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Kennan Institute Online Event: 50 years since the Leningrad “Hijackers’” Case: Film Screening &

On June 15, 1970, a group of young refuseniks—mostly Soviet Jews denied permission to emigrate—set out to commandeer an empty plane outside of Leningrad and use it to escape the USSR. Known variously as the Leningrad “hijacking” case, Operation Wedding, and the Dymshits-Kuznetsov affair, the event drew international attention to human rights violations in the Soviet Union and spurred a powerful activist movement in the U.S. and elsewhere on behalf of Soviet Jewry that affected the course of the Cold War. Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, Glenn Richter, Zvi Gitelman and Jonathan Dekel-Chen discussed the events and their lessons.

The award-winning documentary “Operation Wedding," directed by Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, describes the events fromthe personal point of view of her parents, who were leaders of the group. (Israel, Latvia, 2016; 62 minutes; in English, Russian, and Hebrew with English subtitles).


The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American expertise and knowledge of Russia, Ukraine, and the region. Through its residential fellowship programs, public lectures, workshops, and publications, the Institute strives to attract, publicize, and integrate new research into the policy community.


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