Outside the Moscow Beltway; With Ethel Dunn, on the disabled in the USSR
[blues music] And now for the next half hour, you'll be listening to William Mendell and Outside the Moscow Beltway. Do you think that the Russians want war? These are the. Good evening. Welcome to year 35 of Outside the Moscow Beltway, the program on which talk radio, the most democratic technique of broadcasting began. I it's I have very great pleasure this evening, and I want my guests to know that I don't usually use that term welcoming guests to welcome a very dear friend and longtime colleague,
Ethel Dunn, who is executive secretary of the Highgate Road Social Science Research Center, a Sovietologist herself. Disabled who? Has studied many aspects of Soviet life, agriculture being one, but the situation of the disabled being another. I'd like to begin by simply reading a couple of paragraphs of a letter Etho had published in something called the nonprofit Times. Forgive me, I didn't know that publication existed, which I think sets her view on the subject. And we can take the discussion from there, she wrote with response to a previous article. I disagree emphatically with his prediction that the government of the Soviet Union will, quoting the previous writer, back out of the social service delivery system without providing any safety net, close quote. The Soviet government thoroughly revised its pension law with a view to making it more equitable and included pensions for those disabled from birth,
those who had never worked. Market reforms have not been implemented as rapidly as some people would like, precisely because the government still feels an obligation to protect those 43 million Soviet citizens whose earnings put them at the poverty level or below. What the government has done and will continue to do is to allow church and private organizations to engage in charitable enterprises. Thus, the Russian Orthodox Church now operates a small hospital in Moscow for disabled, single or elderly people. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Advertize Church are collaborating and help for people addicted to narcotics, alcohol and tobacco. The Adventists are operating agricultural technical schools to train rural people in their home localities in modern agricultural methods and so on. It is the weight of the height of irresponsibility for any one Soviet or Western to suggest at this stage that people will starve to death this
winter in the Soviet Union. It seems to me as a Sovietologist and as an American citizen, that both the USSR and the United States are in a somewhat similar crisis at the White House. Take it from there. Offer us your comments and. Well. When I spoke in terms of a similar crisis, I was, of course, thinking about the number of disabled both in this country and in the former Soviet Union who are unemployed and not to say ignored, but getting a good deal less of the social pie than they might otherwise. That letter that you wrote was written, I guess, about a year ago, I read you wrote? Yes. I'm sorry. And I'm not entirely sure that that one can be
optimistic about the food that's available to them, to the Soviet people, but as far as the disabled are concerned, you know that in nineteen eighty eight, a new society for the disabled was founded because after some years of persecuting them, the government decided that. An organization of that type would be the best one to deal with the problems and the disabled, the perhaps, if I'm not mistaken, I may be out of date. The most vocal spokesperson for the disabled in the Soviet Union has been a deputy from Moscow named Maslowski Number one. Is that still the case? A number to what's he doing? I tried to find this out when there was a Soviet trade fair in San Francisco recently. One of the exhibitors was from the
Society for the Disabled. And I said, I haven't heard much about this much lately what's going on? And he said, well, that's going to help us find our organization. But then he kind of backed away from it all. And at present, he's one of Yeltsin's advisors. And do I gather from that that he's a Yeltsin adviser in general and not with respect to the disabled? I think in general, I see what's in this letter that I read. You tended to emphasize the positive. What do you regard as the downside of the situation of the disabled in the Soviet Union, other than the obvious fact that there's a downside for everyone right now in a crisis? Well, I think the downside is the problem of employment for the disabled, because there had originally been a quota to the effect that two percent of all jobs
were supposed to be set aside for disabled people. The originally means what, before the Soviet Union broke up? Right. In short, for many years, if I remember correctly, many, many years. Yes. Yes, of course. It was not a thing that was particularly well observed. But in principle, I was there and I just read a comment from some man who said that his basic job was going around to enterprises in the area saying who was hiring. And his problem was that he found. But administrators said, well, for heaven's sakes, send us students or pensioners. Don't send us people in wheelchairs. As for this individual attempt to respond. By reference to the law, as far as you know, no.
I think the account that I read made mention of the law, but in the present situation, they feel that the private. Enterprises in this and the smaller factories are going to be the most likely to employ the disabled, in your opinion, is that apt to be home work or work at the site of production and PR.? I would suppose that it's homework just because of the problem of accessibility. Right. Right. How would you again, for those of us who. Are not as conscious from day today with the problems of the disabled as you are. How would you compare in general legislation? In the two other factors in the two countries, just again, for the sake of the audience
to pick up on the last thing Ethel said, sidewalks in the U.S. are in very many cases are difficult for ordinary pedestrians, never mind disabled people. And the practice that we've developed in fairly recent years here of knocking sidewalks and wheelchairs can get over them, doesn't exist. There are power wheelchairs do not exist. The wheelchairs that exist are rather heavy, taking those basic facts as accepted. How would you compare the overall picture for disabled people in the two societies? Well, I, I think the laws exist and I think it's a matter of enforcing the laws there. Yeah, yeah. It's interesting to me that a year ago, December, they passed a law which looks very much like our Americans with Disabilities Act. Mm hmm. And now, of course, it's a matter of enforcing it, because
I take it, for instance, the problem of. Higher education. It turns out that many disabled people are excluded from higher educational institutions not because there's a law against them, but because the buildings aren't wheelchair accessible, right. Staircases and no no elevators or elevators with very narrow doors. Right, right. And at present, one of my projects is and I hope I will be able to do it, is to try and bring it to the attention of those American businesses who will be going into the Soviet Union that when they build nation building wheelchair accessibility. Incidentally, I want to say that although I've known and actually worked with my guest, Ethel Dunn, for nearly 30 years, and this program is just entered its fifth year, this is the first time
I've been able to invite her. And the reason is, thanks to you, the listeners of the station, this wonderful new building we have is wheelchair accessible in every respect in this you did the last words you said did give some notion of where things might go from here. But in rather concrete terms, what does one do? What can one do at this moment in the present critical situation, a situation where unemployment in the USSR is going to increase and his plan to increase, which we already know that women have suffered more from, from layoffs than men have suffered, what in the practical sense of the moment, what can be done about or for the disabled in the Soviet Union? I think the main thing that can be done for them is to agitate on this side in the United States to make sure that when exchanges are implemented,
say, on the level of students or on the level of making joint ventures, that some disabled people and some organizations are included, because unless you know that they exist, it's very difficult to include them in planning. Excuse me. You mean Soviet organizations and people? Very, very excellent. Very simple. Practical. Excellent point. And the others. Well, I. I think with some study has to be done to identify where these organizations exist and then to write to them and say, what do you need? Unfortunately, in the present situation, people are going around in the United States assuming that they need to reinvent the wheel from the Russian people, and I don't really think that that's the case. I think we need to ask them, what do you need and how can we help? I received a letter a day or two ago that you will be reading
that suggests the prompts a thought. Several American manufacturers are proposing to open small plants, plural, starting in course by Siberia for the production of blood substitutes. Very much needed in the medical field. Perhaps. People concerned the disabled in the Soviet Union should make it a point to contact those American plants that are going to business there, not only to guarantee that whatever they open will be accessible to the disabled, but that they take it as part of their responsibility to seek the employment of disabled. Yes, I would like people to be thinking of the problem of setting up arrangements which would also benefit the disabled in this country, because 69 percent
of the disabled in the United States are also unemployed. Can you think of anything you've already suggested, of course, which is helpful, that any American delegations to the USSR include disabled people or representatives of the disabled? Can you think of any anything concrete to implement your last suggestion? In short, anything that pertains to the USSR that would also, in a concrete way, aid help to correct the unemployment situation among American disabled? I it's difficult for me to be able to say that because, of course, there is considerable fragmentation among the disabled community within the former Soviet Union, because you have the war veterans who are now World War Two veterans who are now rather aged, and you have the veterans of the Afghan war and then you have the people who are disabled
from trauma or from birth, and they don't get together as a group and say, well, together we would have more clout. They're still going around and saying, no, it's mine, do it this way. We've reached the point of this program, which we turn it over to you for questions or comments. My guest is Ethel Dunn, executive secretary of the Hoggett Road Social Science Research Station in Berkeley, who is obviously, as you heard, an authority on the disabled, but also a Sovietologist, a very broad interests. So that your questions, although I hope that, as usual, we focus on questions having to do with the subject of the initial broadcast. Your questions or comments can be on anything with respect to the USSR, its foreign relations, and each of us will take our turn answering these things as they form into our particular spheres. Euphonious at eight four eight four four two five.
As usual, I'm committing the unpardonable soon of committing dead air, which is not supposed to happen on Radio eight four eight four four two five four comments or questions on anything with respect to the USSR, preferably pertaining to tonight's discussion, but anything that interests you. Yes, you're on the air. Well, hi, I'd like to speak with Bill Maher. Yes. Yes. Go ahead. Oh, hello. First of all, I'd like to thank you very much for your program, which I've listened to intently for a number of years. And it's it's wonderful. The question to your guest is, in general, how is the social attitude in the Soviet Union toward the disabled as compared to that in the U.S. in terms of integration into the into the general population, into the overall scheme of things? Well, that's one of the most interesting questions that one can ask, because it turns out that although there are
many disabled and there's as many as 28 million disabled, up until recently they were not shown on TV and the problems that they had were not discussed. And people tend to avoid the disabled out of some primitive fear that what the disabled have will rub off on them. Yeah, seems to be human nature can understand it for its true friends. All right. Thank you. We'll take another year on the air and your phone is at eight four eight four four two five. Yes, hello. I am disabled actually, and I have a psychiatric disability. It's rather interesting as manic depressive syndrome, which is treatable very easily with lithium. If one responds to the lithium, what is? What I want to ask is that
I apply for a job which I got last October, but I was advised by the mental health clinic at Mount Bryan, not to mention my disability at all because it was something shameful. Now I wonder whether mental illness is regarded in the same way in the Soviet Union. And I'll take my answer off the air. Thank you. Well, I'm not sure about the problem of mental disability. I have not really studied it in any great detail. But among the simple people of Russia, it used to be that someone who was mentally retarded was supposed to be especially gifted. And there were certain types of. Disorder's mostly striking women that caused them to scream and thrash around a lot, and
these women, too, were looked upon as having special status, but I would assume that some of the same, shall I say, shunning techniques are also used in the former Soviet Union to some of the greatest arias in Russian opera tenor usually are. Those written for the alleged. How do you put it, half witted sear shorts, the the idiot genius? I hope I'm not offending anyone, anyone. There's this there is this notion that Ethel described is embodied in the arts, particularly in music to me more than any other single sphere. And it's a reflection of this folk belief. Again, this is William Mangeot with outside the Moscow Beltway.
My guess is Ethel Dunn Sovietologist will take any comments or questions on anything with respect to the USSR or its foreign policy. Euphonious at eight four eight four four two five. And I should mention, for the benefit of our previous caller, that the mentally disabled were also included under this new society for the disabled. Hmm. Ethel, while we're waiting for more callers, we have one. Yes, you're on the air. Hello. Hello. Oh, yes. Yes. You're on the air. We see you calling here on the bottom, but we don't hear you. Eight four eight four four two five oh, I was just wondering, because I know it's an expert on I think it's called the Molihan. I wondered what you thought of the exhibit in Oakland, and I wondered if it was still there at the museum. May I just say a word? The mulligans are a
Russian religious sect that I think is best described as being somewhat like the Quakers. Why don't you take it from there? Yes, the Mochan should be called spiritual questions. And you're right, there was an exhibit at the Oakland Museum which included them. I like the exhibit very much and I was pleased to see it because I felt that if I had known about this group, they wouldn't have been exhibited. If you had known about I. If I had not known. Oh, I see. If you had not known, they would not have been exhibiting what you're saying is that you feel you contributed to the fact that you took place. Great. OK, we'll take another. You're on the air. Hello. Hello. Hello. Yes. Yes. Thinking about as you're just as I was listening to the program, it occurred to me that one thing that would make wheelchairs lighter is to make them out of aluminum
like the one my son has. Yeah. It occurred to me that I've heard that there is a that there's a lag in buying prices for scrap metal in this country. And that comes to mind is getting scrap metal shipped to the Soviet Union might turn out to be profitable for someone to try some entrepreneur to try to do. And and to the extent that ship got more aluminum there, that might be a source of materials that they could use to make into tubing to make new wheelchairs rather than using steel tubing, which weighs more. Yeah. I suppose that some readers may know that the end of the wheelchair genius Ron Hodgkinson's been to the Soviet Union several times. He's been on this show and has tried to teach people how to make wheelchairs for relatively little out of materials that are already existing.
The Germans have filled the gap with wheelchairs to a pretty significant extent, importing them from Germany. And I think that factories have been set up to produce more wheelchairs. That's most interesting. Just to respond to the listener's supposition, the USSR doesn't lack aluminum. Aluminum was a major component of military as well as all other aircraft. And even though Aeroflot right now is suffering from a shortage of fuel, it has tremendous number of planes, as a matter of fact. Mr. Hotchkiss and his associates were working with a plant in Siberia that had previously been the major repair enterprise for the helicopters used in Afghanistan, so that the the raw material is not a problem. The problem, I'm afraid, is the general nature of the economy at the moment. And I think the answer I guess the answer is twofold.
And it's quite interesting. It's a combination of enterprise on the one hand and government concern on the other. And of course, once these things depend upon that combination, as they do here, there is the problem of bringing pressure upon governments both from within the USSR and hopefully from outside. We'll take it on. You're on the air. Hello. Oh, hello. I'm wondering if there's any possibility at all of going to the Soviet Union in a wheelchair if you have someone to help you? Can you get to museums? Can you get to the theater or in a hotel? What can you do? Well, I haven't been in the Soviet Union for 30 years, and I found it very difficult when I was there. But there are some people that I know sponsored by the World Institute on Disability and Auckland who have gone and they've gone in light wheelchairs. And you can get round if you if you press
people to help you. Another factor is that because travel in Russia traditionally has been difficult, there is wonderments and usually admiration for people who travel against handicaps of whatever kind. For example, when American women have come to the USSR, I'm speaking from personal knowledge with very small children, brandnew babies, people simply go out of their way to help them. Likewise, because most Soviet people, in consequence of living in a less mechanized society, are physically stronger than most Americans in sheer muscle power. You very often find I'm speaking in terms of a disabled person, a couple of husky guys who will gladly pick up your chair and move it around and deposit it. So that I would say that if you have the boldness
to travel, that these problems will be met and people do show a great deal of ingenuity. Does interest would it be a good idea to tell them or they know you'd have to tell them? I guess I would not go anywhere in Russia or elsewhere without pretty carefully explaining what it was that I needed and how much of it I needed. Let me give you a name if you're traveling. Yes. As part of British Airways in the Soviet Union. And maybe this might be reason to travel through them. There is a Russian on their staff named Meatloaf. And for Michael Etty, for Thomas, he's for victory, who's just by nature one of the most helpful human beings I've ever met at any time, any place in any country. And perhaps if you travel through them and tell them you are in contact with Mr. Matloff
and tell him. But I doubt that Bill Mandele sends his regards. I'm quite serious about this. I think it may make things easier. Oh, thank you very, very welcome. I'm sure our time is coming to an end. Any specific thoughts you'd like to leave us with? I'd like to leave people with the thought that the American disabled community has to be interested in what's going on in other parts of the world, because ultimately the concern. Show will benefit us as well. Thank you very much indeed. Next week, although I am going to try to get a hold of a Soviet trade unionist, a Russian who's been in this country for a period to get him on the air, see how Labor's been responding to the very recent events, increase in price rises and the rest. I'm going to be translating some interviews I did as early as 1990, which
I have not yet run because the time had not come for them. I did interviews with members of parliament in Kazakhstan dealing with their view of a country's economic future. And now that the country is moving in the direction of privatization, these interviews with people who felt that things should go that way may give us some insight into the mystery of the future of what used to be the USSR. This is Bill Mandele with outside the Moscow Beltway, my guest. But Ethel Dunn. Thank you very much, Ethel. And we'll be in touch with all of you again next week at this time. [music: the song "Think Again"]
- Outside the Moscow Beltway
- Producing Organization
- KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
- Contributing Organization
- The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This episode focuses on the disabled in the USSR. Guest is Ethel Dunn.
- Series Description
- "Work and accomplishments of William Mandel, 74, for weekly series in its 35th yr.; and for invention of talk radio, initiated on this program, which extends freedom of speech to general citizenry in manner not [equaled] in any other way. In 15 years prior to joining KPFA, Mandel guested on major network radio in USA & Canada and, during World War II, broadcast to occupied [Western] Europe at request of Army Broadcasting Service in Europe'. The rise & fall of the USSR was the overriding event of this century, and this series recorded nearly ? of its 74 years of existence. Mandel, fluent in Russian, visited the USSR (all 15 republics) 18 times since series began in 1958. He taped interviews (i.e., draft-age boys when there was a possibility of direct Soviet participation in Vietnam) broadcast voice-over in stereo, with Russian original heard on the low-gain channel. This, and Mandel's practice of not cutting or editing, pre-empted, possibly, doubts regarding genuineness, objectivity. This bald, 'unproduced' technique maintained program's credibility during times of severe crisis in relations between our countries. 1991 broadcasts included reading of 30 letters to him from private Soviet citizens (Christian, Moslem, Jewish) representing complete spectrum of political views. Broadcasts in Gorbachev [years] include numerous X FIRSTS: (1) eyewitness report of creative personalities in revolt (Artists' Union, 1986); (2) taping of non-Party outdoor rally (1987); (3) report by participants of environmentalists' victory (stopping bacteriological warfare plant); (4) report by participants about 'people's fronts' in Slavic republics (both 1988); unique taping of confrontation between citizens' committee demanding evacuation from Chernobyl zone and government-and-Party officials (1989); Moscow-Berkley phone interview, 1st day of coup, of an American defending Yeltsin's White House; interviews with Ukrainian, Kazakh nationalists; with coal strike leaders."--1991 Peabody Awards entry form.
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- Media type
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the
University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-84e39580ecc (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio cassette
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- Chicago: “Outside the Moscow Beltway; With Ethel Dunn, on the disabled in the USSR,” 1992-01-06, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-ns0ks6kb3k.
- MLA: “Outside the Moscow Beltway; With Ethel Dunn, on the disabled in the USSR.” 1992-01-06. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-ns0ks6kb3k>.
- APA: Outside the Moscow Beltway; With Ethel Dunn, on the disabled in the USSR. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-526-ns0ks6kb3k