Shatz is a Williamsburg resident. He is the author of “Reports from a Distant Place,” the compilation of his selected columns. The book is available at the Bruton Parish Shop and Amazon.com
Dr. Edward Lozansky, is the founder and president of American University in Moscow and the Russia House Association, in Washington, D. C. He is also a professor at Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities.
But before all this, Lozansky, a nuclear physicist, was a dissident in the Soviet Union. He become an admirer of the great nuclear scientist Andrei Sakharov , the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, who in spite of all the privileges bestowed on him, demanded more freedom for his compatriots.
The activities of Lozansky, who was married to the daugther of one of the Soviet Union’s highest ranking generals, led to his exile and a six-year separation from his wife, Tatiana, and daughter, Tania, enforced by Soviet authorities.
I met Lozansky, in 1980, during the Winter Olympics, held in Lake Placid. He was at that time a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Rochester, NY. His aim was to use the Olympics to bring worldwide attention to the cause of the reunion with his family, and pressure the Soviet government to relent.
In an effort to help him, a letter was sent to Soviet President Leonid Brzhnev, signed by Mayor Robert Peacock of Lake Placid, the host city of the Olympics, Eric Heiden, who won 5 unprecedented gold-medals is speed skating, and me, as the founder of the Olympic People-for- People Program that hosted Soviet athletes.
Alas, it took Lozansky two more years to reunite with his family, only after Mikhail Gorbachev introduced perestroika. He nevertheless, felt gratitude toward the Olympic People-for-People Program and shortly after the arrival of his wife and daughter brought them to Lake Placid, NY.
Since then, Lozansky has become a U. S. citizen, and earned a high position in the academic world, serving as a bridge between American and Russian institutions of higher education.
Lately, however, Lozansky, came under sharp criticism for his support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. I asked him, what is the reason he supports him?
Lozansky, in a previous interview with the Gazette explained that Russians now have practically all the basic freedoms that people enjoy in the West, and despite certain deficiencies in democracy, Russia should be cultivated as an important ally to face global challenges.
He is also very much aware of past mistakes that soured U.S.-Russian relations.
According to Lozansky, when President Yeltsin succeeded Gorbachev, there was a unique opportunity to develop a plan for Russia’s integration with the West. But it didn’t happen. Instead, during the Clinton administration, hundreds of American advisers rushed to Moscow to "help” the Yeltsin team to perform a miracle of transforming Russia’s inherited planned economy to market economy. Their advice was so devastating that it lead Russia to economic collapse and financial default.
He also recalled that after the 9/11 terrorist attack, Putin provided President George W. Bush with every assistance he was asked for. "Putin, was repaid by Bush, with the unilateral abrogation of the ABM treaty, by promoting the so called color revolution in post-Soviet space, and pushing for further NATO expansion,” Lozansky said.
He added, "Follow Thomas Jefferson’s advice and try not to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs. Identify a priority list of common problems which can be resolved by common efforts.”
Recalling President George H. W. Bush’s road map for Russia’s integration with the West, when he talked about a "Europe whole and free with a security arch from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” Lozansky reflected on the forthcoming summit between President Trump and President Putin.
"If President Ronald Reagan could make a deal with Mr. Gorbachev, why not let Mr. Trump try to do the same with Mr. Putin?”
There, is a statue of Ronald Reagan shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev in downtown Moscow, and a statue of Andrei Sakharov, in front of Russia House, in Washington. Both statues were commissioned by the Lozansky’s.
"We had the privilege of meeting these great men, and they give us the hope and inspiration to continue our fight for U.S.-Russia rapprochement,” Lozansky said.