IN AND OUT OF COMMUNISM

August 23 in history:

On August 23rd, 1975, the monarchy in Laos was overthrown in a Communist coup.

Fifteen years later, on this date in 1990, Armenia went in the other direction, declaring its independence from the Soviet Union.

Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov declared his own independence from the Soviets on August 23rd, 1979, defecting to the West while on tour in New York.  Godunov stayed in the U.S., and acted in movies. One of his most famous roles was in “The Money Pit,” where he played the ex-husband of “Cheers” star Shelley Long, born on August 23rd, 1949.

Godunov also played one of the hostage-takers in the original “Die Hard” movie.  A notorious hostage incident began on this date in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden, with a botched bank robbery.  The robber and an accomplice surrendered five days later, and although threats had been made against them, no hostages were harmed.  The incident inspired the concept of the “Stockholm syndrome,” in which hostages come to support or sympathize with their captors.

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