Monday, May 9, 2016

THE NOTORIOUS BUTIERKSKAYA PRISON PART THREE



We’d sent our list of needs to Major Goran Larsson, and he and his colleague Lars-Erik Cederholm would contact the Swedish Government SIDA office to ascertain which of the items on our list might be included in their list of supported materials. Key were, light bulbs, audio speakers, toilet seats, toiletries, mops, buckets, cleaning agents and other hygienic supplies.

Over the course of the next two weeks our priorities changed. We were busy finalizing the visit to Moscow of the Norwegian Territorial Commander, Commissioners John and Lydie Ord and Commissioner Ingrid Lindberg, the TC Finland and Estonia. The official reopening of The Salvation Army was only days away. Kathie and her team were rushing to find bolts of blue material to be delivered to the Russian Red Army tailors in time to tailor-make 85 SA uniforms. They contacted every conceivable source for white gloves, frames in which to mount the soldiers’ covenants, men’s uniform caps and 50 pair of matching dark women’s hosiery. Butchers and fishmongers alike carried black uniform shoes. More than 20 shops were visited before we’d found enough pair of matching shoes.

The Junior Soldiers uniform procurement was less problematic. Komsomol, the Young Communist league sold Pioneer uniforms through almost every public kiosk. Train stations in particular carried a ready supply; white shirts and blouses, dark trousers and skirts were  secured by the dozen, along with red ties, Kathie’s brother Jack made certain that Young Soldiers hats were delivered on time, We’d ordered crested jumpers from a local manufacturer.

A senior soldier was outfitted for about $ 48.00, top to bottom. And a Junior soldier for less than $ 15.00, plus a $35.00 hat (to be confirmed), from the ‘west’!

My days were spet making certain that Russian transport and accommodation was secured and ‘guarantee’ payments paid to all concerned. Some visitors were still awaiting their Russian visas and the Foreign Ministry assured us that ‘all was under control’; not always to be believed. Programs and visitors’ handbook needed to be printed and we were not yet guaranteed the use of our rented hall in the Foreign Ministry Press Center. More than once we’d been locked out at the last minute by the ‘party’ for official purposes. We’d march our congregation to Gorky Park behind the SA colours with only two uniformed Salvationists, Kathie and me in the lead, with Marsha, one of our teen aged translators carrying flag. (SEE Chapter on Gorky Park)

Most observers probably assumed it was just another revolutionary group! How right they were!




 Salvation Army missionaries march into Moscow
Mar. 31 1992

Seventy years after the last Salvation Army soldier left Russia, the international Christian charity organization has officially re-established a Moscow detachment.

Salvation Army General Eva Burrows of London visited Moscow last week to open the office and welcome about 80 Russian recruits, both children and adults. Captain Sven-Erik Ljungholm, whose grandfather Otto Ljungholm served in the Salvation Army in Russia before the revolution, heads the new office. Ljungholm, his wife and a few colleagues started missionary activities in Moscow about six months ago. Today more than 400 Moscowvites attend Salvation Army Sunday services, about 100 children and teenagers attend its Sunday School and 6,000 of the elderly, poor and invalids eat free lunches daily in the Army's canteens, Ljungholm said.

The official Moscow opening ceremonies ended on Sunday – time to step back and relax…










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