Tag Archives: love story

A Love Story

Young Lovers during Armenian Repatriation
Images courtesy of Jeannot and Laura

Which do you believe is stronger – the love of one’s country or the love of one’s soul mate? One young lover was forced to choose between his country of birth, France, or the woman he loved. It was a decision that changed the lives of two young lovers forever.

Jeannot was born in the resort paradise of Nice, France; and Laura, in the Soviet Union. She was among the Soviet elite, the daughter of a much-decorated military officer who served heroically in Stalin’s Red Army. The strikingly handsome young Armenian-Frenchman would meet the poised and beautiful, very serious Laura at the Polytechnical Institute in Yerevan, Soviet Armenia.

Both were excellent students who blotted out their past lives to live in a fantasy world they would create together. Life can seduce those who dream the impossible, despite the fact that each nook was occupied by informants, and the terrifying truth that “Big Brother” is watching, listening and reading each written or spoken word.

Dictators cannot tolerate those who believe in liberty and freedom.

And, it would be unthinkable for the parents of repatriates to bless or sanction such a marriage between a repatriate and local. “Akbars”, the repatriates, wanted to return to the West, especially those who were born in France and/or the United States; and the “deneracities” knew that the repatriates hated the Soviets and denigrated anything and everything about the USSR. There would be no compromises.

And, in 1960, when Nikita Khrushchev had reached the zenith of his political power, he opened a small hole in the iron gates to allow Soviet citizens to crawl through. Some made it to the West. Others waited patiently.

Their patience eventually paid off.

How painful and distressing life became when unexpectedly Jeannot and his mother were granted exit visas. A dream come true. Back to France. Back to Nice.

But Jeannot was in love. He and Laura planned to get married. There would be complications, delays, and maybe a “nyet” by the Soviets.

“I will go,” said Jeannot’s mother who had been widowed several years earlier. Jeannot had never forgotten the world he had left behind when he was just a child. He, too, said that he would go home to France, but planned to return to marry the girl whom he adored loved. The parents would breathe a sigh of relief, while the two young lovers parted. However, they vowed never to forget each other. And they did not.

The Francis Gary Powers Spy Plane Incident and the Cuban Missile Crisis suddenly refueled the Cold War and the two young lovers were left on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. They would not see or hear from each other for years.

Jeannot eventually found his niche in the business world and managed to accumulate substantial wealth. Not surprising since he had a degree and was fluent in Russian, Armenian, French and the English languages. He married and the marriage fell apart. He knew he had left his heart and soul behind in the Soviet Union.

Laura also married. A professor who taught at the prestigious Moscow University seemed to have given her a life that most Soviets only dream about. She had completed a degree in metallurgy. Neither was ready for what was to happen next in their lives.

One day, Jeannot was asked by his CEO to go to Moscow and negotiate a contract. He eagerly accepted the assignment and the challenge to return to the land of the Soviets. Once the jet landed in Moscow, Jeannot contacted several of his former college classmates, making inquiries about Laura. Luck would have it that a friend knew she had an apartment in Moscow and even had the phone number

Jeannot wasted little time. He picked up the phone, dialed the number and heard a man’s voice.

“I’m an old friend of Laura’s and I would like to talk with her,” Jeannot remembers telling the person.

“What do you want?” the man asked.

“My name is Jeannot… we went to college together…may I speak to her?”

The man repeated Jeannot’s name and Laura overheard it. She rushed to the phone. There was a silence that cripples the senses in such incidents. Laura was the first to speak. “Is it really you?” she asked.

“Yes!” And then unexpectedly and wasting no time, Jeannot asked “Do you love me?”

“Jeannot… I am married,” she whispered back into the phone.

“I did not ask you that. I asked – `Do you love me?’”

“Jeannot, I have a daughter. A lovely daughter. Please…”

For the third, and he stressed would be the final time, Jeannot asked Laura again, “Do you love me?”

There was a long, nervous silence on both ends.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! I have always loved you. I have never stopped loving you…”

Jeannot and Laura were married shortly afterward. And they have been inseparable since Fate reunited them. In a world of chaos, unnecessary bloodshed, and extreme nationalism, it is a joy to acknowledge and share a story of hope…a story of everlasting love.

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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Young Lovers Trapped in the USSR

Silhouette of couple at sunset
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and pat138241

There are so many stories that I have come upon during the research for my book, but the following ‘love story’ must be considered among my favorites.

Christine was sixteen when she fell in love and later married Ara. Both had left their native land, America, and had repatriated to the Soviet Union in the late 1940’s. After I managed to legally leave the USSR, the two young Americans decided that they too would try to return home. They weighed the risks, for Christine’s father had been arrested and charged as ‘an enemy of the people’ and convicted by Stalin’s NKVD, but my successful return home convinced them that there was hope.

So, Ara and Christine traveled to Moscow. They met with US Consulate officials who, after hearing their stories, encouraged them to apply for reinstatement of their citizenship. Since they were born in the US and were considered minors when they left with their families, they had no problems. The two were issued US passports.

But the young couple still needed ‘exit visas’, and only the Soviets, via OVIR, had the jurisdiction to grant them that unique Soviet privilege to leave the borders of the impregnable Iron Curtain. When Ara and Christine appeared before the Soviet agency, with American passports in hand, OVIR became outraged. They not only belittled the two but they warned them that Soviets communicating with a foreign power is illegal and that they could be prosecuted.

Christine knew full well what that meant. Under Stalin, her father had been exiled to Siberia and was released only after Stalin’s death. With Khrushchev was at the height of power, and Chairman Khrushchev‘s revelations of his former boss murderous tantrums, surely times had changed. Apparently for this young married couple it had not.

Not only did OVIR reject the young couple’s request for the visa, but the Soviet government reportedly issued an official protest to the US Embassy, chastising the United States for issuing American passports to Soviet citizens.

It would take years before Christine and Ara were give permission to leave the USSR and return to America.

But they did and both lived happily for years to come.

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

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