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Too much fresh air at Whelan's Farm by Stan Brin, Eric Oppen & Steve Payne

Author says: what if the "walk that changed the world" had been bugged by the KGB? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

May 19th 1983, an expression of deviationalist thought ruined the political career of Mikhail Gorbachev after he unwisely conducted an impromptu one-to-one meeting on this day with a radical free thinker, the so-called "godfather of glasnost" Alexander Yakovlev.

"And so the rising star of the Politburo and the Soviet ambassador to Ottawa, both in three-piece suits and fedoras, kicked through fresh-cut grass, walked among saplings and then past fields of corn, soy and wheat. As they strolled, they talked - of the perils facing their Soviet motherland".Gorbachev had flown to Ottawa ostensibly in his role as the Minister of Agriculture for bilateral discussions with his Canadian counterpart Eugene Whelan. But as a rising star in the politburo, Gorbachev had conducted a rather more high profile meeting with the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Also present was Yakolev; formerly the Soviet Propaganda Minister he had been sidelined into his current role as the Ambassador to Ottawa.

"Yakovlev accompanied Gorbachev across Canada but it wasn't until the walk through Whelan's fields that the two men found themselves free to discuss politics away from spying eyes on both sides of the Cold War. Or so they thought..". Matters of protocol became somewhat confused after an invitation to Whelan's family farm overlooking the Detroit River in Amherstburg, Southern Ontario. Whelan was running very late, leaving the Soviet delegation alone with his wife Elizabeth.

To the great displeasure of both the KGB and RCMP, Gorbachev and Yakolev chose to go for a three hour walk. The fresh air encouraged them to conduct a brutally frank discussion about the parlous state of the Soviet Union. They also reached some rather startling conclusions on the main points of a plan to change the face of Euope.

But due to KGB eavesdropping, those plans came to nought. And on his return to Moscow, Gorbachev would be discretly advised that he had received a new appointment as the Soviet Ambassador to Finland. His seat in the politburo would be occupied by another rising star in the Communist Party known as Boris Yeltsin.

Author says the source article "Tipping Points, How Glasnost grew in Ontario" by Brett Popplewell was published in the Toronto Star, March 28th 2010
To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Stan Brin, Eric Oppen and Steve Payne

Guest Historians of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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