At the height of dangerous Cold War tensions, Alaskan and Russian “citizen diplomats” reunited long-separated Native families across the Bering Strait and launched a 30-year era of perilous yet prolific progress. Long-time Alaska journalist David Ramseur relies on his 15 visits to Russia to tell a story of inspiration, courage and persistence in his book, Melting the Ice Curtain: The Extraordinary Story of Citizen Diplomacy on the Russia-Alaska Frontier.
Born in Oceanside, Ramseur is a 40-year Alaskan who served as a top aide to two Alaska governors and one of its US senators. He helped organize the first American jet to land in the remote Soviet Far East in 1988 and lived and worked in the USSR in 1993. Ramseur’s book was translated into Russian in 2018 and he distributed it across 11,000 miles of the Russian Far East at the invitation of the US Consulate in Vladivostok. He is a visiting scholar in public policy at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.