SOVIET MEDIA coverage of Southern California has been spotty since 1984, when stories aimed at drumming up support for the Soviet decision to boycott the Olympics disparaged Los Angeles in dramatic terms. ("In Moscow," the narrator of one network television program told viewers, "the worst thing we had to worry about was, would there be rain during the (1980 Olympics) opening ceremonies. In Los Angeles, they wonder how many seconds will pass before another person is killed on the streets.")
The Soviets still show Los Angeles as a gang-ridden, repressive area dominated by military and industrial interests and a Hollywood whose films foster anti-Soviet stereotypes.
But softer views sometimes creep into smaller publications. For example, Iskustvo Kino ("Art of Film") magazine published the travel notes of film critic Victor Dyomin, who came to Los Angeles in March, 1987, as part of the Entertainment Summit.
After an exhausting 32-hour flight from Moscow, Dyomin reported that he was pleasantly surprised that U.S. Customs had waved him through, wanting to know only where he was staying. At the Bel Age, he told them, confiding to readers that he privately relished the thought that this was the scene of a romantic encounter in "Prizzi's Honor."