Though the political system in the Soviet Union was not my “cup of tea”, I was interested in the culture and life there.
When MÍR announced a tour to the Soviet Union in 1988 I therefore decided to take part in it. MÍR, The Iceland – Soviet Union Cultural Association, was established in 1950. Its first president was Halldor Kiljan Laxness, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 1955. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, MÍR became The Iceland – Russia Cultural Association. The association has emphasized on cultural exchange e.g. in literature, dance and music. They have also shown Soviet films, some of which are very old and interesting. They donated 1836 films to the National Film Archive and some say it’s one of the largest archival collections of Soviet films in the World.
We traveled in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and from there over the Caucasus Mountains to Georgia. The term “Caucasian” originated as one of the racial categories developed in the 19th century and was derived from the region of the Caucasus Mountains. The term is used to describe a person, who has light skin pigmentation.
When I was in the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, was its leader and he emphasized Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (economic restructuring). In 1986 he and US President Ronald Reagan held a meeting in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, to talk about reducing intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe which led to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987. This so-called “Reykjavík Summit” ultimately led to the end of the cold war in 1991.