The Soviets are making good on Nikita Khrushchev's prediction that they'll bury the West. But they're doing it with fax paper.
"If politically countries are changing, why should information agencies work in the same manner, the old manner," said Alexander Malyshkin, senior information officer for the Soviet Embassy.The Soviets, it seems, have discovered what everyone from pro-democracy dissidents in China to American restaurants learned before - that the fax machine is a quick and stealthy way to get your information where it hasn't gone before.
It's glasnost for the information age, and the Soviets used it with a vengeance during last week's superpower summit.
"I have been just inundated. Our fax machine has been going almost constantly," Frank Partsch, editorial page editor of the Omaha World-Herald, said Tuesday.
Partsch said he was holding 30 to 40 pages of Soviet material, about half what spewed out of his facsimile machine during the summit.
"It's the first time I've ever seen this," said Bob Haring, executive editor of the Tulsa World, who received 20 to 30 pages of faxed material from the Soviet Embassy in Washington.
The Soviets say it's nothing unusual, just another embassy using technology - a Japanese-made fax machine, that is - to reach the media.
"It's very effective," said embassy spokesman Boris Malakhov, who said the embassy press office fax was in use "constantly" to issue press advisories on President Mikhail Gorbachev's visit.
But getting a fax from behind the Iron Curtain strikes some recipients as unusual, and the Soviets say they're restructuring their use of technology to get the word out about changes inside their country.
"We're using modern know-how to reach newspapers," Malyshkin said. "American media is very fast, you know."
He said his office has one fax machine and aides work all the time to relay articles by the official Novosti Press Agency, opinion pieces by Soviet officials and even lighthearted features on Soviet life.