The Words of Sun Myung Moon from 1989
The Soviet interview with Father was reprinted in major U.S. newspapers.
This interview appeared in the Russian Language Za Rubezhom (Abroad), a weekly Moscow newspaper with a circulation of over 1,000,000, serving leading intellectuals and policy leaders throughout the Soviet Union. The following is a translation of the complete text as it appeared in the newspaper:
It is late at night. The lights of Seoul glitter in the black mirror of the Han River. It is quiet. The never-silent voice of the South Korean capital doesn't reach this garden-surrounded home on the high river bank. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon has given an interview for the first time in the last one and a half decades. What's more, he broke his silence for the sake of a discussion with Soviet journalists. If one recalls what were still not too long ago his anticommunist expressions, it becomes obvious that this gesture is symbolic. The tone of the interview is significant as well, in that it is markedly friendly.
The voice of Reverend Moon is heeded by thousands of followers of the Unification Church in many countries of the work', the church founded by him in 1954. His religious quests have helped these people in their search for the meaning of life in a world torn by the sharpest moral contradictions. Many of the ideas of Reverend Moon are far from the views which are widely disseminated in our society. At the same time, his profound interest in the human being, to whom he attributes the highest priority of spirituality, leads his ideas, in their own way, to have much in common with the concept of "new thinking."
Question: Your daughter-in-law Hoon Sook (Julia) Moon is a ballerina, and she will soon appear on the stage of the Kirov Theater in Leningrad. Does this testify to your personal interest in cultural collaboration between South Korea and the Soviet Union?
I am very happy that Hoon Sook will dance on the stage of the Kirov Theater. I know very well the high artistic traditions which have long characterized Russian ballet, and the Kirov and Bolshoi companies in particular. Hoon Sook has a tremendous talent, and she has worked very hard to develop her skills. She has long dreamt of performing in the Soviet Union, and this is her first opportunity. But this landmark in the artistic career of my daughter-in-law is also, at the same time, an important moment in the development of my personal contact with the Soviet Union.
I have long been interested in the arts. Several years ago I founded the Universal Ballet Company, which now has its own school in Washington, D.C. This project was the culmination of a series of other cultural undertakings which I have been developing over the past twenty years. About ten years ago I became involved with the New York City Symphony Orchestra, and I took part in the founding of the international choir, New Hope Singers, as well as several other musical groups, orchestras, and ensembles.
Over two decades ago, I had the idea to acquaint other parts of the world with the culture of Korea. At that time I created the Little Angels, the Korean children's dance ensemble, which has since performed in over 60 nations around the world, with over 300 television appearances. This troupe was made up of children because I felt that children, more than anyone else, represent peace. Before children, even the most cynical people throw down their usual masks and become capable of feeling the purity and love which all human beings seek.
I am always inspired by true talent and artistic genius. This might help you to understand my tremendous respect for the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad. This theater is a living embodiment of Russian tradition. It has inherited the classical repertoire and has had the most profound influence on the art of ballet throughout the world.
In my opinion, the Kirov Ballet is especially fortunate to have Oleg Vinogradov as its artistic director. I have great respect for him and for his talent. I am even hoping that he will be able to direct our own program, which would allow us to master the traditions of the Kirov Theater. This type of artistic exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union would realistically advance the objectives of glasnost and perestroika. The Soviet Union, the United States, and the whole world will benefit.
Soviet journalist Vladimir Iordanski
Question: Overall, the level of tension between nations in the world is declining. We are witnessing countries, which only a few years ago saw each other as enemies, now beginning to work toward cooperation. The world needs such cooperation to solve the burning issues of the day -- environmental, social, and most importantly, the problem of world peace. How do you regard these changes?
I wholeheartedly welcome the lessening of tension among the nations of the world. The goal of my life's efforts has been to foster an environment conducive to true and lasting peace on earth. And I am not alone in this endeavor. All people are seeking peace. So we might ask, "Why has peace not come?" It is easy to say "peace" but achieving it is tremendously arduous.
In my opinion, if we have not achieved peace, it is because people forget its most fundamental aspect. Before we talk about peace among nations, we must settle our peace with God. Man is created to develop himself during his physical existence as a God-like individual. Tragically, without having achieved this goal, it has been impossible to have peace with God and with other people.
With our selfishness, we block our own development and the development of other people and nations. The greatest barrier to peace in our world today is greed and selfishness in the human heart. Individual greed opens the way to national greed. This leads to divisiveness and conflict among people and nations. Tragically, this has caused so much bloodshed and needless human suffering. Millions have senselessly perished.
Certainly economic and social problems are important to resolve. However, to find a lasting solution to these problems, we must first address this issue of human greed and selfishness. Otherwise, even though we make changes in systems, the individuals who guide such systems will also be tempted to use them for their own personal ends.
What our world most needs today is, therefore, a spiritual revolution. Then we can successfully solve our economic and social problems. If each individual and each nation can recognize the value of a fraternal spirit of cooperation, they are then prepared to address, as you said, "the burning issues of the day," including the pursuit of world peace.
Question: The Soviet Union is launching the concept of "new thinking" about international cooperation. In our opinion, the world is facing such critical issues that the nations of the world must set aside personal interests and develop cooperation. What do you think about this concept?
First of all, I would like to congratulate President Gorbachev for his sincere and determined effort to launch glasnost and perestroika. President Gorbachev is a man of great courage and conviction.
I know very well that his great political reforms, based on "new thinking," have had enormous influence on international relations. Undoubtedly, the Soviet Union still has many economic difficulties. But I am rather optimistically regarding the future of the Soviet Union. As more people appreciate President Gorbachev's sincere desire to bring about real change, greater support for his efforts will come from every corner of the world.
Also I believe that the Soviet Union must make efforts in two other areas. One of these is religious freedom. I congratulate President Gorbachev because I know very well of the significant progress that has already been made in this area.
Secondly, I would encourage the efforts you are making in business and commerce to develop a wider-based individual incentive system. When people are stimulated, they are inclined to work hard and produce more. This is the secret of the success of the free enterprise systems.
Once again, I would like to say that I really appreciate the courage and ideas of President Gorbachev. I am willing to support his program in any way that I can so that it can succeed. The Soviet Union must succeed in this effort. It is a mandate of history.
Russian and Western theologians exchange viewpoints at the Danislovski Monastery in Moscow.
Question: Reverend Moon, you are known not only as a spiritual leader, but also as a most successful businessman. What are the most important projects which you are working on in the world today?
As I have already said, my lifetime desire is to achieve world peace. As you may know, in 1981, in Seoul, at the 10th International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, where prominent scientists gathered together from over 100 nations of the world, I announced my plans for an International Peace Highway. When this massive project is completed, it will be possible to drive by automobile with one's family from Tokyo to London.
In my opinion, the International Peace Highway will help to unite people into one human family. And surely modern technology almost obliges us to live as one family if we are to survive. Already work on the undersea tunnel which will connect the Korean peninsula with japan has substantially moved forward. We have completed the planning stage and initial excavation has already started.
A couple of years ago, I conveyed this idea to officials of the Peoples' Republic of China. They expressed positive interest in the project and are conducting a feasibility study. Of course this project will eventually have to involve the Soviet Union because of its key geographical position in both Europe and Asia. I hope that I can establish contact with representatives of your government.
At the present time, I am also helping to create an automobile production city in Southern China in order to enhance the People's Republic of China's export opportunities. It is an exciting challenge to help to create an exportable car for Mainland China, and it will happen in the not too distant future. The modernization of China will help to assure the well-being of over one billion people. This is crucial for future world peace.
There are three primary enemies of humankind: hunger, disease and human ignorance. The nations of the world need to pool their strengths to conquer these enemies. These problems are particularly severe in Africa, Central and South America.
This is why the future industrial development of the resources of the Pacific Ocean is so important. I have founded businesses which perform every aspect of the fishing industry, from the design and construction of large fishing vessels, to the catching of fish, to the construction of fish farms. In the future the sea will provide nutrition and livelihood for many of the world's peoples. Its mastery is a reliable means to end world hunger.
Banquet at the home of Metropolitan Philaret.
Question: I understand that you have declined to give any interviews since the early 1970s. And yet you are now giving an interview to, of all people, a journalist from the USSR! Some people in my country think of you as an enemy of the Soviet Union. What is your true relationship to my Motherland and its people?
Yes, I am granting this interview only because the Russian people are dear to me and the development of the Soviet Union in its current period occupies a special place in my heart. I believe that the outcome of the Soviet Union's current program of restructuring will determine the future course of history.
But now about myself. I will be frank and honest with you when I say that I am not at all an enemy of the USSR. Furthermore, I am not anyone's enemy. Take, for example, my experience in America. I could hate America because I was very much mistreated there and was even forced to serve a prison term on dubious charges. And yet I tell you frankly that I am not an enemy of the American people or of the American government.
For me, the word "hatred" is a foreign word. As a religious leader, I believe that it is my duty to love all my fellow men. When I look at a person, I always ask myself, "What is it that God loves in this person?" Remarkably, God always shows me something that moves me in every human being that I encounter.
I cannot conceal from you that for forty years I have been opposed to Marxism. It is not because I hate Karl Marx. Karl Marx was right to decry human suffering and exploitation, but at the same time, Marxism asserts that there is no God, whereas my vivid spiritual experience has shown me that God exists, and that there is nothing more important than finding and knowing His heart.
The Russian people are dear to me because they have always been a great people in history, called to be a bridge between European and Asian culture.
I also want the people of the Soviet Union to know that I wish President Gorbachev success in his historical undertakings. I predict that through his efforts in favor of true democratization and true religious freedom, the Soviet Union will be able not only to keep up with the West but to overtake it.
Nations such as the United States and many other countries in the Western world have often abused freedom. Their traditional value systems are being eroded. America, for example, is beset with tremendous problems -- drug addiction, racial violence, and moral corruption in the political leadership -- just to name a few. President Bush literally declared war on drugs because millions of young Americans have been victimized. This is probably the greatest war the United States has ever waged.
All of these problems stem from the fact that there is something seriously lacking in American life. If you will, it really boils down to a spiritual problem.
In my opinion, both East and West must undergo tremendous spiritual changes.
I want to assure the people of the Soviet Union that Reverend Moon is your friend. My movement in 130 countries is your friend as well. Our globe today is like a boat sailing on a stormy ocean. If the boat weathers the storm, we will all be saved, and clearly we must save ourselves.
To do that, we must learn to live together in brotherhood as part of one common family. Then we will not only survive but prosper. My sincere desire is that God bless your country, and bless the future of your great people. I sincerely hope that one day soon I will have the chance to visit your beautiful homeland.
Probably each reader of this interview would agree with one thing, and disagree with another. But it appears that the words of Reverend Moon eloquently attest to the fact that the conception of "new thinking" opens up before us new horizons of cooperation for mankind. This is becoming possible both as a result of the change in our society and as a result of the perceptions of our country in circles which not 'too long ago were extremely far from us. We will hope that these possibilities will be successfully realized.
V. Iordanski, Seoul-Moscow
Metropolitan Philaret and Rev. Kwak look at Father's worldwide activities book
Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak and Dr. Frank Kaufmann traveled to the Soviet Union to attend the Council of the World's Religions conference on "The Trinitarian Basis of Christian Unity" held in Moscow from October 28 -- November 1, 1989. In addition, Dr. Kaufmann attended a CWR-sponsored conference in Toledo, Spain on "Influences in the Reconfiguration of Modern Judaism," also held in November.
The events which I have experienced recently are monumental in many ways. I will report them in reverse order since the more exciting tales come from Moscow. The more recent of the two conferences occurred in Toledo, Spain, November 9-13, 1989, with the theme, "Influences in the Reconfiguration of Modern Judaism." Toledo is a fascinating city, the site of significant events in the histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Toledo has seen some of the most profound and intimate cooperation among these religions, as well as being the site of the Spanish Inquisition, a holocaust in its own day.
CWR Jewish conferences have always been a special challenge due to the persecution of the Unification Movement by certain influential North American Jews. It has required great blessings to gradually erode the persistent effects of this opposition. These blessings continued at the fifth CWR Jewish conference. The 1988 conference marked our first clear breakthrough. The participants then were important, well-known representatives of worldwide Judaism.
This trend continued, and even improved, this year. Participants at the Toledo conference included four or five people who are coming to occupy a position of definitive authority in Jewish scholarship, the "next generation." The elder generation of Jewish scholars were writing when the Holocaust occurred. (Gershom Sholem, Franz Rosenzweig, and Martin Buber are well known examples.) Following them came scholars from among victims, survivors and contemporaries of the Holocaust (like Rubenstein, Fackenheim, Idel, and Schatz Uffenheimer). The emerging leadership consists of scholars who know of the Holocaust mostly from their parents and elders. These are the people who will guide Jewish thought for the next forty years or so. Such important scholars were with us this year.
First-time participants inevitably come with a great deal of suspicion, and this year was certainly no exception. Opening remarks were challenging, and at times even confrontational. For much of the conference they would not even talk to the Unificationists there! Fortunately, the humility and sacrifice of the Unification staff members, Jane Sharpe and John Lowry, and the unconditional generosity built into these conferences moved our guests tremendously. They arrived with suspicion, sure they would find the hidden, Unificationist agenda. But when the ugly, ulterior motive never arrived, the participants started to feel guilty for having acted so suspiciously toward their hosts. This change transformed itself into a repentance of a sort. CWR conferences always have a session for Rev. Kwak's address. It is also the session for questions about the sponsorship and the Unification Church. At this time the true concerns emerge. Father's motivation is usually the bottom line of concern. We do our best to answer, and the participants who know us longer also help to allay the initial doubts and suspicions. Since our actions are true and sincere, this eventually causes the participants to have a change of heart. It is almost fortunate that they arrive with such negative attitudes, for then any change of heart is more radical. The no-strings sponsorship never seems quite comprehensible to the participants, but our agenda is really quite simple. It is, in fact, what every religious person should do: serve God and others unconditionally.
For days, these participants avoided the Unificationists, not talking to them. Suddenly, as it seems okay to do so, the Unificationists are put on overtime. At dinner, our plates would remain untouched as explanations for every detail about the Unification Church were sought. Every table is animated with summaries of the Divine Principle, the Blessing, fundraising stories and other aspects of our life and beliefs. The experiences of these leaders will ultimately lead to cooperation and mutual respect between Jews and Unification members.
Although these developments are especially interesting to us, we must remember that the conferences have their own integrity and vital function in the religious world. The conversations are intense, committed and crucial to the health and development of the religions represented by those gathered. It would be most helpful us to learn of the content of these important gatherings, which may be gained through reading the conference reports that appear in the IRF Newsletter.
The Moscow CWR conference was held from October 28-November 1, 1989, in the Danislovski Monastery in Moscow, with the theme, "The Trinitarian Basis of Christian Unity." Just to be in Moscow these days is exciting. History unfolds before your eyes, and the population is alive. Everyone you meet is excited and full of opinions. Each one is a self-ordained political analyst, wanting to share the "real" situation with you.
Developments happen too fast to catch the full significance and import. I believe that both Rev. Kwak's and the conference's presence there at this incredible time was indeed a part of this great moment in history. 1988 marked the Milenial celebration of Christianity in Russia. Seven days prior to the conference, the 400th Anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchy was celebrated. Also, 14 day prior to our arrival the patriarch who lived during the October Revolution and at the time of Father's birth was canonized a saint. As with the New Era's "Religion in China" Conference, the miracle of the timing cannot be ignored.
The conference was special for several reasons. Though the Soviet Union and South Korea do not have diplomatic relations, Rev. Kwak was able to be there due to a personal invitation from the Russian Orthodox Church. They were the co-sponsors of this conference, and they sent letters of official invitation to each of the guests to guarantee that they could enter the country. Such letters are as good as visas!
Conference participants were selected on the basis of their reputation as Trinitarian theologians. Due to our fascinating venue, we could attract Western scholars of an extremely high caliber. These prominent European and American Christians also had powerful experiences at the conference, and recognized the quality and goodness of the Unification contribution to the world of religion. Twelve Russian Orthodox participants were also in attendance. Among them was the Archbishop of Armenia and a Bishop who was the individual responsible for having opened up avenues of communication between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and also for having involved the Russian Orthodox Church with the World Council of Churches. I am sure that the transforming experience of these important figures will make our future relations with the World Council of Churches less rocky than it has been in the past.
Many of our CWR friends and associates have said it will take at least 15 years to break down worldwide negativity to the Unification Church. To the external eye that seems reasonable. But God needs only a few seconds when the conditions are right, and this seemed to be happening at this conference.
Rev. Kwak accomplished a great deal during his stay. He met people in virtually every sphere of influence in the Soviet Union, including a private audience with the head of the Department of External Affairs of the Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan. The meeting, arranged for the final day, was quite beautiful. Rev. Kwak congratulated the Metropolitan on the emergence of religious freedom in Russia, and offered to be helpful in concrete ways, including computer training and other forms of education. The Metropolitan seemed moved and grateful. Together they looked through the book of Father's worldwide activities that was published for the Olympics. The Metropolitan was particularly surprised to find that it was printed in Russian. Discussions also included the possibility of holding the 1993 Assembly of World Religions in Moscow. Finally he attempted to close the meeting with the encouraging words, "We look forward to ongoing relations with your foundation and with your founder," a big step of affirmation from the Metropolitan. But Rev. Kwak was under Father's very difficult direction to seek Russian Orthodox support for the operation of the Unification Church within the Soviet Union. Defying the Metropolitan's attempt to close, he sat back down. "Given the fact that there is religious freedom in Russia," he said, "would the Russian Orthodox Church support the legalization of the Unification Church in the Soviet Union?" The Metropolitan, realizing he was facing an extremely poignant moment, leaned back in his chair and began to speak. He said, "Now, both in East and West, political leaders recognize the need for religion to save their societies from social disintegration and moral decline. When politicians talk to religious leaders, they are very serious. At such times, it is the responsibility of the established, historical religions to protect the society and believers from misinterpretations of the religious experience. The world is full of sects and cults. But it has always been the responsibility of the Russian Orthodox Church to cooperate with and support all true religions. So I look forward to the possibility of welcoming the Unification Church to work in the Russian society." Rev. Kwak then thanked him and we left.
That same evening the conference ended, and to celebrate, the Metropolitan invited all the participants to his house. He has a beautiful dacha on the outskirts of Moscow. We arrived and were welcomed first to the reception room. All acted prim and proper. We sat amidst the splendor of priceless icons, being served with Russian crystal. But the Metropolitan seemed very relaxed and cordial as he received reports from the conference. Finally he commented, "Well, good, I am glad you call your work a success. I have also received reports from my people which confirm what you've said."
We were then led to the dining room. Only three people were given specific seats of honor: Dr. Francis Clark across from him, the Archbishop of Armenia to his right, and myself on his left. There were incredibly important religious leaders there, and I was forced to think back on Father's promises that soon we would be sitting at heads of tables with world leaders.
As the meal commenced, the Metropolitan proposed a toast to Christian unity: "I shall go alphabetically so as not to forget or offend anyone," and then he began. We toasted to the Anglicans, the Baptists, and to the Roman Catholics. His toast to the Catholics lasted several minutes. He went into the long history of difficulty between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. After the Lutherans, Dr. Clark said, "And so we have come to O. Let us recognize the graciousness of the Orthodox hosts who have sponsored us," and all glasses were raised. The toasts seemed finished; all the Christian denominations had been named, but everyone knew that there had been an important omission. I had been given this seat of honor but was ignored in the toast. The Metropolitan's direct assistant read the situation and with social grace and acuity said, "Oh, to our organizers, how could we forget them? Let us toast to our organizers and their brilliant organizational work." Everyone toasted enthusiastically to the organizers, I am sure, with some relief and gratitude to the wise Bishop. I then gave a response toast, as had a representative of each denomination when they were toasted. I drew upon Father's spirit, truth and love. My toast reflected Father's endless love for Christianity. Surprising things then began to occur. The Baptist became inspired and stood up to speak for a second time. He first spoke about the Orthodox/Baptist relationship in Russia, a complicated history as the Baptist Church was underground during communist rule at a time when many Orthodox leaders were actually Communist Party members. Then he pointed to me and added, "And to this young man, who knows when to stay silent, but when he speaks, speaks directly to the heart with words of truth."
This public praise caused courage to begin to spread. Dr. Francis Clark, our long-time friend, took the floor and began a small speech: "Your eminence, I would like to point out that the alphabet has not been completed. As a Catholic, I do not share the theological views of the Unification Church, but I have worked with them for many years, and would like to testify to Rev. Moon and his followers." Before he could finish completing his toast to the Unificationists, others around the table interrupted to add their own words of encouragement about the Unification Church. So we were then toasted, and the Metropolitan ended the meeting right there, asking his Archbishop to close with prayer.
Just a few hours earlier, in his meeting with Rev. Kwak, the Metropolitan pledged his support if he discovered us to be a true religion. Now from around the table was a clamor of voices of Christian theological experts insisting that "the Unification Church is good, real, and true."
The story ends here, with one fascinating fact to add: when we returned to our hotel rooms that evening we discovered that Russian television was showing a special
The documentary on Rev. Moon and the Unification Church. It included interviews with Father, Rev. Kwak and Dr. Bo Hi Pak. It was a completely positive program about Father and the Unification Church. So my private hope and prayer was that after the Metropolitan waved good-bye to his friends at the door, he turned on the television to sit and relax for a while before going to sleep, only to see us again, this time on Russian television.
Again, as with the Jewish conference, I encourage the readership to avoid the mistaken belief that these conferences are merely to promote the Unification Church. They are the sincere gift of Father to each religion, and it is the sincere offering of these wonderful hosts and participants to dedicate them-, lees to the vitality and ultimate unity of their treasured religious communities.
"It was thrilling to be in that part of the world as the Berlin Wall gave way."
As communist bloc nations undergo rapid and amazing transformations, stimulated by Gorbachev's glasnost, we in the West are astonished and excited. To understand the mood of the people and try to gain a reasonable assessment of the changes, the World Media Association led a fact-finding tour on November 1-16 to Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Moscow. As WMA Projects Director, I headed the group of media professionals.
The 28 delegates gathered in New York's JFK International Airport to launch a two-week tour of one of the hottest spots on the globe today. The first stop was beautiful Helsinki, Finland where the group was briefed by Dr. Alpo Rusi, Counselor of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Kaj Barlund, Minister of the Environment, on issues crucial to understanding the economic and political future of Europe. After a lovely reception hosted by the Finnish Foreign Ministry, participants relaxed in Helsinki to prepare for the long trip ahead.
Flying to the city of Budapest, WMA met with Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Medgyessy, a young politician of a new breed in Hungary who at this time is politically unaligned. We closed our first day in Hungary with a visit to the U.S. Embassy to receive a background briefing. The capital of Hungary, which is divided by one of Europe's most majestic rivers, the Danube, is fascinating. The twin cities of Buda and Pest, which were combined over 100 years ago, are famous the world over for being the cultural and historic center of Hungary.
To explore the new political landscape, we met with members of the newly formed opposition parties in Hungary, one of which was Rev. Roszik Gabor, a Christian Evangelist who is the first member of the Hungarian Parliament to win a seat through free election.
After six visits to the Soviet Union I am no expert on communism or Marxist- Leninism, however, I saw very little evidence that Hungary is a communist state or wants to remain with that system. The Hungarian people are energetic and hopeful of ridding themselves of the recent past. This was made very evident by the Secretary of the MSP Party (the former communist party turned socialist) Feno Kovacs, who explained to the delegation that Hungary no longer wants a single ruling party.
Our next tour stop was Warsaw, Poland. There we met with Janusz Onyskiewicz, the Solidarity spokesman, who now serves under the new Solidarity government as a member of Parliament. We could not visit Poland without visiting the birthplace of Frederic Chopin, a short excursion outside of the city.
Gdansk is a charming ancient city in the north of Poland, on the Baltic Sea. We journeyed there for a day to meet with Lech Kaczynski, Deputy of Solidarity. We also dialogued with Father Henryk Jankowski, the head priest of St. Brygida's Church, which provides the spiritual strength for Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement. Father Jankowski shared with the delegation how the mission of the Polish Catholic Church was reconciliation and its role was not to be involved in demonstrations or other social causes. By focusing on its spiritual essence, the church in Poland has been able to provide strong family values through the difficult years and bring the Polish people together.
The strength of the human spirit was vividly shown to us time and again, through Andrzj Drawicz, the new Head of Polish TV and Radio, Minister Jacek Kuron of Labor and Social Affairs and Minister Aleksander Paszynski of Construction and Housing. All of these men are members of the new Solidarity government. Two of the ministers have spent time in prison for their political beliefs, but now they are turning their energy toward building a more prosperous nation. All three know the road is difficult, but they recognize there is no other choice but to go forward.
In Poland we also met with the president of PWPA and the editorial staff of Gazette Wyborcza, the independent newspaper that grew out of Solidarity.
All the meetings provided the delegation with a sense of the dramatic changes taking place in the communist world. It was thrilling to be in that part of the world as the Berlin Wall gave way to the forces of history willed by God.
We took a bus journey from Warsaw into the USSR, arriving in Lithuania to get a taste of the nationalist fervor brewing in that Baltic state. During our one- day stay in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, we met with the First Secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party, now being pressured by Moscow not to pursue an independent course. We were able to feel the pulse of Lithuania through Father Vacloras Aliuis, editor of Catholic World, the first religious publication printed in Lithuania under glasnost, Vitas Tomkus, the young editor of Respublika, who at 31 is leading press reforms in his country, and Domas Shniukas, head of the Lithuanian Journalists Union.
We flew Aeroflot to our final city, Moscow, where we met embattled Vladislav Starkov, Editor-in Chief of Argumentiy Facti (Argument and Fact), the most popular weekly publication in the USSR which recently printed a poll of citizens on the popularity of current Soviet political figures. Starkov was fired by the Politburo shortly after our return but is refusing to resign. Then, Sergei Stankevich, a young Deputy in the Supreme Soviet discussed with the delegation how he almost succeeded in forcing onto the legislative agenda a bill to abolish the famous Article Six of the Soviet Constitution which gives the Communist Party a monopoly of power.
A trip to Gostelradio provided Western journalists with an opportunity to meet with leaders of the dynamic future of Russian broadcasting. Among other staff members, we met with the anchorman of the most popular TV show in the Soviet Union, called "Point of View." Our final two days we visited Vitaly Ignatenko, editor of the New Times (which recently printed an article about Father), Vitaly Korotich, editor of the leading Ogonyok magazine, young democratic and religious activists, the U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock and a researcher at the Institute of World Systems of Socialism.
To close out the tour the group of journalists and opinion leaders gathered together to share insights and relax.
As we bid farewell to Moscow I was grateful to Father for providing the vision and leadership which is now bringing about the unity of the entire world. Throughout the trip I could see the hand of God moving and His love penetrating into a darkened world trying to break out of spiritual ignorance. Each fact-finding trip WMA has taken to the communist world has been a condition for God to move and shake the foundation of that atheistic society. We are now seeing the results of our Father's prayers and work.