Millions of West Germans who have never been to Utah saw Temple Square recently.
"Russians in Salt Lake City," a documentary that aired on West German television, was based on the daily routine of Soviet inspectors who are living and working in Utah. The program included shots of the group touring Temple Square.The tour was not unusual. "We always take our teams to see Temple Square because it is the center of the city," explained Soviet spokesman Nikolai Schecklein. "It is also the center for the Mormon Church and a beautiful place."
When the inspectors were contacted by a West German public television station about the documentary, the Temple Square visit had already been planned.
"We just wanted to follow them around for a few days and film their normal routine," explained producer Renate Kurowski-Cardello. "When we found out they had this tour planned, we thought that was wonderful. Salt Lake City is, basically, the religious capital for the Mormons and we thought it would be great to show the Soviets showing an interest in something related to the Mormon religion."
The focus of the documentary, which aired Sunday, Oct. 9, was on Soviet inspectors who are monitoring U.S. compliance to the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty that was signed last year.
"We wanted to put into real life what the treaty meant," said Kurowski-Cardello, who estimated that between 15 and 20 million people viewed the program.