My russky valentine

The Soviet Union so seldom asks for or probably even expects "a single kind word" that this wistful phrase in a message to the United States went right to our Valentine's Day hearts. The Russians felt they deserved a pat if not a hug for efforts on behalf of the US hostages in Tehran -- efforts which had, alas, escaped most Americans under the cloud of Moscow vituperation of the time of the release.

But don't cry, Mr. Gromyko, Mr. Dobrynin, or even Papa Bear Brezhnev. Russia has done many things that deserve a kind word, that make us want you for our valentine, sort of. If you had done nothing but give us Baryshnikov we would have been happy to blow kisses across the steppes. But there was also that recent exciting Los Angeles and Washington show of Russian avant-garde art. You may not exactly have cooperated in bringing it to America, but something must have been happening over there many long years ago for these artists to react to it so spectacularly.

We don't mean to overlook the more serious matters, those instances at home and abroad when the monolith has shown a human face. We know the Russian people have feelings -- like you? -- and we have a hunch there'll be even more reason for kind words and valentine wishes as the years go on.

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