Historama, March 20

Adventures of Russia’s “Samantha Smith” and different fates of the country’s top musicians are recalled in tonight’s Historama.

­Russian ‘Samantha Smith’ sets off for US

Soviet schoolgirl Katya Lycheva began her US tour on this day in 1986. It was part of the “Children as Peacemakers” program.

Three years before that, American Samantha Smith visited the Soviet Union.

Lycheva’s visit was organized to commemorate Samantha Smith’s death. The girl crashed on a plane in 1985.

During her visit, Katya Lycheva met President Ronald Reagan.

Most recently, she worked as vice president of car manufacturer Avtovaz.

­Constellation of Russia’s best musicians

Quite a few big names in the music scene were born on this day.

Modest Mussorgsky drew his first breath back in 1839. We mainly remember him for composing the “Boris Godunov” opera.

Fifty years later in 1889, actor, musician and writer Aleksandr Vertinsky was born. He was an embodiment of everything bohemian in turn-of-the-century Russia.

His contemporary Leonid Utesov, born on this day in 1895, was also an actor and singer. Utesov brought jazz to the Soviet scene and was hugely popular.

Read more on this day in Russian history

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