In 1995, Michelle Carter, a 50-year-old, married mother of two adult children, left her longtime position as editor of a San Francisco Bay area newspaper to travel half way around the world to spend a year in Russia. In this turbulent and exciting time shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was still hope that democracy might flower in this brief pre-Putin bubble of freedom. As United States Information Agency Journalist-in-Residence, Carter traveled across the country’s 11 time zones working with newspaper editors to help foster the emergence of the nascent free press. She provides an on-the-ground account of this remarkable and difficult year in her memoir, From Under the Russian Snow. Please join us at the Cinnaminson Library on Saturday, April 14 at 1 pm to hear Carter discuss her experience and sign copies of her book.
In the Soviet era, newspapers had been government subsidized and unquestioningly published information provided to them. Now, they had to learn how to gather information from unfriendly sources as well as adapt to a market economy by selling advertising and creating a paper that people actually wanted to buy. Journalists in Russia were giddy with hope and the possibilities of free speech. But by 2005, it was all over. Today, the Kremlin directs the broadcast and publishing of news and any resistance to this state version of events may be met with imprisonment and even death.
Michelle Carter has been traveling in and writing about Russia and the Soviet Union since 1988. Her first book Children of Chernobyl: Raising Hope from the Ashes was about the youth affected by the 1986 nuclear disaster. Carter continues to travel to Russia, and stays in close contact with her many friends and sources there.