Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 19 - The Unsung Hero of Soviet Liberation Reverend Moon Meets Gorbachev [Part 5 / 6]
A Miraculous Photograph
There is one part of the Moon-Gorbachev talks I will never forget.
Reverend Moon's being accompanied by his wife to the working office of the Soviet head of state, and President Gorbachev's acceptance of the meeting in the office itself, were both completely unprecedented in the history of the Kremlin. However, the Soviet side had one condition in permitting this exceptional event. Namely, that the taking of photographs was absolutely forbidden, and not to be allowed under any circumstances whatsoever. No photograph of the Soviet president's "oval office" must ever be made public. Moreover, the Soviet authorities did not wish to publicize these private one-on-one talks between President Gorbachev and Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
When I heard this, I thought to myself, "Now we are in a fix!" but there was nothing to be done. Nevertheless, just in case, I made a request to Kwon Yong Woo (Reverend Moon's official cameraman), who had accompanied us from South Korea. "Anyhow, don't go back to the hotel. Just stay put and wait around here, near the president's office."
Upon the completion of the talks between Reverend Moon and the president, Father immediately pressed me in Korean. "Quick. Take a photo. Don't just sit there. Get a move on!"
I had finally come up against a rock. I was truly in a fix. There was no real time, however, to explain the particulars of the situation to Father. I walked straight over to Gorbachev and said unflinchingly:
"Mr. President, Reverend Moon just explained that he would like to have some remembrance of the historical talks you held today, something he can keep always. Would you mind taking a photograph for the Reverend's family album? It would truly mean a lot to me."
In the midst of such a congenial atmosphere, the president really had no choice but to agree to my heartfelt petition, and he replied, "Da, da," meaning, "Yes, yes, of course," in Russian.
Upon hearing these words, Novosti Chairman Vlasov, who was standing beside the president, quickly went outside in search of his cameraman. Of course, there was no Novosti cameraman in sight. However, he did find Kwon Yong Woo, who had hung around outside, despite having been shuffled about and given a bit of a hard time by the Kremlin staff. Mr. Vlasov came back inside bringing Mr. Kwon and his camera with him.
Mr. Kwon is, of course, a real professional. Within thirty seconds he had snapped off three masterpiece shots, and before I knew it, he had even taken a shot of me warmly shaking hands with President Gorbachev himself.
Ah! This was truly God's grace. If it hadn't been for those photographs, we would have had nothing at all to prove that the Moon-Gorbachev talks actually took place.
At just the right moment, Heaven gave me the wisdom I needed. One phrase: "family album." In the end, though, this photograph came to be seen by the whole world, by all humankind. From my view, though, I don't think you could actually say I lied. After all, all of humankind is Reverend Moon's family.
Later on I gave Mr. Kwon my warm thanks. "You are my hero, Mr. Kwon. You saved my neck!" He had walked back and forth outside the president's office, and several times the president's body guards, the president's secret service agents, had given Mr. Kwon the boot. What a loyal brother! He had defended his mission to the last.
The close of the convention and the Little Angels cultural celebration were other high points of our program in the Soviet Union.
Dr. Pak greets President Gorbachev in the office of the Kremlin. Ambassador Jose Maria Chaves. president of AGM is in the background.
On the evening of April 12, 1990, the participants of the three conferences gathered together once again after three days of serious discussions. The venue was the Natalia Sats Children's Musical Theater. With over thirteen hundred participants and guests, the theater was packed. From the stage, Reverend Moon gave his address at the closing of the convention.
There was a special guest listening to that address: none other than Raisa Gorbachev, first lady of the Soviet Union and wife of President Gorbachev.
One could summarize Reverend Moon's words that night as follows: "USSR! Put all your strength into a spiritual perestroika! If you do, you will be speeding the path of all humanity toward peace and prosperity."
During the course of his farewell address, Reverend Moon also expressed these sentiments:
Yesterday I had a remarkable meeting with President Gorbachev. I respect and admire his courage and leadership. I assured him that I will cooperate in every way I can to support his program of peace. I told President Gorbachev that the secret for the success of the Soviet Union is to place God at the very center of every endeavor. Throughout my own life, this has proven over and over again to be essential.
Mr. Gorbachev's burden is great, and his mission is difficult. It is only with God on his side that he can win the victory.
In my opening remarks I spoke about the importance of a God-centered worldview. Many of you commented about that point. As a religious leader, I firmly believe that a God-centered worldview offers the solution to all problems. Atheistic theories centered only on man bring disaster and self-destruction in the end. This is a universal principle, true in both the East and the West.
I am leaving the Soviet Union with great hope in my heart. This nation will play a central role in God's providence in the coming decade. I know that in my every prayer I am going to include the Soviet Union and her great people. May God bless the Soviet Union.
Everyone in the audience, all the guests and participants, were swept up in a crucible of emotion. With thunderous applause and cheers, they saluted the successful completion of the Moscow Convention.
First Lady Raisa Gorbachev exclaimed, "My little angels! My little angels!".
Next on the schedule was a performance .by the Little Angels, Korea's cultural ambassadors to the world. The performance by these little angels, always messengers of friendship and peace, was given in celebration of the completion of the conferences. The Little Angels have woven their way step by step across the globe since the time Reverend Moon founded the folk ballet troupe in 1962. Finally, on this evening, they pierced the Iron Curtain and cast a spell over Moscow, the citadel of communism. In their bright Korean costumes and with their repertoire filled with love, they melted the hearts of all who beheld them.
After their series of dances, the Little Angels performed a program of songs. When they sang a Russian folk song in their clear ringing voices, it seemed like the house would come down from all the cheers. "Encore! Encore!" the audience cried. After wiping the perspiration from their foreheads, the Little Angels responded with Russian folk songs imbued with the spirit of the Slays, known for their passionate nature. The audience went crazy, cheering and whistling. With the hall echoing calls of "Bravo! Bravo!" the Little Angels finally exhausted their repertoire.
At this point, the master of ceremonies quickly made his way to the front of the stage. "During their visit in Moscow, Reverend and Mrs. Moon celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary," he declared. A large anniversary cake was brought out from one side of the stage. On top of the cake were thirty lighted candles. The cake was prepared and placed at the front of the stage, before the Little Angels, while Reverend and Mrs. Moon once again made their way onto the stage, beaming big smiles in the midst of cheers from the audience.
Reverend and Mrs. Moon prepare to light a cake in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary at the Natalia Sirs Children's Musical Theater in Moscow on April 12, 1990.
The whole hall clapped in time as the Little Angels sang "Happy Anniversary to you!" Reverend and Mrs. Moon blew out the candles and cut the anniversary cake, while the excitement in the hall reached a crescendo. Two Little Angels then ran forward and planted a kiss on the cheeks of Reverend and Mrs. Moon, leaving bright red marks for all to see. Applause poured out from the audience. Next, all the members of the Little Angels ran into the audience and placed a kiss on the cheek of all the VIPs in attendance. Everyone broke in huge smiles as they wiped the lipstick off their cheeks.
What a fantastic finale to the incredible Moscow Convention! It was truly a festival of peace. Everyone felt the meaning of such peace very acutely that night. There was no communist camp there, no free or democratic camp, only a single family, one clan, one people. It was the one world family that Reverend Moon always speaks of.
When the celebrations were over, Raisa Gorbachev did not leave straightaway but came round the back of the stage. The little children, who held Soviet and South Korean flags in their hands, kissed Mrs. Gorbachev again. The first lady, for her part, couldn't help but say over and over again, almost unconsciously, "My little angels! My little angels!" Offering a warm and heartfelt handshake to Reverend and Mrs. Moon, she declared, "Congratulations! The Little Angels truly are angels of peace!"
Later, before she left, Mrs. Gorbachev approached Reverend Moon again. "My husband told me everything, and I will inform him of the words that you shared here tonight," she told him. "Your passion and enthusiasm comforted him greatly. Thank you," she added. Then, surrounded by her bodyguards, she left the theater and was gone.
This Soviet first lady, Mrs. Raisa Gorbachev, was an ardent communist, as you can imagine considering that she taught Marxist-Leninist philosophy at the University of Moscow. However, when she visited South Korea four years later with her husband, she was wearing a bright crucifix pendant around her neck. She had graduated from atheism and had come to accept God and Jesus Christ. I have already stated how President Gorbachev's mother was a deeply committed believer in the Russian Orthodox Church, and how she had had her infant son Mikhail baptized. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Mrs. Gorbachev likewise abandoned atheism and received a baptism in faith in God and Christ.
For a moment, allow me to reflect upon the passing away of Raisa Gorbachev.
True Parents and Raisa Gorbachev with the Little Angels.
I met Mrs. Gorbachev several times. The first time was that meeting together with Reverend Moon on the evening of April 12, 1990. However, I had another opportunity after that to talk with her person to person while in Russia. She was still first lady at the time. She made a refined and educated first lady. She was quite intellectual.
When she later came to Korea in 1994 to attend the World Peace Conference that we held, I met her several times again. On the final day of the conference, Mrs. Gorbachev joined the celebrations at the Little Angels Performing Arts Center, where she was reunited with the young performers she admired so much. Her manner was thoughtful, considerate and beautiful. To President Gorbachev she was not only a companion but also his comrade, supporter and adviser. Mrs. Gorbachev passed away at a German hospital on September 20, 1999.
Both I and the Little Angels grieved very much at her passing.
Fortunately, however, she had been able to meet the Messiah, the True Parents, Reverend and Mrs. Moon, and she left this world carrying respect for Reverend Moon in her heart. Also, thanks to the influence of Reverend Moon, she made the transition from atheism to a faith in God while she was yet alive. She wore a crucifix around her neck when she drew her last breath.
"Please, Heavenly Father," I pray, "grant Your grace and comfort to Raisa Gorbachev, now that she has returned to Your side."
One time, at a photography exhibition in Moscow, there was a photo on display of President Gorbachev praying. In the explanation for the photograph, it was written that President Gorbachev had learned this prayer from Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Clearly Reverend Moon was the one who brought the Gorbachevs to God.
On April 13, the day after the closing of the convention, a historical event took place, one which is worth recording. This was Reverend Moon's visit to Red Square.
Being together with Father, the experience was deeply moving. "Ah, so this is Red Square!" I thought. "The same Red Square where Lenin still lies in state. How much fear have the people of the world felt watching the displays of Soviet military might that took place right here ...
"Red Square! Your history of invasion has come to an end. Now that the returning Messiah, now that Rev. Sun Myung Moon, has walked your pavement, never again shake our hearts! Never again threaten the world's people!"
What was surprising was that many of the Moscow citizenry recognized Reverend Moon and came over to talk to him, a result of the continuous television coverage we had received over the last few days. Quite a number of people ran over to us and asked to shake his hand.
One passerby furtively looked around near us, then said, "Reverend Moon, I wish you success. You are our hope."
Another pedestrian, a woman, said, after checking furtively behind her, "Never give up, Reverend! Never!" and then she ran off.
How poignant! How meaningful! These people embraced Reverend Moon as a savior. Their expectations of him were great. Imagine how surprised they would be if they found out that he really is the Messiah, the Savior!
Our group crossed over a bridge and entered the Kremlin palace grounds. We quietly made our way into a famous cathedral situated inside the Kremlin, the ornate Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension.
While in the Kremlin, Reverend and Mrs. Moon pray at the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension.
The time was exactly 3:55 p.m., the time that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. We all gathered around Father, and he began to pray. It was a prayer of tears, thanking God for having guided humanity up to the present in order to accomplish the providence for the salvation of humankind. It was also a prayer thanking God that the reconciliation between Jacob and Esau could he accomplished on the world level, uniting East and West, on the foundation of the providential events of the past three days. In particular, Father implored God that the grace and protection of Heaven could be with President Gorbachev and his wife.
In closing my description of the events surrounding the Moscow rally, let me impart one last, truly extraordinary episode.
Reverend and Mrs. Moon and members of their fluffily along with Dr and Mrs. Pak with other leaders and members sightseeing at the Kremlin.
From the time Father arrived in the Soviet Union until the day he left, there was one particular KGB official responsible for the security of the Moon entourage. Just before we departed, the official greeted Reverend Moon and made the following confession:
Even up until a short while ago, I was a member of the team responsible for planning your assassination. Even so, although I am the same person, now I have the mission of protecting you and taking care of your security under orders from the government. I guess this just shows how our country has changed 180 degrees. When I think what a mistake it would have been, had I actually assassinated you, it breaks me out in a cold sweat. Thank you for the honor of taking care of you during this visit.
A Coup in August: A Trial for President Gorbachev
The mission entrusted to Mikhail Gorbachev by Heaven was both difficult and thorny. His job was to bring an end to the Soviet Union without a third world war, without a major conflict or nuclear war destroying the human race.
But the communism that had permeated the Soviet Union for seventy-four years was a religion without God. They served their atheistic ideology of violent revolution and class struggle as if it were the Deity itself. The reason that the communist system could swallow almost half the world in such a short time was because of this very fact; communism made its appeal to the religious fervor of human beings. For their dream of constructing an ideal world, the communists sacrificed everything. Roughly 150 million innocent lives were sacrificed in the name of a communist Utopia, all victims of a merciless ideology that taught that the end justified the means, any means.
No matter how much the perestroika policy had been implemented for the de-communization of the Soviet Union, the Soviet society still contained many conservative fanatics. President Gorbachev was constantly under threat from the conservative, anti-reform faction, which as yet still formed the core of the Soviet nomenclature.
Sure enough, in 1991 a coup d'etat arose when President Gorbachev had left Moscow and was vacationing at his dacha in the Crimea. Dissatisfied elements in the military and the political circles joined forces and instigated a coup with the goal of rescuing the great Soviet empire from disintegration. The mutiny was led by the highest authorities in the Soviet government, including the vice president, the chief of the KGB, the premier, the minister of defense, the secretary of the interior, and the chairman of the People's Supreme Soviet. There did not seem much chance that a coup led by such an array of prominent figures could fail.
The goal of the coup, which took place on August 18 by anti-reformist forces, was to prevent the signing of the New Federation Treaty that was scheduled for August 20. The draft of the treaty recognized vastly broader autonomy for each of the republics that formed the Soviet federation. The draft also explicitly authorized transfer of taxing rights to the republics and establishment of a more slowly moving federation. If the treaty were actually signed, it would severely curtail the authority of the Communist Party leadership and central Soviet government. Their control would remain, for the most part, in name alone. President Gorbachev had decided to approve a level of autonomy for the republics that was all but equivalent to actual independence. He would maintain the federation and the communist party in form, but in their place he would transfer the authority to the republics.
President and Mrs. Gorbachev were held at their dacha while Vice President Yanaev was inaugurated as president on the morning of the 19th. All the signs said that the emergency council of the coup forces had taken over complete control. At that point, however, God began to intervene.
The first order of business in the Soviet style of revolution is the killing of the power holder. If the commander is eliminated, the faction in control loses its main focal point and flounders. This is the conventional method for a coup d'etat. Take, for example, the case of Lenin. He mercilessly massacred the Russian Tsar Nicholas II plus his entire family. However, in the 1991 coup, the days continued to go by while the Gorbachevs were simply held in their dacha. If they had been killed straight off, then there would have probably been a swift conclusion to the affair. However, during the time they were held, day after day, international opinion boiled up and the anti-reform faction received scathing criticism from all quarters around the world. At the same time, inside the Soviet Union, because public sentiment in anticipation of the democratization policies was so great, Soviet citizens openly expressed their anger and displeasure with the coup. The rebel troops clashed with Soviet citizens in street after street. They were stoned by the citizenry in the city.
As time passed, clashes arose within the rebelling troops between the more moderate elements and the hardliners. Division is, of course, the beginning of defeat, and day by day the morale of the rebelling troops sank deeper. They lost order in the ranks, and began to lay down their arms. Without the support of the Soviet people, the coup d'etat was destined to disintegrate into nothing. They had lost the moral justification for their deeds.
Public opinion always plays the role of justice. Taking strength from public sentiment, government troops across the nation went on the counter-offensive. After only a few days of mutiny, the leaders of the mutineer troops had either committed suicide or capitulated. The coup came to an end on August 22. That the imprisoned President Gorbachev had not been murdered before then was nothing short of a miracle, and the thanks should he given to God. Gorbachev returned to Moscow and reclaimed his rightful authority as president.
Once it came to light that the coup was a plot of the core communist elements, President Gorbachev resigned from his position as general secretary of the Communist Party, a position he had held concurrently with the presidency. As if this were the time he had been waiting for, he straightaway disbanded the Communist Party. Logically speaking, once the Communist Party was gone, then the Soviet Union was pretty much ended. Before the coup, Gorbachev did not have the courage to get rid of the Communist Party. Seeing as the coup resulted in his making the tough decision to disband the communists, I guess you could say that the coup was an instrument of the providence of Heaven.
Thus, facilitated by the incident of the August mutiny, the Soviet Union finally become a non-communist nation. In the end, this resulted in the demise of the Soviet federation, and in this sense the coup was a kind of suicide, at least as far as the Soviet Union was concerned. Still, I suppose at that point in time, President Gorbachev himself felt that he had no other choice.
In hindsight, I can imagine that this was really the only possible way for the Soviet federation to be disbanded. Without having a third world war, that is. The August coup and the disbanding of the Communist Party were the final straw that broke the camel's hack. Yes, God really works in mysterious ways. And that is important: the end was the work of God; it was not by human acumen or wisdom that the Soviet Union came to an end.
With the advent of the coup, the popularity of Boris Yeltsin increased. (Born in 1931, Yeltsin was chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic. He was elected as president of the Republic of Russia in June 1991.) Yeltsin came on the scene advocating the introduction of a multi-party system and the abolition of the special privileges of the Communist Party. Asserting that the Soviet federation was unnecessary and useless, Yeltsin applied pressure on Gorbachev to instigate more radical liberalization and democratization. During the coup, he took up a position at the government offices of the Russian Republic, building barricades and boldly defying the mutineer troops.
When each of the republics that formed the federation one by one asserted their autonomy and declared independence, President Gorbachev found his foundation disappear from under him. On December 1, the Ukrainian Republic declared independence. When three nations, Russia, Byelorussia, and Ukraine, declared the abolition of the Soviet Union and the founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on December 8, the other republics followed suit. The CIS could not be called a federated nation by any means. It was not a nation in itself. Rather, I guess it would be more aptly described as an allied society of independent nations.
This was the point where the Soviet empire, that most mighty superpower that had so often made the world tremble, gave up the ghost. At one time it had exerted its influence across the globe with world dominion in its sight, but in 1991 the Soviet empire lowered its bloody flag. By coincidence or not, the day was December 25, the day that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ: Christmas Day. President Gorbachev gave a short farewell address at the Kremlin, and quietly stepped down. It was seventy-four years after the Russian revolution, and sixty-nine years from the founding of the Soviet Union.
For me, I see something miraculous in all this. President Gorbachev, responsible as he was for such an incredibly historical mission, had not been killed, but had survived and also completed his given task. When I think about it, I can only conclude that this is a miracle of the first order. God protected him. This result, by the way, was exactly what Reverend Moon wanted.
What if a third world war had broken out before the Soviet Union was abolished? Without a doubt, it would have been a nuclear war, a nuclear conflict. What would have been the result? Just thinking about it makes the body tremble. It would have meant not only the demise of the Soviet Union, but also the downfall of world civilization, the end of humanity.