The First Time the Russians Intervened in a U.S. Election
As Kennedy and Nixon clashed in the 1960 race, Nikita Khrushchev took an unusual interest in the outcome—and two captured American airmen got caught in the middle.
Photos courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
In mid-May 1962, the manor of Novo-Ogaryovo was enveloped in a fog that rolled up from the banks of the Moscow River. The house, nestled in a forest of birch and pine twenty miles outside the capital of the Soviet Union, was used by the Kremlin to entertain visiting dignitaries. That May, the guest was John F. Kennedy’s press secretary, Pierre Salinger. Salinger was 36 years old, adorned with bushy eyebrows, often complemented by a wreath of cigar smoke. His tour of the Soviet Union had paused at Novo-Ogaryovo at the request of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. It was the height of the Cold War and Salinger, who was untrained in foreign diplomacy, would be face to face with the most powerful man in the Soviet Union.