Alexander Yakovlev - seen as a key figure behind Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika reform policies in the former USSR - has died aged 81. -- from BBC News World Edition.
I had this dream in maybe 1978 or 1979 where I was walking on the streets of my hometown in the rain and there was this massive, air-cracking, BOOM. I remember in the dream thinking that it was a nuclear attack -- but it was actually just thunder. After I woke up I realized that, while I might not have thought about it much, the understanding that global armageddon was always just 30 minutes away must have been there in my unconscious -- otherwise why would that have been my first thought in the dream.
Around this time was also the era of the post-holocaust stories and films and games -- so many of them that it was really the invention (and passing) of an entire genre. Nowadays the post-holocaust genre is quaint.
In 1986 I was serving Uncle Sam watching the DMZ in South Korea. I was on 24 hour pass when Chernobyl happened so I didn't find out about it until a bit later, but when I got back to the tent city they had for us, my platoon mates were all sacked out and grumpy. Our platoon sergeant had them up all night out in the ditches in their Kevlar vests and NBC gear after hearing about the nuclear incident, thinking it was something more drastic. Admittedly, he was a nervous fellow, but I think it was indicative of the fears that percolated beneath our consciousness at the time.
The people who championed and shepherded glasnost and perestroika performed an epic service for the world, remarkable not just for the enormity of the change it brought about, but also for the quiet with which it occured.