Soviet Dancer/Defectors Lyudmila Vlasova and Alexander Godunov

Lyudmila Vasova and husband Alexander Godunov - Was she leaving because she wanted to?

Lyudmila Vlasova and Alexander Godunov
Defectors Lyudmila Vlasova and husband Alexander Godunov – Was she going back to Moscow because she wanted to?
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August 25, 1979 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 25, 1979 – News about Dancers, Defectors and drama this day. News from JFK in New York and the diplomatic tug-of-war going on at the tarmac. United States officials held up the departure of a Soviet airliner at Kennedy International Airport last night and this morning to determine if the wife of Aleksandr Godunov, the Soviet dancer who had already defected, was returning to Moscow of her own free will.

The State Department acted after Mr. Godunov expressed fear that Soviet officials would force his wife, a Bolshoi ballerina, “to leave the United States without my seeing her again.”

“I very much want my wife to stay with me here in the United States,” he said.

However, aboard the plane, the ballerina, Lyudmilla Vlasova, said in the presence of both American and Soviet officials: “I love my husband. But he made his decision to stay here and I have made mine to leave.”

The plane was scheduled to depart at 5 P.M. but the area around it was ringed by Port Authority officials, policemen and plainclothesmen. Acting Secretary of State Warren Christopher said the plane was ordered to remain “in the national interest.”

And in other news – President Carter was at Camp David, while vice-President Mondale arrived in Beijing for a week long visit. According to Mondale, the Chinese were taking this visit seriously since greeting him on his arrival was none other than vice-Chairman Deng Xiao-Ping, the man responsible for leading China toward modernization and opening up to outside countries. The week-long visit was charged with expectations from both the U.S. and Chinese camps.

And allegations that White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan was seen snorting coke at Manhattan’s notorious Studio 54 were flatly denied by Jordan. An FBI investigation was ordered and Jordan went on to label the charges as false, saying they came from defendants with criminal backgrounds who had a clear interest by making false and sensational charges in an effort to bargain for leniency. The New York Times reported the charges came from the owners of Studio 54 who were up on income tax evasion charges.

And so it goes – a slice of what went on, this August 25, 1979 as reported by the CBS World News Roundup.

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