Upper East Side Story

Susan L. Carruthers

in Cold War Captives

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257306
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944794 | DOI:
Upper East Side Story

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This chapter focuses on the story of Oksana Kasenkina, a schoolteacher who had fled Manhattan some days earlier in a bid to avoid repatriation to the USSR by the diplomats whose children she had spent two years tutoring. Although this schoolteacher drew Americans' attention to communist “captive taking,” she was scarcely the first Soviet citizen to balk at the prospect of returning home. Viewed from a wider angle, Kasenkina was one among thousands of nyevozvrashchentzi (nonreturners). For some, the Kasenkina affair underscored the need for a more generous attitude toward the thousands of refugees in Europe who had escaped Soviet control and continued to risk death in order to flee west. Others extracted a quite different lesson, however, focusing not on what the schoolteacher represented but on what the presence of the Soviet consulate on East Sixty-first Street meant for U.S. security.

Keywords: Oksana Kasenkina; Soviet Union; communists; captive taking; refugees; Soviet consulate

Chapter.  16033 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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