There were instances when some would say we should try to understand the intricacies of realpolitik, and that it’s OK occasionally to attend a reception at the Soviet Embassy, if invited. Some were actually invited for tea.
These active citizens were no peaceniks or fellow travelers. They were just an open-minded lot. Jokingly they were dubbed the “realitetniks” and “ikroidy” (caviar eaters). Their shared attribute was eagerness to discover something positive in mostly bleak settings.
My own open-mindedness took me no farther than a Soviet auto show in Manhattan one day, where one dollar would also buy a ticket to a movie featuring the latest achievements. I chanced to talk to an official represenative on a coffee break. He said I look like a nice guy, and he could let me slip in without buying a ticket. That was that.