is in a terrible condition, do not leave much time for visiting places that close at normal times, but the "white night" that provides light until after midnight enables one to walk or drive about the city and see the outside of palaces etc. Dinner at hotel, free time for individual activities. Stayed at the Moskva Hotel right across the street from the Alexander Nevski Lavra (monastery) and on the bank of the Neva River at the east end of town. The rooms were good by Russian standards and the food excellent. The monastery cemetery contains the remains of many of Russia's most illustrious artists and musicians. The cathedral is in operation with beautiful services, making the place well worth a visit.

July 4 Day 2:
After breakfast at hotel, bus to the Museum of Artillery, Engineer, and Signal Troops for special, guided tour and meetings with the commander and curators. This is one of the greatest military museums in the world and perhaps the largest (over 3 million items), but most of the best collections are closed and unknown to the public. We had extraordinary access to see and photograph the rarest of items. For instance, there are 50,000 items in the closed section on small arms and personal armor alone). I was shown much more during my visit in December 1991, but then it was easier for a single individual to move rapidly than for the large group. But the old building that houses the collections is falling down and badly needs repair as does most of St. Petersburg. The city is suffering worse than Venice from decay. We then toured the Peter and Paul fortress, started by Peter I immediately after he captured the area from Sweden. After lunch, we toured the Naval Museum including Cruiser Aurora. The Naval Museum was also founded by Peter I and contains one of his original boats. The many exhibits are very well displayed. For dinner we met for July 4th celebration with ALKOR, a joint venture high technology company manufacturing optics and laser equipment.

July 5 Day 3:
After breakfast, we visited the Hermitage. The Hermitage also has unknown and hidden military collections. The curator, George Vilenbakhov, was gracious and allowed access to these special collections, including the 6,000 military flags and standards dating from the 15th century. After lunch, we visited the Khronstadt Fortress in Gulf of Finland. This is another closed area since it is an active naval base, but we had special permission to visit. It has an excellent museum housed in a former cathedral of St. Nicholas. A reception was at the Khronstadt officers club. Some Soviet planing genius figured out that the periodic floods that threaten St. Petersburg could be abated by building a giant wall and causeway from the north shore of the Gulf of Finland to Khronstadt and another one from the island to the south shore near Orienbaum. The northern part is nearly completed and we were able to drive to the former island over it. However, already it is painfully apparent that this is one of the greatest ecological disasters of the many that plague Russia. Because, rather than keep the sea water out the barrier is keeping the river water in. Thus St. Petersburg has lost its natural water flushing effect and the sewage, not to mention the effects of 300 years of burials, has so polluted the water table that it is impossible to drink local water. The hotel has a brisk business in imported bottled water.

July 6 Day 4:
Early departure for Vyborg. We went on a tour of the medieval city, the castle built in the 13th century and its museum, the medieval city walls, the bastioned fortifications and regimental barracks (18th century). Lunch was in Vyborg at an excellent restaurant. This area was formerly in Finland and is heavily frequented by Finnish tourists. We had a discussion of the course of the Russo-Finnish "Winter" War. Then we visited the front lines and to the remanent of the Finnish, Mannerheim line. The Russian guides are particular experts on this war and in addition we had the Secretary of the Finnish Military History Commission along to present the Finnish side of the story.

July 7 Day 5:
A seminar on military history was held at the Artillery Museum. This included the presentation of a dozen or more papers by Americans, Finns, British, and Swedish participants and many by the Russians as well. Publication should be forthcoming. Evening meeting with Russian military artists and participants in re-enactment societies. The highlight was examination of medieval armor of the Alexander Nevski Druzhina group.

July 8 Day 6:
We departed very early for Narva and Pskov. The bus drive stopped first at the Novgorodian fortress at Kopor'ye (12th century) then acrossed Luga River to Ivangorod fortress built by Ivan III in 1480-90's. Then we crossed the Navrona River into Estonia to visit the 12th century castle and 17th century bastions of Narva. We toured the castle museum in the "High Herman", originally built by the Danes and then expanded by the knights of the Livonian Order of the Sword Brothers and finally by the Teutonic Knights. The final city ramparts and bastions were built by the Swedes in the 1690-1704 period. Thus the city is a museum of the history of fortification and contains a better example of the work of the great Swedish engineer, Dalenberg, than remains in Sweden. Lunch was in Narva and then we had a long drive past Lake Chud to Pskov. The back road through primitive countryside reveals the poor condition in which the rural population exists. I traveled on this back road at night in a van in December 1991 during a snow storm that practically limited vision to a few feet, but there was no other traffic. Dinner was welcome at a hotel in Pskov accompaied by a local band. Individual walking around city was accomplished, it is light until after midnight.

July 9 Day 7:
After breakfast, we toured the medieval section of Pskov. Then we drove west to visit the fantastic Pskova-Pechoriski Monastery. This monastery, established in caves in the 13th century has never closed. Much of it is closed to visitors due to its use by hermit monks, but still it is a fairy-tale wonder to see. Pskov was fortified repeatedly from the early 14th century and its kremlin has been well restored. The 15th century city wall that withstood a 18 month siege by Stephan Bathory's Polish-Hungarian army is also impressive. Then we drove to Novgorod along the Shelon River. The afternoon tour was of the fortifications, kremlin, and cathedrals of Novgorod. The kremlin wall was rebuilt in the same style as the Moscow kremlin, but some of the cathedrals date from the 11th century. After dinner, we took a night train to Moscow. Our time in Pskov and Novgorod was much too brief, due to the tight tour itinerary. One should spend at least a full day in each city.

July 10 Day 8:
We arrived early in the morning in Moscow. The overnight express train is excellent with Pullman style sleeping cars. We transfered to our hotel, and then went by charter bus to the Aviation Museum at Monino, in a Moscow suburb It was formerly closed to foreigners. The museum has practically every aircraft ever designed in Russia since WWI. There were many aircraft on display that American aviation experts in our group did not know existed. Evening was free for shopping and entertainment at theater or circus. The Moscow circus is especially enjoyable and interesting. Dinner was obtained by a visit to Mcdonald's, itself an interesting sociological experience.

July 11 Day 9:
The day began with a special tour of Moscow city entitled "Monasteries as a factor for strengthening the city defenses", to see the Donskoi, St. Daniel's, and Novodovichi monasteries and tour to Kolomenskoye. Our Russian military guides provided excellent descriptions of the fortification techniques as well as history of the locations. Then we visited the Central Museum of the Armed Forces. The Central Museum is devoted to Soviet military history since World War I, still, it has a marvelous display. Practically all Soviet designed military museums emphasize the heroic deeds of individuals. Whole walls are taken up with photographs, medals and memorabilia of individuals from private to marshal. Late afternoon and evening was reserved for shopping.

July 12 Day 10:
This day was filled with a tour by bus south of Moscow to Tula to visit arms museum and kremlin. Discussion centered on the role of Tula, Serpukhov, "Zaseka" fortified line, and Oka River "shore" in defense against Tatars: Discussion of Kulikova Battle in 1380: Discussion of World War II battles around Tula. Tula is a road and rail junction that reminds one of photos of Oklahoma in the 1920's. Standing in the large, open city square, one can watch the masses of people carrying large bags and boxes as they rush from a multitude of busses to the trains or the reverse. We then returned to Moscow. The drive south and back on one of the main roads showed just how terrible these are. When pulling off the paved way in order to stop and view the famous Oka River from beside the bridge, one bus immediately became stuck up to the axle. The road surface itself precludes driving over about 50 miles per hour. The older farming villages along the way are primitive, but there are also entire subdivisions springing up containing rows of lovely looking and substantially constructed new "dachas" for the newly wealthy. The terrain is like western Kansas with plenty of ravines and streams still heavy with trees. This region was still within the forest zone during the middle ages. Although the Russian steppe is flat from a strategic point of view, there is still plenty of steep up and down to it from a tactical point of view. The southern outskirts of Moscow contain rows of the older standardized apartment blocks.

July 13 Day 11:
We toured the Kremlin, including the Armory Chamber (great military museum as well as museum of fine and applied arts), we had special access tour of Kremlin walls and climb to top of one of the corner towers (first people allowed to do so in the memory of Kremlin guard staff). I believe one of our leading military guides was a friend of the Kremlin commandant. It seemed to me that only pigeons had been on the handrails and ladders since they were built. In the afternoon we meet with the staff and archivists - researchers of the Institute of Military History in a joint symposium, during which we presented research papers. We received much personalized assistance from MHI including obtaining documents and old photographs from military archives and Xeroxing many out of print and rare books. The MHI has connections to all the military archives, which are located in various towns, as well as to the libraries of the defense staff and military academies. They are eager to host American researchers or to provide assistance by mail. Evening banquet with MHI personnel.

July 14 Day 12:
We had a day-long bus drive to tour Borodino Battlefield. The battlefield is very well preserved as it looked in 1812. An excellent, small museum contains a large terrain board filled with 30mm "flats" military miniatures depicting the battle at the point just before the main French attack. There is a monastery with fine cathedral built near the main Russian defensive position, the three fletches. One can view the battlefield from the command posts of both Napoleon and Kutuzov. This showed that Kutuzov's location was not as far "out of the action" as some historians like to write. Borodino village and the river the French had to cross with pontoon bridges are still much as they were then. Lunch was at Mozhaisk in a surprisingly excellent restaurant. Mozhaisk is a small roadside place famous mostly as the stopping point of many armies on their way east or west. Unfortunately the excellent Borodino cyclorama museum in Moscow as closed for repairs and the efforts of our Frunze Academy hosts to gain us special entrance were thwarted by the absence from town of the director, whose word naturally was law. In the evening we had a meeting with military artists who displayed their work and a gathering with members of the Moscow Military History Club, including reenactment participants. This included a presentation by the leader of the Moscow Dragoon Regiment in full dress for 1812 period. We bought military paintiniligs and mtary miniatures.

July 15 Day 13:
We drove to Smolensk via the museum of the Armored Forces at Kubinka. The armored forces museum is on an active tank proving ground and has been strictly off limits heretofore. However we were not only allowed to go through the entire 600 vehicle collection, but to photograph at will. The guides expertly pointed out the details of every vehicle including dozens of Russian prototypes that never made it into serial production. Truly a magnificent collection. It includes hundreds from countries all over the world, including rare German tanks and artillery from World War II. The museum is going to be open to the public, including foreigners in the future, but I doubt if photography will be allowed without a fee. The main road from Moscow to Smolensk is theoretically the main road of all Russia. It too is in terrible shape. The potholes and corrugation are not too difficult to manage, but the underlying road bed is so poor and uneven that the asphalt surface dips and rises at every angle. The vibration makes it nearly impossible to take a photo from the moving bus. Both sides of the right of way are heavily lined with trees anyway as a camouflage screen. Nevertheless, I did have a chance near Naro-Fominsk to spot briefly a huge radar like the famous one in Siberia. All-day bus rides call for frequent "technical stops" - women on one side and men on the other. These give a chance to stroll through the adjacent agricultural fields, such as they are. Our experts in such things pronounced the situation abysmal with even basic techniques not in use. There were few cattle in evidence and that not very good looking. However, a more unusual phenomena is the total absence of wild life - no birds, no bodies of dead animals on the highway, no evidence of squirrels etc. The road crosses the upper Dnieper several times before reaching Smolensk. The hotel with restaurant is surprisingly adequate considering the small number of foreign tourists. Evening walk was around one fortified area of Smolensk, across street from hotel. Overnight in Smolensk.

July 16 Day 14:
We had a tour of the "Key City", Smolensk, including the Museum for the defense of the city in World War II, the main battlefields of the wars of 1812 and 1941-5, a tour of the city history, and the memorial complexes. Discussion was of its many sieges and battles since 1500's, especially those in 1635, 1812, and 1941. Smolensk was turned into the largest fortification project in East Europe by Boris Gudonov in the 1590's. A remarkable amount of the massive city walls remains or has been restored. The Frunze Academy guides visited the entire region ahead of time to prepare their lectures, which were detailed and comprehensive. They even went so far as to interview farmers and others about their recollections to find out if the terrain still looks the way it did in 1941. Then they took us by bus west of the city and described the German attack and Soviet defense mile byh mile inclujding locations for defensive positions. They gave three real "tour-de-force" staff ride descriptions of the German offensive into Smolensk in 1941, the Napoleonic attack on the city in 1812, and the Polish siege of 1634-5. One surprise was that within the original long circuit of the massive walls much of medieval Smolensk was composed of the gardens and agricultural plots of the citizens, who lived mostly in the usual tiny wooden huts. It was designed as a strategic military fortress rather than being a major commercial center that then required defensive fortifications. The surprise is that even today much of the area within the original walls remains in these individual houses and garden plots, while the modern city of factories and high-rise apartment buildings has grown up outside the fortifications and across the Dniper. We remained overnight again in Smolensk.

July 17 Day 15:
We continued our tour of Smolensk and then depart for lunch at Mozhaisk on the way back to Moscow region. This restaurant became a popular favorite of the group. Lunchtime included shopping at a department store in Mozhaisk. The store looks like a photo of a Victorian era country store. But there were some bargains for us folks who had 130 rubles to the dollar. We stopped at Savino-Storozhevsky fortified monastery at Zvenigorod. This was right on the front line and "no-man's land" of World War II during the first winter of 1941. The monastery is being renovated by the church. We continued on around Moscow via the "ring road" to overnight at Zagorsk. This trip showed that the northern quadrant of Moscow is full of the latest styles in new construction. Some of the glass and steel offices looked like Silicon Valley and some large complexes appeared to be like super shopping malls, although they probably were not. We drove on for overnight in a hotel at Zagorsk, northwest of Moscow. The hotel is not very good, and the security is non-existent, so it should be avoided in the future.

July 18 Day 16:
The tour was to the fortified monastery at Zagorsk. We attended services for St. Sergius feast day in the monastery. The entire trip timing was organized around being here for the July 18th feast day and the 600th anniversary of the death of St. Sergius, the founder of this monastery in the 14th century. It was well worth it even though the massive crowd of worshipers and general visitors made access into the churches difficult. The Orthodox Patriarch, dozens of archbishops and bishops, and a host of clergy performed beautiful ceremonies and liturgies for hours in the three main cathedrals and outside around the holy water well. The music was gorgeous and several of the bishops clearly ought to be at the Metropolitan Opera. We did enter the museum of medieval art and the historical museum. We examined fortifications built by Ivan IV and discussed the role of Zagorsk in Polish sieges of 1608 and 1618. The fortress garrison of a few thousand held out against 20,000 Poles. Nereby we went to the ruin of the Radonezh fortress, which dates from the 10th century. This is a hill-top earthen parapet built within the horseshoe bend of a river on a very high bluff. Only the open end needed special attention and here a deep moat with bridge was dug across the ridge line. It is quite like some of the early hill forts in southern England. Overnight was in Zagorsk. Several of the Military History Institute staff officers came to met us in Zagorsk only to deliver for us the pile of material they had spent several days Xeroxing. Much of this was early Russian text books on fortification to present to the U.S. Military Academy Library.

July 19 Day 17:
We continued on to Pereyaslavl Zalessky, birthplace of Alexander Nevski. There we visited the museum and walked on the only 11th century earthen ramparts remaining in Russia. In contrast to the relative ruin of Radonezh, the ramparts here are in excellent condition and fully enclose the ancient part of the town (naturally a very small area). Three major churches are still intact including one of the very earliest in all of Russia dating from the 11th century. This was destroyed by the Tatars three times and by the Poles once, but always rebuilt according to the original design. We went also to the nearby lake where Peter I first learned to sail. There is a museum devoted to Peter that contains one of his original wooden boats. We continued to drive to Vladimir for overnight. There we had a lecture on military history by another team from the Frunze Academy followed by much discussion.

July 20 Day 18:
In the morning we visited the medieval capital at Vladimir, besieged and destroyed by Mongols in 1238. We climbed up to the museum in the Golden Gates and then went to several cathedrals dating from the reign of Vladimir Monomach and Andrei Bogolubski, 12th century. Vladimir is on the high bluffs overlooking the Klyazma River, a major trade route in the middle ages, but now no longer navigable. It is easy to see why Vladimir chose this site to replace Kiev when he moved the center of Russian power to the northeast. The hotel is out of town a way, making walking about town in the evening or morning impossible, but a local taxi cost only a couple of dollars and took me straight to all the best vantage points for photography. We continued to Suzdal to tour museums and cathedrals. Suzdal is a kind of Williamsburg for the Russia of the 11th century. The ancient city houses a multitude of churches and cathedrals and the town has even more churches remaining from the multitude of monasteries that used to dot the landscape (14 as I recall). The city was not really fortified after the original earthen rampart was destroyed in the Mongol invasion. After 1300 it became mainly a religious center without political influence. Lunch in Suzdal was at another nice restaurant and then some shopping in real Russian stores (for locals and not tourists). The ruble prices are wonderfully cheap for Americans, but expensive for the Russians. Then we drove to Rostov Veliki for dinner and an overnight stop. This drive was the most incredible of the tour. The map shows a major road, but the reality is like something out of the back part of a national park. The bus driver was not sure he could get past some of the enormous potholes. Passing through the industrial (especially textile) center, Ivanovo, we could not discern any current activity at the large factories. We were told the town still uses looms installeld by the British in the 19th century. The area about them, however, was littered with trash and debris. The peasant houses on collective farms were among the worst seen in Russia. The hotel in Rostov is the worst seen anywhere. There were broken windows and toilets in many rooms. The town (population 40,000) is smaller than it was in medieval times, but it is still located on the same swamp. The mosquitoes are likely more numerous now and certainly larger. One roommate pair developed the technique in which one man held the mosquito by both wings while the other hit it with a chair. Between defending against mosquitos we had a useful military tactics symposium with the two Frunze Academy officers who showed us Rostov.

July 21 Day 19:
We toured Rostov Veliki to examine medieval fortifications and the fake kremlin built by a much later bishop. Rostov is even more of a treasure of ancient Russian architecture than Suzdal, more compact and with the kremlin walls looking impressive. It was continually fortified during the 14-16th centuries and has walls like Moscow or Novgorod. It was besieged by the Poles in the 1600's and then in 1631 Tsar Michael ordered its refortification in the new style. Dutch Engineers made it a demonstration project of the new earthen rampart, Vauban artillery bastion style fortification then common in Western Europe. These ramparts still exist just outside the medieval walls. Dinner was back in Zagorsk, then we made the return drive to Moscow. Departed on the over night train to Kiev. Two of the previous guides, Frunze Academy officers, came to the train station with their wives just to wish us well and pass out their uniform badges and pins.

July 22 Day 20:
We arrived in Kiev in the morning, transfered to hotel, then toured the capital of Kievan Russia, and visited the Golden Gates, St. Andrew's church and the Ukrainian State History Museum. We visited Kiev's Pechersky Lavra including Pechersky fortress and military museums and toured the State Great Patriotic War Museum. The Lavra was founded in the 1050's by monks who liked to live in the caves several miles south of the then hilltop fortress city of Kiev. The Lavra was refortified by the Cossack Hetman, Mazeppa, in the 1690's and then the entire area was enclosed by massive new earthen bastions and ramparts by Peter I in 1704. The final fortifications were added by Nicholas I in 1840's to include the latest designed casemented artillery positions and caponiers. The World War II memorial museum sits under a massive statue very like the more frequently photographed statue at Volgograd. The museum contains a section detailing the defense of Kiev in summer of 1941 and another on the liberation in 1943. The young guides are impressive in their emotional commitment to explaining the atrocities committed in their city, including at Babi Yar. We met with officers at the Air Defense Academy named for Vasilevski and toured the air defense museum in the afternoon. They showed some documentary films taken during World War II. Evening dinner meeting was with Ukrainian military officers and historians.

July 23 Day 21:
We continued our tour of Kiev, visited the Lutezhsky bridgehead of the Soviet Dnieper River crossing north of Kiev. The area occupied by the headquarters staffs of the front, army and tank corps has been restored complete with the bunkers, observation posts, and connecting trenches. It is very impressive mostly as an example of the great care people here pay to remembering the details of World War II. We departed by over night train for Dnepropetrovsk.

July 24 Day 22:
After arriving in Dnepropetrovsk, we toured the city and Yavorintsky history museum, visited the exposition on "Russo-Turkish Wars of the 18th century" and the "Azov campaigns of Peter the Great", toured diorama of "Battle for the Dnieper", discussed World War II battles for crossing the Dnieper. This museum has the only exhibit so far seen devoted to the atrocities committed during the Stalin Era. The tone is highly Ukrainian nationalist. The cossacks are depicted as heroic forbearers of modern Ukraine. But the museum has extraordinary archeological exhibits depicting the people of the region back to 5,000 BC. The materials from the Scythian tombs of the 300 BC period are very fine. We visited the Polish- cossack fortress at Kodak and cossack sloboda cathedral. We also visited the memorial which is all that is left of a 40,000 person cemetery of the dead from the Crimean War who had made it back as far as the major hospital that was established here to care for the sick and wounded. The city is lovely. It lies along both banks of the Dnieper with the older part occupying the high bluffs on the western side. There are several universities and military schools. A very large central power plant (coal fired) is on the east bank below the city. It is being connected with the west bank via a new bridge. The construction shows that the bridge will carry four huge pipelines under the roadway. The guides said that these actually will be steam lines to use excess steam from the powerplant to heat a large apartment complex across the river. One frequently sees large, insulated steam lines snaking across vacant spaces in Russian cities, taking advantage of con-generation. One down-side to this is that when the power plant is being repaired in summer the entire area will be without hot water.

July 25 Day 23:
We traveled by boat on the Dnieper to Zaporozhie, observing forts along the river. We stopped at the location of the Soviet river crossing operation south of Kiev. This is the actual site of the crossing depicted in the diorama in Dnepropetrovsk. There is a remarkable amount of modern housing construction going on all along the Dnieper. Hundreds of substantial 2 and 3 story homes each on a plot that might be a half or a full acre are going up in long rows in a strip about 500 yards or so wide along the river bank. But it is doubtful that these places have water except from wells. Halfway down we transferred to bus to speed up the trip. We passed by huge fields of corn, sunflowers, and hay, none of which looked very far advanced for the season. But the earth is certainly the epitome of the famous "black earth" chernozem. Zaporozhie is a major industrial town, in fact it is practically only industry. The huge factories and mills are pouring forth dense clouds of coal smoke. The whole city smells of it and is covered in soot. It is like Pitsburg in the 1920's or earlier. The town gets its name meaning "across the rapids" from being at the lowest of the several sets of rapids on the Dnieper. Since both banks are quite high here (instead of only the western side), this is the place the immense dam was built in the 1920-30's. The resulting lake covered over all the upstream rapids making the river more navigable. At the dam a large set of locks moves shipping up or down between the upstream and downstream sides. Still, immediately below the dam one can see the famous Khortisa Island in the middle of the river. We toured the Cossack History Museum on the island and attended very enthusiastic and enjoyable cossack floor show entertainment. The museum is excellent with all displays using the most modern exhibition techniques. We were told it was completely redone after the August coup attempt and the old propaganda materials were replaced with previously forbidden exhibits about the cossacks. The main Zaporozhie cossack fortress was built on this island in the 1500's and rebuilt as often as it was destroyed, but not much of it is visible now. We remained overnight in an excellent hotel right across the street from former party headquarters and local city government buildings. This was a Communist Party nomenclatura hotel before August 1991. That is why it is so elegant and also why there are none of the usual lobby stores or tourist bureaus. I did not see any other hotel guests.

July 26 Day 24:
We were up and out of the hotel by 4:30 AM and drove to the airport just at dawn. We flew on a chartered Aeroflot Tu-134 to Simferopol airport in Crimea. Then we continued by bus to Sevastopol. This was a stroke of genius by the tour agency to get us to Sevastopol on time. We did not even go into the airport terminal buildings but were picked up on the runway by our bus from Sevastopol. We passed through the checkpoint outside Sevastopol manned by sailors of the Black Sea Fleet. The region is still closed to visitors without special visas. (Cost $13.00) We arrived 2 minutes before the 9AM start of proceedings. Passed on foot through 6 cordons of sailors checking credentials. We were special guests at the Soviet Navy Day celebration parade of the Black Sea Fleet and given places in the admiral's central reviewing stand along with VIP's and their children. The parade of ships and firepower demonstration was extraordinary. I have never seen anything like it. Of course the children loved it the most. Then wee visited on board a major surface combatant, ASW destroyer. Afternoon included a tour of Panorama of Defense of Sevastopol in 1855. This is a marvelous art work that is a 360 degree view of the height of the battle as seen from the Malakov Kurgan fortress as the French and British launch an assault. The foreground is composed of real materials laid out on a horizontal plane and the backdrop is a vertical painting. But the viewer cannot detect where the horizontal part meets the vertical part. Dinner was with members of Soviet War Veterans Committee. This was a very emotional experience with Soviet admirals who participated in Lend Lease convoys and visited the US in 1943. We watched a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor and over downtown Sevastopol. Overnight was at a Russian navy beach resort in Sevastopol.

July 27 Day 25:
Sevastopol and the Crimean War: a tour of the region around the city with visit to the series of monuments to the city's heroic defense in the Crimean War of 1853-56 between Russia and the coalition of Turkey, Great Britain, France, and Sardinia-Savoy. The town had 100,000 inhabitants in 1940 and has now grown to 400,000. There is a severe water shortage. Our military guides from Moscow and Kiev included a naval captain and an army general who were both veterans of the war and natives of Sevastopol who endured the first phases of the war in the city. We visited the battlefields and cemeteries at theAlma , Inkerman, Balaklava, and Chernaya. Each battlefield presents a different picture of the real terrain than one had imagined from reading history books. The Alma is much flatter with little terrain advantage for the defending Russians on the so-called hills behind the river. Inkerman is much more rugged and steep than imagined with the British in defense and the Russians forced to climb an almost impossible precipice. On viewing Balaklava the cause of the mistake that launched the "Charge of the Light Brigade" immediately becomes obvious since when viewed from the British commander's position on Sapun Gor the Causeway height does not appear as a height at all. The so-called north and south vallies appear as one plain. We had a huge and delicious lunch at an Ukrainian family farm then visited a winery. The winery was very impressive. Quite large with huge wine casks in rows in large underground caves. The winery has a modern wine tasting room and a very sophisticated wine tasting was conducted by the hosting staff. Some 26 different wines were tasted. Then came the amazing thing (or actually typical Soviet thing), namely that when it came time for the group to buy the wine they had just been so cleverly shown, there was only one bottle of each type available for purchase! In the evening we walked around Balaklava town and visited the 13th century Genoese fortress (Chembalo) above town. The fortress towers now house a Russian navy radio station among the ruins, but no one seemed to mind us climbing through it and photographing everything in sight. We also viewed the submarine base, which takes up the entire tiny harbor and photographed the entrances to underground sub pens built into the sheer cliffs near the harbor entrance. Dinner was back in Sevastopol.

July 28 Day 26:
The morning excursion was to view the ancient Greek and Roman ruins at Chersonese. This was the location of the main Greek colony that exported the critical grain supply for Athens. It was a thriving city 300-400 BC with extensive trade with the Scythians in the interior. It became a Roman city and then a Byzantine one. Only a small fraction of the extensive area has been excavated, but beautiful mosaic floors and lovely Corinthian columns are now in view in this region. The rest of the area is covered with mounds of earth. The curator passed out pieces of Greek pottery as souvenirs. For those not keen on ancient Greece the more impressive view was of the gorgeous Russian and Ukrainian women sunbathing topless along the rather rocky beach and headlands. Some were waving gaily and some of our party were eagerly invited to join them for picture taking (gasp). We then visited the diorama of Assault on Sapun Gor during Soviet liberation of Sevastopol in WW II. We discussed the two sieges of Sevastopol during World War II. After early dinner, we took the train for Moscow. Unfortunately, this train was the worst we encountered and was for the longest (22 hr) ride.

July 29 Day 27:
The whole day was on the train to Moscow. We passed through Kharkov, Belgorod, Kursk, and Orel. Peasant markets are active on the station platforms and people buy sacks of fruit to take to Moscow. We discussed the battles in World War II around Kharkov and Kursk. Evening in Moscow was spent to prepare for early morning departure by air to US on 30 July. The Frunze Academy officers showed up just to meet the train and accompany us to the hotel. The one short night in the Hotel Intourist was welcome as it is a full-scale tourist place. That means the rooms are still tiny with barracks cots, but at least the shower has hot water and the reception areas have lots of gift shops etc., even a casino. On the other hand it also means that a small bottle of Coke costs $2.00 instead of 20 rubles.

July 30 Day 28:
Up at 4 AM to depart for airport. The Lufthansa flight is excellent, with a few hour delay in Frankfurt to change planes, but one arrives back in Washington at 4 PM local the same day. Flights from St. Petersburg or Kiev do not make a connection, so one has to remain overnight in Frankfurt (at Lufthansa expense, however.)